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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Saint Anna Di Stazzema-A Pillar of Remembrance

copyright 2010 art of living, PrimaMedia,Inc

Laying on the outskirts of the Apaun Alps, the village of Sant’Anna di Stazzema stands as a pillar of remembrance in Italy. The whole village now stands as a nobly divine memorial of an infamous World War II massacre in early August of 1944.

More than 560 people died in martyrdom at the hands of Nazi soldiers. The people, mostly women, children, and the elderly, were shot point blank in the town square, lined up against a church. The brutality of the attack struck fear, anger, and shock throughout the Italian people.

Today, Sant’Anna di Stazzema is a mended wound on the spine of the mountains, visited by many to see the memorial dedicated to those who lost their lives in the hatred. Although there are long-lasting scars among the family of those murdered, stitches are being threaded as an investigation takes hold. Up until 2004, the Nazi soldiers involved in the genocide of Sant’Anna were remained nameless. Investigations are surfacing, and the disrupted families of those lost are becoming content with the increasing justice.

Although the subject of the Sant’Anna di Stazzema massacre is a thick, horrific subject, tourists visit the village to marinate in its history, and its recovery. The village is making amends and friends of the Germans, as they gradually embrace forgiveness.

The village of Sant’Anna di Stazzema is an illustration of the metamorphosis of past to present, and a mark of Tuscany that will always be the bold mark on the map

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Please Don't Take Away My Salt...

 copyright 2010, art of living, PrimaMedia, Inc.
Guest Blogger: Emily Brauchle

Since the recession, Americans have been forced to give up small luxuries in order to sustain themselves and their budgets. Small luxuries may be cutting down on the grocery list, limiting vacation time, or conserving energy to shrink the electricity bill. There are plenty of comforts Americans have slowly begun to live without, but the fine treat of salt is something Americans could not go without. Tuscans, however, are a different story.

In Tuscany, Roman soldiers were paid in salt for its high value and cost. Salt was extremely expensive in that era due to the high tax placed on it. Salt, or sale in Italian, is where the English language gets the word salary and the expression ‘worth your salt’. With the tax on salt, Tuscans learned to live without the delicacy and adjusted their recipes and cuisine, most significantly their bread making.

At present, Tuscan bread is still, as it has been forever, perceived as simple and satisfying. Now it is also known to be salt-free, as the change in tradition carried over from century to century unto the present day. Nowadays, Italians claim that they prefer their salt-free carbs, and wouldn’t have it any other way, as it acts as a host to its accompanying food and it’s spices.

Bread is served, not as a main dish or entrée, but as a side accompanying. The unadorned bread accentuates the flavor of the food it is served next to, and does not counterbalance any flavor or taste of the important part of the dish. Tuscans have mastered the balance between too little and too much, making absolutely sure the consumer is never smothered, but always satisfied.

Sept 9-12-Hudson Valley WIne Festival, Rhinebeck, NY, Maria Liberati & The Basic Art of Italian Cooking will be onstage doing cooking demos from the newly released  award winning book The Basic Art of Italian Cooking:  Holidays & Special Occasions-2nd Edition

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Sunday, June 6, 2010

When in Tuscany...

copyright 2010, art of living,PrimaMedia,Inc
Guest Blogger: Emily Brauchle

In the beautiful utopia of Tuscany, thousands of places call out your name. You know that you can leave your boredom on the plane and release yourself into the paradise of Tuscany. You have countless places in Tuscany you’re just dying to see for the first time and breathe in all the artistry, history, and shopping. However, there are three places you must see during your holiday in Tuscany.

One is the beautiful city of Florence, or Firenze, where tourists flock to -like ants to a watermelon. Florence is the capital region of Tuscany, as well as the birthplace of the Renaissance. Being known as the ‘Athens of the Middle Ages’, Florence has a vast amount of architecture, music, art, culture, and cuisine wrapped up in the center of Tuscany like a gift. Florence was home to famous artists like Michelangelo, Dante, Botticelli, and da Vinci in older times, and is now home to the best modern art, courtesy of Prada, Cavalli, and Gucci. With one museum after another, and market after the next, no wonder it’s considered the art capital of Italy, and one of the most visited cities in the world. It’s an artist’s realm, and a shopper’s heaven.

Another gem to visit under the Tuscan sun is the famous Pisa. Yes, home to the ‘Leaning Tower of Pisa’. All of those pictures you see with a person looking like a giant holding up a tall bell tower on an incline? Yes. That would be the Tower of Pisa. Not that you would travel half way around the world to see a falling building that is. The tower is company to the Duomo (neighboring cathedral rich in artistic works), the Baptistery of San Giovanni (which is rumored to cause bad luck among surrounding underclassmen who visit it), and the Camposanto (a monumental cemetery that is simple on the outside, and magnificently designed on the inside) in a beautiful square set apart form the rest of the town. Pisa is a pillar of necessity when visiting Tuscany.

Last, but not least, is Siena. Siena, along with it’s obviously desired cuisine, architecture, landscapes, and art, is widely known for its Palio di Siena. The Palio di Siena is a horse race held twice a year during the summer that attracts thousands to the city. The race has ten horses (symbolizing ten city regions in Siena) racing against each other, ridden bareback by jockeys. What makes this race unique is the requirement for winning. The only thing that needs to cross the finish line is the district’s horse, not the jockey! The excitement of the race is only amplified by the intensity of the jockey’s fate, as well as the fate of the district’s pride.

When in Tuscany, time can be passed by the years easily. The beauty of it is ravishing and divine, as well as its history and art. World-weariness is in short supply, so have fun! See everything, but be absolutely sure you see the three centered provinces of Florence, Pisa, and Siena.

For more Italian travel stories and recipe get your copy of the Award Winning book The Basic Art of Italian Cooking: Holidays & Special Occasions-2nd edition
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Wednesday, June 2, 2010

A Slow Food Journey to Florence

copyright 2010, art of living,PrimaMedia,Inc
Guest Blogger: Daniel Dorr

Let's  start our Slow Food journey  in the beautiful city of Florence. This cultural mecca has the hustle and bustle of New York City, but with thousands of years of high culture engrained in the historic marble lain structures that gleam in the Mediterranean sun. Generations of Florence citizens have been perfecting art, architecture, literature and of course, cooking. Exploring the streets of this art laden city can literally entrance residents and visitors alike in its beauty and aromas.

Since 1973 Fabio Picchi has helped maintain but established his own niche in Florence as a cultural institution, reviving traditional Italian dining. The exuberant reaction to his first restaurant, Cibrèo Restaurante, has allowed him to continue cultivating taste-buds throughout the region. Picchi expanded his presence in the city and has been esteemed by patrons from all over the globe – so much so that people wanted more. He decided to open three more locations, all bearing the name Cibrèo. One of these is a dinner theatre Teatro del Sale, in which his wife Maria Cassi performs for those who really want to experience an “old world” meal in an original Florentine theater. Each restaurant varies in theme and price range, but never leaves the customer with a bad taste in their mouth, as they consume fresh, organic and locally grown ingredients --- a standard kept in high regards to the Slow Food alliance.

Walking into the restaurant one will usually find a long line of anxiously awaiting patrons. Those who frequent the location will not be found muttering impatient gripes but absorbing the ambiance of an old Italian dining room with the sophistication of a 21st century tourist destination.

The waiting staff is multi-lingual, since there is no written menu -- Signor Picchi being too well-versed in Italian cuisine to limit his talents to a select few dishes. The entrees, while being traditionally inspired Tuscan dishes, are improved under the scrupulating hands of the owner/chef extraordinaire. There are no pasta dishes on the menu because traditional Tuscan meals did not include this. The customary Tuscan dishes are unsalted breads baked in garlic and dipped in homemade virgin olive oil, as well as a course of meat – the staple being wild boar, and a tomato dish infused with herbs and mushrooms. The native Florentine is making famous these and dishes that he grew up eating, such as stuffed rabbit, and calamari casseroles.

For recipes and more info on special places in Italy get yoru copy of the book selected as The Best Italian Cuisine Book in the USA-
The Basic Art of Italian Cooking: Holidays & Special Occasions-2nd edition

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