Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Door Series #13 & #14

I have posted many pictures of the ornate and fabulously carved doors of Piedmont, but I wanted to post these not so ornate doors too because I believe they have just as much character. They look like home.


Monday, December 28, 2009

Girl in a Bubble

There was a girl in a bubble today in my piazza. Who knows why, any ideas?


Thursday, December 24, 2009

Wow

I have to give props to Fabrizio Zanelli at Torino Daily Photo for taking this stunning picture of Torino at night. This is the Piazza San Carlo under Christmas lighting. It inspires me. Wow.

Visit Fabrizio's site here for more daily photos.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Mr. Snowman, Bring Me a Dream.

Someone left us a present last night. I woke up this morning and opened our shutters and saw this surprise! Jolie and I had to run out and snap a picture before the snow plow came. I wonder who did this? It's a mystery...

I don't think that Ramses ever imagined that he would be covered in snow.
But this guy seems that he was readt for it.

BTW, Jolie was scared of the snowman and growled at him. hehe.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Outside My Window...



It finally snowed! It's going to be a white Christmas outside my window this year. The castle looks beautiful covered in snow don't you think? Meanwhile we stay toasty inside by the fire.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

What is Panettone?


Panettone is a very egg-y and fluffy sweet cake made with raisins and dried citrus fruits, mostly eaten at Christmas. I have never met an Italian that didn't absolutely love panettone. This week the Torino newspaper La Stampa announced this years bakery's that make the top 10 best panettone. Now, I haven't really found one that I couldn't live without, I would trade it for a pumpkin pie or flourless chocolate cake any day. But this article got me thinking, maybe I should give panettone another chance. Maybe I have not had the Best cakes and that is why I have not yet fallen in love with it.

So I went online and did some research. I found all the addresses of the top 10 bakeries. 4 are in my neighborhood. So Pier and I have began a quest to find a cake that we can love. This quest focuses on trying as many as we can on the list. I'll do updates as we go along but first check out this video to see the art and the 3 days of work it takes to make just one pannettone.

http://www.itchefs-gvci.com/?option=com_content&view=category&layout=blog&id=107&Itemid=799

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Christmas Markets

Italians celebrate Christmas by doing what else? Eating well! The outdoor markets are full of varieties of dried meats, heavy smelly cheeses and the sweet perfume of fresh breads that stay with you as you drool across the street. You simply can not walk by with taking something.....or everything.





Monday, December 14, 2009

Merry Christmas Rick Steves!

As usual, Rick Steves is awesome. Here he is explaining Christmas traditions in Italy. It's like he knew this would be perfect for my blog.

A couple of notes:

1.That part about the witches coming to bring the gifts is true. So they have baby Jesus, Babbo Natale, and La Bafana the witch, all who bring gifts. (and I thought I was lucky I had 3 sets of grandparents for Christmas gifts).
2. Obviously Italians don't like fruit cake either.
3. Panattone is not fruit cake, but it's pretty close.


Everything But The Monkey

I have mentioned before that my city is full of gypsies. They have many talents and extreme ways of asking for your money. Here is just one. This beautiful music box on wheels that sounds like a cross between a harpsichord and a merry-go-round. There was no monkey but he was playing the soundtrack to Chocolat, an irony not lost on me as that film is about a traveling women chocolate maker who falls in love with a gypsy.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Assitalia

He he he..ASS Italia....

Friday, December 11, 2009

Film Fest Fever

In gearing up to head out to the Sundance Film Festival, just after New Year's, I am reminded that just a couple of weeks ago my city was buzzing about the Torino Film Festival. Francis Ford Coppola was wondering around town as well as Isabella Rossolini. You can find the winners of this years prizes here. One winner was from the US! The best thing about International film festivals is that you get the chance to see films that you would never otherwise get the chance to see. The other best part is that you get to watch it with the people who made it. That is awesome!

Poster for this year's fest.
Francis Ford Coppola in Torino with his film Teatro, shot in Argentina. (photo Marc Helperin)

The piazza in front of my house.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Happy Conception Day

Today is an Italian holiday. Everyone has the day off and all the shops are closed to celebrate the Immaculate Conception. But surprisingly there was a vintage market in Piazza Gran Madre which got me in the holiday mood with all of the fur coats and vintage nativity scenes.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Guilty

You might remember a year ago when I posted (of have heard of it on every news program) about an American girl from Seattle, Amanda Knox, who was accused along with her boyfriend of killing her college roommate, Meridith Kercher, while they were on an exchange program in Perugia ,Italy. Today she, and her boyfriend, were found guilty and sentenced to 26 years in an Italian prison. It took a jury of 8 some 2 years of trial and 13 hours of deliberation to decide guilty. What do you think about the verdict?

Friday, December 4, 2009

I Could Just Eat The Windows!

At holiday time all of the bakery's and sweet shops really bring out the big guns for the window displays. Did you know that the solid chocolate bar was invented right here in Torino? Before that chocolate was only consumed in liquid form. Because of that even today there are more master chocolatiers here in the city of Torino than in all of France and Belgium put together.
Therefore the aromas coming from the bread and sweet shops when you walk by grab hold of you and lure you in. The above picture is Pier getting some panini to take home for dinner and below is just one of the sweet shop displays full of cakes and extra large chocolate balls.
More pictures to come. I saw an entire Christmas tree made from chocolate in Piazza San Carlo....
Just for fun, here is the scene in the wonderful movie Chocolat where the town mayer sneaks into the chocolate shop and eats everything in the window, which is a fantasy I often have myself.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Door Series #12

I haven't posted a beautiful carved wooden door lately and it's about time I did. This gem was found in Piazza Vittorio. When I find these doors wondering around my neighborhood, I start to really think the best way to get to know your city is to walk it.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Happy No Berlusconi Day

Are you ready? Are you getting geared up? For Christmas? No! For No Burlusconi Day. Students who have no love for the current president of Italy have declared a whole day, December 5th, to pretend like he doesn't exist. They do this by having a loud protest, carrying posters with his name on them, and shouting his name all day long. I guess shouting "Down with that guy who we don't like but we don't want to say his name!" just doesn't sound as good.
Check out their web site to find out what beef they have with the president: www.noberlusconiday.org
click: appello, then: inglese (for english version).

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Step Inside

Walking along Via Po yesterday, I came across a little gallery that had it's doors wide open stating that everyone was welcome inside. I couldn't resist and I stepped in and discovered a display of many Nativity Scenes created by artists. This show was just open for the holidays and housed 20 or so Nativities, each with a different take. Some had moving parts like a windmill and some had running water! Here are a couple of my favorites.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Jazz Night in Torino

There is a place in Torino where all the hip cats go to get their groove on. We sat front row in a smokey club while we listened to some local Jazz. BTW, front row means you are close enough to get spit on from the trombone.

video

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Holiday Lights

One really cool thing about this city is that every holiday season the powers that be let artists take over the decorating. With lights! It's called Luce d'Artiste and the main streets are lighted up with different neon and twinkling wonders. They really put you in that seasonal spirit. On an evening passigiatta, Pier and I took pictures of a few of them.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Celebrating: Wine

We must have tasted 12 or so different wines on our trip. We learned why you swirl and why you stick your nose in the glass before tasting. We did not, however, spit. It just seems so wasteful. We also followed the journey of the grape from seed to bottle and now I can feel confident when ordering a bottle in a restaurant knowing the difference between the flavor of a young and an old red wine.



And that was our last day. With a trunk full of Christmas presents in bottle form, we headed back home.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Celebrating: Tuscany

Where we stayed in Tuscany was called Montiplucino. It's where wonderful red wines come from like Brunello and Chianti. We stayed at a working farm villa called Fattoria del Colle or Hill Farm. They had acres and acres of grapes, olive trees, and truffle rich forest. Here is a little peek.





Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Celebrating: Siena

One our tour of Tuscan wine tasting we stopped off in Siena for a coffee and to take a peek at one of Italy's best preserved mid evil cities. Siena holds many traditions unique of it's own. Take the Palio for example. A horse race around the large main piazza determining which of of it's 17 neighborhoods gets the trophy , and the pride, for that year. Each neighborhood, or contrade, has it's own unique flag shown in a below photo.
Siena's main water supply is still brought to the city by an ancient aqua duct first build by the Romans.
The patron saint of the city is Santa Caterina (1347-1380). A women who at the age of 8 believed she saw a vision that she was betrothed to Christ. Later she received the stigmata and then believed the the devil himself pushed her when she tumbled down these stairs (below photo).