Traditions

The Pope! The Pope! Historical curiosities on the spiritual leader and a symbol of Rome

For millions of Catholics around the world, the Pope is a spiritual leader. For the Romans, he’s a fellow Roman, regardless of where he comes from...

Italy’s most common last names: is yours among them?

We carry our own history in our name: it often tells about our relatives, after whom we may be named, or about name trends in the year we were born...

Sicily’s storytelling traditions

Since the first days of language, humans have been passing on stories. From the sea shanties of Cornwall to the shadow puppetry of China, from the...

Christmas in Italy: unique traditions and destinations

String some lights, hang a wreath, decorate the tree, and deck the halls with every form of green and red imaginable – Christmas is nigh! But have...

It’s Official: World Heritage Status for Pizza Napoletana

On the 7th of December, pizza Napoletana made it into the UNESCO Intangible Heritage List. A huge success for Italy, but also a huge success for the...

Challenging tradition: Italy's third wave coffee scene

Click, click, tamp, swoosh! Click, click, tamp, swoosh! Clouds of steam plume above the shining, eight-spout Gaggia and a thick stream of unctuous,...

The 16th century pharmacy of the Pope

Every city has them, the so-called “hidden gems.” The places rarely visited by tourists, and the ones often forgotten about by locals. Living in a...

The secret waters of Liscia

Water carries life within: nothing could be and exist without it. Water is also frightful, because of its power, which destroys and obliterates. A...

Venice’s mouths of truth

Venice at the height of its power conjures images of merchant traders, carnival masks and debauchery. But for all its decadence Venetian life was...

Zafferiamo – the intriguing story of Pieve’s saffron festival

Used since ancient times for cooking, cosmetics and curative properties, saffron is the wonderfully aromatic queen of spices. The Greeks used it to...

Do you really know everything about pasta?

No! Not another article about Italy and pasta, I hear you crying. Worry not, this time we’re going to tackle the “pasta issue” from an entirely...

Fear in Italy: a trip through the country’s most haunted locations

Fall is my favorite season. Yes, I love chestnuts, truffles, cardigans, chunky scarves and pumpkin pies. But the real reason I love the fall is...

One, two, three steps to heaven

Rome’s Spanish Steps are famous around the globe. As too are Venice’s stepped bridges crossing her countless canals. And the Vatican Museum’s...

Regional stereotypes of Italy

Stereotypes: there’s always a bit of truth in every one of them, positive or negative, and those about Italy are plenty: Italians are loud, Italians...

Searching for the origins of La Bella Lingua (Part I): Dante and Florence

It appears that modern Italy was unified by literature long before it existed as a single nation on the map. Although up to a century and a half ago...