Friday, June 16, 2006

What is a vicolo?

According to the Oxford Paravia dictionary (one of the best Italian - English dictionaries in my opinion) a vicolo is: an alleyway, back alley, back lane.
None of these words sound very romantic in English, and just do not do justice to vicolos. While there are vicoli in other places, there just is no comparison to those of Genoa. They were actually quite dangerous for a number of years, but have recently become quite trendy and new bars and interesting restaurants are popping up all over the place. If you know Italian, is a great source of information on restaurants and stores in Genova's vicoli.
The part of town with vicoli is usually "centro storico" or historical center...or "caruggio" in the Genovese dialect

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Friday, June 09, 2006

Hanging out to dry in Portofino

portofino window

I always wondered if the people that have amazing houses in exceptional locations (such as the one in the picture - perfectly painted window in Portofino) feel the need to keep the outside perfect to keep up a certain image. How is it possible that they only wash 5 articles of clothing at a time, all of which seem to come together in a well balanced color coordinated harmony? I don't know about you, but I tend to wash all whites or light colors together and do the same for darks. I happen to have some clothes that I wear hanging around the house, so if I were to hang them out to dry, they certainly wouldn't look like I brought them home from the store yesterday.

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Friday, June 02, 2006

Istice contrada, Siena

The istice (hedgehog or porcupine) contrada is one of Siena's 17 contrade or neighborhoods. From July 2 and August 16, Siena is where the famous Palio horse race takes place. It is a well known fact that Italians feel more attached to their towns and cities than Italy on a whole, but in Siena this goes even farther: everyone for their contrada. I haven't ever seen the palio in Siena or Asti because I hate huge crowds of people pushing each other, but supposedly it is an event not to miss.

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Thursday, June 01, 2006

Bad spring for swimming!

This spring the weather hasn't been that great. It has been rather gray and on the cold side. Sometimes it is possible to go swimming in May, but definitely not this year! I took this photo while waiting for dinner in Viareggio. These are the first swimmers of the season hanging out on the beach as the sun set. Usually in Italy if you see people swimming so early on in the season, 90% of the time they are tourists from colder countries. The beaches in this area have fine sand are huge - very wide and long, unlike a lot of other Italian beaches, which can be small and have mountainous cliffs or small rocks instead of sand.

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