Helpful Information
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Anytime. Ski in winter, sunbathe in summer, Italy welcomes visitors all year.  

Average August (summer) maximums are 28 degrees Celsius in Milan in the north; in Rome 28C; and in Palermo, Sicily, 29C.

Average January (winter) minimums in Milan are -4C;  Rome 4C; Palermo 11C. January maximums average 7C, Milan; 13C, Rome; 15C, Palermo.


  • Il Carnevale d'Ivrea, Piedmont, is a good old-fashioned orange tossing carnival that originated over eight centuries ago. It's still the Battle of the Oranges, held each year in early-March, and everyone is encouraged to join in and throw oranges.            
  • Ferragosto was an ancient Roman festival. Now held on August 15, it is still a day of festivities, eating and drinking throughout Italy.
  • Sagre are food fairs found in every Italian town and city at various times of the year. They celebrate the local produce and, as usual, you can expect communal dining, dancing and general enjoyment. That's what it's all about. They vary from festivals for polenta or truffles in the north during winter, through to those honouring specific dishes such as risi e bisi in Venice in April, or cacciucco, a seafood stew in July in Livorno.

HERE are a few to pencil in to your itinerary:

1st week January, Epiphany (Veneto), la pinza de Marantega, a sweet bread made with cornmeal, white wheat flour, dried figs, anise seeds and candied fruits.

1st week January, Epiphany, Andreis (Friuli-Venezia-Giulia) fig and raisin bread and wine.

January, Cannobio near Novara (Piedmont) feast of luganiga, a type of sausage, celebrated with heaps of boiled sausages, potatoes and sauerkraut.

January, Volongo near Cremona (Lombardy), Festa di San Antonio, torta dura (hard cake) made with cornmeal and spices.

Third week in February, Umbria, black truffles.

February-March (during Lent), Verona (Emilia-Romagna), gnocchi feast

Early March, Ivrea (Piedmont), Il Carnevale d'Ivrea (Battle of the Oranges).

March, Monastero Bormido (Piedmont), polenta

Third week of March, Casalnoceto, between Alessandria and Pavia, (Trentino-Alto Adige), Sagra di Pom di Moj (apples).

Easter, Tredozio near Forli (Emilia-Romagna), Sagra delle Uova Sode (a hard-cooked egg-eating contest).

Mid-April, Ladispoli, Rome, Sagra del Carciofo (artichokes).

Late-April, Marotta near Pesaro (Le Marche), Sagra dei Garagoi (sea snails).

Late-April, Fontanelice near Bologna (Emilia-Romagna), Sagra della Pie Fritta (a small fried flatbread).

April, Melazzo near Alessandria (Piedmont), Sagra dello Stoccafisso (stockfish - dried fish).

April, Bomarzo near Viterbo (Latium), Sagra del Biscottofisso (ring-shaped cookies flavoured with aniseed)

April 25, Venice, Festival of risi e bisi (rice and peas).

First weekend in May, Teramo (Abruzzo), Virtu, the festival of the seven virtues with soup made with seven grains.

Second- Sunday in May, Camogli near Genoa (Liguria), Sagra del Pesce (fish).

First Thursday in May, Cocullo (Abruzzo), snake festival  and ciambellone, circular cakes.

May, Monté (Piedmont) Monté Food and Wine Festival.

Second Sunday in June, on odd-numbered years, Amalfi (Campagna), lemon festival.

June 24, Trapani (Sicily) tuna trapping - not for the faint-hearted!

June, Chiesanuova (Tuscany), Sagra di pignola (pine-nuts)

Third Sunday in July, Livorno (Tuscany), Cacciucco,  a seafood stew, festival.

July, Albinea (Emilia-Romagna), Festa del Lambrusco (fizzy, red wine) with gnocco fritto (fried puffs of pasta dough).

Summer, Trastevere, Rome, Festa di Noiantri ("we others,") Booths offer tastes of bruschetta.

Summer, Montanesi near Genoa (Liguria), Sagra delle Melanzane Ripiene (stuffed eggplant).

Summer, San Godenzo near Florence, Tuscany),  Sagra del Pecorino (fresh or aged sheep's milk).

Summer, Orbetello (Tuscany), Sagra dell'Anguilla (eels).

Summer, Giarratana (Sicily) Festa della Cipolla (Onion Festival).

mid-August, Pognana Lario (Lombardy) gnocchi sagra.

August 15, throughout Italy, Ferragosto, a day of festivities, eating and drinking.

August, Urbino (Le Marche) celebrates Renaissance dishes.

First weekend, September, Pienza (Umbria), pecorino - sheep's milk cheese.

September, Desenzano on Lake Garda, Lombardy), The Festa of the Duck

September, Capalbio (Tuscany), wild boar festival.

September, Portovenere (Tuscany) Octopus festival.

September, Budoia (Friuli-Venezia-Giulia) mushrooms.

September,  Lucca (Tuscany), mushrooms

September, Castellero (Piedmont), Sagra della Nocciola (hazelnuts).

September, Selvatelle near Pisa(Tuscany), Sagra delle Lepre (hare).

September, Latiano (Puglia), Sagra degli Stacchioddi (curved homemade pasta).

September, Naples (Campagnia), Pizzafest.

Mid-September, Cefalu (Sicily), Sherbeth Festival (frozen drink) also ice-creams and granitas.

Second or third Sunday of September, Mezzagra (Lombardy), Sagra del Missoltino, local fish.

Late-September to early October, Bra near Turin (Piedmont), Slow Food Terre Madre convention and Cheese Festival.

Last weekend, September, San Vito Lo Capo near Trapani (Sicily), CousCous festival.

First two weekend, October, Certaldo Alto (Tuscany), Boccaccesca a gastronomic fair.

October, Alba (Piedmont) truffle festival

Weekends, October, Sant'Agata Feltria near Rimini (Emilia-Romagna), White Truffle Fair.

Mid-October, Montefiore Conca (Emilia-Romagna), chestnut festival.

Mid-October, Perugia (Umbria), Eurochocolate chocolate festival.

October, Mount Amiata, near Montalcino (Tuscany), La Castagna in Festa, chestnut festival.  

Fourth week of October, Cremona (Lombardy), Torrone festival (nougat).

Last-weekend, October, Vivo and Campiglia, near Castiglione d'Orcia (Tuscany), chestnuts.

November, Cavoi (Sardinia), local bread, potato, pecorino, wine.

Last three weeks, November, San Miniato, between Florence and Pisa (Tuscany) The White Truffle Festival (tartufo bianco).  

Second weekend of December, Treviso (Veneto), Treviso radicchio.



Italy seems to have an excess of palaces and castle and other luxurious places just begging to be turned into glamorous hotels.

Fortunately many have been exquisitely refurbished and are waiting for your arrival.

  • Don Alfonso 1890 Restaurant
    Corso Sant'Agata,
    11/13 | 80064 Sant'Agata Sui Due Golfi, Naples
    Tel. +39 081/878.00.26 - +39 081/878.05.61;
    Fax +39 081/533.02.26
    This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

  • Hotel Principe di Villafranca
    Via Giuseppina Turrisi Colonna, 4 - 90141, Palermo, Sicily
    Tel: +39 0916 118 523; fax +39 0915 887 05
    This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it




Weird and Wacky

Surely one of the strangest towns in the world, Alberobello in Puglia,  southern Italy, is full of weird little cone-shaped huts built from local limestone, roofs and all.

Late in the 16th-century the aristocracy allowed peasant workers to build houses that could be swiftly dismantled if there was a royal inspection. It was a tax-dodge really as it allowed them to avoid paying the levy for a village.

It was no way for the workers to live, so in 1797, they got together and petitioned the king and received the right to live freely in their trulli.

The unusual shape insulates the interior, and you can see for yourself. Alberobello has several that may be rented. It's a charming step back into history - a little like sleeping in a time warp.


Did You Know?

  • The northerners are sometimes called il polentone 'polenta-eaters' by southerners who in turn they call  il terrone 'earth-workers'?
  • The only Italian cured meat not made from pig meat is bresaola, which is air-cured beef.
  • Although we think of Italy as a Mediterranean country, its shores are actually washed by three other seas: the Ionian, Adriatic and Tyrrhenian.
  • Two dishes which sound classically Italian are actually not. Tiramisu is a relatively recent recipe  from the 1970s or -80s, and caesar salad is said to have been originally concocted in 1924 in the US by Caesar Cardini, an Italian-born chef in Mexico.


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Amore and Amaretti, a tale of love and food in Tuscany, Victoria Cosford, Wakefield Press, 2010, paperback, rrp A$24.95.

That Summer in Sicily, A love story, by Marlena de Blasi,   Allen & Unwin 2008, paperback, rrp A$28,  Food and Travel review.

An Umbrian Love Story, Marlena de Blasi, hardcover.

Dolce e Salata, Marlena de Blasi, hardcover, Food and Travel review

Buon Ricordo -  how to make your home a great restaurant, Armando Percuoco & David Dale, Allen & Unwin, hardcover, 2009, rrp. A$65.

Lucio�s Ligurian Kitchen, Lucio Galletto & David Dale, photography by Paul Green, Allen & Unwin, 2008,  Hardcover, richly illustrated, 330 pages.

Christ stopped at Eboli, Carlo Levi, FSG Classics, 1947, paperback

Old Calabria, Norman Douglas, Google Book online

Just a Little Italian, Sally Hammond, paperback, New Holland Publishers, rrp A$25

Delizia! the Epic History of the Italians and their Food , John Dickie, Sceptre, 2007, hardcover, 400 pages, ISBN: 978 0 340 89639 6

Gourmet Pilgrim Italy, Gourmet Pilgrim, November, 2010, rrp A$69.95.

Cooking with Italian Grandmothers, Jessica Theroux, October, 2010, US$40; Welcome Books ISBN 978-1-59962-089-3

On Jessica Theroux's journey through Italy she found the soul of the Slow Food movement In the hearts of twelve Italian Grandmothers. Dishes from this book will be featured at an array of great (and mostly Italian) restaurants across North America, from October 11-17, 2010.

Each restaurant will host a special dinner celebrating local food and the publication of an extraordinary new book

"We have forgotten how to feed ourselves and each other and are at risk of losing our culinary heritage. However, when the stories are told and the recipes retained, we somehow manage to secure them for the future." Alice Waters, from her introduction

In each of twenty-five restaurants, local slow food organizations and Edible magazines will have been involved in choosing and often sponsoring these special dinners. Jessica Theroux will be present at a small number. Each restaurant will make books available with commemorative bookplates designed by Gregory Wakabayashi, signed by Jessica Theroux, and limited to 1,000 copies.

is an unprecedented photographic personal journey into the heart of Italy, steeped in a culinary tradition that celebrates the principles that define the Slow Food movement. From the dramatic winter shores of Ustica to the blooming hills of Tuscany in spring, readers will journey through Italy's most diverse regions and seasons, to discover the country's most delectable dishes, from the traditional to the unexpected, and meet the storied grandmothers who make them.

Want to suggest other BOOKS? This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  or use the Comments section below.


Eat, Pray Love - Columbia Pictures, October, 2010.

It's no accident that the 'eat' part of this movie centres around Italy!

Julia Roberts makes the ideal Elizabeth Gilbert, and the succulent dishes, the generous hospitality and general enjoyment of dining and sharing food with others, typifies the ideal Italian meal.

In cinemas from mid-October.


Anita's Life in Italy

Bella Vita in Liguria

Bleeding Espresso - Calabria

Blog from Italy

Dream of Italy

Espresso Break - Food and Nooks of Naples

Italy Beyond the Obvious

Living Venice...and Beyond

Love Sicily

Lucullian Delights - an Italian Experience

Over a Tuscan Stove

Parla Italian Food

South of Rome

Tuscan Blog

Wandering Italy


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Agritourism properties


Bed and Breakfast in Italy

Buon Ricordo (best restaurant association),

Delicious Italy

Go Italy

In Italy Online

Italian dishes

Italian Trade Commission

Italian Tourism

Italians R Us

Italy Bed & Breakfast

Life in Italy

Monastery Stays

Sawday's Places to Stay- Italy

Venere Hotels in Italy

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Italian migration to Australia began in the second-half of the 1800s. It is estimated there are now almost a million people in Australia who claim Italian heritage.


Italian food is extremely popular in Australia - as it is in many countries around the world.

Most cities in Australia have a range of Italian restaurants - from cheap-n-cheerful trattorias and pizzerie to high-end establishments serving elegant Italian menus. Many have been run by families for decades.

Here are some to try if you are in these cities:

Sydney: Buon Ricordo, Beppis, Lucio's, Pilu at Freshwater.

Melbourne: Grossi Florentino, Cafe di Stasio, Becco, Cicciolina, The Italian.

Adelaide: Insieme (08 8223 2777), Assagio, Chianti Classico

Perth: Divido, Il Lido Italian Canteen (08 9286 1111)

The Sydney Seafood School hosts Gusto, a CIRA's celebration of regional Italian cuisine, every August.


There are many parts where Italian migrants chose to settle. There is a vibrant Italian community around Ingham in North Queensland, which is sometimes referred to as 'Little Italy'. The Riverina, especially Griffith in New South Wales has many Italian links, including trattorias and pasticcerias in the town and a fine wine-making tradition. There are families with Italian roots in the Stanthorpe region also, as well as the Swan Valley east of Perth.

New Italy, on the NSW north coast, near Woodburn, is a poignant reminder of the difficulties of early migrants. In the 1880s a shipload of Italians were duped into believing they could settle in a new land of promise in the Pacific. It turned out to be non-existent and they ended up being accepted into Australia and relocated to northern NSW where they built their own community, turning a potential tragedy into an inspiring story.

Penola in South Australia's Coonawarra region, south of Adelaide, has become of interest recently as this was where Blessed Mary MacKillop taught and ministered. There is an interpretative centre in the town as well as the school where she taught. In a canonisation ceremony in Rome on October 17th, 2010, Mary MacKillop became Roman Catholicism's first Australian saint.  



An old superstition dictated that all loaves of bread must be marked with a sign of the cross before baking. Some say it is to prevent the devil from sitting on the loaf and spoiling it; others that it lets out evil.

In Umbria it is considered bad luck to stiir polenta in an anticlockwise direction.

It is considered disrespectful to lay a loaf of bread upside down as bread is considered the body of Christ by Roman Catholics; for the same reason never plunge a knife into a loaf of bread and leave it there.

It's bad luck in a group to cross arms when toasting, and never raise a toast with a glass of water.

If you spill wine at the dinner table, dabbing a little of the spilled wine behind each ear for good luck.

Al contadino non far sapere quanto - buono il formaggio con le pere.?Don't let the farmer know how good cheese is with pears.

Alla frutta. You're in the fruit (Fed up and can't take any more).   

aver le mani in pasta, to have your hands in pasta (to be in the midst of doing something).

Avere la botte piena e la moglie ubriaca. To have the wine cask full and the wife drunk (have your cake and eat it, too).

Avere le mani in pasta.?To have a finger in the pie.

Baccali, dried cod (Italian name for someone uptight)

Botte piccola fa vino buono. A small cask makes good wine ( friendly compliment to a short person).

Buono come il pane. As good as bread (I thought it was reliable).

Butta la pasta! throw in the pasta! (coming home for lunch).

Cosa bolle in pentola? What's boiling in the pot, or cooking? (what's going on?)  

Cotto, cooked (Have a crush on someone).

Cucinare qualcuno, to cook someone (treating him as he deserves)

essere una buona pasta, to be good pie (to be a good egg)

fare una spaghettata, to eat spaghetti (dine with friends or company)

farti i cavoli tuoi, making your cabbage (mind your own business).

Fatto una frittata. Made an omelette (got in a mess).  

fritta e rifritta, fried and refried (a story told over and over).

la spaghettata di mezzanotte, midnight pasta(a  meal shared by friends after an event)

Mangiabambini, baby-eater (someone terrible-looking, a bogey man).

Mangiacarte, a paper eater (a mediocre, ineffective lawyer).

Mangiacristiani, eater of Christians (a blustering ugly bore)

mangiapane a tradimento, a treacherous bread-eater (a scrounger).

mangiapane, bread-eater (a lazy person)

mangiapreti, a priest-eater (a  rabid anticleric).

Mangiauomini, men-eater (a seductive, man-eating woman).

Ne ammazza pia la gola che la spada.?Gluttony kills more than the sword.

Non si puo avere la botte piena - la moglie ubriaca.?You can't have your cake and eat it too.

Non si vive di solo pane.?One does not live by bread alone.

O mangiar questa minestra o saltar questa finestra.?Either eat this soup or jump out this window.?(Take it or leave it).

Pane al pane, vino al vino.?To call bread bread and wine wine (To call a spade a spade).

pizza (Italian name for a bore)

Polpettone, a big meat ball (when something is slapped together roughly making it hard to digest).

prendersi uno spaghetto, become like spaghetti (to have a fright).

Prezzemolo, parsley (Italian name for a  busybody).

salame, salami (Italian name for a silly fool)

Si pigliano pia mosche in una gocciola di miele che in un barile d'aceto.?You can catch more flies with honey than a barrel of vinegar.

Troppi cuochi guastano la cucina.?Too many cooks spoil the broth.

Tutto fumo e niente arrosto. All smoke and no roast (something that's all sizzle and no steak).

Una mela al giorno leva il medico di torno.?An apple a day keeps the doctor away.

uomo di pasta frolla, shortbread man (morally weak man)



0 #1 italy to australiaabbey 2013-06-03 14:45
what are some things from Italy that have come to australia

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