Archive for category Italian Traditions and Culture
It is said that the origins of are found with the Roman number for 17 which is XVII. Now if you take those same symbols and rearrange them to make the Latin phrase VIXI, it means “I have lived”, which can also be interpreted as “I am dead.” Not a pleasant thought… However some indications show that this number has had negative vibes even as far back as the Greeks.
In any case, throughout Italy you will find that they spend just a little bit more time making sure that there are no black cats around, that their good luck charms are nearby and that they avoid ladders, feathers and laying their hats on the bed.
As for us here at Pierotucci Leather Factory, we just keep a Fortunata Italian leather handbag by our side for the course of the day – and we are pretty sure we are warding off the evil eyes!
There is no limit to the number of food dishes that the Tuscan’s enjoy as soon as the warmer temps announces the advent of spring and summer. As amazing as it seems to me – an American ex-pat, living in Tuscany – I always marvel over the fact that certain dishes are not to be found year long on the menu. You don’t eat gelato in the winter (who says!!) and you won’t find a long list of several other Italian favorites outside of the designated seasons. I have gone around the Pierotucci Leather Factory, asking our craftsman and women what dishes they are day dreaming about . . . I did this right about lunch time and as soon as the bell rang at 12:30 several bolted for the door!
First on our list of delicious meals for the summer has to be the sweet juicy cantaloupe melon with slices of cured ham – - – better known as proscuitto. This sweet and salty mix is rather unique in the Tuscan menu, however they seem to find it very refreshing for the warm months. Cantaloupes start to show up in the markets as soon as the temps rise, and as the summer progresses they are found more frequently. This is actually one of my favorites to serve – - because its sooooo easy.
What do you think? Is this one of those Italian summer dishes that you day dream about?
The convenience of a messenger bag was initially for those working in high and uncomfortable places. In fact, the original design of the messenger can be traced back to the utility lineman’s bag from the 1950′s, constructed by De Martini Globe Canvas Company. The necessity of keeping their hands free is exactly the reason that it has incorporated itself so easily into everyday use. Made from a heavy durable canvas – the style has transformed into fashion statement and some of the most notable designs, with space for iPads, Smartphones and Kindles are made from genuine Italian leather. The idea of being able to keep your necessities close by – yet giving you free movement makes this the ideal accessory.
A style that has practical origins has made it self into a fashion statement for both men and women. Originally conceived for bike messengers and postal workers, this leather bag is normally characterized with an adjustable cross body shoulder strap that allows for the bag to rest comfortably on ones lower back or side while handling a bicycle.
Though handbags are often considered just a women’s accessory, one can not deny that with a “hands free bag” works just as well for men and the things won’t fit into jacket and pant pockets. Campomaggi for example has turned this functional bag into a washed leather accessory and though their designs typically cater towards the men these Campomaggi bags have funneled there way into many a ladies heart. These Campomaggi bags use washed leather to give them a rugged, almost country look. The cross body characteristic of the messenger bag is what made it so innovative when it first appeared on the market half a century ago and is what keeps it so functional in today’s world. Change the size of the bag, hang it on your back or on your side, or even more positioned towards the front – but as long as it has that cross body strap it will be considered a off spring of the ever famous messenger bags.
There are also the Toscanella leather messenger bags for men and women which utilizes 7 different colors of vegetable tanned leather. Each and everyone of these bags are handcrafted in Florence Italy with genuine leather. The unisex messenger bags offer several options like an adjustable leather or canvas strap, the possibility of customization and monogramming and cotton lining. In addition, these quality Italian leather bags all come with their own protective cloth bag for storage purposes.
For more than one reason February is associated with red and hearts – Pierotucci is embracing the challenge to show you something red every day. Just a little reminder to Go Red for Women and take care of your heart.
It’s not summer yet – in fact here in Florence Italy we are surrounded by snow capped mountains. BUT. That doesn’t stop us from enjoying the delights of the Mediterranean diet of lots of fresh veggies, cheese, red wine and fresh baked bread. It’s not easy to find a red, ripe tomato with crisp basil leaves to go on top … that will probably have to wait for the summer months but there is no end to the green veggies available in the wintertime here in Tuscany. It seems like everyone’s garden is bursting with life even in the coldest months of the year.
Even the Mayo-Clinic staff have indicated that the Mediterranean Diet has some excellent side effects and not only for your heart.
Mediterranean diet was associated with a reduced risk of overall and cardiovascular mortality, a reduced incidence of cancer and cancer mortality, and a reduced incidence of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/mediterranean-diet/CL00011
Modern society has become so used to fast food alternatives, snacks filled with calories and unhealthy fats that fit into your leather handbag or leather messenger bag, sugar filled drinks . . . and let’s not forget a lack of healthy exercise. However it has been rightly said that the Mediterranean Diet is not a “diet” but
Rather, it is a lifestyle – including foods, activities, meals with friends and family, and wine in moderation with meals. http://oldwayspt.org/programs/mediterranean-foods-alliance/what-mediterranean-diet
For over 20 years I have been living this lifestyle and what strikes me the most is that where in Italy eating, relaxing and being with family friends is natural and unforced – where sometimes it appears that in other zones of the world it is a struggle to make space for the private and personal side of life. The people in the Mediterranean don’t have to think twice about taking care of themselves – it has been ingrained in their lifestyle since there were children.
What’s your favorite Mediterranean meal?
Become aware, check out the site http://www.goredforwomen.org to learn more about heart disease and symptoms of a heart attack.
I totally remember the first time I encountered face to face a pick pocket, he was about 9-10 years old and I was fresh off the plane – a novice in every way. I was visiting Florence on my own, my guide book in hand and a look of wonder on my face – which must have been two dead give a-ways that I was a tourist, of course that and my backpack carelessly slung on my shoulder (apparently easy prey for the zingari – Italian word for gypsy).
As I stood admiring the church Santuario S.Maria del Carmine (Firenze) and those huge wooden doors, I was unexpectedly surround by about 5 – 6 kids. Hey I am game, I grew up as one of 4, so I am used to noise, excitement – but not a 9 year old sticking his hand in my leather travel backpack while the other four try to distract me with jibbering and jabbering in another language. Maybe it was the fact that I was used to having kids all around that made me notice his sticky fingers grasping in my bag.
My first instinct, turn around and slap him!They all ran, hollering and screaming for the road and no one was around to be the wiser for their attempt but, it left a mark on me that has lastest until today (20 years later and it still haunts me.) If I had to be honest, I don’t know what effected me the most: the surprise I felt when I raised my hand to shoo the kid off or the fact that some one actually tried to rip me off … in broad daylight … in front of this religious monument … the list goes on.
Since then I have worked many jobs, including travel agent. During this stint I listened to tourists who had travelled all over Italy only to hear repeatedly their first and lasting memory, the fact that they too got ripped off – most times at the airport on their way home. What always surprises me is that these are adults, who I would have considered to be worldly and not at all gulliable like I was . And though, I dislike speaking of this down side to travelling I am going swallow my dislike because I believe no one should go home with those types of memories from a place as beautiful as Italy.
Of course, picket pockets come in all shapes, sizes, smells and dress – they can be they man in a suit sitting next to you in the waiting area … checking the partenze schedule … just like you or they can be the lady in the long, patchwork skirt with a baby on her hip, an unusual color combination between shirt, jacket, skirt and wearing bathroom slippers, following you around with a cup in her hand or as in my case, a group of street urchins (believe me it sounds like something out of a Dickens novel … and it looked like something out of a Dickens novel … but if the description fits ….)
So a here are a few pointers on keeping your valuables, your handbags, your pockets and your money a little safer.
keep it closed with snaps, zips and buckles: If the bag you are carrying has them then USE THEM. Make it as hard as possible to get inside.
keep it attached between your body and your arm: Some won’t even try to get inside, they will just pick off the whole bag – so keep it secure, close to you … not hanging low in one hand or unattended on your back.
keep it small: the bigger the target – they easier it is to pick it out.
stay alert: This doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy the scenery and immerse yourself in the culture – but you should never loose sight of the fact that you are surrounded by others.
I’d like to close with this safetyhandbag site I found that I felt gave some pretty good tips.
If you have anything to add – leave a comment.
When I am being a tourist, thus totally immerging myself in the culture,I love to find new ways to remind myself of the adventure once I am home and back the the same ol’ same ol’. One of my new favorite things to collect are images of the town, countryside or city – for example water colors or ink drawings done by one of the local artists.
Hanging out in Florence I have found something even just a bit different, even if a little more pricey.
Following a tradition that has been passed down from family to family since the late 1500′s – these pietre dure mosaics are indeed a memorable way to remember my travels around the city center of Florence.
Well it just might have been a (back handed) compliment! Though many of us would use the phrase hard as a rock to describe Aunt Minnie’s Christmas Fruitcake, that’s not so in Florence Italy where they also use it to describe a special type of mosaic production that has also been a tradition (and most definitely much more appreciated than the annual fruitcake!)
Hard stone mosaics have been part of a Florentine tradition for centuries, in fact it is the popular opinion that the Florentines have fully developed this art form. Even today, you can hear it being regarded as ‘painting in stone’. Legend has it that the famous Ghirlandaio said it was a ’Pittura per l’eternità’ — which means a painting which will last an eternity.
Some will put the tradition starting in 1588 when the Grand Duke Ferdinando I founded the Galleria de’ Lavori in Pietre Dure, a hardstone workshop, in Florence as the official beginning of a tradition. Ferdinando was in fact a strong patron of this form of art, helping it to grow by hiring local craftsmen and training them to restore ancient carved-stone objects as well as create original works in pietre dure.
Commonly associated with these highly unquie piece of art is the term “commesso” derived from the Latin word “committere”: to unite, to connect. The idea behind the design is to in effect create a stone jigsaw puzzle. The craftsman will create a hand drawn design, select the stones that match the color scheme and then hand cut each piece with a rather simple contraption of a bow made from wood and a cutting iron thread. Each piece is then polished and “fitted into the puzzle.”
The above image represents the original Pliny Doves found on the upper floor of the museum of the Capitol at Rome considered by many to be one of the finest and most perfectly preserved specimens of ancient mosaic. It represents four doves drinking, with a beautiful border surrounding the composition.
The world hasn’t ended! We’re still here and celebrating a brand new year. We all have a fresh start, a completely clean slate for 2013. So, what are you going to do this year? With the new year comes a heap of resolutions. People go absolutely mad buying gym memberships, self help books, and anything that may help you quit smoking. While all of these are great, they’re definitely not where I’m putting my focus. My new year’s resolution is to travel as much as humanly possible this year. I’m going to do my best to cut corners wherever I can to save money so I can see the world. The more places the better and I promise to share about any and all my travel experiences whereever I may go. So tell us, what’s you New Year’s Resolution? Is it something unique because we’d love to hear about it.
it is not a “ball” but a icosahedral geodesic sphere which means it has triangular faces meeting at each vertex to form a sphere
is 12 feet in diameter
is illuminated by 32,256 Philips LEDS
is a permanent feature in Times Square
is covered with Waterford Crystal 2.688 triangles
And did you know that in Florence Italy, it wasn’t until 1749 that the people of Firenze began to celebrate the New Year on 1° of January? According to the Catholic Church the 1° of the year was 25 Marcdh until the Grand Duke Franceeco III of Lorena made a law changing the civil year.
Happy New Year’s Celebration to one and all!
Wherever you are this holiday season we are sending you lots of joy. I know we’ll be in Florence heating up by the fireplace for Christmas with our friends and families. Some of us here at Pierotucci celebrate from other corners of the world, myself, for example, will be in what I’m hoping is sunny California desperately trying to escape any part of winter I can. What can I say, I’m a sunshine girl. At any rate, have a lovely day full of presents and cheer.