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    Welcome! Your online Italian travel guide and resource. Great information and valuable travel tips for your next Italian vacation or business-trip. We'll teach you how to get around from place to place, where to go, what to see and explain the regional characteristics. We'll focus on culture and traditions, with articles on Rome, Florence, Venice and more! Hope you enjoy!

    Benvenuti! Eccovi una pratica guida turistica e fonte completa di informazioni sull'Italia. Qui troverete tanti consigli utili che vi aiuteranno a programmare il prossimo viaggio di piacere o di lavoro in Italia. Vi spiegheremo come spostarvi meglio, quali località visitare e le caratteristiche regionali, la cultura, e le tradizioni con articoli su Roma, Firenze, Venezia e tanto di più! Spero l'apprezzerete!

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    Sanremo music festival, 2010 starts Feb 16 through 21
    posted Tuesday, February 16, 2010 |

    Europe's largest music festival, and one of the world's most famous, culminates at the Teatro Ariston in Sanremo. The Sanremo music festival ("Festival di Sanremo") is a gala event and an awards ceremony for some of Italy's most famous musicians with awards in various categories. This year the event will be broken down into 2 categories: "Artisti" (for the established, big names of Italian music) and "Nuova Generazione", a category for the up and coming Italian singers.

    The festival changes every year: a new artistic director / presenter is chosen every year and is responsible for the guests, songs, all aspects of the show. This year, it is presented by the lovely Italian journalist Antonella Clerici.

    New rules for Sanremo 2010

    For the first time in the history of the event, songs in Italian dialect will be allowed. Thus we will probably hear songs in Neopolitan and Sicilian, the most distinctive of all the Italian dialects. In addition, inclusion of foreign artists' work will also be allowed, as long as the songs are performed in Italian.

    Sanremo is a city with about 57,000 inhabitants and lies on the Mediterranean coast of western Liguria in north-western Italy, located on the Italian riviera. The festival has also launched the careers of many very famous italian singers. The most notable ones include Andrea Bocelli, Giorgia, Mietta, Laura Pausini and Eros Ramazzotti.

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    How do they celebrate Saint Valentine's Day in Italy?
    posted Thursday, February 11, 2010 |
    From the country that gave us Romeo and Juliet, famous novels like "I Promessi Sposi", romantic gondola rides, etc., there is no doubt that Italy is the country for lovers. Even the Italian language, which is so expressive and precise in thought and emotion, is also considered one of the most romantic and beautiful of all languages.

    So how do Italians celebrate Saint Valentine's Day? Logic would tell you that Saint Valentine's Day is a huge celebration in Italy, right? Italy does take its celebrations seriously, usually involving family and food. However, current-day celebrations are not as extensive as you would think. Let's look at the history of Saint Valentine's Day, or "La Festa Degli Innamorati" in Italian:

    Ancient Traditions

    The original Saint Valentine's festivities were celebrated as a spring festival where lovers would gather outside in gardens, etc. to listen to music and exchange poetry. One ancient tradition is for an unmarried girl to wake up early, and stand by their window. Legend has it that the first man an unmarried girl sees that day will end up marrying her within a year. In 494 AD, the Pope Gelasio I declared a celebration in honor of Saint Valentine to replace the ancient fertility day celebration that existed since Pagan times.

    Current-day traditions in Italy

    Present-day Saint Valentine's celebrations have become more commercialized than centuries past, and many Italians consider it an American-import. On this day, the exchange of gifts is usually between lovers. Rarely, will gifts be exchanged between family members and friends. Usually a couple will go out to dinner, or prepare a nice candle-lit dinner at home. A popular gift is the Baci Perugina chocolate-covered hazelnut. Inside will be a romantic poetic quote in 4 different languages. And that is basically the extent of their Valentine's Day celebrations.

    In Italy, Saint Valentine's Day is not about expensive gifts, diamonds, jewelry, etc. It is a day to show someone you care, or to say "I love you" in Italian, which is "Ti Voglio Bene". Isn't that what Valentine's Day is supposed to be about anyway?

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    Venetian Carnevale in full-swing... An event not missed in Venice!
    posted Tuesday, February 9, 2010 |

    Now through February 16, 2010 (Shrove Tuesday, or Mardi Gras; the day before Ash Wednesday) Venice will be hosting the pre-Lenten festival of Carnevale. Carnevale, from the Latin meaning "farewell to meat", is Venice's version of masquerade balls, costumes, costume-parties, parades, fireworks, grandiose events, etc. The idea, of course, is similar to the Mardi Gras in New Orleans or the Carnival of Rio de Janeiro, where Christians celebrate one last "hurrah" prior to Lent.

    The symbol of the Venetian carnevale is the mask, in which the oldest documents date back to 1268 as the first time they were used for Carnevale. Masks became the way a commoner can partake in the balls with the nobility. They afforded anonymity, while giving one a way to change persona. And it was also a way that you can have your sins forgiven.

    The festival was condemned by the popes and the doges, but nothing could dampen the spirit until Napoleon put an end to the celebrations in 1797. The festivities were later resurrected in the 1980's by the local tourism powers.

    Today it is a major celebration filled with locals and tourists from all over the world. It is the most important festival in the city of Venice, and one that should not be missed if your travels take you to Italy during this time.

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    The legend of Saint Valentine, or San Valentino
    posted Friday, February 5, 2010 |

    One of the many myths of the origins of St. Valentine's Day can be traced back to a priest that lived in the 3rd century Rome that was beheaded for trying to spread love throughout the land. Read more about Saint Valentine...


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    Italian Jokes or "Barzellette"
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