Parking in Italy 1   1 comment

In Europe we have a particular system to limit car parking problems: parking disc. This system may create problem to who have never used it, so let’s explain it.

ARRIVAL:Upon arrival on a parking lot requiring to display a parking disc you are supposed to set the parking disc and put it on display behind the front windshield (front windscreen).

The disc has a thumb wheel (knurling wheel) to show different clock times. The standard parking clock can show full twelve hours in a round with additional marks for each half hour. The mark to choose is the time rounded up from the actual arrival time: arriving at 10:00:01 do set the clock to 10:30 and arriving at 10:29:59 do set the clock to 10:30 as well. In law speak “parking is allowed when the vehicle shows a parking disc that is easily readable from the outside and whose clockhand points to the mark of the half hour that follows the time of arrival”.

 DEPARTURE:The last departure time is calculated from the shown arrival time (the next half hour) on the parking disc plus the indicated maximum parking time. If the parking disc was set to 10:30 and the parking sign indicated a 1 hour maximum parking time then free parking will end at 11:30.

Somebody created a gadget to get longer parking time, but we are not so sure the Vigili (urban police men) do agree …


Posted December 19, 2011 by Simo & Paola in Italy

An Ultra-Modern Hotel in Turin   Leave a comment

We decided to spend a weekend in Turin for turism but also for a workshop So we have chosen an hotel near the Conference Hall at Lingotto . It was a great surprise.

The Lingotto building once was a huge automobile factory, constructed by Fiat (Italian car company). Built from 1916 and opened in 1923 It was the largest car factory in the world at that time. For its time, the Lingotto building was alante-garde, influential and impressive. Le Corbusier called it “one of the most impressive sights in industry”, The factory became outmoded in the 1970s and the decision was made to finally close it in 1982. The closure of the plant led to much public debate about its future.

The old factory was renovated into a modern complex designed by the famous architect Renzo Piano : with concert hall, theatre, a convention centre , shopping arcade , a Modern Art museum and 2 prestigious hotels.

The original Lingotto rooftop test track has been transformed in a vast panoramic terrace overlooking the city. And has been also the site of  the speed skating  venue for tthe 2006 Winter Olimpics

Le Meridien Art+Tech hotel is ultra-modern and integrates past and fute by combining modern architecture with the newly refurbished Lingotto Fiat plant. 

Posted February 16, 2011 by Simo & Paola in Italy

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Confetti an Italian Tradition

When there is a celebration most likely colorful little things called confettis are involved. Inmany countries they are tiny specs of colorful paper that are thrown in the air to make us cheerful, in Italy  confettis are sugarcoated almonds that are given at celebrations in a wish for good luck.

But the origins of confettis the way they are today is still unknown. Antique books describe them as “small sweets made of cooked sugar that hide a tender almond, hazelnut or pistachio heart. They come in two different forms: soft or hard.

Traditionally the hard ones feature a peeled toasted almond while the soft ones are filled with almond paste, candied fruit or chocolate . There are many variations

In Italy confettis are traditionally given at important celebrations:

weddings, anniversaries and religious events, like baptisms . Belief is that they bring good luck, so it is customary to give a nice bundle of these sweet treats to all guests  This tradition is believed to have started in the 1400’s when they were given to actors for good luck for the upcoming performance.

Confetti come in different shapes, sizes and colors. Traditionally, white confetti are given at weddings, because they represent the pureness of the bride in small fabric bags as a good wish for each guest. The amount of confettis given has to be odd as it symbolizes the birth of a baby. At christenings confettis are pink for baby girls and light blue for boys. For anniversaries they can be of any color but for a couple’s 25th they have to be silver and for the 50th they have to be gold. For college graduation they need to be red.


Italy is the major producer of these special little sweets

Confetti almond production is concentrated in the Abruzzo and Campania regions, and Sicily is noted for its famous Avola almonds. Less famous, but excellent and with long tradition are Confettis from Andra a little city north of Bari , in Apulia . During our tour in Apulia we have discover them . The shop and the little museum are delicious . The family owner has been so helpful in giving has a lot of explanation

Here is the link to the museum in Andria

Posted November 17, 2010 by Simo & Paola in Italy

A morning at Campo dei Fiori Market in Rome   Leave a comment

Rome’s oldest market is held on Campo dei Fiori.Here you will find the best fish in the city, fresh vegetables and attractively-piled fruit, spice, as well as kitchen utensils, tablecloths and toys.

Anytime we are in Rome we like to take a tour to this market. There are other market I like, the differences are in the variety, and the presentation, The fruits and vegetables, spices… Once we found 6 kinds of tomatoes, 5 varieties of strawberries, 4 different zucchinis, different greens and artichokes  In other markets you find good fruit and vegetables, but it is dumped into boxes and bins. Here, long years of competition  have made for special displays: antique baskets  hold carefully arranged fruits, vegetables pyramids of color.

There are big bags of spices op and adding to the delicious riot of smells. One of Rome’s best bread bakeries — many say the best of all — is at one corner of the square. Follow your nose to “il Forno”.

We particularly like to stop and watch the little old man that uses a variety of amazing utensils to slice, spiral, dice, and curlicue vegetables  Nobody else can really use those things, but he’s an expert and is great fun to watch.

There is enough space for sidewalk cafes and restaurants around the fringes.

The Piazza has, of course, a whole different life at night. It’s cleansed of market  by late afternoon and at night the restaurants and cafes are crowded .

Posted April 5, 2010 by Simo & Paola in Italy

An afternoon break in Milan   Leave a comment

Milan ( “Milano” for Italians ) is well know as the business Italian city , but you can discover hidden sites and real Italian lifestyle . We have been there for a weekend and on saturday afternoon walking around and after the visit to Castello Sforzesco (Sforzesco Castle) ,

we found typical Italian stalls with

Roasted Chestnuts (Caldarroste ) ,

Cotton Candy (Zucchero Filato) ,

Fritter (Fittelle) and Doughnut ( Bomboloni ) .

Gio  enjoyed cotton candy and Magi roasted chestnuts !

Posted March 6, 2010 by Simo & Paola in Italy

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Paris, Paris for foodies   Leave a comment

A  tour to Paris is always compulsory and it offers many possibilities to foodies……Beautiful dessert in a shop window..elegant presentation ,this is something very parisienne

Gorgeous creêpes and galettes :a little crêperie near Boulvard Montmatre and Grevin Wax Museum is a place we cannot miss…even if Caterina de’Medici brought crespelle to France, the French crêpes variation is simply fantastic..with butter, cream,chocolate, slamon, cheese, salad and much more….

Posted February 15, 2010 by Simo & Paola in Paris

A Cappuccino in Tokyo

DSC00980We have visited Japan for our job twice in the last 2 years . Last October we were in Kyoto for an Italian Food show at Isetan department store and we drunk one of the best “cappuccino”  We met the owner of  Bar del Sole , a famous Italian bar & restaurant in Tokyo- Roppongi.  An Italian friends who works and lives in Tokyo, told us it’s so cool to go there for a “cappuccino” The macchiato is creamy without a bitter aftertaste, and the cappuccino is flecked with dark chocolate to create a savory balance. And the  decoration  on top is art decoration  look at these photos.




Posted August 17, 2009 by Simo & Paola in Japan

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