Sunday, October 17, 2010

I Tartufi a Manhattan

Lo so, lo so. Procrastino. Ho detto nel passato che volevo scrivere una parte del blog in italiano, e non l'ho fatto... Pero' vi scrivo di un tema molto interessante che ho visto al telegiornale questa settimana.


Vice president of Urbani Truffles, Vittorio Giordano
Photo from

 Avete sentito del nuovo negozio a Manhattan? Il negozio, Urbani Truffles, vende i tartufi preziosi. Pero' la notizia sul telegiornale non e' stata positiva, nemmeno un po'. Il negozio si e' aperto a Upper West Side, ed e' situato vicino a un edificio degli appartamenti. Le persone che abitano li' compiagnono della "puzza" che origine da Urbani Truffles. In piu', un agente immobiliare ha detto che sara' troppo difficile di vendere un appartamento se l'edificio odora. La confutazione vice presidente di Urbani Truffles - i New Yorkers manca la sofisticazione. Questo e' la prima volta che ha mai avuto un problema cosi'. Urbani Truffles possiede altri negozi pure a Roma, Milano, Parigi, e Sao Paolo.


Have you heard of the new store in Manhattan? The store, Urbani Truffles, sells precious truffles. However, the news on TV wasn't positive, not even a little. The store opened on the Upper West Side, and is located near an apartment building. The residents that live there are complaining of a "stench" that originates from Urbani Truffles. What's more, a real estate agent said it will be too difficult to sell an apartment if the building smells. The rebuttal of the vice president of Urbani Truffles - New Yorkers lack sophistication. This is the first time ever having such a problem. Urbani Truffles also has other stores in Rome, Milan, Paris, and Sao Paolo.

To read the entire article, click here.
Di leggere l'articolo, clicca qua.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Citizenship Saturday: Women Earn Equal Rights

As previously discussed in past posts, women did not always have the ability to pass down citizenship to their children. However, after the conclusion of World War II and the end of the Italian kingdom, and the rise of the Italian Republic, amendments were made to the Italian costituzione (constitution). Starting on January 1, 1948, women and men were given equal rights. Whether the citizenship is passed down depends not on when the mother was born, but upon when the child was born. This is important to understand as when my ex asked someone about it at the Immigrations office in Italy, the woman there gave him incorrect information.

In the Circolare 9 del 04.07.2001 you can find the exact phrase in which it states such:

1. Sono cittadini italiani per nascita e dalla nascita i figli nati a decorrere dal 1 gennaio 1948 da madre in possesso della cittadinanza italiana al momento della loro nascita.

In seguito alla sentenza della Corte Costituzionale n. 30 del 1983, che ha dichiarato incostituzionale l’art. 1 della legge 555/1912 nella parte in cui non prevedeva l’acquisto della cittadinanza italiana jure sanguinis anche per discendenza materna, l’attribuzione della cittadinanza ai figli di madre italiana, nati dal 1° gennaio 1948 avviene secondo quanto disposto per i figli di padre italiano.


All children born from January 1, 1948 to a mother who was in possession of Italian citizenship at the moment of the child's birth are themselves Italian citizens by birth.

As a result of Ruling No. 30 of 1983 of the Constitutional Court, which declared unconstitutional Article 1 of law 555/1912 (the Italian Citizenship Law) insofar as it prevented the acquisition of Italian citizenship jure sanguinis by maternal decent, the granting of citizenship to the child of an Italian mother, which child was born from January 1, 1948, occurs according to the same rules as for children born to an Italian father.

What does this mean for those who wish to apply through a female relative?

Let's look at my case for example. I am applying through my great-great grandfather, who never naturalized, or formally denounced his Italian citizenship. He was born in Italy in 1868. Around 1893 (not sure of the exact year), he emigrated from Italy with his wife, parents, and wife's brother. My great grandfather was born here in the United States in 1894. He and my great grandmother later had my grandmother, who was born in 1927. My grandmother had my father in 1954, well after the 1948 revision was imposed, thereby allowing her to pass the citizenship down to my father.

Applying through my great-great grandmother would not at all be possible, as my great grandfather was born in 1894. If my father had been born before January 1, 1948, the ability to recognize Italian citizenship would not have been possible.

As they say, everything happens for a reason!

If you have any questions concerning this post,
feel free to ask me in the comments section
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I will try my best to answer any and all questions.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Feature Friday: Interview with KC of ‘The Shock of Old’

Being an avid reader of the blog, 'The Shock of Old', I found it to be a great idea to hold an interview with its writer, KC. She is an American art historian, who discusses anything from Italian bureaucracy, to ancient artifacts found throughout the small town in which she lives, to days spent with her husband N and her beautiful daughter, Pata.

1. For those readers who have not yet read your blog, please tell why you chose to move to Italy?

I moved here to marry my husband, who is Italian. (We had met a few years before in Rome while I was on a research trip there.)

2. Since PassagetoItaly is about making the transition to Italy, how did you make the move from the United States to Italy, and when did you move?

I moved here a little over four years ago. Italy doesn't have a fiancée visa, so I came as a tourist and we married within the ninety days allowed to visitors from visa-waver countries.

3. Do you have tips/suggestions for those who are exploring the idea of making the move?

I moved because of a particular set of circumstances that made coming here relatively easy for me. I didn't have to worry about qualifying for a visa or obtaining citizenship from Italy or another EU country, so I can't really comment on the process of moving as it applies to most people who want to come to Italy. In general, I think it helps to be at least proficient in Italian before moving because it will make dealing with the bureaucracy involved in getting established here much easier.

4. What were the most difficult parts of the move?

For me, it was the finality of it: driving around the city where I lived the last days before I moved and knowing that I would probably never see it again, and knowing that in moving I was ending my career and would never work in my field again. I have a hard time with closure. I like to think that anything is possible. Moving here was really the first time in my adult life that I had to confront the reality that there are choices that we make that irrevocably close off opportunities to do other things.

5. Without being biased to the town in which you live, which town/city is your favorite in Italy?

Well, there's no chance of my being biased towards Sessa Aurunca (where I live) because I don't like it very much at all. Rome is my favorite city. As a graduate student, I spent a few months there that were very important to my intellectual development, and I look back on that time very fondly.

6. Rome was my favorite as well with its combining of the old and new. If you could make a recommendation to visit an off-the-beaten trail location in Italy, where would it be?

I'm not sure how off-the-beaten track it is, but Mantova is one of my favorite cities, and I don't think it's very much visited by tourists. There are a couple of fine churches by Leon Battista Alberti there. (Sant' Andrea is breathtaking.) The Palazzo Ducale has Mantegna's frescoes in the Camera degli Sposi and in the Palazzo del Te, which is interesting enough architecturally, there is Giulio Romano's Sala dei Giganti. There is also Andrea's Mantegna's house, with a circular courtyard.

I also like Modena, which has one of the most beautiful cathedrals in Italy. Brescia is another of my favorites.

7. What are some of the traditional dishes of your adopted town?

To be honest, I don't really know. They do have a strange 'pastiera' made with rice here, which I cannot recommend. (I put pastiera in quotes there out of respect to any Neapolitans offended by the idea that you can make one with rice!)

8. What are some of the traditional celebrations specific to your town?

We have an extensive celebration of Holy Week, involving several processions and the display of a statue of St. Leo and the town's venerated image of the Madonna. There's also a procession honoring the Madonna del Carmine in July. There are 'giochi di quartiere,' in September, I believe, with archers and flag throwers in costume. I think there may be a few other events, but I find that these things have a way of fading into daily life when you live here for a while.

Thank you KC for sharing us! And to the few who follow my blog, don't forget to check out 'The Shock of Old'.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Love Thursday: Joke alla Milanese

While browsing my former Italian teacher's profile on Facebook, I came across this joke that I've dubbed 'joke alla milanese'. It is in milanese dialect, which has been translated into Italian, and I have thus translated it into English, for those who may not have completely understood it.

Milanese: Quando torna a casa, per prima cosa va al bar a trovare i suoi compagni di "bianchino" e quelli, si rivolgono al lui dicendo:"Ue, Giuan, alura? Me l'è 'ndada in Inghiltera? L'è bela?" Lui, piuttosto mesto risponde:"E, varda, per ess bela l'è propri bela!" "Ma l'è mpu' strana:I pulman, quei alt, ia ciamen bas, i stradun quei laarch ia ciamen strit,i cavai i ciamen ors, el frech el ciamen cold, i don ia ciamen uomen...Poi, giri l'angul, vedi na biunduna e la ma fa "LAV MI"."E ti ste fe'?" E e mi gu fa: "MA LAVES IN DE PER TI, VUNCIUNA D'UN' INGLESA!"

Italiano: "Ehi Giovanni,allora? Come è andata in Inghilterra? E' bella?" Lui risponde"Guarda,per essere bella è proprio bella! Ma è un po strana: i pulman,quelli alti, li chiamano bas(bus),le strade,quelle larghe le strit(street), i cavalli li chiamano ors(horse),il freddo lo chiamano cold, le donne le chiamano uomen(woman)...poi giro l'angolo e vedo una biondona che mi fa:"lav mi!(love me)""e cosa hai fatto?""gli faccio:"ma lavati per te, zozzona di un'inglesa!"

English: (You must realize this is all said with an accent in order to get the joke, which explains Giovanni's confusion.)

"Hey Giovanni, so? How was it in England? Is it beautiful? He responds, "look, to say it's beautiful, it's really beautiful! But it's a little strange: the buses, those really high ones, they call them 'bas' (bus), the streets, those large ones, they call them 'strit' (street), the horses, they call them ors (horse), the cold they call it 'cold', the women are called uomen (woman).. then you go around a corner, see a big blonde that says to me "lav mi (love me)." "And what did you do??" He responds, "Wash yourself, you dirty English woman!"

Glossary -
Milanese -- Italian -- English

bas = basso = low, short
strit = stretto = tight, narrow
ors = orso = bear
uomen = uomini = men
lav mi = lavami = wash me

Did anyone get it without reading the English translation?
I just LOVE a good joke.

Happy Love Thursday everyone!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Chasing Down Consulate Officers

Walking into the pizzeria, happily being able to wear my suede boots that I bought in Italy last summer, donned with my Max Mara sunglasses (yes, a friend of mine and I splurged in Firenze in '07), I spotted her. She's my acquaintance hailing from the island of Sardegna. We'll call her A* for anonymity purposes. When I told my former Italian teacher where my acquaintance is from, she was rather surprised. My guess is that it's not common for sardi to leave their native land?

Upon seeing me, her face lit up, and she quickly came from behind the counter. She and her husband (named G* in my post) have been running the pizzeria for quite some time. Their story is very interesting. She is sarda, and he is Italian-American. Her entire family lives in Sardegna, and he has four brothers who currently live in Italy. While he was on a trip to Italy, they met, fell in love and were married. Before they married, they were in a long distance relationship though. At the time, it was quite difficult for them to be in touch. Her family home had no telephone, and she had to use a public phone down the street. A* said they spoke at least once a month, as calls were expensive at that time. No folks, Skype did not exist. What makes their story even more interesting came after their children were born and grown up. When her daughter went on vacation to Italy, she met her husband as well, in Puglia.

A* currently holds dual citizenship, and come February, she and G* will be applying for dual citizenship through marriage for him. We discussed affidavits (a process used to amend a record), the difficulties of making appointments with the consulate, and the drama that encircles the Italian bureaucratic system. When it came down to contacting them, she said the only thing you could do was send a barrage of e-mails. From both of our experiences, e-mailing was the best line of communication, as they now definitely do not answer phone calls. As of August, the consulate removed all extension numbers to each department. It was just too bad that I had misplaced the extension number I had before they took them down.

As requirements are different between here and Italy, I wanted to see if she knew or knew of anyone who knew about the process. I have yet to be haunted by nightmares of an "incomplete application" or some such thing, but it is certainly one of my greatest fears. What about the affidavits? Nope, she did not know anything about that either. G* did face a problem as his last name is spelled incorrectly. His brothers' last name is different from his in this way. She would not know until they had their appointment in February.

My only option was to e-mail the consulate (again) to see if I could have an appointment with someone just to go over the papers. Grrr! On numerous occasions, I had sent countless e-mails asking the same thing before I was to leave for Italy, and of course, received no reply. Perhaps the barrage effect will come handy this time. We'll see what the consulate says..... if they reply.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Italy v. America: The Difference in Taste of Wine

Ever since my first trip to Italy, wine has slowly become one of my passions. No, Italy did not make me an alcoholic. Learning about the different wines from each region is very interesting to me. They define the regions just as the regional cuisine does. With that aside though, I have noticed a considerable difference in the taste of Italian wine imported here, as opposed to what it tastes like there. To my surprise, several individuals conducted an experiment of the effects of shipping conditions on wines. Eleven trained panelists then taste tested the end results. Post below is the actual article from the American Journal of Enology and Viticulture:

Effect of Simulated Shipping Conditions on Sensory Attributes and Volatile Composition of Commercial White and Red Wines

Anthony L. Robinson1, Martha Mueller2, Hildegarde Heymann2,*, Susan E. Ebeler2, Paul K. Boss3, Peter S. Solomon4 and Robert D. Trengove1 1 Separation Science Laboratory, Murdoch University, Murdoch, WA 6150, Australia; 2 Department of Viticulture and Enology, University of California, Davis, CA 95616; 3 CSIRO Plant Industry & Food Futures Flagship, PO Box 350, Glen Osmond, SA 5064, Australia; and 4 Plant Cell Biology, Research School of Biology, The Australian National University, Canberra, ACT 0200, Australia.
Acknowledgments: This research project was conducted while A.L. Robinson was an Australian-American Fulbright Scholar and was a collaboration between the University of California, Davis and Murdoch University, Australia.
M. Mueller acknowledges the following: Harry Baccigaluppi Scholarship, Louis R. Gomberg, Adolf L. and Richie C. Heck Research Fellowship, Horace O. Lanza Scholarship, and the Brad Webb Memorial Scholarship. This research was partially funded by Australia’s grapegrowers and winemakers through their investment body the Grape and Wine Research and Development Corporation with matching funding from the Australian Federal Government.
* Corresponding author (email:; tel: 530 754 4816 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              530 754 4816      end_of_the_skype_highlighting; fax: 530 752 0382)

A major concern when shipping wine is whether the condition in which it is received at its destination is the same as when it left the winery. This study explored the effects of shipping conditions on six varietal wines. Four white wines and four red wines were exposed to four different storage conditions to create 32 treatments. Riesling, Gewürztraminer, Sauvignon blanc, and Chardonnay wines were from one producer and of the same vintage. One Merlot and three Cabernet Sauvignon wines were from different labels by the same producer. Storage conditions included 20°C, 40°C, 20/40°C (reflecting diurnal cycle in temperatures), and a sample that traveled in the trunk of a car for three weeks. The 32 wines were evaluated using sensory descriptive analysis. Trained panelists, 11 for white wine and 13 for red wine, rated the wines on 14 and 23 attributes, respectively. Volatiles were analyzed using a HS-SPME-GC-MS analysis. Both sensory and analytical results showed significant differences among the wines stored at the higher temperatures. Differences were noted for a number of compounds, including higher concentrations of vitispirane 1 and 2, TDN, and p-cymene and reductions in several esters and acetates, which are characteristic of aged wines. This is the first study that has assessed sensory changes in wines under conditions that would potentially be experienced by wine in transit.

Key words:
wine aroma, sensory descriptive analysis, HS-SPME, GC-MS, storage temperature, PLS

In conclusion, Italian wines DO taste better in Italy as opposed to here, in my opinion. To me, some wines have tasted watered down, and even more acidic than normal. The same Chianti wine the I drank in Italy was full and tasty, but here it was very watery, and the glass could not even be finished. Well, the experiment explains why. This is not to say that this has always happened, but on several occasions, it was noticeable.

Have you noticed a difference in taste of your wine?

Monday, October 11, 2010

Off the Beaten Trail: Puglia

Puglia is known as the heel of the Italian stivale, boot, bordered by Campania, Basilicata, and Molise. It is perhaps one of the richest parts of Italy in terms of archaeological sites. In 1999, just outside of the town of Altamura, in the De Lucia Quarry, discoveries of Europe's, and perhaps the world's, largest finding of dinosaur footprints were uncovered. The footprints were exposed by rainfall, uncovering a 12,000 square meter area comprised of at least 4,000 footprints. After examining the finds, scientists revealed that there were 200 dinosaurs responsible for the prints, and were of 5 different species. They were so perfectly preserved that the folds in the animals' skin can be seen! They were dated back to about 70 million years ago.

In 1993, a complete skeleton of a man dating back 130,000 years ago was found in the Lamalunga cave. At some point, the man had been trapped inside the cave, and met his demise. Also found in the are were different species of animals and fauna.

Fast forwarding to the 1st millenium BC, the region was settled by the Illyric and Italic peoples. For thousands of years, there was a constant struggle over the lands of Southern Italy.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Down South: The Woes of Public Transportation

On our way south to the town of Agropoli, our small group had already faced the inconveniences of Italian public transportation... but it would not be the last time. The gods of transportation were having too much fun and games to let up just yet.

We were scheduled to leave in the early evening, and so we did. When we arrived at the next station to transfer, however, no connecting train arrived. I do not remember the exact reason, but it possibly had something to do with it being Sunday. Our teachers had warned us about the possible problems with travel on the weekends before everyone set out on their adventures. After crossing the tracks (yes, this may seem a shock, but there was no under passage) we further discovered the station's office was not open. Great! Thankfully one of my friends had a usable phone to call the uncles, as my 'credito' (the credit on the Sims card) was spent. We backtracked our way to Agropoli. Our friend's uncles were able to find out information for the next train departure, and at around midnight, we were Pesaro bound.

Us stuck at the station

On the overnight train, we did not have to worry about any connecting trains. We settled in for the long ride and fell fast asleep after a long day in the heat. Our adventures would not end there though. There was no air conditioning on the train, but with the window open, there was a nice cool breeze. Having the window open was not ideal with the loud clacking of the wheels on the track. Sleepily, I closed the window, which cut out some of the noise. It soon grew hot and stuffy in our compartment. The train had little rooms with doors and seats that folded out for sleeping. We were crammed in like sausages in a plastic package.

At one point during our trip, my friend left the cabin to go into the next one in order to get fresh air. The cooler air was refreshing. Upon returning to our cabin, she was approached by a man. I am pretty certain we were the only passengers in that car due to the fact that it was an overnight train. He asked her if he could join us in our compartment, peering in the window as we slept. "No," she said, "there's clearly no room, and my friends are sleeping." He thankfully walked away. It was bizarre knowing that a lone stranger would have asked such a thing. It's scary even thinking about her being alone in the corridor, and we knew nothing about it. Anything could have happened.

Our train into Pesaro did not arrive until 5 or 6 AM. Class was at 8AM every morning of the week, except on weekends, which were of course free time. We had already called and spoken to one of our teachers that we would be late and/or possibly miss class. From Pesaro to Urbino, it was still another hour or so by bus, in addition to being driven to class. With luck, after briefly stopping at our dorms, we made it back in time for class. During that class, I had to do a presentation. Everyone had already presented, and I arrived just in time to do mine. What luck! Shortly after, class ended.

Had similar experiences with Italian public transportation?
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Friday, October 1, 2010

Feature Friday: The Professional Student

A former classmate of mine at Rutgers University has opened up her own blog. We met in an Italian conversation class the semester before I left for Urbino. Her writings have nothing to do with anything Italian, but she raises really pressing issues, such as sexuality and the ignorance towards an individual's religion. Her post titled Ignorance is Bliss... and Ignorance is based on the current issue encircling the debate of the Muslim mosque being built near Ground Zero.

Although her (so far) two posts are very interesting, they do not express my own views. So head on over and check out her blog, The Professional Student. Future postings include a book review; the recent headlines of Rutgers student, Tyler Clementi; and the University of Michigan's Chris Armstong.