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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Italian food – Pumpkin Risotto

One of the reasons tourists love Italy so much is food. Today I want to share with you my family’s recipe for pumpkin risotto, taken from my new book Sos Italian cooking. Ingredients 300 g (10.58 oz) Arborio rice 300 g (10.58 oz) fresh pumpkin 3 slices of onion 50 g (1.76 oz) unsalted butter 8 ladles vegetable stock – 1.2 L (5.07 cups), more or less A handful of Parmesan Table salt 125 mL(0.52 cup) dry white wine For the stock 1 onion 1 stalk of celery 1 carrot 1 zucchini 2.5 L (10.56 cups) water   What you…

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Learn Italian sounds – the alphabet

Italian is one of the most musical languages in the world. But what are exactly the sounds of this language? Let’s summarize the main ones in the tables below:   ALPHABET EXAMPLES PHONETIC TRANSCRIPTION SIMILAR SOUNDS IN ENGLISH A Animale (animal)  [ani’male] Cup B Bagaglio (luggage)  [ba’gaʎo] Bike C [1] Cane (dog) [‘kane] Cold D Domenica (Sunday) [do’menika] Darling E Estintore (fire-extinguisher) [estin’tore] Elephant F Folata (gust) [fo’lata] Flower G [2] Gatto (general) [‘gat:o] Game H [3] Hotel (hotel) [o’tɛl] /// I Insieme (together) [in’sjɛme] Instructions L Ladro (thief) [‘ladro] Long M Malattia (illness) [mala’t:ia] Mountains N Negozio (shop) [ne’gɔtsjo]…

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Exam preparation: CILS, CELI, PLIDA and CIC

After years of study you have decided it’s time to get an official certification of your Italian level? That’s good. But maybe you should know a thing or two first. If you are still unsure about the certification you want to get, you’d probably be better off having a look at these articles – Cils and Celi; Plida and Cic. Instead, if you already have a pretty clear idea of the exam you want to sit, continue reading. Many people believe that a good command of the language is the only necessary requirement to pass an exam. Unfortunately, this is…

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