Rificolona in Florence — Ona, Ona, Ona!

Rificolona in Florence Ona, Ona, Ona!

Ona, Ona, Ona,
O che bella Rificolona,
La mia l’é coi fiocchi,
La tua l’é coi pidocchi!
(Ona, ona, ona,
What a beautiful Rificolona,
Mine with bows is tied,
In yours, lice do reside!)

Florentine children sing this song as they wander through the streets of Florence the first week of September, carrying papier-mâché lanterns tied to the ends of sticks, called rificolone. There are several theories as to where the tradition originates from, some think it commemorates the triumphant entry of Florentine troops into Siena on August 2 1555, when the soldiers tied lanterns onto the ends of their pikes.

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Vino Novello

From www.SeeTuscany.com

It’s Time to Celebrate the Bounty of the Harvest

Everybody is waiting for the first wine of the year, vino novello, which goes so well with the chestnuts that also appear in late autumn. As the days shorten and the shadows lengthen, people have always gathered to celebrate the bounty of the harvest. The most important crop in Tuscany is wine, and much is planned: in mid-September Greve will host the annual Rassegna del Chianti Classico , an ideal occasion to taste the most recent vintage and decide whose wines you want to stock up on. There will also be shows (including a photographic exhibition) and panel discussions.

On the last weekend of September the town of Impruneta will hold the annual Festa dell’Uva, a festival in which the town’s four neighborhoods compete to see who can provide the best allegorical representation of the grape harvest. It’s street theater at its best, and the town square will come alive with beautiful floats and fancifully costumed performers.

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In Memoriam: Victor Gugliuzza

Victor Gugliuzza

December 22, 1921 – July 29, 2011

Victor Gugliuzza, affectionately known to many in IFAFA as one of “the Victors” along with his long-time companion Victor Peck, was born Victory Roy Gugliuzza in 1921. He grew up with two sisters and a brother, all of whom predeceased him.

During World War II, he served in the Army for four years, including two years in Saipan in the Marianas archipelago in the western Pacific, near Guam.

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In Memoriam: Dr. Joseph J. Bentivegna

Dr. Joseph J. Bentivegna

June 8, 1928 – March 6, 2011

Joe Bentivegna was a long-time member and supporter of IFAFA. He was born in Dunmore, PA, and passed away at his home in Loretto, PA.

“Dr. Joe” earned his degrees in sociology, rehabilitation counseling and vocational rehabilitation. He worked his way through college as a chef, rising to the position of garde-manager at the Sagamore resort in upstate NY and the Biltmore Hotel in Miami, FL.

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Children’s Abruzzese Fairytale

Gracie Scala Adamson grew up as the youngest of seven daughters in an Italian immigrant family in Australia. Gracie’s mother, Chiarina, was born in Vasto, Abruzzo, and this is one of the fairytales she would tell her children. Le Tre Favette (The Three Broad Beans) was one of Gracie’s favorite stories, but one that she could not find in fairytale books. Inspired by her mother’s storytelling, and driven by a desire to pass on the tradition to her nephews and nieces, she recently translated the story, created the illustrations, and had it published.

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Beautiful Liguria – Travel Concierage

Anna Merulla is the founder of Beautiful Liguria, a travel concierge service that offers everything from touring, hiking excursions, weddings services, cooking lessons, and personal shopping in this great region. In 2009 she decided to begin sharing her personal knowledge of the beauty, the culture, and the history of Liguria in which she’s immersed every day. This article is from ItalianNotebook.com, used here with the permission of the author.

Italian Expressions and Poetry About Food

Enjoy the following regional sayings and poems which illustrate the Italians’ love for food

Quote Meaning
Quando un contadino mangia un pollo, o è ammalato l’uno o è ammalato l’altro When a peasant eats a chicken, either one or the other is sick (since chickens produce eggs, killing one to eat it only makes sense if the chicken is sick, or if it is needed to make a sick person well.)
 Insalata, ben salata,  poco aceto, molto oliata,  mille volte rivoltata.  Greens, well salted,  little vinegar, well-oiled,  tossed one thousand times!

An old expression describing the best way to prepare a salad. Notice ben salata  – the Romans liked to use a lot of salt, since salt was money and it showed that they had wealth. Both the word insalata  and our Englishword ‘salary’ come from the Italian word for salt: sale

 Il magnar non vale un’acca se alla fine non sa di vacca.  A meal is worthless if it doesn’t taste of milk at the conclusion

Lombardo expression, denoting their love for cheese at the end of a meal

 El vin bon,  l’omo bravo,  e la dona bela,  dura poco Good wine, the trustworthy man, and the beautiful woman don’t last long

–Old Proverb from Friuli


Painting With Stone

Florence, Tuscany – Take time to visit this tiny jewel in Florence: the Opificio delle Pietre Dure. Literally meaning “Factory of Hard Stones”, this lovely museum is an excellent antidote to “compulsory tourist sites” overload. The subject of its collection is semiprecious stone and its use in intarsio (inlay) for the production of all sorts of decoration.

The craft of inlay work goes back to antiquity, but it was revived on a grand scale by Ferdinando I de’ Medici for the decoration of the furnishings, artworks, and architecture seen today all over Florence. In fact this Grand Ducal workshop was established to carry out the elaborate stone inlay work found in the Cappella dei Principi (Basilica of San Lorenzo). The art of assembling stone fragments to cover large or small surfaces, including objects, furniture or whole walls, was studied and perfected by skillful and carefully chosen artisans.

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Buon Onomastico

In Italy, as well as in many other countries in Europe and Latin America, people celebrate the day of the year associated with one’s given name.Italians call it onomastico.

The custom originated with the Catholic and Orthodox calendar of saints, where believers named after a particular saint would celebrate that saint’s feast day. In Italy, one’s onomastico is seen to be almost as important as one’s birthday – often people receive small gifts on their Onomastico.

Ninety percent of Italians are named after saints for varying reasons. Many are named this way simply due to being born on a particular saint’s day, while others because of patron saint of their town. Still others are given their name because their parents have a special connection or received a grace from a specific saint.