Gioielli e accessori – Jewelry and accessories in Italian. Audio and Quiz.

Learn about “Gioielli e accessori”, jewelry and accessories. Get ready for your Italian shopping and learn new words. Listen to the audio files and solve the quiz.

Today we are going to help you to enrich your shopping experience in Italia. Order jewels (gioielli) and other accessories (accessori) in Italian, and bring home an unforgettable souvenir.

Since the times the Etruscan and Romans populated the Bel Paese, the design and manufacture of jewels and accessories”Made in Italy” of gold, silver, coral, ivory, pearl, glass and other precious metals and stones are of excellent quality.

I recently visited a Museum in Este, near Padua, a beautiful small city, pre-roman settlement of the ancient Veneti population (the ancestors of the inhabitants of Venezia), and I was astonished to see the quality and modern design of jewels found in graves and archaeological areas. Not far form Este, the beautiful city of Vicenza is now the Italian capital of gold.

The area around the city is renown for the small laboratories producing jewels of all types, sizes and materials. Vicenza is also home of Palladio, the father or modern architecture (born in Padova), designer of the UNESCO ville venete. A place where arts and beauty generate other art and beauty.

I’m sure you have been to Firenze, or at least at some point Firenze will be your main destination in Italy. The windows of the gioiellieri in Ponte Vecchio are worth a sneak picture or, if you can afford it, the purchase of an eternal souvenir of the city. If you prefer Venezia, you can find the famous Murano glass or again gold on the Ponte di Rialto. There are other famous areas in Milan, Rome or Naples where you can find jewels and accessories. Read this post for learning more.

Of course Italy is also famous for other accessories, like silk neck-ties in the city of Como, or hand-made shoes, purses and bags, belts, hats and other beautiful objects. Let’s have a look together. Listen to the audio files and repeat for improving your pronunciation.

Let’s start with materials, then jewels, leather goods and other accessories.




We hope the audio files about accessories and materials will help you to improve your pronunciation and learn new Italian words. We have plenty of lessons dedicated to shopping in Italy for all levels. Join us today and enjoy a free trial lesson, a level check and access to exercises. Our native Italian teachers deliver individual live video-conference lessons, where you can communicate, ask questions, learn Italian at your own pace.

Please take some time for solving the quiz below about today’s topic. Click on START QUIZ, it will load in a few seconds Ciao!



Salute, malattia e cura – Health, disease and treatment in Italian – Audio

Learnkeywordsandsentencesrelatedtohealth,diseaseandmedicaltreatmentinItalian.Repeataftertheaudio. Itwouldbegreatiftherewasapill(pillola)forlearningItalian.WhatwecandoforyouinsteadisprovideadoseofItalianlanguage.

TodayyouaregoingtolearntheItalianwordsrelatedto health,diseaseandtreatment(salute,malattiaecura).



  • salute=health
  • malattia=disease
  • cura=cure
  • dolore=pain
  • paziente=patient
  • febbre=fever
  • medicina=medicine
  • male=pain/disease
  • vomito=vomit
  • visita=visit
  • medico=doctor
  • raffreddore=cold
  • allergia=allergy
  • frattura=fracture
  • infermiera=nurse
  • farmacia=pharmacy
  • tosse=cough
  • ferita=wound
  • terapia=therapy
  • ospedale=hospital



  • gonfio=swollen
  • rotto=broken
  • malato=ill
  • sano=healthy
  • liquido=liquid
  • pallido=pale
  • debole=weak
  • stanco=tired
  • stressato=stressed
  • esausto= exhausted
  • acuto=acute
  • infettivo= infectious
  • doloroso=painful
  • grave=serious
  • resistente=resistant
  • cronico=chronic
  • recivido=recurring
  • anemico=anaemic
  • folle=insane
  • attivo=active



  • curare=attend
  • bendare=bandage
  • suturare=stitch
  • disinfettare=sanitize
  • guarire=recover
  • sedare=sedate
  • ricoverare= hospitalize
  • soccorrere=giveaid
  • prescrivere=prescribe
  • amputare=amputate
  • dimettere=dismiss
  • drenare=drain
  • ingessare= plaster
  • peggiorare=getworse
  • svenire=faint
  • soffrire=feelpain
  • ammalarsi=becomeill
  • riposare=rest
  • prevenire=prevent
  • vomitare=vomit



InItaly,firstaidatpublichospitalsisfreeforeveryone,soifyousuddenlyneedurgentmedicalattention,youdon’tneedtoworryaboutanycosts.Itisofcourserecommendedtocheckwithyourinsurancecompanyifyouarecoveredwhenyoutravelabroad.BeawarethatthefurtheryoutravelSouth,youwillfindlessimpressiveandefficientmedicalservicescomparedtonorthernItaly. Dentalcareisnotcoveredbypublicstructures.


  • Mifamale(+article+bodypart). Forexample,ifyourrighthandhurts,yousay”Mifamalelamanodestra”.


  • Mifannomale(+article+bodyparts). Forexample,ifyoureyeshurt,youcansay”Mifannomalegliocchi“.

Therearecommondiseasesorpainscalled”Maldi(something)”Forexample, Headacheis “Malditesta”.

Hoil maldi…, meansIhavea….ache.”Hoilmalditesta”.




Soldi Soldi Soldi! Money, banks and currency exchange in Italy – Audio

“Soldi”istheItalianwordformoney.Learnsomevocabularyrelatedto”soldi”,listentotheaudioandrepeat. IfyouliveinacountrywheretheEuroisnottheofficialcurrency,youwouldneedtochangemoneyorwithdrawfromanATM.IfyouplantolivemonthsoryearsinItalyforworkingorstudying,perhapsyoushouldopenabankaccount,investyourcapitalortransfermoneybackhome.Inanycase,your”soldi”needtocirculate andyouneedtheappropriatevocabulary.Listenandrepeataftertheaudiofiles.






OfcourseitisagoodthingtocometotheEurozonewithsomecashalreadyinyourpockets,justtobuytrainticketsorpayforacab.Thenyouneedtofind”unbancomatper ritiraredelcontante”.The”Cambiovaluta”shopsareobviouslybecomingrareandapplyhighcommissioncomparedtoyourbankbackhome. So,ATMmachinesaretheeasiestandsafestplacesforwithdrawingmoney.Ifyoureallyneedtospeaktosomeoneinabankforopeninganaccountoraskinganythingyoucan’tdoatthebancomat,pleasefindbelowsomeusefulsentences.



Well,Ihopeyouwon’tneedtosay”hopersolamiacartadicredito!”.Ifyouhavequestionsaboutsoldi,pleasedon’thesitatetoask.Ifyouneedsoldi fromme,pleaseasksomeoneelse.Ciao.

Un bar italiano – Italian bar – Audio


TheItalianbarisaculturalinstitution,aplacewherepeoplesocialize,havebusinessmeetingsora romanticdate,watcha”calcio”matchonTVorsimplyhaveaquickespressoforresettingtheirmind.Let’sseewhatpeopledrinkandeatduringtheday.

  • 6am-noon

MostItalianbarsopenbetween5and6am,whenpeoplewakeupandcommutetowork.TheItalianbreakfastisn’tasrichastheBritishorAmericanone.Athome,peopleusuallyhaveacaffelatte,a simplecoffeeandmilkinabowl,withbiscuitsorfettebiscottate, slicedtoastedbreadwithjamorhoney.InanyItalianbar,youseecustomersliningatthecounteror”albanco”,havingacappuccinoebrioche,asimplecappuccinowithapastry.Ifyouwantanorangejuice,youmaywanttotrythe spremutad’arancia,freshlysqueezedoranges.Somepeopletakeiteasyandsit“altavolo”,atthetable,readingthedailynewspaper,ilquotidiano.TheItalianbreakfastthoughisusuallyfast.

Therearefewdifferenttypesofpastry,butthemostcommononeisthecroissant.InnorthernItalyweusetheFrenchword brioche andincentral-sounternItalywecallit cornetto,fromthewordcorna, horns.Itcanbefilledwithcream,cornettoallacrema,jam,cornettoallamarmellata,orchocolate,cornettoalcioccolato. Thecolazionegoesonuntil10,whenthelastfewpeoplehavebreakfast.

ThenmanyItalianstakeabreakinthemiddleofthemorningforthesocalled,pausacaffè,coffeebreak.Ineverycityitiscommontoseepeopledressedinsuitesorgroupsofworkers havinganespresso,inItaliansimplycalledcaffè.After11,havingacappuccinoisconsideredunusual,becauseit’sreallyabreakfastdrink.

Usethespacebarforpausingtheaudio BREAKFAST-COLAZIONE 



  • Noonto6pm


Tavolafredda literally”coldtable”,isabarservingonlycoldfoodlikepanini, thefamousItaliansandwiches,affettati Italiancuredmeatslikeprosciuttoandsalame; insalata theItaliansalads,includinginsalatadirisoandinsalatadipasta,coldpastaandricewithpickledvegetables,tunaandotheringredients.Tavolafreddaisagoodplaceinsummertime,forafreshandquickmeal.

Tavolacalda”hottable”isabarservingsomehotfood,inadditiontocolddishesnormallyavailableatlunch,mainlyprimipiatti likepasta,risotto,lasagne,parmgianadimelanzaneetc.Atavolacalda barisusuallybiggerthanatavolafredda, becausetheyhaveasmallkitchen,butit’sstillabar.So,thefoodyougetinatavolacaldaisgoodforaquicklunch,butnormallynotasgoodasatrattoriaoran osteria,typicalsmalllocalrestaurants.Thisisnotaruleofcourse.Youcanfindgoodbarsandbadtrattoria’s.

Bothtavolacaldaandfreddausually proposea menùfisso,afixedpricemenuwithadishortwo,with coperto(breadandservice),bevande(drinks)andacoffee.Tuttoincluso!Allincluded.


Afterlunch,barmen,ibaristi, getreadyfortheafternoonandeveningdrinks,l’aperitivo.



  • Evening

ThecityofMilanisnicknamed Milanodabere,acitytodrink,becauseitisveryfamousfortheeveningaperitivo.Theaperitivoisameetingwithfriendsandcolleaguesaftertheofficehours.Theaperitivoisnotjustdrinkingtime.Foodiseverywhereandit’sfree.AperitivoispopularinItaly,butinMilanoitissocommonandthecompetitionsofiercethatcustomerscaneatforfreealmosteverywhere.Ifyouorderadrink,youcanhelpyourselfwithfreestuzzichini,appetizers.










Tu chiamale se vuoi emozioni – Emotions in Italian – Audio

Learnthenameofemozioni,emotionsinItalian,repeataftertheaudiofiles. Italiansarefamousforbeingpassionate(passionali)andimpulsive(impulsivi).SinceShakespeare’stime,foreignersinlovewithItalydescribeouremotionsintheirownlanguage.DoyouactuallyknowthenameoftheemotionsandtherelativeaggettiviinItalian?

Wecanstartsortingthetheemozioniandtheconnectedaggettivi bysplittingtheminpositiveandnegative.Notsurprisingly,mostEnglishadjectivessoundliketheItalianrelatedaggettivi,butbeawareof”falsefriends“,ItalianandEnglishwordsofthesameorigin,usuallyLatin,butdifferentinmeaning.


Thereareverbsotherthanprovare fordescribingemotions,butprovareisgoodformostofthem,soifyouwanttobesafeandlearngradually,justuseit.Dependingontheemotion,youcanalsouseavere(“Hounagrandepassioneperlalinguaitaliana”), sentire-tofeel-(“Sentomoltatenerezzaperilmiocane”).Ifyouneedtodescribeyourfeelingswithanadjective,insomecasesyoucanusethe”verbo riflessivo“sentirsiinsteadofessere (“Misentotriste”=”Sonotriste”).

InthefirstcolumnyoucanfindtheEnglishemotion,theItalian emozione inthesecondandthe aggettivo inthethird.


Useyourspacebarforpausingtheaudioandrepeat EMOZIONIPOSITIVE



Quanti anni hai? I numeri – Italian numbers – Audio

Numbers in Italian are called numeri. There are a few rules related to numbers. We are going to explain and practice with some examples. Listen to the sound and pronunciation of Italian numbers

In Italian, the old saying dare i numeri, literally, “giving the numbers” means to go crazy.

Of course there’s nothing as rational as numbers to measure and weigh the reality of things. We are going to study the numeri cardinali, Italian numbers (uno due tre etc…). Listen to the correct pronunciation and repeat. 

Let’s get started, cominciamo!

Da zero a nove – zero to nine

Pretty straight forward, as it happens in every language, Italian numbers one to ten are unique and you need to learn them by heart.

  • 0 – zero
  • 1 – uno
  • 2 – due
  • 3 – tre
  • 4 – quattro
  • 5 – cinque
  • 6 – sei
  • 7 – sette
  • 8 – otto
  • 9 – nove

Da dieci a diciannove – ten to nineteen

Italian numbers ten to nineteen are different. Again, you have to memorise them. They all have the word “…dici” (…teen) either at the beginning or at the end of the number.

Very common mistake, do not confuse 16 and 17.

  • 10 – dieci
  • 11 – undici
  • 12 – dodici
  • 13 – tredici
  • 14 – quattordici
  • 15 – quindici
  • 16 – sedici
  • 17 – diciassette
  • 18 – diciotto
  • 19 – diciannove

Da venti a ventinove – twenty to twenty-nine

From now on, Italian numbers up to 100 are predictable. The formula is: multiple of ten + unit. For example 24 is venti + quattro = ventiquattro. See the multiples of ten below and apply the rules.

Please note that 1 and 8 combined with multiples of ten, “eat” the vowel before —> ventuno, ventotto; trentuno, trentotto; quarantuno, quarantotto; cinquantuno, cinquantotto and so on (and not ventiuno, ventiotto; trentauno, trentaotto etc).

  • 20 – venti
  • 21 – ventuno
  • 22 – ventidue
  • 23 – ventitré
  • 24 – ventiquattro
  • 25 – venticinque
  • 26 – ventisei
  • 27 – ventisette
  • 28 – ventotto
  • 29 – ventinove

Multipli di dieci – Multiples of ten

Get rid of the last vowel and add a suffix. So we have venti, trenta, and then quaranta, cinquanta …anta. When someone turns 40 years old, you can make fun of them saying “welcome to the …anta”, benvenuto/a negli “…anta”. 

  • 20 – venti
  • 30 – trenta
  • 40 – quaranta
  • 50 – cinquanta
  • 60 – sessanta
  • 70 – settanta
  • 80 – ottanta
  • 90 – novanta

Da cento in poi – Over a hundred

One hundred is “cento”, not hard to remember if you are an English speaker (century, cent etc…). We don’t say “un cento”, but just “cento”. Then you have 200 duecento, 300 trecento and so on.

Mille is singular, all its multiples are “–mila”.  Please note, one billion in Italian is un miliardo. In this case, the English billion is an exception. In other languages the equivalent translation of miliardo is common (French, Spanish, German, Russian…). 

  • 100 – cento
  • 200 – duecento
  • 1000 – mille
  • 2000 – duemila
  • 10.000 – diecimila
  • 100.000 – centomila
  • 1.000.000 – un milione
  • 2.000.000 – due milioni
  • – un miliardo

Quanti anni hai? Ho — anni

You know enough to put together all the numbers you want. Let’s start with a simple question. How old are you?

Differently from English, In Italian you “have” years, you are not xx years old. That’s an interesting way to imagine one’s age, as if you own the time you have used.

Anyhow, the correct way to ask someone’s age is:

  • Quanti anni hai? (“Quanti anni ha?” With the formal Lei)
  • Ho 47 anni.

I hope this lesson about numbers was useful. Alla prossima!

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    Things Italian people love – #6 Palio e contrada – VIDEO

    Italian people love to belong to their contrada and can’t wait for the day of the Palio to challenge their neighbours.

    The Italian Palio  is a traditional contest taking place in many different cities across the country. It can be a horse race, a donkey race, a boat race or even a goose race. In some cities the Palio consists of an ability challenge with ancient weapons, like crossbows. The pattern is always the same: a medieval city divided in rival contrada or rione (neighbourhoods), people wearing strange costumes and one day of passion.

    The word Palio comes from Latin Pallium, the precious garment given as price to the winner of the contest. It is at the origin of the common Italian expression “mettere in palio un premio“, to give a prize in a raffle. There are many Medieval cities and towns scattered all over the country and Palio’s are everywhere. For historical reasons Toscana is the region where these traditional contests are more famous abroad, but Palio’s are really everywhere. There are over 400 Palio’s in Italia, and of course we are not going to mention all of them. It’s worth spending a few words on the two most popular ones.

    Il Palio di Siena is the most famous, celebrated and symbolic  Palio of Italy. It takes place twice a year in summer, on July 2nd and and August 16th. The first one is called Palio di Provenzano, the latter is called Palio dell’Assunta. The race takes place in the wonderful Piazza del Campo, in the “navel” of Siena. The origin of the Palio di Siena is still not completely clear. Some people say it was already there between 1000 and 1200 a.d. and the horse race was done in a different fashion. The Palio di Siena is based on alliances, bribing, betrayals, pride and old unsolved disputes. The perfect ingredients of a typical Italian drama.


    Nowadays the competing contrada are 17, named after the medieval bestiario, representing real or imaginary animals: Aquila (Eagle), Bruco (Caterpillar), Chiocciola (Snail), Civetta (Owl), Drago (Dragon), Giraffa (Giraffe), Istrice (Hedgehog), Leocorno (Unicorn), Lupa (She-wolf), Nicchio (Shell), Oca (Goose), Onda (Wave), Pantera (Panther), Selva (Forest), Tartuca (Tortoise), Torre (Tower) and Valdimontone (Mutton). In the Past there were other contrada’s but they were merged or changed with others. The ground rules of the Palio di Siena are overcomplicated, in perfect Italian style. Out of 17 contrada only 10 can run the palio: 7 are the ones which did not run the previous year and 3 are selected at random. The horses are not of pure breed and are assigned to each contrada with a lottery. There have been rumors of bribery and unfair agreements between friend contrada’s, but that’s part of the game. The most critical moment of the race is the start. Only when 9 out of 10 horses are aligned in front of the hemp rope used as start line, the horses are unleashed. It’s a moment of tension and tactics, because allied jockeys can push enemies and change the position of rival horses, putting them in disadvantage. This tactical phase of the race can last for a very long time and I spared you a few minutes of it in the video. If the horses can’t align before sunset, the race is postponed to the day after. The tension hits the peak when the rope is released and horses are free to run. Then anything can happen. Some horses and jockeys fall on the dirt, sometimes horses stand up again with no jockey, and then are called cavallo scosso. Even if not guided a cavallo scosso is lighter than others and can win the Palio. The people of the winning contrada bring the jokey in triumph to their neighbourhood. Rivers of wine music and celebrations last all night. The Palio di Siena is very representative of the Italian mindset towards enemies and rivals. Whilst trying to win is logical, it is also allowed to disturb the other horses. The winner is the first and the loser is the second, not the last to cross the finish line. The Palio di Siena, being always at the centre of attention, is criticized by animal-rights associations, asking for a ban for cruelty on horses. Supporters of the Palio di Siena respond to criticism saying that the rate of injuries on horses are not higher than any other horse race showing statistics and numbers. In the last few years there have been new controls imposed by the Italian authorities and designated vets look after the horses before and after the race. Right or wrong, the Palio di Siena is still one of the most fascinating traditions of Italy.  

    Second in terms of popularity, il Palio di Asti, in the northern region of Piemonte, is celebrated since around the year 1000, but the first written mention talking about “an old Palio” is dated 1275. The event celebrates the saint of the city, San Secondo. About 1200 people in medieval costume reproduce the traditional life of the city. The Palio itself consists of a horse race, where 21 horses are mounted bareback, with no saddle. The race takes place every third Sunday of September.

    The Palio di Asti is less wild, safer than the Palio di Siena. The Palio stopped because of the war in 1939, and resumed only in 1967. The reborn of the unforgotten tradition of Asti, was so important for the people of the city and the neighbouring villages that no less than 100.000 people came to see the event and celebrate. The Palio consists of three preliminary races, of 7 participants each, and a final. The first price is of course the precious garment, the last price is a pickled anchovy. The race changed location several times. Now is is in the central, triangular, Piazza Alfieri, named after Vittorio Alfieri, an icon of the Italian literature born in Asti in 1749. The preparation of the events taking place in September starts in May and goes on for the whole summer with some minor palio’s and other events, like flags-waving contests. The Palio di Asti was the first one to admit a team of vets for first aid and to work with scientists of the University of Turin in order to improve the circuit, and reduce the risks or accidents or injuries for both jockeys and horses.

    We hope you liked this overview. Please visit our homepage and learn more about our Online Italian Language School. Ciao!

    Le parti del corpo, body parts in Italian – Podcast and quiz

    We are sure that even if you speak some Italian there are some names of body parts – parti del corpo – you don’t know. We’ll focus on vocabulary and pronunciation. Listen to the audio files and solve the final quiz.

    Ok, get ready to listen and repeat the words. We are going to dissect and study the human body just like my esteemed fellow countryman Leonardo da Vinci did some time ago. Well… in less detail.

    La testa – The head

    As opposed to English, i capelli is a countable noun. So il capello is a single hair. Il sopracciglio belongs to a particular family of Italian nouns, along with other nouns of body parts. The singular is masculine, plural is feminine le sopracciglia ending in -a. This is because in Latin they were neutral words and in Italian (we have no neutral) singular and plural took different genders. At the bottom of the page you will find a recap.

    Il torso – the torso (easy!)

    In this case the singular word il seno stands generally for both breasts. It is also possible to say i seni, less used. I bet you want to know how we say “ass” instead of the most polite sedere. There you go: culo. 

    Gli arti – Limbs


    Finally, it’s worth mentioning the name of the fingers. From thumb to pinky the are: pollice, indice, medio, anulare, mignolo. In Italian il dito, singular is masculine, the plural le dita is feminine. Other nouns with irregular plurals are: sopracciglio, ciglio, braccio, ginocchio, labbro. Try to say the plural following the same rule, LE DITA —-> LE —–A.

    A useful tip, hoping you won’t need it. If you feel pain somewhere and need to explain it to an Italian doctor, say:

    • Mi fa male + singular —> Mi fa male la testa
    • Mi fanno male + plural —> Mi fanno male le gambe

    Pesto alla genovese, an easy and cheap Italian dressing

    Pesto alla genovese is a very versatile dressing for your pasta, sandwiches and main dishes, fish and meat. Learn how to prepare it with simple ingredients.

    I have four big vases full of basilico, so I decided to prepare some simple pesto alla genovese before it blossoms and leaves get hard. Pesto is one of my favourite dishes of the summer.

    Some background information. Pesto alla genovese, in Italian simply pesto (in Ligurian language pestu) is a typical condiment originally from Liguria, northern Italy, the region of the famous Cinque Terre, and its capital Genova. There was something similar our ancestors the Romans called moretum but of course they did not have any pasta back then. The basic ingredients of pesto alla genovese are basil (Ocimum basilicum) or, better, the Genovese Basil (in Ligurian language baxeicò). The second key ingredient is pine nuts, then we have Ligurian sweet garlic,  Parmesan cheese (or Sardinian pecorino) and Ligurian olive oil.

    I already know Ligurians will complain against a simple Milanese like me for spoiling their recipe, but they will understand that normal people around the world can’t find regular ingredients used in their famous sauce. So…

    I used:

    • 100 grams of fresh basil from my garden
    • 50 grams of tender Sicilian almonds (sorry I didn’t have pine nuts in my cupboard)
    • 4 tbs of grated Parmesan cheese
    • 2 cloves of garlic
    • a glass of Italian Olio Extra Vergine di oliva 30 cl
    • salt

    The word pesto comes from the verb pestare, to crush, because pesto is traditionally produced with a mortar made of marble and wooden pestle. I have a simple hand blender, built in 2012. No history or romantic tradition here! Nowadays, it is used more than the mortar. Don’t tell the Ligurians, they might say it’s not true.

    I grind all the ingredients separately and mix them together in a later stage. So, first I ground the almonds pretty thin, making sure they didn’t turn into a powder. Then grated the parmigiano. Whole garlic is heavy on your stomach, so it’s better to take the core out. The critical step is mixing the olive oil with the basil and the garlic. Add the basil in two or three times. I usually click just a few seconds on the hand blender, let it cool down and start again. You don’t want to heat the ingredients. I like it when basil leaves are not completely turned into a paste. Then finally add the ground almonds, the ground parmigiano, stir and taste it for adjusting salt. Check the texture. If your pesto is too solid, add olive oil.

    You should obtain a half pint of pesto. I usually eat some the same evening and freeze the remainder. You can freeze it in ice cube molds.  If you keep in in your fridge, make sure there is always a film of oil on the surface, protecting the content form air. When you cook your pasta, before adding the sauce, mix pesto alla genovese with some spoons of cooking water and make it soft. I cooked it with a typical Ligurian pasta called trofie.

    Penny-pinching Ligurians (believe me, they are…) add potatoes and French beans (in Italian fagiolini or cornetti) to spare some more expensive pasta. I have to say the combination of those two ingredients is superb, so try it!

    You can use your pesto alla genovese for dressing a sandwich with mozzarella and tomato, or with your fish or white meat. Try it in your potato salad or on your toasted bruschetta with tomato. If you like simple pasta with tomato, add some pesto and double cream (panna da cucina in Italian), you will get a very delicate sauce, called “le 3 P” (3 P’s –> Pesto Panna Pomodoro). I like to add a couple of spoonfuls of pesto alla genovese to my minestrone, in summertime as well as in winter. Please try it at home!

    Il Castello di San Martino della Vaneza – the house is on fire!

    This lovely little castle in the middle of the countryside near Padua, is a little time machine, where people can eat medieval food, learn how stuff was done without electricity, watch a battle which took place 800 years ago and see the castle set on fire.

    Built on the banks of the unpredictable river Bacchiglione, in the countryside of Veneto, the Castello di San Martino della Vaneza is perhaps the most important symbol of the desperate and futile effort of the people or Padua, just at the beginning of the renaissance period, to keep their freedom against the emerging superpower of Venezia. The year 1372, the Carrara family lead the last succesful defense of Padua against the army of the Serenissima. Their freedom though didn’t last long. When the battle took place, the castle was at least 400 years old, probably older.

    Every year people living around the sweet Colli Euganei,  in the Padua countryside, gather in the area of the castle the last weekend of July to revive the event. The fairy-tail forest around the castello looks like it was 800 years ago, with people in ancient costumes baking bread in stone ovens, soldiers in armours preparing for the battle, women cooking traditional food and brewers serving beer or wine.



    At the exclusive supper inside the castle, open to 50 people only (I was lucky enough to be invited ;)) were served medieval traditional dishes and entertainment. It was a great chance to see and taste what rich people ate back then. Poor people, well… they did not eat at all.


    After the hearty meal, everyone gather in front of the dry bed of the Bacchiglione river, a fantastic natural amphitheatre in front of the castle, and watch the battle. The show is great, there are about 150 modern professional soldiers belonging to clubs of people crazy for medieval fights (I didn’t know there were so many!). They come all over the Veneto region, some from Lombardia, Toscana, Emilia and Umbria, and fight with real weapons! It was impressive to observe the horses, incredibly brave and beautiful animals, the only ones probably thinking the battle was real. Then after the end of battle, the Castello is “set on fire”, to remember the severe damages it had during the battle. If you happen to be in Venezia in July, the event is worth an afternoon/evening outside the city, just one hour driving.



    XIX Palio dello Sparviero 26/27/28 Luglio 2013

    Don`t copy text!