When I went to Pienza, I thought everything was just irreal. Too romantic, even for an Italian! Breathtaking sunsets, the show of the fog coming up from the valleys early in the morining. The wineries, the music, the art. Believe me, the worst thing can happen to you is to get lost in the streets of the little Tuscan town...but be advised, it would be a marvellous surprise:
This is where I come from: Como. Bill Bryson, famous for his masterpiece "Down Under", describes Como as a "lovely little city, clean and perfect". But it is more. Founded in 59 B.C. by Julio Caesar, its lake hosts splendind churches, trendy cafes and bars, scattered picturesque villages which attract tourists from all around the world. Como combines the elegant influence of the close Milan and the laid-back lifestyle the surrounding imponent and at the same time delicate nature conveys. A perfect alchemy which you will find irresisteble.
Today in Italy is a national holiday as we celebrate the Epiphany which commemorates the 12th day of Christmas when the three Wise Men delivered the gifts to Baby Jesus.
This celebration includes the tale of a witch, La Befana, who arrives on her broomstick during the night of January 5 and fills the stockings with toys and sweets for the good children and coal for the naughty ones.
According to the legend, the night before the Wise Men arrived at the manger they stopped at the shack of an old woman to ask directions. They invited her to come along but she replied that she was too busy. Then a shepherd asked her to join him but again she refused. Later that night, she saw a great light in the sky and decided to join the Wise Men and the shepherd bearing gifts that had belonged to her child who had died. She got lost and never found the manger.
La Befana vien di notte
Con le scarpe tutte rotte
Col vestito alla romana
Viva, Viva La Befana!
The Befana comes by night
With her shoes all tattered and torn
She comes dressed in the Roman way
Long life to the Befana!
Is Learning a new language in the list of your New Year's Resolutions?
Have you always wanted to speak a new language but you have put the thought aside because of all your other commitments?
Time to start then! Remember that the earlier you start the longer you will be able to
practise and enjoy the beautiful feeling of communicating in another language! Are you travelling to a non English speaking country? Being able to speak the language will make your trip even more memorable!