Buon Ferragosto! An August 15th Italian National Celebration

However you celebrate it, enjoy it as a time of relaxation from work



If you do not live in Italy or you have never spent a summer in August in Italy, you probably don’t know what the celebration of Ferragosto is.

Ferragosto is an Italian holiday celebrated every August 15th. Originally, it was related to a celebration of the middle of the summer and the end of the hard labour in the fields.  In the times of the Roman Empire, it was a holiday celebrating fertility, honoring the gods.  The name “ferragosto” comes from the original Latin name “Feriae Augusti”, which means the Festivals of Emperor Augustus.

Today, the Ferragosto in Italy is the day when Roman Catholics believe the Virgin Mary is supposed to have ascended to heaven, and the Catholic Church celebrates this date as a Holy Day of Obligation to commemorate the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary – thus is a major Italian holiday.

You will experience added crowds at the beaches and lots of traffic along the coastal roads – but many festivals of parades, food, music, and fireworks through out Italy are well worth the travel getting to. Italy’s two greatest festivals are Carnivale and The Palio of Siena. The Palio of Siena, taking place on the 16th, is the biggest horse race in Italy and, by far, the most important one in August. Folks from all over the world travel to Siena in Tuscany to see this festival and you owe it to yourself to check out this awesome event.

In Italy, the entire month of August is generally taken as  holiday from professionals, offices and shops just for leisure time and relax. Typically businesses that do stay open the first half of August, close for the second half of the month following the 15th. Everything opens again in September.

Ferragosto is, next to Christmas, Easter and New Years, the most important holiday in Italy.

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Video from Il Gran Festa di Ferragosto a Shaw Park

Il Gran Festa di Ferragosto a Shaw Park.

Grazie a tutti per essere venuti. Abbiamo avuto una serata meravigliosa! La nostra comunita’ italiana e’ grande!

Thanks to all who came to our First Annual Ferragosto event at Shaw Park. We had a lot of fun celebrating with Italians and Italian-Americans from the St Louis community.

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10 Hilarious Italian Expressions

Learn how to speak Italian with these hilarious Italian expressions and Italian phrases that make no sense. These Italian idioms will have you in stitches. Included in this video are the literal translations and their English equivalent. This video contains easy Italian for all ages. Presented by a native Italian speaker.

One of the best parts of learning a foreign language is laughing at literal translations. These are usually found in idiomatic expressions. For example, to say colloquially in Italian, ‘I like you a lot’ translates to ‘Mi piaci un sacco’ or ‘I like you a sack’. This is one of the most common Italian expressions out there.

For more Italian expressions go to http://bit.ly/italian-expressions.

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portofino 3
Photos: Christina Pfeiffer

The Italian Riviera is beckons with picturesque bays, suntanned bodies, rocky alcoves and colourful towns. You’ll find beaches and coves packed with beach chairs.

So where exactly is the Italian Riviera? It’s also known as the Ligurian Riviera and is a coastal strip between the Ligurian Sea and the mountain ranges of the Maritime Alps and the Apennines.

It stretches from the French border (and the French Riviera) to the eastern end of the Gulf of La Spezia near Tuscany.

Here are five spots to put on your travel itinerary when visiting the Italian Riviera.


The least well-known of the destinations on the south-east coast of Liguria, Camogli means “houses of wives”.

The name refers to the lonely womenfolk of the region’s fishermen. While their husbands were out at sea, the wives spent much of their time home alone.

Camogli is bright and colourful. It’s a picturesque seaside town with fishermen’s houses painted in jelly bean jar colours.

It’s a picturesque place with plenty of local scenes to photograph.

You’re likely to come across fishermen and their boats, clothes flapping on washing lines and a lively vibe.

The harbour has an ancient castle – Castello della Dragonara – which has foundations that date back to AD1000.

There’s a bit to see around the area too. Hike uphill to the ancient Abbey of San Fruttuoso.

If you’re a diver, lying 15m below the surface of the bay there’s a bronze statue of Cristo degli Abissi (Christ of the Abyss). The statue was put there in 1954 to remember those who lost their lives at sea.


Portofino is possibly one of the most photographed seaside towns in the world, well certainly in Italy.

From the yachts and fine-dining restaurants, there’s no mistaking this is the glamorous side of the Italian Rivera.

Portofino is where the rich and famous hangout.

Soak up the ambience at one of the waterside restaurants, eat pasta, drink wine and rub shoulders with wealthy Mediterranean yacht-owner.

There are luxury villas tucked away in the hills and small boats bobbing in the ocean. The plunging cliffs, boats and sparkling ocean is my idea of a Mediterranean holiday.

Portofino is a great spot to experience European beach culture too.

The beaches are crowded and you’ll have to pay a to sunbake as beach stations offer facilities like showers, snack bars, beach chairs and umbrellas.


Not as flashy as Portofino, Santa Margherita-Ligure is a little patch of Italian Riviera heaven to escape to. Santa Margherita-Ligure’s town centre is a hub of boutiques and nautical shops.


Rapallo’s open-air market is a great place to sample local fruit and cakes.

The waterfront has a sweeping bay guarded by an ancient castle and plenty of local cafes where you can drink coffee, eat gelato and enjoy the views of the Ligurian coast.


If you’re visiting this part of Italy you’re likely to pass through Genoa, a large city with a historic old town. There’s lots to see in Genoa, such as the Cattedrale di San Lorenzo (for Gothic to Renaissance architecture), Palazzo Ducale (the former palace) and the Strada Nuova museums.

It’s the gateway to two sides of the Italian Riviera, the Riviera di Ponente (setting sun) and the Riviera di Levante (rising sun).

Looking for a romantic experience? Belmond Hotel Splendido is the place to stay. Since 1952, when the Duke of Windsor was the first guest, the hotel has hosted a string of famous people including movie stars like Elizabeth Taylor and Clark Gable.

For more about the Italian Riviera see Italian Government Tourist Officewebsite. While in Italy, it’s worth visiting Turin for rich historychocolatea fabulous cinema museum and to experience the city’s Slow Food movement.

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Nine unmissable Italian railway journeys through magic landscapes

Nine unmissable Italian railway journeys through magic landscapes
The Circumetnea railway below Mt. Etna. Photo: Alex Macbeth.
From circumnavigating Mt. Etna, to views of lakes, rivers and natural reserves, classic trains remain a great way to see Italy in slow motion.

Some climb through snow-capped fields in winter to reach peaks of more than 1,400 metres. Others slither their way round lakes, forests and volcanoes, cutting through swathes of majestic countryside from north to south.

A few are powered by steam, others by diesel or electricity: away from the hustle and bustle of busy highways and thoroughfares, Italy’s quaint and quiet tourist railways are a great way to see some of the country’s natural highlights.

More than 100,000 tourists used train services in Italy in 2016, Silvio Cinquini, a spokesman for The Association of Tourist Railways, told The Local Italy.

“Tourist railways began in 1994 when a few public service lines were closed down,” says Cinquini, whose organization administers three of the railways featured in this article.

There are 10 tourism-only railways in all, says Cinquini. All are a recent phenomenon. “Italy realized later than other nations how a railway can have a value as a tourism asset in a local economy,” says the rail enthusiast.

Below are a few of the most breathtaking railways, both tourist and public, across the Italian peninsula, as well as in Sicily and Sardinia. Follow in the footsteps of figures such as Sophia Loren, Federico Fellini, Vittorio De Sica – as well as various Italian presidents and popes – and travel the slow way.

1. The ‘Italian Trans-Siberian

Route: Sulmona to Carovilli, Abbruzzo

Next departure: August 20

Traversing snow-capped fields in winter, the so-called ‘Italian Trans-Siberian’ covers a stretch of nearly 130 kilometres near the Adriatic coast. The sleek wooden interiors and decor lamps inside the 1930s diesel-powered vintage carriages make this stretch of tourist railway a favourite among train enthusiasts and nature lovers.

2. Circumetnea

Mt. Etna seen from the Circumetnea train. Photo: Alex Macbeth

Route: Riposto to Catania Borgo, Sicily

Next departure: See weekdays schedule.

The Circumetnea is not strictly-speaking a tourist railway but it does invite visitors to cross its mystical landscape. The train departs Riposto, just south of Taormina, and winds its way slowly towards the lava rocks of Mt Etna, leaving the ocean behind.

The active volcano still erupts smoke and lava, yet it is the breathtaking views from both sides of the train that fire the imagination.

3. Treno della Sila

Route: Moccone to San Nicola, Calabria

Next departure: August 12, 13, 14, 16

Cutting through the Sila National Park in Calabria, the Sila railway ascends to a height of 1400 metres. It also passes the highest narrow-gauge railways station in Europe at 950 metres. The renovated classic trains are powered by steam and the decor and attention to detail replicate the vintage experience.

4. Trenino Verde (‘Green Train’)

Route: Various, in Sardinia.

Sassari to Palau

Palau to Tempio

Macomer to Bosa

Mandas to Sorgono

Mandas to Seui

Arbatax to Gairo (suspended)

Next departure: Every day (weekdays)

Sardinia’s ‘Green Train’ delves into the island’s interior from the coast at several points, running for a total of 453 kilometres across the island on six stretches of line.

The Sassari (Tempio) to Palau section of railway cuts coast-to-coast across the north. An extra one-coach service links Sassari to Alghero on the west, allowing visitors to traverse the whole of the north east-to-west.  The train trickles along ancient aqueducts and bridges taking in various stunning landscapes along the way.

British writer DH Lawrence apparently travelled across Sardinia on the Treno Verde. A train and carriage can be rented for a private trip for €1470, according to the route’s website.

5. Ferrovia del Basso Sebino

The Ferrovia del Basso Sebino. Photo: C. Bonari. Courtesy of: Archivio FTI-FBS

Route: Palazzolo to Paratico/Sarnico

Next departure: September 10.

Reopened in 1994 after 30 years closed, the Ferrovia del Basso Sebino runs from the banks of the River Oglio and cuts around Lake Iseo (Lago d’iseo). The Festival of Villages of Lake Iseo presents a series of celebrations on September 10 and should be a great time to travel this route via castles and forests at the foot of the alps.

Steam-hauled trains with vintage coaches and capacity for up to 390 passengers can also be reserved on this line.

6. Ferrovia val d’Orcia

Photo: A. Bini. Courtesy of: Archivio FVO-FTI 2

Route: Asciano to Monte Antico, Tuscany

Next departure: September 1, 3 and 24

This quaint yet spectacular Tuscan railway line coasts along viaducts, beside creeks and through lush landscape, via Mt Oliveto, taking in famous wine valleys, including Montalcino, around Siena. The line stops at several 19th century stations, before meandering along the banks of the river towards Grosseto. There are several departures out of Siena in September, all set to coincide with local events and festivals.

7. ‘Train of Temples and Sea

Photo: ©Archivio Fondazione FS Italiane

The Valley of Temples, Agrigento. Photo: Alex Macbeth. 

Route: Agrigento Basso to Porto Empedocle

Next departure: August 20, September 3

This short stretch of railway takes travelers from the city of Agrigento, home of Nobel Prize-winner Pirandello, to Porto Empedocle, home to the white cliffs knows as the ‘Turkish Steps’. The train stops at the station Tempio di Vulcano, within the Valley of Temples, where seven ancient places of worship to Greek gods stand tall and intact.

8. The Petrarsa Express

Photo: Archivio Fondazione FS Italiane

Route: Naples Campi Flegrei to Portici-Ercolano

Next departure: August 20. September 13, 17

The Petrarsa Express departs from Naples and brings passengers directly into the National Railway Museum in Petrarsa on a vintage carriage. The museum is situated on the sight of one of the first ever tracts of Italian railway, squeezed between the ocean and Mt Vesuvius. Besides hosting concerts and events, the museum traces 150 years of Italian railway history.

9. Ferrovia Turistica Camuna

Photo: D. Piva. Courtesy of: Archivio FTC-FTI

Route: Rovato to Edolo

Next departure: Everyday (weekdays)

Like its nearby baby cousin – the Ferrovia del Basso Sebino – the Camuna railway bends round Lago d’Isea and the River Oglio, albeit for much longer. The entire route is part of a UNESCO World Heritage-listed and protected site.

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Let’s Talk Music – Italians Do It Good…! The Best New Music Out Of Italy

Let’s Talk Music – Italians Do It Good…! The Best New Music Out Of Italy

Remo (TheRockBoxTv)

Searching for the best new music?
Are you looking for new music suggestions and playlists?

I mean, when you mention Italy, these are all the things that tend to spring to mind… Right..? You sure don’t think of the latest new trends in Heavy Metal, or the latest in Dance music, Progressive House, Electro Rock and definitely not the emblematic “Red, Gold and Green” sound of Jamaican Roots, Dub, Skank or Lovers Rock ! Oh no….. You don’t…. at the very most, if someone asks what’s trending in Italy, the first thing that comes to mind is, you know like, Armani, Dolce & Gabbana etc etc etc.

Well that’s where you’re totally mistaken and I’m about to prove it ! So, order a pizza (not with pineapple pleeeeese…!), pour yourself a glass of Chianti and settle down for something astonishingly new.

When people think Rock and I mean heavy….. you know, that kind of rock that turns your grey matter a blood red colour and makes your ears bleed….! Made up of solid walls of distorted metallic guitars, grinding bass lines and violent, powerful drums that hit you in the face like a hundred baseball bats all at once. Most, including myself, would turn to the UK, or the US.
However, today we have a little surprise, that most of you lovers of metal and heavy alternative rock will probably sneer and laugh at when I mention it, until you go and listen to the band I’m about to introduce.

Il Grido

IL GRIDO (The Scream)…. Yes, an Italian Rock Band, that sound like they’ve just stepped out of an atomic explosion and survived…! freakin’ radiation all over the place here….. and beware…. when you listen, you’ll be contaminated…!

Il Grido, as I’ve already mentioned are an Italian Alternative Rock band, based in Rome and definitely worth listening to if you’re a seasoned and true to the bone lover of alternative rock music, even if you don’t understand the lyrics, you’ll love them just the same, for the shear energy and explosive power they produce.
After a long period of trial and error with various previous formations, that go as far back as 2002 – 2003, if I’m not mistaken, when the guys were but mere youngsters starting out, vocalist; Giuseppe Di Bianca and guitarist; Andrea Jannicola, the founder members of the band, who together, write and compose all of the bands material, finally put an end to what seemed to be a never ending search for “The One” (if you pardon the pun), when they are joined by Davide Costantini on bass and the rocket fueled engine behind the armed concrete wall of sound, Lorenzo Spurio Pompili, lovingly referred to as The Golden Boy, on Drums, to finalize what is now the current and stable formation of Il Grido.

The guys are no new comers to us here on TheRockBoxTv, we’ve been following their journey since they released their debut single and video “Il mio disordine” in 2012, which blew us away at the time, with an awesome and gigantic sound, a blinding performance and stunning grungy style video, which quite honestly, nobody, myself included, would ever have expected from an Italian band. They subsequently released another two singles and videos, all self produced, funded and promoted, I may add, with no aid from any record label, major or otherwise, which saw them at the end of 2014 receiving a discrete success and good amount of recognition on the Italian rock scene .

Since then the guys have been slogging hard, evolving, refining and promoting their sound, playing live gigs around the country in both small venues and on larger stages, working relentlessly to expand their fan base on a national basis. They have also been busy, writing and recording a new album, which promises to be a true mind blowing musical experience, for any alternative rock lover, judging by the first single and video, which was released in late may of this year, entitled “Amsterdam”, from their new debut album. Amazing hard and powerful well controlled vocals, sandwiched between a mountain of, gritty, distorted guitar riffs, that cut through the aforementioned wall of armed concrete, provided by the tight and relentless rhythm section, like a hot knife through pistachio ice cream. This band will melt your brain like mozzarella cheese on a hot pizza and can surely be considered by any affirmed Rock Music lover, what might be the best thing to come out of Italy since spaghetti Bolognese.

So… my advice to all of you who have managed to read this far is….. Go… and have your mind blown and your eardrums damaged by this massive, head bangin’ band.

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Elephant State

Elephant State on the other hand, are a brand new Italian duo EDM/ElectroDance Project, formed in 2014 by Cosmo Masiello alias Kosmo and Gabriele Carbone alias Straphax. The project was originally created as a Live EDM Music Set, that can perform comfortably, both in small club venues and on larger stages as openers for DJ Sets, Raves and live concerts. However, after having played a number of live gigs around the country and receiving a fair amount of postive feedback from the general public, including numerous requests for where to download their music, the project has evolved into something ultimately more interesting and has now become a fully fledged venture, aiming to take Dance music to another level, both live and in the studio, which sees them finalizing the independent production and release of their first album ” Where is there.”

These two professional, first rate musicians, both masters of their art and currently active on the Italian music scene as performing and session musicians, decide to join forces, resulting in an explosive mix of Rock, Jazz and Ethnic styles, painted on electronic foundations which blend the whole sound into one complete musical work of art.

Each original piece, a masterful and colourful mix of Electronic Music, Dance, House, Deep House, Progressive, Techno and Trance, with Jazz and Rock overtones and some Ethnic styles thrown in, is composed and arranged into a single and unique canvas bursting with masterfully woven musical sketches that flow with ease into a delta of sound, bringing line, shape and form, colour, texture, light and shadow to even the most critical of musical ears.

After having engaged a third, silent background member to the team in february 2017, who is actively involved with the project and deals mainly with all of their graphic design, video creation and online presence regarding social media, the guys have seen a discreet increase in interest and followers on all platforms they are present on across the web. Although they are still at the beginning, they have recieved a good, positive response to their music, videos and all the material they have published on line up until now.

As a result of their relentless hard work on line, in april 2017, they were offered and finally signed a contract for the official release of their first single “Heritage”, with the small but efficient UK based independent record label Pink Dolphin Music Ltd/Melting Clock Records which was released on the 9th June 2017, with the release of a second single programmed for later this year.
They have also been involved in remixing a track for a collaboration between DeepDownDirty Records UK and Love Vibration Nation Music and Publishing LLC in the US, entitled “Look Up” which is scheduled for release within the next few weeks and we will of course review when the full package is out.

Now here is the cherry and cream topping on the giant donut….! Elephant State and Il Grido who I mentioned in the above article, have joined forces and very soon there will be a new remix of the track “I Presidenti”, from the bands newly released album “Il Grido.” The remix, which I have had the pleasure of listening to, is an amazing mix of powerful, gritty, grungy rock, synonymous of the personality and character of Il Grido, mixed with the unique and recognisable Electronic Dance style and sound of Elephant State. Definitely something worthwhile waiting for…!

In the meantime why not go and have a listen to the magical sound of Elephant State and maybe, Walk with The Herd… as the guys so pleasantly put it.

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Muiravale Freetown

On the 24th of august 1992, Italian missionary, Dr. Alfredo Fiorini PhD, from Terracina, Latina in Italy, is caught in a barrage of machine gun fire, is shot and killed, in the town of Muiravale in Mozambique.

Seventeen years later, in January 2009, in the small but musically thriving coastal town of Terracina, hometown of Dr. Alfredo Fiorini , situated on the Mediterranean Coast approximately 60 kilometres south of the capital, the band Muiravale Freetown decide to come together and form with the intention of honouring his memory and continuing to spread his message of altruism, tollerance and fraternity. Although still in the early stages, but with an already distinct and strikingly polished sound, they are almost immediately given the opportunity to perform live alongside artists and celebrities of international calibre like Damian Marley, Bunny Wailer, Africa Unite, Mellow Mood, SOJA, Misty In Roots and many more.

Over the next few years, Muiravale Freetown a basic five piece formation of extremely talented musicians, Emanuele Golfieri; Drums, Franco Notarberardino aka Franky Sekkle; Bass, Silvino Likkle Fiyah; Keyboards, Andrea Cardone; Guitar and Lead vocalist and frontman, Shakmanaly, all with a remarkable feel for this truly colourful and emblematic music, work extremely hard to polish their already exceptional sound, which in my opinion, stands its own ground against any of the best bearing the Red, Gold and Green flag and finally in november 2013 they record and release their debut album “Muiravale Freetown”. Produced and mixed by the esteemed and well known producer, Paolo Baldini (Africa Unite, Dub Sync, Br Stylers), in his recording studio Alambic Conspiracy Studio, the album consists of 12 outstanding songs, ranging from Roots to Lovers Rock, Dub and Skank and I must say, if i didn’t know they were Italian, I would have sworn, they were from Jamaica, I’m certain that they would have a massive appeal to anyone who loves Reggae in it’s true form.

The summer of 2014 sees the now established band, participating in one of the most important European Reggae festivals currently on the circuit, “Rototom Sunplash” in Benicassim, Spain, where once again this prodigious Italian band, not only stand their ground but concretely affirm their foundations alongside some of the most prestigious and prominent names in circulation on the world wide reggae circuit today.

Currently the band are on tour as well as working on the production of their second album, which should be released early next year and they have recently released the single and video “Dem Go Mad” which is available for viewing on their youtube channel, I’ll leave the link below.

Also, I must mention the new formation, Wadadub, an offspring of Muiravale Freetown, formed by vocalist, Shakmanaly and keyboard man, Silvino Likkle Fiyah, during their recent visit to Jamaica, who are currently working live and have intentions of releasing an EP in the coming year, which, truth be known, I can’t wait to get my ears on…!

If like me you are lover of, genuine and pukka Reggae, in all of it’s colourful forms and diverse styles, then you will surely appreciate the sound of Muiravale Freetown.

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Well, that’s it from me for this week, let us know your views in the comment section below and as always, if there is a Band an Artist, maybe a DJ/Producer or even an Indie Record Label, Online Radio station, that you think we should be listening to or talking about please drop us a link in the comments, we will gladly have a listen. Join us on our socials Facebook Twitter Youtube Instagram Spotify Google+ . We are pretty much all over the place, just search for TheRockBoxTv.

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