How to deal with the days of the blackbird: coconut biscuits

The days of the blackbird – i giorni della merla – is an Italian expression meaning the coldest days of winter – specifically the 29th, 30th, 31st of January. No one knows exactly the origins of this expression, but there are some folk legends about it. The most famous one is about a female blackbird and her three chicks. The legend tells of how, a very long time ago, all blackbirds were white as snow and, during winter, stayed in their nests, waiting for spring to come. One year, when winter days just seemed to be over, a huge blizzard hit…

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Twelve things you should know before visiting Italy (Part 3)

Twelve things you should know before visiting Italy (Part 3): Coffee

This is the third and last part of the article Twelve things you should know before visiting Italy. If you haven’t read the first two articles yet, you can do it now -> part 1, part 2. DON’T TOUCH THE VEGETABLES, EVER! If you want to grocery shop in Italy, be aware that there is the silent rule don’t touch the fruits and vegetables with your bare hands or just don’t touch them at all. After all, no one wants to eat food that has been touched by hundreds of people, doesn’t it? So, in supermarkets, you can touch the…

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Twelve things you should know before visiting Italy (Part 2)

Twelve things you should know before visiting Italy (Part 2): Queuing

Two weeks ago I talked about four things every tourist should know before visiting Italy. If you haven’t read the article yet, you can do it now -> Twelve things you should know before visiting Italy (part 1). This week I’m gonna add four more tips. PUBLIC RESTROOMS If you want to do an escorted tour to visit Italy’s magnificent works of art and monuments, sooner or later, you’ll probably have no option but to visit public restrooms. Now, due to the large number of tourists, toilet paper runs out pretty soon. To overcome this problem, Italian women bring always with…

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La Befana

Befana

Epiphany is the name of a national Italian holiday that falls on January 6. In the night of the 5th January, la Befana – an ugly old woman – flies with a broomstick delivering both socks full of candies to good children and socks full of (sugar-made) coke to naughty children. But who is this woman? According to the legend, la Befana wanted to accompany the three magi to bring some gifts to baby Jesus. However, since she was too busy to do housework, at the last minute, she decided not to go. The next day, she changed her mind.…

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Twelve things you should know before visiting Italy (part 1)

Every year millions of tourists plan to visit Italy for different reasons – sightseeing, food, culture, etc. If you are one of them, you have probably already read one or more tourist guides to prepare yourself for the trip. Despite this, you could still ignore some useful information. PARKING If you’re hiring a car, for example, you should know that parking lot lines have different colors in Italy. They can be yellow, pink, blue or white. What’s the difference? Well, yellow lines are reserved for disabled – remember to place a handicapped parking permit on the dashboard. However, in big…

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