I have been reading since I was a little girl and have had many favorite authors over time. An author to me is only a magician of words, a story teller, an inspiration.. I am a through and through book nerd and I rarely delve into the author’s personal lives.
Well, until now.
I recently saw Montalbano and Me: a documentary on Andrea Camilleri– the creator of the famous series of books based on Inspector Montalbano.
The one hour documentary covers many aspects of the author from his Sicilian upbringing to his daily habits, family, lifestyle, popularity etc. It is a treat knowing more about the enigma who is a celebrity in Italy and has touched the lives of many.
Camilleri, who now lives in Rome, is originally from Porto Empedocle in Sicily. He loves James Joyce and Luigi Pirandello. His favorite book is The King of Girgenti which he took 5 years to write.
He mentions how he was brought up by women and was very close to his grandmother. Even his mother and mother in law lived with him in the same house after he was married! Camilleri’s world is very family-centric as is in most homes in Italy. He speaks of many aspects of his life such as his father dying in front of him and the closeness he shared with him.
One can see his published in different languages in his small studio covered with books from top to bottom. Camilleri believes that writing is not a difficult task as many point out, and is certainly easier than unloading crates. I am amazed to know this man who is so sorted and intelligent and witty, who is never seen without a cigarette in his hand..I am even more amazed to find out that the final Montalbano book has already been written when he feared Alzheimer’s at 80.
Every year one of the Montalbano books is published in English and I am waiting to get my hands on Voice in the Night -the latest that I saw on the Amazon site. What would I do without Stephen Sartarelli– the translator who is often forgotten in bringing the literate world from the Sicilian language to the English.
Without him I would have never know the descriptions of Sicilian life amongst a backdrop of crime, fine food and beautiful views as Camilleri rightly describes. Camiller’s dry humour as depicted rightly by Sartarelli it is to be savoured slowly as you would savour cannoli.
“Without translation, I would be limited to the borders of my own country. The translator is my most important ally. He introduces me to the world.”- Italo Calvino
A couple of months back I wrote this post on 10 Charming Small Towns in Italy. I loved all your suggestions and comments on it and would like to add a few more to the ever expanding list today.
The glass making island Murano is often overshadowed by its colourful neighbor Burano as per me. Murano is equally quaint and charming with its beautiful bridges, towers and museums not to forget the glass shops selling chandeliers, souvenirs and jewellery. Everything is so exquisite and expensive but who charges to window shop 🙂
The noise of the busy cities sometimes gets to me and Fiesole has a lot of quietude that one might want during their Italian travels. Only 20 minutes from the hustle and bustle of Florence is a typical small Italian town with narrow alleys, beautiful piazzas and cafes.
Only a 5 minutes train ride from Polignano a mare is the town of Monopoli with a very authentic local feel and an important port. Even though the historic centre finishes as soon as one reaches, the town is molto tranquillo (very peaceful) for a day trip. There is a stunning cathedral and a recently restored castle as well.
Another beautiful town in Puglia, Gallipoli is relaxing day trip from Lecce. Pugliese produce such as sandals, wine and olive oil are neatly stacked in shops for tourists like me. The homes of locals smell of freshly baked cookies or pasta and the sea is warm and inviting.
One of my favorite towns in Umbria and such an easy day trip from Rome too, Orvieto is a gem. It is famous for its magnificent Duomo and Orvieto Classico wine. It has a small bell tower you can get sweeping views of the Umbrian countryside and an underground city which you can take tours of. Need more reasons??
Buon Anno a tutti! Happy New Year everyone! 🙂
I hope you had a fun filled New Year’s Eve with family and friends. I hope 2017 turn out to be the best for everyone in all possible ways ❤
I am starting 2017 with a HUGE ambition, a list (small) of places I’d love to visit in Italy this year.
I have only added a few of them here because I know I could go on and on. Also, these places are from different regions of the country so it might not be possible to visit them all together. I’ll be happy if I visit a few of them if not all.
Hope you enjoy reading through them:
–Rome, Lazio: I can’t get enough of this city, there is always so much to do or see here. I want to spend a week in Rome and just do nothing but wander the streets or stay in Trastevere or Monti. Also, I’d love to this Tea Room near the Spanish Steps. Have you been here?
–Numana, Le Marche: Having heard so much about Italy’s eastern coastline and seen most of it in Puglia, I’d now like to venture to the lesser known Le Marche and its and unexplored beaches. The entire region is also filled with little hamlets that are so alluring.
–Torino, Piedmont: Oh Torino! How could I not visit this elegant city. The perfect cups of bicerin implore me to book a ticket right away. I can’t wait to see this city in 2017! Long due!
Piazza Castello, Torino #torino BUON ULTIMO GIORNO DEL 2016…SALITE A BORDO PER VIVERE UN NUOVO ANNO 2017 RICCO DI AVVENTURE E CULTURA. #turindowntown #turin #torinoèlamiacittà #igersturin #igerstorino #ig_torino #ig_piemonte #ig_turin #ig_turin_ #lestradeditorino #torinodigitale #torinopics #turincity #instagram #instangood #igersita #igersitalia #ig_italia #volgoitalia #volgotorino #volgoitaly #loves_torino #ig_italia_borghiecitta #ig_italia #piazzacastello #seemyturin #ciauturin #vivatorino #vivotorino #placeofturin Photo by @lelepap
–Verona, Veneto: Another timeless city that has been on my list since 2 years. There is a 1st Century amphitheater and tons of medieval architecture to get you interested. Hope to be there this year.
–Positano, Campania: Not a solo destination for me personally but I’d love to visit it. If not this year then maybe the next year. And yes, not alone. I can wait for Positano but definitely not alone.
–Padova, Veneto: Another place that has been doomed since my past two trips is Padova. After reading several posts about the city’s Scrovegni Chapel, I have a longing to be there. Hope 2017 is the year to sit in its historic cafes.
–Naples, Campania: The outbreak of #FerranteFever has had an inkling on me to see the streets from the viewpoint of Elena Ferrante. Other than that who doesn’t want to eat the famous Pizza Margherita from where it was born?
–Genoa, Liguria: Last but not the least I would love to visit Genoa a city with a lot of history and one that is missed by travelers. It is after all the land of focaccia and pesto.
Piazza Raffaele de Ferrari, fountain and Palazzo della Nuova Borsa Valori, Genoa | Italy 🇮🇹 #italytravel#italia#genova#genoa#italy#italygram#ig_italy#about_italy#decoration#architecture#architektura#archdaily#architecturestudent#oldcity#oldtown#italiangirl#polishgirl#adventure#adventuretime#traveler#travelgram#travel#travelingram#instatravel#instaitalia
So tell me where you are planning to visit this year in Italy or beyond??
Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.
I dedicate this post to Stacy of Prayers and Piazza who always inspires me to study, understand and read more Italian through her posts and experiences. Grazie mille, cara. Un bacio a te da India 🙂
Continuing the series of Charming Italian Words I Love, here is a brand new list that you might fall in love with.
Buona Lettura a tutti!
–Innamorata/o: to be in love with someone ❤
–Dai: One of my favorite words that I have been using often. It means “Come On” or just “Do it” “Please” etc.
–Sognare: To dream…
–Tenero: It means cute or tender.
–Palloncino: Balloon 🙂
–Amenamente: Pleasantly, agreeably.
–Nessuno: Nobody, none…
–Qualcuno: Someone, Anyone…
–Pettine: A comb 🙂
–Pigro: Easy to remember as it reminds me of a pig and it means lazy.
Some words just stay with you don’t they? My favorites from the list are Pigro, Innamorato (SIGH) and Merendine. Yours??
-Discovering new places, cuisines, history, culture and things in general.
-Breaking mundane routines and making your own.
-Challenging yourself to things you never imagined.
-Sharing travel stories with strangers.
-Making check lists and ticking each one as it’s achieved.
-Learning words of the local language.
-Knowing others’ point of view for a new vision
-Enjoying a cake twice a day. Just because…
-Planning a new trip as soon as you are back from one.
-Receiving your Visa papers.
-Packing a picnic basket for a trip with family.
-Having Coffee/Tea more than you require.
-Glimpsing towns from the sky.
-Feeling WOW on being at thirty thousand feet.
-Sleeping till late.
-Reading in a foreign land about that foreign land.
-Partying at a hostel with random people.
-Appreciating life is general.
-Celebrating festivals with locals.
-Having friends from across the world.
-Finding new things about yourself each day.
“If not now, when?”
I have been learning Italian for about a year now and over the course of time I have not only learnt and read many words but also loved them. Many of my random favorite words were initially part of this post few months ago.
Today I have another list for you 🙂
–Sforzarsi: Just as you struggle to pronounce it, I struggle too. The meaning of the word is struggle or endeavour.
–Pochino: a tiny bit. I find this word very cute somehow.
–Soprattutto: above all/mostly
–Boh: I don’t know/care
–Attraversare: to cross
–Tantissimo: very much
Over the course of few months, I have read many beautiful Italian words. But some have stayed with me more than the others. What I love most about these words is how lovely they are and how musical they sound when I speak them. Stupefacente!
Here are a few of my favorites (so far) along with their meanings:
–allora: It is one of my favorite words but it is difficult to explain its meaning. It means “well”, “so” or “then”. Love the way Italians use it ever so often in every sentence.
–arancione: this means the color orange. Love the way when I speak it 😉
–prego: The all purpose word which means “welcome”, “come in”, “after you” “not at all”
–abbiocco: isn’t this word so beautiful? It means the the drowsiness after eating a big meal.
–menefreghismo: Ha! This word is badass. It means I couldn’t care less!
–magari: this is a dreamy word. It means I wish or if only it was true…
–vattene: go away!
–chiacchierare: this word is just like it sounds- chatty and gossipy.
–sbocciare: Again I love the way it sounds. The word means to bloom 🙂
–pioggia: rain ❤
–trasecolare: Very musical. It means to be dumbfounded.
P.S.- My most favorite words of the lot are prego, chiacchierare, allora and magari 😀 Tell me yours?
As 2015 draws to a close I want to thank each and every one of you for your constant support, motivation and love. Grazie mille, amici!
I also wanted to finish this year with something molto useful. We all need travel advice, hints, tips and suggestions to make our holiday the best. So I have compiled a list of travel tips that may help you when you visit Italy.
Italy is a diverse country with Italian as its mother tongue and several regional dialects. So there is always a lot of good-to-know information that can help you manage your travel and also make the journey fun.
I have literally stood at a bar in Perugia to ask for a cup of coffee in my broken Italian. The owner waited till I correctly spoke the sentence. He was so kind and patient with me and when in the end I got my sentence correct he gave my coffee along with a bravissima (congratulations) for getting it right 🙂
Anyway, I hope these tips help to each of you traveling to the Bel Paese. This post isn’t exhaustive and there will be additions as and when I experience. For your convenience I have added these Travel Tips as a separate Page (check top centre)
In no particular order:
-Learn a few words to familiarize yourself with the country’s culture. This is definitely not limited to Italy but everywhere you travel. Small words of kindness such as Thank You which is Grazie in Italian could go a long way.
-There are regular transport strikes in Italy so be careful and alert. Always a good to know.
-When boarding a train in Italy it is important to remember to validate one’s ticket in a small machine on the platform. Just put your ticket inside the small machine and its done. Not doing so can lead to a fine of over EUR 100 or sometimes more. Yikes!
-Flying to Italy generally from anywhere in the world is cheaper in the three airports of Milan, Rome and Venice. However, there are great deals on several other airports too. I once found a great deal from Delhi to Bologna and Delhi to Trieste. You just need to find the best permutation and combination!
–Booking major sites in advance such as the Colloseum, Uffizi, Accademia or the Vatican totally makes sense. Not doing so may be a penalization to yourself because you will be standing in long queues. So go for convenience.
-Drink lots of house wine, its cheap and delicious. A bottle of wine could be as less as EUR 4.
-Fill water from the fountains instead of buying water which isn’t cheap.
–Pizza is not cut into slices in Italy.
–Ordering a cappuccino after 11 a.m. is frowned upon in Italy. Although in India or anywhere else abroad I haven’t heard of this rule, I try avoiding it when I am in Italy to blend in the culture easily. Apparently, the cappuccino messes with the digestion after breakfast 😉
-Unless its asked for and you really want to, do not tip.
-Avoid wearing flip flops and dress properly. I know this is very personal and to each his own, but you don’t to be stared at.
-Do not assume that everywhere in Italy, shops and restaurants will accept credit cards. I especially faced this in the smaller towns. So always keep cash ready.
-Have caffe at the bar (and not sit outside) to save money. Its cheaper standing at the bar.
–Cover yourself well when you go to a Church. No short skirts and tank tops, please!
-Usually in almost all of Italy except maybe the bigger cities, shops close during pranzo (lunch) time from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. Italians believe in having a relaxed lunch at home.
-You will never be asked to get up from a restaurant even if you are through with your food. Italians believe in enjoying the meal and will never rush you or ask you to get up.
-Please hold the wine glass by the stem 😉
–Wear comfortable shoes unless you want to get sore feet from walking all day on those cobbled streets.
-Don’t be afraid to try the regional specialties as every region in Italy is a country within itself- very unique and the food is to die for.
Buon Natale e un Felice Anno Nuovo 😀