Web-wise Nov. 5-12

Follow the European Social Forum in Florence • Asia Argento goes XXX • Casino Royale makes digital music • Visit the Torrone Fest

Asia Argento goes XXX
Italy’s favorite bad girl actress Asia Argento made her US debut with action-flick "XXX," see how the film is being received in her home country…Check out the photo gallery & Italian trailer …

Casino Royale makes digital music
One of the most interesting bands to come out of Italy in the 90s lost front man Giuliano Palma (who has taken his brand of pop-ska solo) has decided to carry on valiantly — by putting new material in digital format free for registered users on the official site. Single ‘Protect Me’ is online now for all users, downloadable in MP3.

Visit the Torrone Fest
First chocolate and now Cremona’s torrone fest — Italian event organizers show no pity for the waistline. The sixth annual edition of Sweet Torrone, held from Nov. 7-10 in the northern Italian town best known as home of Stradivarius violins, is sure to be a calorie-packed one with torrone-tastings, sculptures and cook-offs.. Legend has it that the nougaty sweet also goes along way back in local history, created as part of wedding celebrations for the marriage of Bianca Maria Visconti and Francesco Sforza in 1441.

Following the European Social Forum in Florence
This week sees some 18,000 delegates from all over Europe converge in Florence Nov. 6-10 for the local version of the World Social Forum held in Porto Alegre, Brazil. There’s been a great deal of bickering in the national press about safety concerns for one of the world’s most art-packed cities, but little discussion of what the meeting is actually about.

Web Wise Oct. 29- Nov. 5

Ettore Sottsass designs for Cartier • "Interviews on Fascism": free ebook • View Etna’s Eruption • Singer Carmen Consoli’s "Exception"

Interviews on Fascism: free ebook
Released for the anniversary of Mussolini’s March on Rome Oct. 28 1922, this manuscript by Angelo Tasca had long been thought missing. Interviews with exiled antifascists, the crisis of Italian society and notes about the March.

View Etna’s Eruption
Etna, which has been erupting since Sunday, is Europe’s highest active volcano. The last time it blew its top was in the summer of 2001 — here are some places to watch the sparks fly.
Try the webcam for live action

Ettore Sottsass designs for Cartier
The main man of Milan’s design world takes on the glittery world of jewels with few interesting twists. The exhibit is on at the design capital’s Palazzo Reale til Jan 12.

Singer Carmen Consoli’s "Exception"
Soulful Sicilian singer/songwriter Consoli confirms her talent with new album "L’eccezione" — take a minute to hear the single & video.

Web Wise Oct. 22-29

View the Versace Tribute • Italian practice: test your rage index • Virtual Tour for the Rome-sick • Read Dario Fo’s new autobiography

View the Versace Tribute
The Victoria & Albert’s stunning tribute to slain fashion designer Gianni Versace is well worth a look — here’s a slide show in case you can’t get to London before it closes Jan.12

Italian practice: test your rage index
The idea is to see how much or how quickly you let others press your buttons — irritating dinner guests, annoying coworkers, line-jumpers etc. The results may surprise you — grrr…

Virtual Tour for the Rome-sick
Quick, though by no means definitive cure for missing Rome– this virtual stroll in one of the Eternal City’s most famous streets…

Dario Fo’s new autobiography
Take a peek at the recently-released work, "Il paese dei mezaràt" by Nobel Prize winner Fo…

Web Wise Oct. 15 -22

Royal House of the Two Sicilies — online • Dig into the Eurochocolate Fest • (Another) Italian Discovers America • Oriana Fallacci’s Rage & Pride in English

Oriana Fallacci’s Rage & Pride in English
The 72-year old journalist has translated into English the post-Sept. 11 hard-hitting essay that has caused much debate in Italy and Europe. Amateur translations were all over the Internet, the bound version is published by Rizzoli..

The Rage and The Pride

Why all the fuss? Read this review…

Royal House of the Two Sicilies — online
With all the brouhaha over the return of the Savoia, the Bourbons have picked a good time to launch the official web site of the Royal House of the Two Sicilies. The site is an official organ (history, news, nice photo of handsome Duke of Calabria) of the ruling in Southern Italy from 1734 -1861. The archive offers a small but fascinating look at historical documents…

Dig into the Eurochocolate Fest
Just thinking of the 70 tons of chocolate ready to be consumed as Eurochocolate hits Perugia (Oct. 19 – 27) is enough to ruin even the trimmest waistline. The 9th annual chocolate festival is shaping up to be a good one — the film theme weds Roberto Benigni’s "Pinocchio" with the whole cast fitted out in, what else, chocolate. Slightly more controversial is the identity card — with chocolate fingerprint — which reminds us of the hotly debated issue of fingerprinting immigrants.

(Another) Italian Discovers America
Nobel Prize winner Dario Fo wrote the script for this intriguing little cartoon movie — Johan Padan is a bumbling if inventive lad from Bergamo who ends up living happily among the native. A little too Disneyesque at turns, it is taken from real accounts of Italian sailors. Take a look at the trailer & photos for "Johan Padan a la descoverta de le Americhe" …

Web Wise Oct. 8 -15

Hear Mina’s New Single • View Giotto Restoration • 40 Years of Diabolik Comics • Meet Nobel Prize Winner Riccardo Giacconi

Hear Mina’s New Single
The tiger from Cremona is getting by with a little help from her friends — rocker Zucchero penned the lyrics to her latest song, already in heavy rotation on Italian radio stations. Here’s the MP3 of "Succhiando l’Uva."

View Giotto Restoration
Five years after an earthquake risked shattering forever the frescoes of the ceiling of St. Francis Basilica, restorers have pieced back together the paintings of St. Jerome — managing to fit some 50,000 fragments. Seeing is believing:

Celebrating 40 years of Diabolik Comics

Gentleman thief Diabolik & sweetheart Eva Kant, created by sisters Angela e Luciana Giussani are celebrating an important birthday — almost half a century of stealing and still never getting caught by police inspector Ginko…

Meet Nobel Prize Winner Riccardo Giacconi
The Italian press is reporting another sad case of brain drain as it announced that Giacconi was awarded the Nobel in physics — he’s lived in the US since 1977. Born in Genoa, educated in Milan, he adds to the long list of Italian scientists who have left the country (another Nobel winner in physics, Enrico Fermi comes to mind), despite holding an American passport. Here’s more about him:

In Italian:


In English



Web Wise Sept. 24 -Oct.1

The Mini Hits Catwalks in Milan • Runaway book hit "La Mennulara" • Secrets of Cooking with Coffee • Listen in to Salvatore Licitra

The Mini Hits Catwalks in Milan
The women’s clothes for Spring-Summer 2003 are definitely sexy — even bad girl actress Asia Argento asked for something a little more tame before strutting her stuff for Clips, refusing a see-through chiffon number. Meanwhile, that perennial hit the miniskirt takes hemlines to new hieghts..An eyeful with two photo galleries:



Runaway book hit "La Mennulara"
The surprise of the fall literary season, this "Sicilian" book is the first effort by an Italian woman who has lived in England for the last 30 years..Listen to an interview with Simonetta Agnello Hornby and read an excerpt…

Secrets of Cooking with Coffee
Try this handy guide of using espresso in everyday dishes — including ragù as well as more traditional ways to enjoy the java…

Listen in to Salvatore Licitra
The Italian tenor made a surprise debut substituting an ailing Pavarotti in America last may and the acclaims have been poring in ever since. The former graphic artist, who lost all the voice competitions he entered in Italy, is definitely on the right career track.

Salvatore Licitra – The Debut
Hear cuts from his first album

More from the official site, with some of the most annoying navigation we’ve seen in a long time..

Web Wise Sep. 10 -17

Meet Actor Heartthrob Stefano Accorsi • Author Stefano Benni’s audio jukebox • Italian practice: Can you resist temptation? • Amnesty for Illegal Immigrant Worker Law

Author Stefano Benni’s audio jukebox
For the next two months, one of Italy’s most witty writers will publish an audio improvisation or reading weekly on the Feltrinelli site. Stop in for a sample:

Meet Actor Heartthrob Stefano Accorsi
He was adorable in the ice cream commercials (playing an would-be Casanova on the beach with a scarce command of English), but it would’ve been hard to predict thousands of women of all ages mobbing book stores just to see him. Accorsi was putting in an appearance for the book version of the epistolary between writers Sibilla  Aleramo
and Dino Campana, the subject of his latest film "Un Viaggio Chiamato Amore," which comes on the heels of box office smash "L’ultimo bacio." Hear him recite the “poem of the roses” and check out the trailer, backstage & slide show..

Italian practice: Can you resist temptation?
Most of the answers seem to suggest "no!" but take this fun interactive quiz to find out…

Amnesty for Illegal Immigrant Workers
The Italian government has decided to extend to foreigners the amnesty for illegal workers. Here are the details:

Web-wise Sept. 10- 17

Visit Venice’s International Architecture Exhibition • Meet Miss Italia • Master paperwork: fill out forms/write formal letters in Italian • 100 Years of "Torna a Surriento"

p>Meet miss Italia
The second time’s the charm — 20-year-old Eleonora Pedron from Padova didn’t win the crown the first time she participated but the blonde beat out the other 100 contestants for the title of Miss Italia.

International Architecture Exhibition
Kicked off in Venice this week, some of the world’s most innovative architects will be competing at the Arsenale until Nov. 3 in the Biennale di architettura.

Master paperwork: fill out forms/write formal letters in Italian
One of the most useful sites we’ve come across, here’s where you can download the plethora of form letters (cancel phone contracts, self-certification for residence etc.) necessary for everyday Italian life. Students of the language will want to check out the section ‘la frase giusta per’ with the right phrase for all kinds of occasions — from love break-ups to best wishes for a new house….

100 Years of "Torna a Surriento"
The classic Neapolitan tune turns 100 this year and will be celebrated with a gala on Sept. 15 in Sorrento featuring Andrea Bocelli, which will be broadcast on RAI 1 Sept. 19. Here’s more on the curious story of the song — it was written from a man to another, essentially pleading for work — and a few versions.

History & song, in various formats & styles…

Web Wise Sep. 2 -10

Italian web cam newsletter • Preview Benigni’s "Pinocchio" • Italian practice: True Love or Vacation Romance?

Daily Italian web cams
Can’t wait until your next vacation? Sign up this newsletter — it’ll give send you an Italian webcam per day to keep the blues away…

Preview Benigni’s "Pinocchio"
Take a look at the trailer for one of the most hyped Italian films in recent times — starring Oscar-winning comic Roberto Benigni ("La Vita è Bella") as the puppet come to life and his wife Nicoletta Braschi…

About the film in Italian: www.mondadori.com/panorama/anteprime/weekfilm_pinocchio290802.html

Italian practice: True Love or Vacation Romance?
Find out with this interactive quiz

Web Wise Aug. 27- Sept. 3

Tix & Flicks: The Venice Film Fest • Italian forums & newsgroups • Sample Subsonica’s Funky Sound • Check out Luisa Corna, starlet of the second…

Tix & Flicks: The Venice Film Fest
The 59th annual celebration of movies starts Aug.29 and runs til Sept. 8 — and aside from the usual bickering over whether the prizes mean anything and the startling lack of Italian films, it looks like an interesting one. Some picks: "Frida" with Salma Hayek, "Dolls" by Takeshi Kitano (a Venice veteran, formerly prized for "Hana-bi"), "The Hours" by Stephen Daldry with Nicole Kidman. Of the three Italian films in the running,, look out for Piergiorgio Gay, "La forza del passato"
with Bruno Ganz (from "Pane e Tulipani") and Sandra Ceccarelli, and "Velocità massima" with Valerio Mastandrea, (of "Tutti giù per terra" fame).

Sample Subsonica’s Funky Sound
The music has been called reggae – house – electro-synth pop, if that’s a definition. Sample tracks from three albums & see for yourself…

Meet Luisa Corna: starlet of the second…
It’s her moment: after years of doing infomercials Luisa Corna has stepped into the spotlight. The Mediterranean knockout did a bare-all calendar, lied about her age & sang at the San Remo songfest. She’ll be presenting an as-yet unnamed show airing prime time this fall…Take a look from her innumerable TV appearances:

Italian forums & newsgroups
Looking for a place to practice? Try these forums in lingua:

Italian bloggers…




Portal forums:






Just forums: