Category Archives: Roma

Buon San Valentino

It shouldn’t be any surprise that a day like Valentine’s Day would have its roots in Ancient Rome.  Italy has always been known for its romance and public displays of love.  Whether it’s the couple smooching at the table in the restaurant beside you, or the couples young and old walking hand in hand during their evening walks, or the scribbled expressions of love on pretty much every wall you pass.  Love is very much a part of the everyday life of an Italian.

The story of Valentine’s Day comes from San Valentino (Saint Valentine).  Valentino was a priest in Rome during a period of time when Christianity was still a new religion.  The Emperor of Rome at the time, Claudius II, ordered Roman soldiers not to marry.  Valentino disobeyed the Emperor and secretly married young couples.  When his act of rebellion was discovered, he was arrested, imprisoned and eventually executed.  Valentino was beheaded on February 14th.  After his death, Valentino was named a saint and his feast day became a day to honour him through expressions of love.

Although in the Western part of the world the commercialism of this day is blown up into astronomical proportions.  Here in Italy, the day is really no different, as far as I’ve seen in this smaller southern Italian city.  The window shops are full of hearts, chocolates, and cuddly cute stuffed toys.  The most famous chocolate treat for Valentine’s Day (or so it would seem based on the shops I pass daily) would have to be Baci Perugina.  Although they are popular all year long, this chocolate hazelnut treat is the perfect candy to give on Valentine’s Day – not just because of its name “Baci“, which means “kiss” in Italian but also because it is wrapped up in a tiny slip of paper with a romantic poetic quote (written in 4 languages).

Valentine’s Day has always been associated with young romantic couples but over the years it has grown into more than just a day for couples.  It has slowly become a day for all people to wish “Happy Valentine’s Day” to not just their husband or boyfriend, but also their friends, family and anyone else important to them.

So, I want to send some love out to all my blog readers.  I hope you have a wonderful day filled with love.

Buon San Valentino!

P.S. If you are one of those single people who gets bummed out over Valentine’s Day, don’t worry because tomorrow’s your day.  La Festa di San Faustino held on February 15th has become a day to celebrate being single.  I’m not entirely sure why, but live it up!!  Any excuse for a party! :)

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Filed under Festivals, Italia, Roma, Rome

Guest Blog Post: The First Five Things I Did in Italy

I have mentioned on a number of occasions how inspired I am by the amazing bloggers I have met over the past couple years.  It is such a close knit community and I’m so happy to have been welcomed in with open arms.  I’m grateful for the oppourtunity to get to know some of these bloggers better as they continue to inspire me daily!

Tina of Tina Tangos, is one of these bloggers I’m talking about.  Her passion and spirit are so beautiful and I’m thankful that she has decided to share her stories, experiences, and words with all who will read.

With that said, I am so pleased to have Tina do a guest blog post for Calabrisella Mia where she shares some of the things she did in Italy upon her arrival.  I will have to put together my own list once I make it there, but in the meantime, let’s take a peak at what Tina did!

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The First Five Things I Did in Italy

I’ve been in Italy almost a month now.  I haven’t been in this country since the beginning of 2007, when I left it for Argentina.  You can imagine that I was looking forward to a lot of things that I was missing about Italy.  Before my departure, I would excitedly fantasize about what I would do as soon as I landed.  Here are the first five things I did:

1. Got a “tour” of Rome – with a Roman driver.  No, not a formal tour.  When I arrived at Fiumicino Airport, I had reserved a shuttle van to get me to my hotel.  This is a shared shuttle service, so the driver had other stops to make.  There were a lot of us and as luck would have it, I sat in front with the driver.  This gave me a chance to get back into the rhythm of the Italian language.  He took a liking to me and dropped everyone else off first.  They were all over Rome, so I got to see several different neighborhoods at dusk.  What a way to re-enter Italy.  Drama, beauty and history around every corner.  I was amused watching him swear at other drivers in his Roman accent, gently bumping other cars to nudge them along.  He dropped me off at my hotel and I was ready to conquer this place.

2. Ate a Roman pizza.  Yes, yes, I know, pizza is from Naples, but have you had the pizza in Rome?  It’s really special.  I went to a little place that shall not be named, ordered a pizza with funghi (mushrooms), and watched as they rolled out the crust, put on the toppings and placed it in a wood fire oven.  I ordered some of the house wine which was amazing.  I tasted the spicy, green olive oil which was sitting at my table, and went to heaven.  The food, the food, the food.  I had arrived HOME.

3. Took an early morning walk around Rome.  I have a tradition, whenever I land in Italy, which is to spend my first night in Rome and then wake up and take a nice, long walk.  I love watching Rome wake up in the morning.  The tourists aren’t out just yet and the streets are full of suited up Romans on the way to the office after downing a quick coffee in the bar.  The chaos hasn’t quite started up yet.  The rising sun casts a misty golden light on everything.  It’s heaven.

4. Bought a cellular phone.  As soon as I got to Perugia, where I live, I checked into the apartment and headed out to get myself a phone.  All my friends here had sent me e-mails to text message them when I arrived.  I got a cheap little phone, and was given a choice of three companies to choose from for my service: TIM, Vodafone and Wind.  I normally use Vodafone, but they were out of Vodafone SIM cards so I chose TIM instead.  It took 24 hours for my number to be activated, which I found unusual.  The plus side is that it came with 5 Euros of starter credit.  (A lot of people here have a pay-as-you-go rechargeable phone).

5. Drank coffee at Sandri.  Sandri is my favorite bar (café) in Perugia.  A caffe latte there is like a cup of velvet.  Whatever they do to the milk is just lovely.  The place itself is gorgeous and classic.  It’s small and there’s not a lot of room to sit and relax, but that doesn’t matter.  That day in particular, I had the occasion of going with a friend, which made the experience even more special.

What are the first five things you did (or are planning on doing) in your new country?

Tina Ferrari is a translator, writer and tango dancer based in Perugia, Italy.  She writes at AffordableCallingCards.net, where you can find calling cards to Italy, as well as on her own blog, Tina Tangos. Comments are always welcome!

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Filed under Italia, Italian, Milan, Roma, Rome, Travel

In Pictures: Roma (Agosto 1997)

Since picking up my Italian passport last week I’ve been reminiscing on the time I’ve spent in Italy.  When my father and I went to Italy in 1997, we managed to spend a day skimming through Roma.  I say “skimming” because it is virtually impossible to see all of Roma in a day.  Although our time there was really brief, it left a lasting impression and the coin I tossed into the Fontana di Trevi still beckons for me.

Here are some pictures, taken by my father, that will always hold wonderful memories of our time together in the “Eternal City”.


Castel Sant’Angelo


Temple of Antoninus and Faustina in the Roman Forum.


Fontana Di Trevi


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Filed under Italia, Italian, Roma, Rome, Travel

Italian Fashion: Never Without You

Never Without You was established in 2004 when a group of friends with a shared passion for fashion joined together to launch a new fashion label. Its founders, Candido Monacelli and Isabella Cozzi, together have over 40 years of experience in the fashion industry. The Never Without You image and brand caught the attention of Candido’s long-time friend and Roma soccer player Francesco Totti and his wife Ilary Blasi who loved the concept of the label and agreed to become “the face” of the label. You will find the beautiful couple modeling the latest fashions in all of the labels advertising campaigns.

Never Without You’s branding as a young, fresh, sporty, and fashionable label has grown exponentially since its inception. In it’s first year of production, Never Without You sold 3000 pieces and could be found in select stores in Rome. With each year the demand grew and it wasn’t long before it was found in stores all across Italy. Currently, it has around 25 stand-alone stores in Italy, Japan, Spain, Russia and China. It is already estimated that in 2009 more than 350,000 Never Without You branded pieces will be sold which is pretty remarkable for such a young label.

Visit Never Without You online @ http://www.neverwithoutyou.com

Check out these other “Italian Fashion”:

Italian Fashion: Hollywood Milano
Italian Fashion: Boccadamo
Italian Fashion: Baci & Abbracci
Italian Fashion: Guru
Italian Fashion: Carpisa
Italian Fashion: Sweet Years

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Filed under Articles, Fashion, Italia, Italian, Roma, Rome, soccer

5 Questions With… RomePhotoBlog

Since entering into the “blogsphere” I have been so fortunate to meet some pretty incredible people. I have found inspiration through fellow bloggers who have opened their world up to so many people, myself included.

I’ve been taught that it’s good to share, so I would like to introduce you to someone I think is exceptionally talented. She welcomes all who visit her blog to see Rome, the city in which she lives, through her eyes. I’ve been to Rome, and like many I’ve taken the standard photos: Trevi Fountain, Colosseum, Castel Sant’Angelo, etc, etc. This particular blog takes it a few steps further and let’s us peer into and witness a very special perspective of this beautiful city.

With that being said, I would like everyone to meet Jessica of RomePhotoBlog.

I thought it would be fun to find out a little more about Jessica and her blog and she has graciously agreed to answer some questions.

But, before we get to the Q&A I wanted to first share some exciting news about Jessica and RomePhotoBlog. If you happen to be in Rome on January 23, 2009 be sure to visit Gloss for the RomePhotoBlog Exhibit organized by Art&Beat. Art&Beat works to help emerging artists in Rome by providing them the chance to exhibit their works each week.

RomePhotoBlog Exhibit
produced by Art&Beat
Gloss ~ via Monte della Farina 34-44 (behind Largo Argentina)
Opening January 23 at 7 pm

And now, without further ado, here are “5 Questions With…RomePhotoBlog

What made you decide to explore the area of photography?

I’ve always enjoyed taking photos and took a basic course during college, so I am familiar with the basics of photography.  Being a visual person, I much prefer to use it as a way to capture my experience living here in Rome rather than writing.  It also gives me the freedom to either write a lot or let the image speak for itself.  Plus there is so much great material out there already written on Rome, but I hadn’t seen anything else out there trying to capture the city the way I see it.

How would you describe your overall style of photography?

I think it varies depending on what I’m trying to convey to the reader through the picture, but in general I think my art history training really informs my work.  By this I mean that I’m always looking visually at the overall composition and trying to focus on one or two details that could tell a story in some way.  One of my favorite sculptors Bernini has a great way of capturing a magic instant.  Hopefully some of my works does that as well and leaves the reader with impulse to learn more.

Many of your images are taken at night, why?

Well I wish I could say this was some grand master plan, but some of it is due to circumstance.  I work in an office during the day, and it being winter now by the time I’m going out and about, it’s usually dark! Also one of the basics of photography is that you get the best light either early morning or right before sunset.  Unfortunately I’m not a morning person, so nighttime it is!  Plus I often photograph when I’m on my way to meet friends or coming home from being out.  I’ve also found that I really just love the way the city looks at night.  The quality of light is beautiful and I think provides a richness of color that is different during the day.  Especially during this period when I’m preparing for a photo exhibit here in Rome, with the theme of Rome at night, I’ve been taking even more at night to have lots of options.  I would guess during the summer I’ll have more daytime work as the day gets longer, but I’m a night owl at heart, so who knows!

When and why did you decide to create RomePhotoBlog?

I started the blog in September 2008 for a variety of reasons.  Practically I’d be given a wonderful camera (Canon Rebel XTi) as a Christmas gift in 2007 and found that while I used it while on trips, I wasn’t taking advantage of my love of photography.  The blog gives me a push to get out and use it more, especially as I’ve seen people actually reading the blog and enjoying what I post.  Secondly, I’ve been living in Rome since 2005 and I’ve found that while there are a lot of blogs about expats living in Italy, many of which I enjoy a lot, none of them completely spoke to my experience.  I really wanted to show a different side to Rome, one that I see every day around me and one that I will take away with me whether I decide to live here permanently or not.  Not being Italian, but not being a tourist either, I think I have a perspective that is uniquely positioned between both and I hope as well that some people out there can relate to the way in which I visually present the city.  In any case, it’s also been great for me, as it’s forced me to not only photograph the things I do and places I visit daily, but to get out there more and explore areas I’ve not been to. I’ve learned a number of great facts myself just by researching some of the things I’ve shot, so in that way I’m always learning as well.

Do you have any tips for others interested in pursuing photography?

I would say to get out there and shoot as much as possible.  The beauty of digital is that you don’t need to spend on processing.  I might shoot the same thing 100 times in different angles with different settings.  You never know which one will come out best once you get back home.  Also, keep it simple!  If a shot is too “busy” it’s hard for someone to read.  Really paying attention to the entire composition is key, don’t ignore the background, as this can really change how something looks.  The other thing I tend not to do is not use a flash.  Sometimes you can’t avoid it if you don’t have manual settings on your camera, but if you can I’ve found it gives you much better color and depth to do without.  Lastly, just have fun with it.  Don’t get too caught up with taking photos of what you think you should shoot.  For example, candid shots of people are some of my favorites and I think capture the moment and feelings better than something posed.  Also, for works of art or overall shots of architecture, I leave that to the professionals.  Their postcards are probably better than I could ever do, which is why I do for the beautiful details and angles you often won’t find in any postcard or poster.  And if you’re looking for inspiration, just go online.  It’s never been easier to get your work exposed or see the work of others.  Sites such as Flickr (http://www.flickr.com) or the Italian based Pix-Yu (http://www.pix-yu.com) give you great storage and sharing capabilities, and portals like City Daily Photo (http://www.citydailyphoto.com) get you in touch with photographers all over the world capturing images of their own cities.

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Thanks Jessica, for taking time out to answer these questions.

Now, go check out Jessica’s amazing photos on RomePhotoBlog! Enjoy!

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Filed under Articles, Blogging, Italia, Roma, Rome

A Beautiful Mind

Wow! There aren’t too many words one can really use to describe this youtube video.  I bookmarked it not too long ago and every time I watch it I’m still amazed by it.   Autism is something very close to my heart and because of that I can truly appreciate this man and the beautiful gift he has.

Life never ceases to amaze and wonder…

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Filed under Randomness, Roma, Rome, Video