One of my favorite places to visit when I’m in Italy is the beautiful, ancient city of Cremona. My mother grew up in this fair Lombardian town and lucky for me I’m able to visit my relatives there any chance I get.
Cremona is located in Lombardy a short train ride south from Milan. It is of course known for its lengthy musical history of producing the famous Stradivarius violins and other stringed instruments. It was the birthplace of Antonio Stradivari and to this day is home to the world’s best luthiers. A visit to the Museo del Violino is a must for any first time visitor. There and throughout the city one can see an artisan crafting one of these fine masterpieces. It was a pure delight to be strolling through its narrow streets this past spring and hear the soft sound of violins tuning and playing in the air.
Of course like other Italian cities Cremona boasts a breathtaking piazza with its unique Romanesque Duomo, theCattedrale di Santa Maria Assunta and its octagonal Baptistry.The Torrazzo is the symbol of the city and by the way is the third tallest brickwork bell tower in the world. I’ve enjoyed many a gelato or apperitivo here at a café overlooking this beautiful setting.
Cremona is also known for its contributions to la cucina Italiana. It’s known for its stuffed pastas like marubini or tortelli di zucca and various styles of risotti. I had some of the best marubini in brodo at the very casual neighborhood Trattoria Cerri. They tasted just like the ones my nonna used to make. On the sweet side Cremona is known for the famous nougat candy, Torrone which we see during the holidays but there you can find anytime. The sweet-spicy, syrupy fruit, Mostarda is also from this city. My parents used to serve it with their turkey instead of cranberries but it’s usually served with bollito misto.
So the next time you have the opportunity to travel to Italy take a side trip to this often overlooked treasure. You can stay at Hotel Impero, Piazza della pace, 21 – literally steps from the beautiful Duomo and town center.
On August 16th we will meet at the Italia-America Bocce Club (2210 Marconi Ave.) for an evening of camaraderie, bocce (if you want to play) and heavy appetizers. Join us for an evening designed to allow us the opportunity to enjoy each other’s company.
Last year we held this event outdoors at Milo’s. This year we decided to move it indoors to the wonderful facilities of the Italia-America Bocce Club. We will have the courtside area where we can eat and socialize. We will also have use of the bocce courts for those who want to play.
The food options will allow you to eat light or to make a dinner out of it, your preference. Drinks will be available from the club bar.
On September 20th we will meet at our normal location, Favazza’s Banquet Center. The dinner will be accompanied by wines hand selected by our presenter that evening, Luciano Racca. Luciano is the co-owner of Raineri vineyard in Piemonte, Italy. He will speak to us about each of the wines as we move through the dinner courses.
This is an opportunity to enjoy fine Italian wines, selected by the winemaker himself, paired with the evening’s dinner. We will also learn about the grape varietals and the wines they produce while tasting them.
This is a special opportunity, don’t miss it. In vino veritas!
A short history, with a promising future…
In 2004 Gianmatteo (Jimmy) Raineri and Fabrizio Giraudo met at the wine university in Torino. After just a few conversations, they decided to have a little fun and try their luck making wine from a Dolcetto vineyard belonging to Jimmy’s father. After year passed, they had produced about 1,000 bottles of Dolcetto di Dogliani. But Jimmy and Fabrizio were interested in taking it a bit further and added Barbera d’Alba to their project. The results were successful and a real passion developed, which led to the bold decision to start producing Barolo. In 2006, Jimmy’s father in law decided to help the guys by giving them nebbiolo from his vineyard in Perno of Monforte. As a result, their first Barolo vintage (2006) was born for the Raineri team, as well as their first vintage of Langhe Nebbiolo.
A few years later in 2011, bringing with him a strong international wine background, Luciano Racca joined Jimmy and Fabrizio. The combination put Azienda Agricola Raineri in a position ready to confront the global market.
In 2014 the Raineri guys finally discovered the right property to create their own cellar in Panerole of Novello. The space includes a dedicated vinification area and another one for barrel ageing. As the expert producers of the Langhe always say, vineyard efforts are only successful when followed by hard work in a well-organized cellar.
“Our philosophy is the same as the great Masters that made the Langhe District famous worldwide: maintain total respect for the vineyard and the vine, coupled with maximum care in the ageing process in the cellar. To achieve this, we remain always in the vineyard, keep a focus on the quality of our French oak, and continue to tasteour wines day after day…”
St. Louis’ first ever pizza festival comes to The Hill this fall, highlighting various takes on our hometown pies as pizza experts go head-to-head — Square Off — for the title of “Best St. Louis Style Pizza” and all the bragging rights that come along with it. Tickets are $25 and must be purchased in advance. A portion of each sale benefits Hill 2000, the neighborhood association of The Hill. Each ticket covers admission, your first pint of beer (or non-alcoholic beverage of choice) and a scrumptious square from each of our 8 amazing pizzarias. Make your palate heard at the ballot box as you cast your vote and help us crown the 2017 Square Off champion! Kids under 12 get in free, but pay per slice, and require a ticket. Parking and tickets will be limited.
OCT. 08 2017, 12:00 PM – 5:00 PM
STL Square Off Pizza Festival
Berra Park on the Hill(5400 Shaw Blvd, Saint Louis, MO 63110)
Our mission is to honor the unique pizza culture of St. Louis by bringing pizzerias from around the region to The Hill to square off for people’s choice of best St. Louis-style pizza. Come join us and “pledge an allegiance to Provel” this fall at St. Louis’ first-ever pizza festival. You’re ticket also supports the great work of Hill 2000, the neighborhood association of The Hill.
If you were a teenager in Italy around the year 2000 and you were not a fighetto then like me you were an alternativo. Teenage years are a delicate time when pressure from your peers can change dramatically the experience of heading into adulthood. Well I can say that being kind-of-punk in a small town in Italy wasn’t all rose e fiori.
Those years, though, were a good time for alternative music in Italy: in a country where melodic, easy-listening pop songs have always been overpowering rock sounds the years from the beginning of the 90’s to early 2000’s seemed to bring some sort of change to the musical scene. It was a time when MTV was still broadcasting music videos (crazy, uh?) and they had shows dedicated to indie music, emerging bands, rock stuff you wouldn’t hear on your regular radio.
It was the time when bands that had been around for years suddenly became a big thing and everything seemed possible: was Italy perhaps going to develop an influential alternative music scene? Unfortunately the illusion only lasted for a decade, more or less. The pioneers are still around and making money but can hardly be called underground anymore. Many of them even took part in the festival of Italian mainstream music per antonomasia, Sanremo. The vast majority of bands had one successful single or album and then ended up nel dimenticatoio.
And when you’ve done your homework and you’re ready to speak about music with your Italian friends, go grab a music vocabulary cheat sheet I prepared for you. Get it now:
Fighetto: someone who follows mainstream fashion, wears brand clothes and has a posh attitude. Alternativo: someone who follows alternative fashion and is into some sort of underground culture. Non è tutto rose e fiori: it’s not a bed of roses. Per antonomasia: par excellence. Finire nel dimenticatoio: To end up on the scrap heap.
If you have any Italian friends in their late twenties to thirties who are into rock music, then they likely used to listen to at least one of these bands. Wouldn’t it be cool to impress them with your knowledge of these songs from the golden era of Italian alternative music?
One of the biggest Italian “indie” bands still around, they were formed in the second half of the 80’s in Milan. Front man Manuel Agnelli founded an independent music label and a rock festival before ending up as a judge for the Italian version of X-Factor. Quello che non c’è, 2002
With Afterhours they one of the most important alternative rock bands still around. Their style, initially influenced by Sonic Youth, switched to a more traditional song-writing in recent years. They were born at the end of the 80’s in Cuneo and are formed by singer/songwriter/guitarist Cristiano Godano, guitarist Riccardo Tesio and drummer Luca Bergia. Nuotando nell’aria, 1994
Formed in Bergamo in 1995 by the brothers Alberto and Luca Ferrari and Roberta Sammarelli, they made an impact on the alternative scene with their first self-named album. Their style went from grunge to psychedelic and experimental rock. Valvonauta, 1999
Formed by Morgan (another future X-Factor judge) and Andy in the late 80’s, their sound was influenced by new wave and synthpop. In the 2000’s they went in hiatus for almost a decade and re-united in 2008 for a few years. Fuori dal tempo, 1997
Subsonica are an electronic rock band from Turin. They became famous after playing at Sanremo music festival in 2000 and soon went from being an alternative group to gaining audience and success all over Italy. Tutti i miei sbagli, 2000
These are just a few of the bands that were famous in the 90’s to early 2000’s, the ones who paved the way for other artists to emerge. Most of them are still making music and are now renowned acts. There still is a lively underground scene in Italy, but none of the young artists have as much exposure as these bands used to enjoy in those years.
Ready to speak about music with your Italian friends but you’re not sure about the words to use? I got your back. A music vocabulary cheat sheet awaits in the secret library for learning resources! Get it now: