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San Valentine, also known as Valentine of Terni, was a Roman bishop and martyr. Revered as a Saint by the Catholic Church, the Orthodox Church and later by the Anglican Church, he is considered the patron saint of lovers and protector of epileptics.

Born into a patrician family, was converted to Christian religion and consecrated bishop of Terni in 197, at the  age of 21. In 270 BC, Valentine was in Rome, by invitation of the Greek philosopher and orator Craton, to preach the Gospel and convert the pagans.

Invited by the emperor Claudius II to suspend the religious celebration and to renounce his faith, Valentine refused to do so and he indeed tried to convert the emperor to the Christian religion. Claudius II pardoned him and entrusted him to a noble family.

Valentine was arrested a second time under the emperor Aurelian, who succeeded Claudius II. The Roman Empire continued its persecution of Christians and, as the popularity of Valentine was growing, the Roman soldiers captured him, fearing that the people would rise up in his defense. He was beheaded on 14 February 273, at age 97, by the hand of the Roman soldier Furius Placidus, under the orders of Emperor Aurelian.

His remains were buried on the hill of Terni. In the fourth century, on the hill of Terni, was built a church where currently are stored the Saint’s relics, enclosed in a shrine. It seems that they have been brought into the city by Craton’s three disciples, Apollonius, Efebo and Procuro, converted to Christianity by the future Saint and for this reason they have been martyred.

 © Italian Tutorial, 2013. All rights reserved.

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The motorway of the future will be intelligent:
Interactive light, wireless charging and road signs capable of adapting to the weather conditions and traffic. A few more months and will be realized the first prototype in the Netherlands.

Read More … INTELLIGENT MOTORWAY (bilingual blog)

© Italian Tutorial, 2012. All rights reserved.

The legends of Panettone

On Christmas Eve in the court of the Duke Ludovico Sforza, Lord of Milan,  a grand dinner ball was held.
For this occasion, the head of the kitchen had prepared a special cake; unfortunately, the cake was burnt during cooking and a scullion in the kitchen, called Tony, proposed to serve the cake he had prepared for himself, using the leftovers of the previous preparation.
The chef, having nothing else to choose from, decided to serve Tony’s cake. That “sweet bread”, with fragrant candied fruits, sultans, butter and a dome well burnished, was welcomed by loud applauses and the guests wanted to know the creator’s name of this extraordinary sweet bread. Tony came forward, saying that he had not yet given any names.
The Duke, then, baptized the bread with the name of its creator “Pane di Tony“. So, it was created the “Panettone”, now famous all over the world.

   Another legend says of a young huntsman, Ughetto Atellani, madly in love with a baker named Algisa. The business was not so good for Algisa, due to the opening of another bakery nearby. Christmas was approaching, but customers preferred to buy bread and sweets from the new store. So, Ughetto, at his own expense, bought butter, sugar, eggs and raisins; then, kneaded all the ingredients with flour and the success was huge! Maybe it was the power of love! Who knows! Long queues of customers were formed in front of Agisa’s shop, to buy the new sweet. Thus, the two lovers, now wealthy got married and lived happily ever after!

There is another legend (we are in the year 1200) that tells of a group of nuns who lived on charity in the damp and misty countryside on the outskirts of Milan. That year the citizen of Milan had not given a lot and on Christmas Eve in the pantry of the sisters there was left only some flour with which the nuns prepared bread. When the Mother Superior approached to bless the bread, miraculously the bread was transformed into a wonderful big cake, the “Panettone”.

Panettone has always been for the Italians, the symbol of Christmas and represents symbolically the union of all members of a family, sitting around a table to celebrate the birth of Baby Jesus!

History of “Pandoro”

   “Pandoro” (= Golden Bread) is a typical, delicate and soft delicacy of Verona, which is present in all Italian Christmas tables. Its history is full of anecdotes and legends. The current version of “Pandoro” dates back to the nineteenth century, as an evolution of the “Nadalin” (from the word “Natale”= Christmas), typical sweet of the city of Verona. The name and some of its peculiarities date back to the times of the Venetian Republic, when it was offer food covered with thin leaves of fine gold and there was also a conical sweet called “Pan di oro” (Bread of gold).
In any case, Pandoro’s birthday is, 14 October 1884, the day that Domenico Melegatti deposited at the patent office an application for a license for a cake, made with a soft dough and having the characteristic shape of a conical eight-pointed star (artistic work of the impressionist painter Dall’Oca Bianca).

Nutritional Values

The nutritional values ​​of 100 grams of Panettone, are substantially equal to those of Pandoro, (although with a slight presence of fat less than the Pandoro, in which you use more eggs and butter).
Both Panettone and Pandoro  are two very energetic cakes (100 grams have the same calories than a plate of pasta) rich in starch, with a moderate protein and high fat content. This means that must pay particular attention to these foods people with diabetes, hypertriglyceridemia, hyperlipidemia and obesity.

Analytically, 100 grams of Pandoro contains: 334 calories, 2 g animal proteins, 4 g vegetal proteins; 56.5 g carbohydrates, 10.70 g fats, 2.8 g fibers, 3 mg iron, 149 mg calcium;
100 grams of Pandoro contain: 390 calories, 6.40 g proteins, 56.20 g carbohydrates, 10.70 g fats, 2.8 g fibers, 3 mg iron, 149 mg calcium, 130 mg phosphorus.

How you can recognize a good one?

In the case of Panettone, check that onto the dome is engraved a cross, without other reliefs and splits. The crust must be attached to the pasta, which must be golden, but not burnt. The dough should be soft inside and yellow and have the “holes”, sign that the dough is naturally leavened. The candied fruit and raisins must be present in significant quantities.
In the case of Pandoro, the dough must be yellow, soft and with large bubbles (holes) but less noticeable than in Panettone. The flavor should not be acidic or highly flavored. The bottom should be brown, but not burnt.

   How to serve:

Serve Panettone or Pandoro for breakfast with milk, coffee, tea, etc or as dessert after lunch or dinner with a sweet wine. Delicious also as a mid day snack.

All the above is for information only.

   © Italian Tutorial, 2012. All rights reserved.

   For 2012 years, the star that shone over the humble crib of Bethlehem led the wise men of the East, the Magi to the newborn Jesus and the salvation.
Since then, the Bethlehem’s star makes the humanity hope for a better world, peaceful and fair.
The story of the Magi, as we learned it in our childhood and according to the Christian tradition, begins many years before the birth of Christ, when a Persian prophet called Balaam, prophesied that “a star will rise and the Savior will be born”. The prophecy was passed on from generation to generation, …

Read the Blog Here

… From the hands of the conquerors, as the tradition says, the “Holy Gifts” was saved by Maro, the Christian wife of Sultan Murat II (1421-1451) and stepmother of Muhammad II. Maro transferred them to the Holy Monastery of St. Paul of the Holy Mountain Athos in Greece, where they remain till today and miraculously and continuously emit a fragrance…

Read the Blog Here

About the Mount Athos

The Mount Athos, or Aghion Oros, is not a common place to visit for a vacation, especially for women, since they are banned under a prohibition, in order to make the life of celibacy easier for the monks and hermits, who living in the most eastern peninsula of Halkidiki. It is a silence place dedicated to meditation, prayer, study and inner peace…

… Once the Bishop Nikolaj Velimirović wrote about Athos:

   “The kingdom without a crown, the State without an army, the Wisdom without school, the Cuisine without meat, the Wealthy without money, …”.

Read the Blog Here

All the above is for general purposes and for information only.

 © Italian Tutorial, 2012. All rights reserved.

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© Italian Tutorial, 2012. All rights reserved.

In Italy the education system is public, so, it is largely managed by the State. But, there are also private schools and universities.

One year old children can be attend the kindergarten.

From the age of three until the age of six years old, children attend the primary school.

From the age of six until the age of sixteen, children enter the period of compulsory education (by law children must go to school). Initially, from the age of six until the age of eleven, children attend the five years of primary school also called  elementary. From eleven years old, until thirteen years old, children attending the secondary school.

At the end of the secondary school, students must take an examination. If final grades are not good, the student may be rejected and forced to repeat the school year.

If the student passes the final exam, then enter the last stage of compulsory education, ending with the first two years of high school. So, in Italy the compulsory education lasts from the age of six till the age of fifteen.

Students, who decide to attend the University, must attend the next three years of the high school, which is divided into 3 categories: classic or scientific high schools, technical colleges (accountants, surveyors, etc) and professional schools (agriculture, environment, industry and commerce, health care, etc).

At the end of the last three years of the high school, students must take an examination, calledesame di maturità”, in order to obtain thediploma di maturitàand consequently to attend the University and faculty they wish.

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 “Italian Tutorial”: Italian lessons! Learn Italian! 60 easy Italian lessons! Learn Italian is fashionable and easy!

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   Michelangelo, son of Ludovico Buonarroti Simoni and Francesca Neri, was born on 6 March 1475 in Caprese, in the province of Arezzo. Michelangelo showed an early artistic inclination.

In 1498, Michelangelo got his first important commission: the “Pieta“(1498–1499), which  is a masterpiece of Renaissance sculpture and one of the most representative masterpiece of the Italian culture. “La Pietà” di Michelangelo (= “The pity” of Michelangelo) is a sculpture in Carrara marble, (high 174cm, wide 195cm, deep 69cm), housed in St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City, Rome. This famous work of art depicts the body of Jesus on the lap of his mother Mary, after the Crucifixion. This is the first, dramatic masterpiece of the then Michelangelo in his early twenties, considered one of the greatest masterpieces of Western art has ever produced. It is also the only work signed by him, on the sling that holds the mantle of the Virgin.

   In 1501 began a period of intense activity; he is in Florence, where he completed the sculpture of “David”, meanwhile, he also painted the “Battle of Cascina” and the “Doni Tondo“. In fact, in the autumn of 1504 Michelangelo was given the commission to paint the battle of Cascina (a battle between Florence and Pisa, which Florence won) intended to be a fresco on a wall of the “Palazzo della Signoria” as a companion piece to Leonardo’s “Battle of Anghiari”, but this project came to nothing: the cartoon was finished (at least in part, by February 1505) but an urgent summons from Pope Julius II prevented Michelangelo from continuing with the work, for which only some drawings survived.

The “Doni Tondo” is located in Florence (in the Uffizi) in its original tondo or round frame. This painting was commissioned by Agnolo Doni to commemorate his marriage to Maddalena Strozzi, the daughter of a powerful Tuscan family.

In 1504, Pope Julius II called him to Rome to make his funeral monument; but this was  another incomplete project.

                            

In May 1508, signed a contract with Julius II for his masterpiece, the “Sistine Chapel“. The Sistine Chapel (entrance wall, south wall, north wall and cupola) is named after Pope Sixtus (pontiff 1471 – 1484) which made repaint the old “Cappella Magna”. The decoration of the walls includes: the false drapes, the Stories of Moses on the South wall, the Jesus Christ on the North wall and the portraits of Popes on south and north wall. Michelangelo, who travelled continously between Rome, Florence and Carrara (where he personally controlled the marble’s quality for his work) put everything aside and devoted himself to the chapel without interruption, until 1512.

In 1513 Michelangelo won a competition to complete the facade of the Basilica of San Lorenzo in Florence, which was left unfinished by Brunelleschi.

In 1520 Cardinal Giulio de’ Medici, future Pope Clement VII, entrusted him with the creation of a funeral chapel. The Sagrestia Nuova, (“New Sacristy”), was an extension of the Basilica di San Lorenzo and was intended, by Cardinal Giulio de’ Medici and his cousin Pope Leo X, as a mausoleum for members of the Medici family.

 

In the meantime (1524), Pope Clement VII commissioned Michelangelo the “Laurentian Library” and the continuation of papal tombs, started in 1521 and finished in 1534. In 1525 Michelangelo start working to complete the Laurentian Library (which contains more than 11,000 manuscripts, is next to the Basilica of San Lorenzo and it is divided into two rooms: the hall and the reading room that is large, spacious, bright and balanced. However, when Michelangelo left Florence in 1534, only the walls of the reading room were completed. It was then continued by Tribolo, Basari, and Ammannati, based on plans and verbal instructions from Michelangelo. The library was opened in 1571.

In September of that year, Michelangelo painted the “Last Judgment” in the Sistine Chapel, which he completed in 1541.

Even when he was near death, he continued to carve the stone. His first work – dating back to when he was only sixteen – is the “Madonna della Scala“, followed by “Hercules” in 1492, which the artist created in his father’s house. The work was sent to France in the eighteenth century and it was lost.

In 1494, in Florence, Michelangelo sculpted the “Cupid“.

He died il 18 February 1564 having made testament: he left his soul in God’s hands, his body to the earth and all his belongings to the “closest relatives”.

Among all the activities carried out by Michelangelo Buonarroti (architect, painter, sculptor, writer and humanist), he preferd being a sculptor. He had chosen to work with the white Carrara marble, without the help of stonemasons, he did everything himself, such as removing the superfluous material that, according to him: “it hides the work of art”.

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 © Italian Tutorial, 2012. All rights reserved.