Monthly Archives: September 2013


You wanna try the recipe that made him won the show? Try it here……………



Posted by on September 12, 2013 in Uncategorized


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  Never forget

 Peter Tosh



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Posted by on September 11, 2013 in Uncategorized


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Jesters and fireworks at the Royal Palace, a walk to a Castle and a Church

Last weekend was a busy one. Considering we spent all the time doing what we like the most, we don’t complain about lack of sleep and tiredness (beside maybe a couple of kilos put on….)

Saturday late afternoon we drove with our friends (and daughter M with hers……we had a nice encounter in the garden a few hours later) to a nearby village where there’s a Royal Palace with a nice garden that we visit often in springtime and that houses lots of exhibitions all year long. The Ducal Palace, also known as Reggia di Colorno, was built by Francesco Farnese, Duke of Parma in the early 18th century on the remains of a former castle.

Previously the summer residence of Francesco Farnese, then favourite residence of Don Filippo di Borbone and of his wife Louise Elisabeth, daughter of the French king Louis XV, who renovated the palace and furnished it like its model, Versailles, and later still inhabited by Marie Louise of Austria until the mid-19th century, it was opened and equipped as a site to house prestigious international exhibitions in 1995, with the exhibition on the Farnese collection. A complex and long project for its restoration, in charge of the Provincial Administration of Parma and of the Ministry for Cultural Heritage through the competent Superintendence, has saved the building from a situation of total dilapidation, adapting it to the standards of a site for exhibitions, but above all it has allowed us to re-discover the fascination of an 18th century regal dwelling set like a precious jewel in the Po river plain. The most recent addition to this restoration was the Italian ‘parterre’ with its fresh flowery motif. The Province has felt its responsibility as the owner of the Palace in Colorno to hand down a secular history, whose important is clearly evident in the beauty of its architecture and in the wonders it houses. After the unification of Italy, it became a state possession, and in 1870 it was acquired by the province of Parma, and is now home to ALMA, a world renowned Italian culinary school.

The restoration programme – which still continues on the huge building thanks to the unyielding commitment of the Province and of other Public bodies such as the Emilia Romagna Region and the Ministry for Cultural Heritage – has been coupled with a project for the use of the Palace, restoring the public function to the whole building. Regulations have set down the conditions for temporary use – by whoever files a request therefore – of the area inside the Regal Palace. The Municipal library of Colorno has its permanent site here as well as the associations CIDIEP and GisForm, which carry out scientific work and training projects. As an outstanding centre of the cultural life of Parma and its province, the Palace in Colorno houses exhibitions and musical events in the Ducal Chapel of San Liborio, exquisitely furnished with 18th century art.

The historical garden of the palace has recently been opened to the public, following its restoration. Each year, in spring, the Flower Exhibition “In the sign of the Lily“, takes place here, an important greenhouse flowers exhibition of national renown attended by the major operators in the field.

After a walk through the garden, we reached the table we booked for a dinner the students of the culinaty school have cooked, a center spot so to be able to see the evening events closely enough….

We had Parma ham with spinach and broccoli cream at the buffett…

and then prawns risotto…..

tuna fillet with balsamic vinegar

and strawberry ice-cream….

Just what we needed for the night ahead…..the village was crowded by the time we finished dinner, and every street and square was a stage for a “night at the circus”……..Colorno became the city of fools again, an open stage full of acrobats, jugglers and clowns. As every end of summer, in this little town formerly known for his asylum, madness was in the streets for the exhibition “All crazy”. Music, shows, applause, laughter, jokes, stunts filled the three days for the sixth edition of the international festival of circus and street theater sponsored by the City of Colorno.

We had so much fun that I almost forgot I had a camera…………. eventually we made it back to the Palace garden for the big event of the night, the “Fire at the Palace”, a concert followed by a 15 minutes of amazing fireworks…..

Once again I was so drifted away by the terrific show, I didn’t take so many pics, but luckily my daughter has….It was  such a magic night, so the next morning we didn’t complain much when we woke up early to meet our friends for breakfast….

We drove our bikes up to the hills where we enjoyed fresh air, amazing landscapes and each other company….

and we stopped for a short visit of Castelcorniglio… was closed but we walked around it and inside the courtyard….

The locality Corniliolum was mentioned in documents dated 1226 as a feud belonging to the Municipality of Parma. A few years later, it was included in a list of property belonging to Manfredo Pallavicino and, in 1430 it belonged to Niccolò Piccinino; however, no further mention was made for centuries of this remote fortress entrenched in its magnificent position above the rivers Taro, Pessola and Ceno at an altitude of 418 m, whose purpose was undoubtedly to stop any access by the troops from Piacenza to the feuds of the Solignano territory. It also belonged to the Rugarli family, then in the mid-19th century it was owned by Filippo Zanetti, then by the Zanchi family, and finally by the Buratti family. Today it has been restored to its 16h – 17h century appearance, with large sections rebuilt in the 19th century. Given the uneven ground and irregular terrain on which the castle was built, it is found on various levels: external walls in river stones and sandstone connect the two round towers with long Ghibelline style embattlements; the walls enclose two inner courtyards, the northern one contains a crenellated tower with a quadrangular layout and double lancet windows and loopholes on the upper floor level. A third courtyard has been transformed into a vegetable garden. Ample sections were rebuilt in the 19th century: the entrance to the castle, on the southern side, is through a 19th century portal. The other walls follow the ups-and-downs of the terrain, providing the building with a varied and spectacular appearance, enhanced by the outlook towers, by the embattlements, and by the use of natural stone. The northern courtyard contains a well, called the well “of the thousand cuts “ and memorial tablets appear everywhere, with Latin inscriptions embedded in various sections of the walls.

It was time for lunch, so we reached the restaurant………………(sorry, I took pics at random and the light was really bad)

on the contrary the food was really gooood, starting with tortelli filled with cheese and nettles cream

pork roulade with cheese and mushrooms cream

“zuppa inglese” (husband forgot to breath while eating this….)

banana and chocolate cake

grapes pie with ice-cream

We all needed a walk after lunch, so we strolled around to explore the area…………

We reluctantly said goodbye late in the afternoon but….well, there’s always next sunday….


Posted by on September 11, 2013 in Uncategorized


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Addio signor Alberto

Goodbye Mr Alberto………….through your eyes and words, written in a book or said in a movie, I fell in love with our hometown over and over again….

Alberto Bevilacqua as a director (here shooting a movie in our town) was a visionary man…..

and as a writer he liked to walk throught the city to “breath” his fellow citizens feelings and moods…………

and he liked to be back here (he lived in Rome) from time to time (more often when he was younger) to officially open the “Parma Poetry Festival” (here in 2010 and 2011)

It was always a pleasure listening to his stories when he was on tv (here, the last time in 2012, before his illness took over)

Some of you might have seen this old movie, if not and you have the chance, watch it, it’s worth your time (even better, read the book)

or maybe this one…..

This is what an italian newspaper has to say about him….

Parma’s Gift to Cinema and Literature

During his life, Alberto Bevilacqua collected some of Italian literary society’s top recognitions: the Campiello Prize for “That Kind of Love” (in 1966), the Strega Prize for “The Eye of the Cat” (in 1968), the anointment as Knight of the Grand Cross in 2010. But most of all he was an author who the public loved very much. Actually, it would be safe to say that readers and viewers have been a constant compass for the writer from Parma, as if whoever engages in fiction (written or cinematic) should most of all imagine himself in a relationship with his future recipient and as if literary success could not exist without a substantial popular approval. The other most evident feature of Bevilacqua’s activity was his curiosity and his desire to put himself to the test with the most diverse writing genres: from classic fiction novels to cultural journalism, from screenwriting to poetry. A quick review at the titles of his nearly 40 novels gives us an idea of his narrative, where great feelings are never approached by the caution of periphrasis: “love/lover” and “Parma/Parmigiano (from Parma) dominate on all other words, confirming a precise short circuit between passions and places that Bevilaqcua never ceased to cultivate. (Other recurrent words of his are “mother,” “soul,” “mysterious.”) Possibly, his best novel is also his first: “A City in Love,” published by Sugarco in 1962; the choice—of which he was extremely aware—in favor of popular narrative was already clear two years later with “La Califfa (The Female Caliph),” which granted him a huge-selling success and which, although far from being his best book, has remained most vividly than others in the readers’ memories. It is a sort of allegory of the relationship between capital and labor that, thanks to the love of an ex-blue-collar worker who became a powerful entrepreneur for the widow of an employee of his killed in a strike, seems to find, even if for only a moment, some kind of reconciliation. Unlike many other writers, Bevilacqua loved to personally follow his work to screen adaptation. Out of the seven feature films based on his novels, two required a big production commitment and obtained a similarly big success. First, “La Califfa,” from 1970, with Ugo Tognazzi and a splendid Romy Schneider as protagonists, which was also presented at the Cannes festival in 1971: plotwise it turned out to be very different from the novel, as Bevilacqua himself explained, simply for budget reasons. (It should be noted that the ending was changed, with the industrialist no longer dying of natural causes and instead getting killed in a sort of conspiracy due to his projects of social harmony.) Then, “This Kind of Love,” from 1972, also with Ugo Tognazzi, this time sided by Jean Seberg. (The movie ended up winning the Davide di Donatello Award.) For one of those curious, unpredictable twists of fame, possibly the work by Bevilacqua to leave the most indelible mark on international culture was a screenplay. In 1962 Italian horror maestro Mario Bava asked for his help putting together a three-part movie based on three horror (novel) maestros from the 1800s: Guy De Maupassant, Aleksej Tolstoj and Anton Cecov. The Parma writer, not yet blessed with success, accepted the challenge and helped give birth to one of Italy’s horror masterpieces: “Black Sabbath,” from which the English heavy metal band took its name (“The Three Faces of Fear” was the Italian title). Quentin Tarantino and Roman Polanski are among the biggest fans of that movie and many have detected analogies between the Bava film and both Tarantino’s “Pulp Fiction” and Polanski’s “The Tenant.” Bava and Bevilacqua tried again the following year with a science fiction film based on a novel by Renato Pesstrinero, “A 21-Hour Night,” entitled for cinema “Terror in Space” in Italy and “Planet of the Vampires” internationally (1965). Though production limitations are, in this case, much more evident than in Black Sabbath, the writer and the filmmaker managed to create one of the few successful movies of Italian science fiction distributed all over the world. According to many critics, it inspired “Alien,” by Ridley Scott. (In fact some similarities between the two movies are striking.) One might just think that emotions like desire and fear were equivalent for Bevilacqua—as long as the relationship with his audience remained strong.

So, again, goodbye Signor Alberto, it’s a honor for me to share the same roots…..

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Posted by on September 10, 2013 in Uncategorized


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What a night!

There’s this place between my town and the next big one, just in the middle. It’s a very big place, the old railway station, renovated and open to all groups of people, even if it’s a private club (but you just have to pay a few bucks and get a pass that last all year and it’s valid also for all the clubs like this in Italy).

It’s called “Fuori Orario” – out of schedule/after hours – and you can have a seat outside or inside. Inside there’s also an old  train, always crowded (especially in winter) when you can seat and have something to eat and to drink (it’s also a restaurant, nothing too pretentious but their paella is wonderful!). Almost every night there’s music played there, either live or mixed by a DJ and you can dance. It’s usually packed with young but sometimes the average age rises up according to the occasion.

Last week there was one of the special nights…so I went with my daughter, her friend with her mom and other friends….the official version is that they took us with them!

There was a group performing and they were very good, but the main reason we were there was this woman

“Woman” is how she call herself and everyone else doesn’t behave in a different way, but actually she’s a transgender, Vladimir Luxuria, an Italian actress, writer, politician and television hot. Luxuria was a Communist Refoundation Party member of the Italian parliament, and the first openly transgender member of Parliament in Europe, and the world’s second openly transgender MP after New Zealander Georgina Beyer. She lost her seat in the election of April, 2008.

Luxuria has long been a strong advocate for gay rights and a participant in events promoting equality for homosexuals. She helped organize Italy’s first gay pride festival in 1994 and continued her activism throughout her tenure as a politician; in May 2007, she took part in the second Muscovite gay pride parade. She used her prominence in Italian politics once elected as a platform for advocating gay rights. In the lead-up to her election, Luxuria made gay rights an issue of her campaign and felt herself to be a representative of the LGBT community, saying, “We don’t want privileges – we want our rights.” In addition, Luxuria called for civil unions to be enabled for gay couples and for Italy to accommodate political asylum for “all gays who try to get into Italy from countries where homosexuality is punishable by death”. Luxuria also campaigned prior to the elections for gays to have cohabitation rights, and had helped campaign by winning the support of Italy’s left. Furthermore, Luxuria outlined her long-term support for full gay marriage rights, comparable with Spain’s implementation of the law. In September 2006, she stated that the Vatican’s ongoing influence in politics, specifically in regards to gay marriage, contravened clauses of the Italian Constitution. Luxuria reacted to Pope Benedict XVI’s end-of-year speech in 2008, when he compared protecting the environment with saving humanity from a “blurring of gender” (homosexual or transsexual behaviour), by saying that such comments were “hurtful”.

It was so interesting to listen to all the proposals she has for assuring that everyone has the right to be who he/she is no matter what, and to learn how other countries have dealt with the subject. The night was organized by the club itself with the help of a couple of lesbians married abroad who are fighting the italian system in order to get egual rights for all. Their experience was such a eyes opener to me.

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Posted by on September 7, 2013 in Uncategorized


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Now, that’s something new!

You know, sometimes there’s somebody who has a very nice idea that I like to share. Case in point, these two people, married and working together, managing a tobacco/bar/postcard shop near my office.

Do you see what he has in his hand? yes, they are lighters. They asked one of the most popular company on the market to make some special edition of lighters introducing some peculiarities of our hometown…

So, at the price of €1,50 each, you can be the proud owner of the one citing a very famous parmesan way of saying…..(translation: Balbo, you may have crossed the Atlantic, but not the Parma river)

Perhaps not everyone knows that this sentence was written in 1922 by a partisan to mock the fascist Balbo, author of a famous flight across the Atlantic Ocean, but unable to cross the far smaller city river to go to Oltretorrente (behind the water) barricades defended by the “Arditi del Popolo” (partisans) and civilians.

Or you can buy the classic ones, with the usual “I love” logo, with a heart and the Battistero, one of our most famous and beloved monuments…

Then we have three of them with the most used phrase in the entire world….but enriched with our dialect…

The blue one says literally “give it some oil” meaning be faster doing a work (and really don’t ask me why, maybe just because if you lubricate a mechanism it works better and faster).

The orange one says “lower your crest” meaning be humbler or be less a boaster

The red one says “hurry up” used in every occasion

This below is my favourite (front and back)…………

The man drawn on it is the local head banger, a man with an indeterminate age, walking through the city all year long with the same attire, always available to share a beer if you’re buying, and to share with you anecdotes of his life. Here’s a pic of the real subject…just the same, don’t you think?

Yesterday back from work I just had to stop at the shop again and buy them………I can’t help myself….





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Posted by on September 6, 2013 in Uncategorized


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Siempre In Corazón (still in our hearts)….. The true meaning of his nickname came from the  three letters of his name that were displayed during the race, quickly changed in SuperSic because, yes…. he was that good.

Marco Simocelli  (Sic) died soon after an accident during the 2011 Malaysian Grand Prix at Sepang on 23 October 2011 at 24. From that moment there have been so many celebrations of his name and life, some of them I was lucky enough to attend. The last one was held last sunday morning at a place dear to my area bikers’ heart, Passo della Cisa (La Cisa Pass) a mountain pass that marks the division between the Ligurian and Tuscan Apennines. It is located on the border between northern Tuscany (Province of Massa-Carrara) and Emilia-Romagna (Province of Parma), near the source of the Magra River at an altitude of 1,040 meters above sea level.

That road that connects the Lunigiana to the (once) Duchy of Parma, is one of the Italian motorcycling dream road and cannot be missed in the book of a true biker. Every day a pilgrimage of hundreds of riders with various models of motorcycles, test their ability on these curves and bends, to experience the thrill of the Cisa Pass. It’s not a monstrous test, in my beautiful country there are many other giants, but the Cisa Pass is in everyone’s heart. So now you can understand why it was just a matter of time (and fate) before this place took Sic name.  It wasn’t a sad celebration (he wouldn’t have liked it, he always wore a smile on his face, even in the saddest moments) but a happy one, celebrating his life and his dream, along with a touched but serene crowd of bikers and not-bikers, his mom and his dad who discovered the stele designed by the local artist Pino Carcelli. The sketch represents a biker, but if you look closer you can read in it the #58, his number.

I had a lump in my throat in that moment, but then in an absolute silence his father said “He would have said ‘Diobò se è bella’ (My God it is beautiful – Diobò was his personal expression)” and everyone broke the tension with a laughter…

Now this place will be never the same again, a part of our hearts will beat here together…………





Posted by on September 5, 2013 in Uncategorized


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