Palmanova and the “casoni” in Friuli

Today I would like to tell you about Palmanova, an extraordinary fortified town, an ideal city with a triple circle of walls to protect it from the foreshadowing enemy invasions of the North, already begun by the Romans giving it its current shape. In 1593, in 1658 and in 1806, 3 successive fortifications were built making it from above today an extraordinary star with a great feeling of strength as the castle dominates inside. Since 2017 Palmanova is a UNESCO national heritage site. With Palmanova I suggest you to visit the lagoon of Caorle to admire the casoni. The casone was the nerve center of the fisherman’s family; they were made of cane, with a similar architecture but different from family to family; a fossil architecture that fishermen’s love preserves from the time.

2 of June: Republic feast

Today is the feast of our Republic – 2 June of 1946-. If you are in Rome you can see at Imperial Forum the parade of our armed forces – from 10am- and the exhibition flight of the “tricolor arrows”; the three colors of our flag will be drawn in the sky..

After that, you could go to visit the gardens of the Quirinale, the house of our President open for today from 3.00 pm to 7.00pm

The band complexes of the Navy, the Guardia di Finanza, the Polizia di Stato, the Carabinieri Corps, the Italian Army and the Italian Air Force, will perform original concert pieces for the band, arrangements of songs from the classical repertoire and soundtracks.

Today also open to the public – from 10.00 am – 6.00 pm – Palazzo Madama, our Senate, with staggered visits every 30 minutes
Coupons must be collected in Piazza Madama, 11 (from 8.30 onwards)

…and from 10.00 am to 6.00 pm – Palazzo Giustiniani, seat of the representative apartment of the President of the Senate and the offices of the senators.
with staggered visits every 30 minutes
Coupons must be collected at Via della Dogana Vecchia, 29

The biggest volcan in Europe is in activity right now

Etna, in Sicily, is not only the largest volcano in Europe and the second most important active in the world, but it is also probably one of the most beautiful in the world: the snow persists during the summer and is mixed with the colors of the sea on the bottom black lava .
Today these colors are crossed by the red of incandescent magma. in fact, two fractures have opened up in the north-east and south-east of the cone that are heading towards the Bove valley.
This is the third time in less than six months that Etna let heard its voice .
Mount Etna is 3330 m high with a base diameter of about 40 km and a circumference of about 250 km; it is a natural open-air laboratory for the volcanologists who study it.

Matera, European Capital of Culture for 2019

Matera is one of the oldest cities in Italy in a hidden region called Basilicata in the south of our peninsula, among solemn mountains near the sky; Matera is instead in the part not far from the sea its main characteristic is the construction of houses inside the mountain. Matera is beautiful even in the most recent part of past centuries.

This year Matera is the capital of European Culture for 2019.

His appointment has been celebrated with a big party with over 100 thousand presences, thousands of journalistic services all over the world, millions of contacts.
Matera is proud to participate this year with 13% of the Italian tourism GDP and to increase tourism in its reason so far little known.
Matera has prepared over 600 projects – events that will be presented during the year and that will then go around the world to make its culture known: Destination Basilicata is the name.

2019 opens at Caracalla baths…

in Rome at the Baths of Caracalla, the ancient and largest known Roman baths, opened Km of huge gallery underground where the carts used to carry wood to heat the baths passed. This is the technological part of the Spa consisting of the oven, the boilers and the chimney.
  The Baths of Caracalla are beautiful and home to concerts an operas during the summer season.

A good new for the Central Italy by train

Good news: from Sunday June 8 the fast train will leave from Milan at 5.00 am- Bologna at 6.02 – Florence SMN at 6.46 -Arezzo at 7.28 and Chiusi- Chianciano at 7.56am

Of course from Chiusi to Rome it will leave at 7.58 and it will arrive at Rome Tiburtina at 8.51 am ( my favorite station to get the train to FCO airport) – and Rome Termini at 8.58 am to visit the capital and to return at 20.00 from Rome Termini.

Why not to reach Napoli ( Naples) at 10,20 am and to come back home the same day at 6.50 pm to be at Chiusi- Chianciano at 21.07. Great!

Alghero the spanish capital of Sardinia

Alghero on the island is a splendid city that dominates the western part of Sardinia, the second largest island in Italy, built mostly of sandstone, a soft and light stone that lent itself for construction and is used throughout southern Italy.
Because of its position, Alghero was a nerve center for trade and defense.
At the end of the fifteenth century, Alghero became one of the least impregnable cities in the Mediterranean after an important strengthening of the walls.
The work was commissioned by Ferdinand II of Spain, husband of Isabella, sovereign of Castile and Leon, who decided to finance the undertaking of Christopher Columbus who would lead him to the discovery of America in 1492.
Of these bastions you can admire the splendid Porta a Mare and the tower of the Sperone Reale which was praised by Charles V who, admiring it, said “beautiful in my faith and very solid”.
The tower has walls 6 m thick and inside a room that served as a prison with an air intake and light at 8 m.
The Porta Royal or Porta di Terra, protected by the drawbridge, closed Alghero to foreigners in the evening.
From here the view extends over spires and bastions of the beautiful town.
Near Alghero there is the great regional park of 5000 hectares – about 12.300 acres named Porto Conte; vultures, fallow deer, the typical Sardinian donkeys populate the highest points of the mainland.
A large marine protected area is part of the park where numerous rare species find refuge among the Poseidon.
At the depth of 100 – 130 m there are the splendid red corals that with those of Trapani are the most beautiful not only in the Mediterranean but in absolute.
654 steps will take you to the caves of Neptune: 4 km of splendid stalactite and stalagmite formations.
The Green Cave will soon be open to the public. With the calm sea they are both reachable by boat.

Potatoes gatò

Potatoes gatò is a classic of Sicilian gastronomy; in particular its name comes from a transliteration from the French gateau.
It is a very appetizing recipe of simple preparation: boil and peel when they are still hot (for a lump-free mixture) 500 g of potatoes; to these add two whole beaten eggs, the leftovers of the cheese and salami fridge or 50 g of ham 50 g of salami and 50 g of mozzarella, 2 abundant spoons of grated Parmesan, salt and pepper to taste – for you- in very small pieces the cheese and sliced ​​salami.
For a more appetizing preparation you can add bechamel the correct with a little nutmeg.
 At this point, butter a pan of about 20 cm, sprinkle with breadcrumbs, throw away the excess, pour the mixture into the pan, sprinkle a little parmesan and breadcrumbs; still a few flakes of butter and bake in the oven at a hundred and eighty degrees for about half an hour. The effect and goodness are assured


While waiting for the paternity of the tortellini to be re-established in the Romagna region with a PDO (Protected Designation of Origin), the legend tells that having stopped a noblewoman in Castelfranco di Romagna and having, hidden, the innkeeper admired her features, he wanted to reproduce her elegant navel. As the Secchia recalls “Imitating Venus the belico (the navel) the art of tortellino learned”. The tortellino in the Romagna cuisine is combined with the meat sauce. It takes at least 5 hours to make a great sauce.

P.S. But, if you want to do the ragù earlier, imitate the Sicilian style. Add a local tomato sauce: it is so thick (but so extraordinarily good) that it will take you minutes not hours. When the minced meat is ready, the sauce will be ready.

A 90 minute stroll through the marvelous city of Palermo.

Leaving the parking lot at the port (Calata Marina d’Italia, Amerigo Amari, 10 euro per day), cross the street, turn left. You are on the via Francesco Crispi. Continue until you reach the Piazza 13 Vittime (8 minutes), cross the piazza and continue straight. You are at San Giorgio del Genovesi, a Renaissance church, a little sad and not very interesting (3 minutes). A few steps further and you are on the Squarcialupo where you make the first right turn and you have arrived at the first stop (2 minutes) 1) Oratorio del Santissimo Rosario Santa Cita: a beautiful casket whose female figures were sculpted by Giacomo Serpotta, I think that Serpotta is to the sculpture of the female figure what Michelangelo is to the male figure. The grace, elegance and refinement are without equal . Sweet and exuberant putti surround the whole. Leave the Oratorio by the via Squarcialupo (2 minutes) on to the next stop. 2) Chiesa di Santa Maria in Valverde: a splendid example of the Baroque in mixed marble, unfortunately open only during services. You need luck to see inside. The façade is decorated in a curious mixture of Christian and Masonic symbols . Continue on the via Bambinai (2 minutes) to the next stop. 3) Oratorio del Santissimo Rosario in San Domenico: another example of the stucco work of Giacomo Serpotta. There is a late 17th century painting and altar piece by A. van Dyke. I love the way the Virtues are represented, different from the traditional ones. We see Caution, Temperance, Fortress, Justice, but also: Generosity, Brotherhood, Friendship.. all female, of course. Now walk to the next stop (5 minutes). 4) Along the way don’t miss out on a delicious ice cream, and if you are hungry, brioche with ice cream, at the Gelateria La Kala in Piazza Fonderia 8 mn. 5) You will arrive at the Cala, the ancient Port of Palermo, where lovely pleasure boats are moored. 6) After 3 minutes you will enter the Piazza Marina where you can see the Garibaldi gardens, towards the Palazzo Steri, with one of the tallest trees in Europe – a beautiful and imposing magnolia grandiflora. You should definitely visit the Palazzo Steri, seat of the Inquisition. Then go at your right towards the sea (3 minutes). 7) Next go towards the ‘cala’ straight in front of you where you will see the Renaissance Church of Santa Maria della Catena, in gothic-catalan style, in the piazzetta della Dogana. I especially like this church. 8) Returning to the Corso Vittorio Emanuele (10 minutes), go to the next stop: the Four Cantos of the City (also known as the theatre of the sun). Admire the palaces and fountains that grace the piazza, turn to the left and shortly you will be at the Piazza Pretoria (2 minutes). 9) Opposite the Palazzo Pretoria you will see the palazzo of the Comune (the town hall), the beautiful 17th century Fontana della Vergogna where, local gossip says, the then queen, lover of the sculptor, Camillani, is depicted among the nude figures (2 minutes). 10) Crossing the piazza along the passageway to the left of the Palazzo Pretoria, alongside the convent of the closed order of nuns famous for their sweets known as the ‘Trionfo di gola’ (Triumph of Greed), enter the Piazza Bellini. Opposite you on a terrace that dominates the piazza stands the church Santa Maria dell’Ammiraglio, know as ‘la Martorana’, among the rarest and most precious of Byzantine churches in Italy. Next to it is one of my favourite churches, San Cataldo, medieval, elegant and simple from the 12th century (2 minutes). 11) Retrace your steps back to the Corso Vitorrio Emanuele as far as the Cathedral, a splendid example of Norman/ Arab art, slim and elegant on the exterior even if partly disfigured by the 19th century cupola. Inside you will find the lovely tomb of Frederick II, know as Stupor Mundi (10 minutes). 12) From the Cathedral continue to the right towards the lovely Piazza Indipendenza with its garden full of tall palm trees. There you will find the Palazzo dei Normanni, the Normands ( Nordmanni o Nordmaenner, ossia ” North men”) royal palace. You must go to the right of the palace under the Porta Nuova to find the entrance behind the building (4 minutes). It is very interesting inside the palace where you can admire the marvelous Capella Palatina, in my opinion the most beautiful church in Italy together with the Cattedrale di Monreale. The Capella Palatina is a veritable jewel. There are also exhibitions and a good bookshop (5 minutes). 13) Turning around, go left alongside the Cathedral and bravely follow the via Bonelli to reach the flea market, no longer of much interest. Cross the via delle Cappuccinelle, passing through the ‘Capo’, one of the historic markets of Palermo. I like shopping in this market, good quality and prices. Be sure to buy the local delicacy, for one or two euros, a bunch of dried herbs mixed with garlic and parsley, or oregano, or hot pepper, useful to add, with a good Sicilian olive oil, to pasta, finished off with grated caciocavallo or pecorino cheese, not Parmesan, making a quick and tasty meal. Leaving the ‘Capo’ for the Porta Carini to the right, go towards the back of the Teatro Massimo (10 minutes). 14) Go around on the left side of the theatre as far as the entrance where you can stop in the garden or the theatre bar for an excellent aperitif. There is a good bookstore next to the bar. The ‘Massimo’ is the third biggest theatre in Europe for size after the Paris Opera and the Vienna Opera. It is a unique and marvelous example of the Art Nouveau style, designed by the architect Ernesto Basile (5 minutes). 15) From the Teatro Massimo go left along the via Ruggero Settimo. After a brief walk you will find two piazzas. To the left is the Padiglione della Musica in Piazza Castelnuovo and to the right is the piazza Ruggero Settimo with the Teatro Politeama with its arch surmounted by the bronze quadriga of Apollo. The theatre began by hosting circuses and today is used as a venue for concerts (8 minutes). 16) With your back to the theatre, turn to the left for the via Amerigo Amari. At the end of this street you will be back at your point of departure.

Villa Igea on of the most beautiful hotel
Mondello the beach of Palermo
Capo street market
Villa Niscemi, to be visited, but also where the mayor prefer to work
San Cataldo, medieval, elegant and simple from the 12th century arab-normand
Massimo Theater, The third theater in Europe, after Opera of Paris and Opera of Vienna
the port is at the end of the road