Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Another sign of autumn in Italy: the Luna Park

The bright lights of the luna park (also known as the amusement park for us English-speaking folk) have been up in Vicenza's Campo Marzio for a week now, signaling the end of summer and the beginning of autumn. 

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Marola Beer & Bruschetta Fest

Marola's beer fest is all about beer and bruschetta (both of which were sadly underwhelming), but there's no fooling anyone: the real specialty of the town's sagra is the carefully produced musical acts featuring "tribute" bands.  Tonight, the show was provided by a performer giving tribute to Michael Jackson, who was clearly very obsessed with the king of pop.  And what is a sagra entertainment if it didn't include some sort of rendition of John Denver's "Country Roads"?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

L'incompiuta in Brendola

The imposing yet hauntingly incomplete church of Brendola, a few miles outside of Vicenza at the edge of the Berici hills.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Sagra Season Begins!

August is usually fairly dead because while you are staying behind and working, taking care of kids, etc., everybody else is out having fun a getting a fab tan.  But according to this article, August is the beginning of sagra season in Italy, where towns celebrate local products, local saints, and/or local traditions with good food and lots of dancing.  Realizing this, I promptly did my research, and found two sagre going on this last weekend: the Festa del Ciclamino in Fontanelle di Conco and lucky enough the Gran Gala de Baccala in the next town over, in Gomarolo di Conco.  Sagra season begins!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Latemar, Lago di Carezza, and the Agatha Christie Walk

After being inspired by this blog post, this past weekend a few friends and I headed north towards Bolzano to hike the area around Lago Di Carezza, a beautiful alpine lake surrounded by the beautiful Dolomiti.  Following walk #36 in Walking in the Dolomites, we were brought to the beautiful Latemar Group, then down to the lake to see its many shades of green.

Italian Beer Series: Birra Amarcord Gradisca (Apecchio)

Originating from Rimini, the makers of Birra Amarcord pays an homage to the city's most famous son, Federico Fellini.  Their beers are named after the enigmatic female characters of Fellini's "Amarcord," his extremely exaggerated story about growing up in Rimini.  In the film, Gradisca is the town's celebrity beauty queen, the classy seductress that all the young boys fawns over but reserves her beauty and charm for the town's powerful Fascist officers.  The beer I'm sure was likened to her "classiness" and classic beauty, but the fieriness of Gradisca's sexuality was lost on the brew's limp and almost watery taste.  The pleasant earthy and grainy aroma delivered by a white creamy head held promise, but it didn't necessarily translated into rich flavor.  Instead, the beer tasted like a light beer, with its 5.4% alcohol barely registering or making an impact.  Judging by the loftiness of claiming inspiration from one of the best movies ever made, this beer was quite a disappointment. 

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

"Authentic" Venice: Redentore and a Tour of the Bacari

Last Redentore weekend was all about experiencing "real" Venice, so what else to do other than the baccarata?  Baccarata or giro dei bacari is for all intents and purposes a bar crawl, where--I feel silly explaining this--one goes and samples wines and food from bars especially those clustered around the Rialto. Unlike a typical English or American bar crawl however, the baccarata occurs in the day time, the idea being that these bars--the bacari--were originally a place where workers could grab cicchetti (small plates of finger foods, not unlike a tapa)  and ombra--a glass of wine--during their lunch time.  Although many now open all day to accommodate the constant hunger of the tourist, some still only serve food during lunch time, then shut down until the early evening to serve alcohol.   Sadly the heat, coupled with vast amounts of food and the very idea of drinking at noon got to us, and we couldn't make it past the third bar without simply giving up.