Living space is tight in Italian cities, which are often geographically constrained with ancient fortress towns the architectural footprint for building and construction. Italian clothes are closely cut, Italian cars are small and compact. Even delivery of goods and services relies on a mini-mode of transportation, the 2 stroke engine powered Ape.
The legendary “Ape,” (pronounced ‘Ah-pay’) which literally translates into the “Bee,” is basically a Vespa scooter with a large square trunk and a cabin. First manufactured in 1948 by Piaggio, the three-wheeled mini truck was favored by workers and small contractors who needed a cheap and efficient vehicle capable of carrying heavy loads and parking in small spaces. I’ve seen the Ape in vineyards and orchards, driving the narrow streets of every Italian city but never like this.
German industrial designer Cornelius Comanns has converted a Piaggio APE 50 delivery vehicle into the Bufalino, a small camper equipped to meet the basic needs of one person.
A minimalistic approach to RV traveling with a small Italian footprint.
For our F1 racing fans – an espresso machine designed to resemble Formula 1 racer, Michael Schumacher’s Ferrari helmet.
The machine, called the Racepresso, was created by designer Ilgar Rustamov as a concept pitched to Nespresso for the need for speed espresso drinker. Not sure if it brews a quicker shot of espresso but its looks alone could cause your heart to start racing.
We’re thinking spring, we’re thinking green and we’re always thinking about espresso. So here are a few green espresso machines to remind us that the grass is growing, the flowers are blooming and this may be the summer to rent that beach house. Our selection includes stylish, green espresso machines by AEG and Lavazza , Ascaso and Espressione that makes Café Retro, an old world design combined with New Age features. Wouldn’t these espresso machines look good in that lake house kitchen?
“It was a good race and from Rome onwards I never had any doubt that I should win” Tazio Nuvolari – 1930 Winner Mille Miglia
Back home in Indiana excitement is building as the 97th running of the Indianapolis 500 is scheduled to begin in 6 days, 38 hours and 37 minutes. Racing fans all over the world look forward every May to the thrill of the Brickyard for the agony and the ecstasy of an event that has been called “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.”
But before the gentlemen and ladies of the Indy 500 start their engines, there is another thrill to be had on the international racing stage with the vintage and classic cars of Italy’s Mille Miglia, an open-road endurance race that ran May 16-19 along the original Brescia-to-Rome route with some minor variations (due to areas affected by the earthquake in Emilia Romagna in May 2012).
An estimated 4 million Italian spectators and others from around the world relived a history of road racing that begin in 1927 with cars and drivers like Tazio Nuvolari , who won the 1930 race in his Alfa Romeo, reaching celebrity status. 415 cars were selected for this year’s race from 1,575 registrations based on their history and record of achievements including Ferrari, Alfa Romeo, Fiat, Maserati, Bentley, Porsche, Jaguar, Aston Martin, Lancia, BMW, Bugatti and Mercedes-Benz.
Sport’s car enthusiasts will not want to miss the stunning pictures of the cars of the Mille Miglia posted all over the Internet including fotos from the following sites.
Confetti (candy-coated almonds) is a traditional favor given at Italian weddings. Wrapped in tulle and tied with a ribbon, the sugared almonds are part of the bomboniere, a small gift or sweet given by the bride and groom thanking the guests for being part of their wedding day celebration. Usually there are five, each almond representing the hope for a happy, healthy, wealthy, fertile and long-lived marriage. Dating to the 15th century, the sweets given in a bomboniere were considered a delicacy and only given on special occasions.
Sweet treats and a little luck are part of the traditions of a typical Italian wedding and so are a few superstitions. In ancient times it was also believed that evil spirits could attend marriages with the purpose of causing mischief and disharmony. As Roman law demanded ten witnesses be present at a wedding, the attendants all dressed in identical clothing to the bride and groom so that the evil spirits wouldn’t know who was getting married. Following this custom today bridesmaids, groomsmen and ushers all wear clothing that is similar to the bride and groom!
*The classic Italian bomboniera is a little organza or tulle sachet, but much more elaborate fabric, ceramic, metal or even crystal containers are also common today.
In 1994 James Gosling coopted the word Java and invented a programming language designed to make the web fun and interactive. Within the annuals of computer mythology it is said that the name Java was chosen to reflect the essence of technology: dynamic, revolutionary, lively and fun. Kind of like a cup of coffee.
So what does this have to do with Italy? Enter the common denominator coffee (Italy’s favorite drink) and enter Exofficio, known for smart, innovative travel clothing (in our case for traveling to Italy).
Exoffico, recognized for its technically designed travel wear, has introduced a new line of lightweight clothing that uses an innovative fabric made from recycled coffee grounds. S.Café® JavaTech technology embeds processed coffee grounds in the fabric for T-shirts that keep you comfortable and dry. The grounds create an increased surface area to wick moisture away from the skin and neutralize odor molecules to keep your fresh.
We think that relaxing in this shirt with a cup of espresso on just about any piazza in Italy might be the perfect way to experience total immersion in la bella vita.
Although it is an American bred race, Kentucky Derby winners often have exotic names partly because according to Jockey Club rules you cannot repeat the name of any “permanently named” horse and 55,000 name choices have already been taken. For this reason, horse owners often translate their favorite name into another language.
With an Italian inspired interest in today’s Run for the Roses I did a little homework to find two Kentucky Derby winners with Italian names, 2006 winner Barbaro (Italian for “barbarian” fierce or brave) and 2005 legend Giacomo (Italian for James). Giacomo is said to be named after the son of Sting (rather than for the Italian composer Puccini) who recorded for A&M record producer Jerry Moss, the horse’s owner.
Although Barbaro was known to be a head strong competitor with a bold heart the origin of his name has nothing to do with clashes between Romans and barbarians but rather with a 19th century portrait of the English foxhound Barbaro that hangs in the home of the racehorse’s owners, Roy and Gretchen Jackson, at Lael Farm, near West Grove, Pennsylvania.