Тhe Place of Mysteries and Magic in the Heart of Puglia

420-castel-del-monteCastel del Monte (Castídde d’u Monte in Barese and the Castle of the Mountain in English) is an old 13th century edifice commissioned by imperatore Federico II (Emperor Frederick II of Swabia) and it has turned into a symbol of Puglia through the centuries. It is a place of mysteries and magic in the heart of Apulia. It’s situated more precisely in the commune of Andria, on one of the hills of the western Altopiano delle Murge (this is a karst topographic rectangular plateau in Italy, to the South, in Puglia, in particular).

The castle was officially commissioned on January 29, 1240 when the emperor said that he would provide everything needed for its construction, even though lots of scholars were against his idea and disagreed with it. Continue reading

The City of Saint Nicholas

B   A   R   I

Bari is the capital city of the region of Apulia. It is situated on the shores of the Adriatic Sea. Its location is almost in the centre of the coast of Puglia (although a little bit to the north). The city has always been a very important commercial centre and that’s why it’s the second significant commercial hub of Southern Italy after Naples. The most vivid economic sectors developed in Bari are food, petrochemical and mechanical industries plus agriculture (grape, olives and almonds, in particular). It’s also a major port and university city.

Continue reading

In the Middle of the Sky

417-in-the-middle-of-the-sky-0The most important complexes of Eastern Orthodox monasteries in Hellas, i.e. Meteora, are located to the North and more precisely near the town of Kalabaka and the village of Kastraki. These two settlements are blessed to be situated in an extremely beautiful area where the first morning sun beams light up their scant greenery as well as the nearby huge rocks resembling giants. Some folklore tales say that once upon a time the latter were really old earth-born giants that turned into stone. At the early hour of the day, simandrons (the Orthdox call to prayer) and church bells call the monks of the monasteries to matins (services of morning prayers) while ordinary villagers get ready for the daily work in the fields under the echoes that are heard across the valley and the giant ravines.  Continue reading

Bucchi di Bunifaziu

416-bucchi-di-bunifaziu-0Bucchi di Bunifaziu in Corsican (or le Bocche di Bonifacio in Italian) is simply the strait between the Islands of French Corsica and Italian Sardinia. The Strait of Bonifacio was named after the French island town and it is 11km wide separating the Tyrrhenian Sea from the Western outskirts of the Mediterranean Sea. No matter how tiny the strait is, it’s well known among sailors and mariners for its constantly changing weather, currents, tides and other natural and sea obstacles. Continue reading

The Giornalist, the Professor and the Married

413-the-giornalist-the-professor-the-marriedYou may be asking yourselves who they are – the journalist, the professor and the married. Well, they are the three main characters of “One Night in Italy” by Lucy Diamond who have one thing in common, i.e. their passion for the language, cuisine and atmosphere of Italy. The three ladies from Sheffield meet through the Italian language course and new classes in Italian help them get to know each other and become very good friends. Or actually, their passion for il bel paese (the nickname of Italy) was the driving force for this. And who are they, as a matter of fact? Continue reading

Mzungu

412-mzunguThe word mzungu means a “wanderer” (i.e. “one who roams around”) in the Bantu language which is spoken in the region of the Great Lakes of Africa and it derives from zungu or zunguka in Kiswahili whose meaning is “to spin around at the same place”. That’s why the 18th century European explorers who travelled extensively all over the place in that period of time were called mzungu. Nowadays the term is simply used to refer to “white people”, “people with white skin” in African countries in the region of the Great Lakes, one of them being Zambia and the small town of Pemba, in particular.   Continue reading

The Three Taboos

411-the-three-taboosPrincipally, everybody is free to say and do whatever they want everywhere. But there exist several things which are a taboo and they’d better not mention them or do them when they travel and reside in a foreign country. As you know, my passion for Italy is very strong and tangible and that’s why I am going to underline the three things you’d better skip while you’re on the boot. Continue reading