elizabeth salthouse

Celebrating New Year on March 1st

Before the unification of Italy, the peninsula was a patchwork of independent states, republics and occupied territories each one with their own...

Sicily’s storytelling traditions

Since the first days of language, humans have been passing on stories. From the sea shanties of Cornwall to the shadow puppetry of China, from the...

Venice’s mouths of truth

Venice at the height of its power conjures images of merchant traders, carnival masks and debauchery. But for all its decadence Venetian life was...

Zafferiamo – the intriguing story of Pieve’s saffron festival

Used since ancient times for cooking, cosmetics and curative properties, saffron is the wonderfully aromatic queen of spices. The Greeks used it to...

One, two, three steps to heaven

Rome’s Spanish Steps are famous around the globe. As too are Venice’s stepped bridges crossing her countless canals. And the Vatican Museum’s...

Sardinian seasilk, the world’s rarest thread

Rarer than diamonds, more expensive than platinum and found only in a few secret Sardinian sea caves, seasilk is the stuff of legend. Its long silky...

What did the Romans do for us?

Throughout history, civilizations have come and gone from the Italian peninsula, each one leaving its mark. From the Etruscans’ stonework to Greek...

Venice’s lions still roar

Rome has the she-wolf. Sicily has the 3-legged Medusa. And Turin has il toro, the bull. Up in the northeast, however, the lagoon city of Venice chose...

Mascherone, home protection the old-fashioned way

Today most self-respecting homeowners install alarms and locks to protect their homes, but step back to the 16th century and the preference was for...

Everyone is going mad for Rosolio

Rosolio has enjoyed popularity in Piedmont and Sicily for centuries, drunk by hosts and their guests on special occasions to signify and convey good...

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