It was a good race and from Rome onwards I never had any doubt that I should win” Tazio Nuvolari – 1930 Winner Mille Miglia
On to Rome in Italy’s Mille Miglia, one of the most prestigious historic automotive events in the world has been called the “most beautiful race in the world” taking competitors through the stunning Italian countryside as they attempt to complete the 1000 mile open road race from Brescia in the north to Rome in period-correct Ferraris, Alfa Romeos, Fiats and more.
Back home in Indiana excitement is building as the 103rd running of the Indianapolis 500 is scheduled to begin in 10 days, 3 hours and 12 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 began yesterday May 15th from Brescia-to-Rome
An estimated 4 million Italian spectators and others from around the world relive 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. 430 cars were selected for this year’s race from 1,500 + registrations based on their history and record of achievements with Alfa Romeo leading the way with 44 cars in the race. Among the cars represented (Ferrari, Maserati, Bentley, Porsche, Jaguar, Aston Martin, Lancia, BMW, Bugatti and Mercedes-Benz -celebrating 125 years of motorsport) are two Volkswagen Beetles, the 1951 Pretzel Beetle and the 1956 Ovali Beetle have been modified to replicate their historical predecessors. Volkswagen has been instrumental in the history of the Mille Miglia with high-performance Beetles finishing much higher up the standings than their more powerful opposition. thanks in no small part to their reliability.
Sport’s car enthusiasts will not want to miss the stunning pictures of the cars of the Mille Miglia posted all over the Internet.
- The king of American food is the hamburger. You can find them in Italy but not as frequently and they definitely don’t taste the same.
- Americans talk with their mouths full. Eating in Italy is all about enjoying your food with proper digestion. Nothing is so important that it can’t wait to be said and nothing gained by not waiting.
- Americans eat way too much meat. Italians consume very little red meat. A small plate of some pasta followed by a small piece of chicken or fish with vegetables is typical to eat.
- The American view of eating “Italian” with heaping plates of spaghetti and meatballs swimming in red sauce is a caricaturized version of the Italian table. A typical Italian meal is a small plate of pasta and a small piece of protein. Like all traditional cultures Italians do celebrate special occasions with abundance but on a daily basis Italians prefer to eat small portions.
- Americans eat very fast. Italians eat at a leisurely pace and are better for it. Not only does eating slowly and mindfully help you eat less, it enhances the pleasure of the dining experience.
- Italians view dining as an experience. Planning, shopping, the preparation and cooking of the meal are as important as sitting down to eat.
- Italians find the size of a cup of coffee in America “too large” with way too many menu options.
- Store bought salad dressings are superfluous when you have good olive oil and balsamic.
In case you’re wondering what American food tempted our Italian cousin’s palate the most well it was . . . Amish Fried Chicken and Country Ham, our hometown Donuts and Buffalo Wings!
Depending on your generation, Veteran’s Day in the US often focuses on a wall with a mirror-like surface that winds its way through Constitution Gardens in Washington DC. It honors US soldiers who served, fought, died or were missing in action during the Vietnam War. Having lived through those times I always experience a sobering nostalgia on Veteran’s Day about the casualties of war and the diverse reasons why wars are fought.
There is a similar wall known as the Monumento alla Resistenza in Sesto San Giovanni, a suburb of Milan, designed by Piero Bottoni and Polish artist Anna Praxmayer. Scratched on its surface are scenes that trace in 13 stages the anti-Fascist struggle of the Italians during World War II. Located in the Piazza della Resistenza, the wall gradually rises higher toward the sky with the sculptured form of Victory freeing a flight of bronze doves.
We visited this monument several years ago with our Milanese cousin Lidia who lived in Sesto. She like many other Italians of her generation have memories of bombings and hidings as children and families that lived through war, resistance and liberation. Although active memories fade as people pass away, generational memories linger as families and friends remember those who served while the collective memory of our country honors all veterans here and aboard.
With the vacation season in full swing I wanted to spend some time talking about travel, in particular European travel, subset Italy. Of the 308 million-plus citizens in the United States, only 30% have passports versus 41% of Canadians and 71% of Brits. Europeans travel much more than Americans. It seems the art, architecture, food and wine of their neighbors is too good to pass up. And of course it’s convenient, you ca ride a train for a few hours and enter a new country.
I’ll admit it took me a while to travel beyond the beltway. We all have our reasons to postpone travel; work, family, time, money and an emotional commitment to travel outside the box. Time Magazine once published an article
that has stuck in my mind, a study by Cornell University that cited how we should spend our money to gain the greatest satisfaction and happiness.
“If you’re conflicted about whether to spend money on a material good or personal experience (say, a vacation), the research says you’ll get much more satisfaction,and for longer,if you choose the experience“.
It may be time to re-think your goals and invest in a travel experience. Italy is Europe’s everyman with something for everyone. Apply Now.
According to the market research firm InfoTrends, global consumers will take more than one trillion digital photos this year with a large part taken on vacations and trips. So what do you do with the over the top number of pictures taken on your trip to Italy. Of course there’s your Facebook wall album and the obligatory photo book. Your annual Vista Print calendar and family Christmas card. Perhaps a Vimeo video. But like many Italian travelers the street art and iconic landscapes and architecture of Italy create such great photo opps that they want to bring Italy home with photos framed for wall art that deserve to be properly displayed.
According to pro designers the proper way to display your framed photos as art and make them look good on your wall is to follow a standard used in many galleries and museums. Always hang your artwork at 57″ on center meaning that the middle of the artwork is always at 57″. The 57″ standard represents the average human eye-height known to be most pleasing for viewing. Click here to learn how Maxwell Ryan from Apartment Therapy applies this standard when hanging artwork and enjoy your fotos of Italy!
Sirius XM satellite radio launched the Beatles Channel (channel 18) this past week and other Sirius stations joined in the celebration. One in particular was XM Channel 88 NFL Radio who asked listeners to call in and name their Fab Four of Football. This got me thinking what would my choice be for Italy’s Fab Four. The top 4 most fabulous experiences you could have it Italy. It almost seems impossible to choose 4 distinctive touchstones that define the “fatal charm of Italy that can be found nowhere else” but here are mine.
Driving through the iconic landscape of the Tuscany’s Crete Senesi and Val d’Orcia
Florence, Rome and Venice
Assisi and the Franciscan Santuario of La Verna
The mosaics of Ravenna
An amazing list to be sure but here are a few more things in Italy I think are over the top, the star of the group, the best travel investment you can make, the cherry on the sundae, the most dominant person, place or thing you can see in Italy.
I surely have more than 11 but here is my Italy in 30 Seconds List.
- Tagliatelle and ragu’ from Bologna
- Panzerotti from Milano
- Wild boar ragu -pappardelle al cinghiale ragu’ with a glass of Brunello from Montalcino
- Shopping at Santa Maria Novella Farmacia in Florence
- Pizza al taglio in Rome
- Bistecca alla fiorentina a/k/a the Tuscan T-bone with a glass of Chianti Classico Riserva
- A glass of Sagrantino wine from Montefalco in Umbria
- Cioccolata Calda – hot Italian Drinking Chocolate in almost any piazza in Italy
- A dip at an Italian terme (hot spring)
- Cappellacci di zucca and glass of sweet Albana di Romagna wine to end a meal in Ferrara
- A glass of Vin Santo with cantucci in Tuscany