Tosca in Bologna

I finally went to see my first Opera, Tosca, and it changed my life. I had to strain my neck a bit from my balcony seat to see the stage and not block the view of the adorable older couple in my box, but it really didn’t matter what I saw. The sounds of the songs entered deep into my soul, in a hidden spot I didn’t know existed until that moment.  Somehow I feel more grounded.

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Tortellini Freschi

To all you Italian craftswomen and men out there who spend hours a day meticulously stuffing and folding tortellini; grazie mille. Your work does not go unappreciated. Really. Look at these things! Sensual lines. Warm amber color. Flawlessly stuffed with subtly sweet pumpkin and creamy ricotta. Delicately packed and dusted with flour for transport home. Why can’t all food be this fussed-over and celebrated?

I regret not asking the name of the charming, middle-aged woman who made these stunning fresh tortellini, or at least taking note of the name of the small pasta shop, so you could support her efforts next time you find yourself in Bologna. (I do remember that it was on Via Sant’Isaia somewhere between Via Pietralata and Via di Marchi).

After a three minute bath in boiling water, a bit of fresh butter melted atop, I sat down with a fellow Italian student /Scottish friend over a good bottle of Sangiovese and honored them as best I could with all my “Ooh’s and Aah’s” of culinary gratitude. Yum. Grazie mille.

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Carnevale di Bambini a Bologna

If you’re an adult and love celebrating Carnival with big parties and colorful street celebrations full of elaborately masked adults, steer clear of Bologna and head North-East to Venice. And if you’re lucky enough to still be under 10 years of age, the Sunday before Fat Tuesday is commemorated in Bologna with Carnevale di Bambini, or Kid’s Carnival, in the Piazza Maggiore, and it’s sure to put a smile on your face.

There’s nothing better, in my opinion, than watching costumed kids running around throwing colorful confetti on one another. Maybe I’m just a big kid myself, but I wish I could throw confetti around every day and add a bit more color to world. [This will be my future campaign.] Today, though, I got as far as buying a bag for myself, but for some reason I didn’t have the gusto to join in the festivities (next time I need to rent a kid for the day; it might make it easier).

I think these pictures really speak for themselves. I hope they inspire you as they’ve inspired me. We all need to add more color and fun in our lives, n’est-ce pas?

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Bubbles in Bologna

There’s a very good chance that I was more mesmerized by these gargantuan bubbles than the crowd of excited Italian bambini pressed up against me one bustling Sunday in Bologna. These are the kind of bubbles that float in the dreams of clowns-in-training and overly ambition kids that one day end up at MIT. Remarkably, these bubbles are even capable of distracting me from creamy Italian gelato, if only for a good five minutes.

I was curious what ingredients went into such heavy-duty bubbles, and after a bit of online research, I stumbled upon the website of a man named Sam L Richards who shares his obsession for ‘Big Bubbles’ and even offers up a hefty, street-performer-ready recipe. One of these days, I’ll test this recipe and fill you in on the results, but in the meantime, I encourage you to find an empty street corner, set out your tip bucket and start inspiring those around you with your soaring orbs of brilliance and color.

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Morning in Milano

Fashion Week concludes this weekend in Milan, and consequently I’m feeling a bit like a tourist-slob while out on my Sunday morning stroll. Are Italian people always this well dressed? Is it practical to walk around the city in shiny, designer 600 Euro heels on a Sunday morning? Since this is Milan, and it happens to be fashion week, I’m just going to hold my head up high, dust off my cherry-red, ill-fitted puffy jacket that would be better suited for a yuppy Colorado ski town, groom my unruly hair a bit and go get a pastry and Macchiato. There. Now I feel better.

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Morning in Milano

Trains, treni

I love the trains in Europe. Traveling from France to Italy meant over 12 hours reading, gazing out the window and contemplating life during four different train segments: Paris to Avignon, Avignon to Geneva, Geneva to Milan, Milan to Bologna. Unfortunately, a ticket mishap in France meant that I had to repurchase my ticket in Switzerland from Geneva to Milan for a ridiculously exorbitant price in Swiss Francs. Maybe it was the Swiss Francs that annoyed me, or the persistent jet-lag, but I arrived in Milan a bit grouchy. I still love trains though. That will never change.

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