“In a country called Bengodi…there was a mountain made entirely of grated Parmesan cheese, on which lived people who did nothing but make macaroni and ravioli and cook them in capon broth. And then they threw them down, and the more of them you took, the more you had. And nearby ran a rivulet of white wine whose better was never drunk, and without a drop of water in it.” –Decameron, Day 8, Tale 3
If wine flows through Italians veins, then pasta lines their stomachs; Italians live, breathe, and, of course, eat pasta. Continue reading →
This week I am kicking off a series devoted to Italian cuisine. One might think that food would be the only thing I would want to write about, but it has been a minimal subject thus far on my blog. … Continue reading →
My first day in London provided me with a genuine glimpse of the city. Guided by my roommate, I viewed Renaissance art, glanced at Buckingham Palace, and took the must-have pictures alongside London’s telephone booths. When it came to Day Two, … Continue reading →
George Bernard Shaw once said, “The whole strength of England lies in the fact that the enormous majority of the English people are snobs.” Apparently, the French are not the only European citizens who have a stereotyped reputation for being less than welcoming.
Since the beginning of the semester one of my main goals was to dispel common stereotypes about foreigners perpetuated by Americans. Thus far I have dispelled many about the Italians and my brief stay in Paris taught me that the snooty stereotypes about French people were far from accurate. Looking to see if Shaw’s perception of the English was correct, I spent last weekend in the United Kingdom’s capital, London. Continue reading →
When I was younger, every Sunday was spent visiting my Italian grandparents. Dressed in our best to impress outfits, my sister and I loaded into the car, and our dad drove us to the tenement house he grew up in with his big Italian family.
Unlike the stereotypical Italian sons who live with their families well into their thirties, my dad moved out of his childhood home in his early twenties after he got married. Yet as a true Italian, my father recognized the value of Don Corleone’s quote to Johnny Fontane in The Godfather when he said, “A man who doesn’t spend time with his family can never be a real man.” Although my dad no longer lived on the second floor above his grandparents, or below the floor with his aunt and uncle and cousins, his strong connection to family kept him going back every Sunday.
Making sure that my sister and I were aware of our Italian heritage was a strong motivator for my father to drive us to our grandparents each weekend. When we arrived, we were always greeted with hugs and kisses just as warm as the heat emanating from the kitchen. On the table, there was an array of Italian goodies to satisfy our growling stomachs. While my sister and I dove into the homemade egg biscuits, chicken soup or pizza, my dad and his mother immersed themselves in conversation about the “good ole days” in their Italian neighborhood.
To read more, check out the original post for Georgetown’s weekly magazine The Guide.
When waking Thursday morning and remembering the date, I can imagine that thoughts of green filled one’s mind. Ask anyone you know about March 17th and you can expect a smile widening at its announcement of Saint Patrick’s Day. A … Continue reading →
March is one of my favorite months. Once the calendar turns to the first, thoughts of spring immediately come into mind. To me, March is dominated by the warming weather, the Ides of March, lots of green, Saint Patrick’s Day, … Continue reading →
You have to give the Catholic Church its due: it certainly knows how to build a church. From the stained-glass windows, colossal marble statues, hand-painted frescoes, and its architecturally innovative domes, Catholic Churches have a flair for the elaborate. But there was a time in history when such ornateness was at stake.
In the sixteenth century, religion underwent a miraculous makeover that nearly cost Catholicism its prestige. Led by Martin Luther, the Reformation began in 1517 as a reform on the Catholic Church and its doctrines. Through this reform, two prominent branches of Christianity evolved: Protestantism and Calvinism, and later other branches grew. One of the leading factors behind the Protestant Reformation was criticism for the growing corruption within the Catholic Church. Among the arguments in his 95 theses, Luther claimed that the Church had become consumed by wealth and greed. The sale of indulgences to those who wanted to save themselves from purgatory was, in Luther’s and many others’ minds, testament to a decline in the Church’s spirituality and devotion.
In director Frederico Fellini’s renowned masterpiece La Dolce Vita, the film begins with the statue of Christ flying over the city of Rome. As the protagonist Marcello rides in the helicopter carrying the divine figure, the sight of three women sunbathing on rooftop quickly distracts him. Through these first few minutes of the film, Fellini introduces the audience to the Catholic Church’s strong presence in the Italian culture. Yet, by simultaneously portraying Marcello’s easy distraction, the director presents a growing trend among the Italian citizenry towards a decline in religious faith and spirituality.
The opening scene of La Dolce Vita depicts a noticeable shift in religious identity and beliefs that began in Italy during the 1950s. At this time, Italy underwent an “economic miracle,” in which industry boomed, the standard of living increased, and social mobility was on the rise. As wealth prospered, the economic hardships of the years immediately following World War II became distant memories. Although the growing prosperity meant well for Italy’s economy, it also introduced a new challenge to the country. With the increase in the flow of money, there was a simultaneous decline in the religious sentiment of its citizenry as people replaced spiritual fulfillment to material.
This piece was written for the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs and its Junior Year Abroad Network. You can read more, by visiting here.
Ask someone in the United States the significance of the date March 8th and it is likely that the response will be a blank stare and shake of the head. Unbeknownst to the majority of Americans, March 8th is celebrated worldwide as International Women’s Day. Although not recognized as an official holiday by many countries, citizens around the world acknowledge the date as a celebration for women.
The day’s roots were inspired by two events that challenged women’s stereotypical subversive roles in society. The first took place in a New York in 1857 when female garment workers formed a strike to protest the inequity and hardships of their working conditions. Their strike ultimately led to the creation of the first women’s union in America. In a similar fashion, Russian women organized a strike in 1917 to encourage peace and compromise in a time when World War I was raging and the Russian Revolution was on horizon. While there have been a number of other events before, between, and after these two, the strikes in New York and Russia are often credited as the catalysts for the establishment of a global celebration honoring women. Continue reading →