Pesaro is certainly entitled to be called ‘la città della musica’ (‘the city of music’). The composer Gioachino Rossini was born here (his birthplace in Via Rossini is a little ‘jewel’ you should not miss if visiting the Marche region). Besides, Pesaro has an important Music Conservatory inside a beautiful 18th century building, Palazzo Oliveri (hosting the ‘Tempietto Rossiniano’ with memorabilia and autographs by Rossini), and the Rossini Opera Festival (celebrating its 39th edition this year).
However, my favourite ‘music place’ in Pesaro is the workshop of the violin maker Daniele Canu (whom I have already written about), and his adjoining Music Educational Museum inaugurated in February (the ‘Museo Didattico Musicale L’Arco Sonoro). As far as I know it’s a unique situation in Italy.
The aim of the museum is that of creating a space where visitors have the opportunity to learn about the string instruments that made music history. The so-called ‘added-value’ of the museum is that Daniele, who works in the nearby workshop, takes personally the visitors on a guided tour, explaining them the process of violin-making, from the kind of wood to the varnish used.
The museum also organizes seminars on the history of the various instruments with the collaboration of scholars and researchers.
During the guided tour organized for schools there will always be a musician playing on their arrival, and each student will be able to try an instrument and get to visit Daniele’s workshop.
Daniele Canu is going to organize a ‘Music Festival’ in the heart of Pesaro (on Saturday, June 1st) where different music groups playing different kinds of music will perform in via Sabbatini (the street where his workshop is located in Pesaro) and in the nearby streets. Starting from 4.00 pm people passing by will be ‘offered’ free open-air concerts (a cello soloist will perform, together with a young pop music band and many other groups).
Where Lemons Blossom will be there taking pictures of the event and, around 6.00 pm, I will be playing my violin together with the ‘orchestra da camera sabbatini’ right in front of the String Instruments Museum.
Feel like joining us?
A couple of days before the event I’ll write more detailed info about the Music Festival. I just wanted to let you know in advance, so that you may ‘save the date’ on your agenda!
On the whole, there are basically just two genres of pasta: egg pasta and non-egg pasta. Non-egg pasta is mostly made with durum wheat, egg pasta with traditional wheat (the previous sentences have long tails, in statistical terms). Problem (or delight) is, each genre can be declined in an infinite variety of ways.
The composition and taste of each genre are fixed and identical, although we Italians can bicker indefinitely as to how many eggs per kilo to use (answer: any integer between 5 and 12). One would then expect shape to be but a decoration issue. Nothing could be farther from the truth.
We do not taste pasta with our taste buds alone. Tenacity is also important —hence the obsession with size and cooking al dente— as is texture, hence the many different shapes.
If we were to concentrate on ingredients or taste alone, for instance, pasta al ragù would be essentially the same whether the pasta was stelline (literally, small stars), spaghetti, or tagliatelle. To an italian palate, though, the first combination would be kid gunk, the second a hoax and only the third will be The Real Thing.
Why is it? Tenacity and texture:
- stelline is a minute egg pasta normally used in soups or as kid food; whichever sauce you put on it the gunky, spoon-feeding result is anything but attractive to us
- spaghetti have a blander taste (no egg) and are less porous than egg pasta, so the sauce tends to slip away as you fork up
- tagliatelle are tasty (a good pairing with rich sauces) and porous, so the sauce will literally stick to the pasta.
We use to say that each variety of pasta has “its own” sauce. This is not to be taken literally, but it is a reasonable approximation. To make things more difficult, each “perfect match” will have at least one exception, to the extent that even among Italians some matches are more a matter of opinion or habit than anything else (for instance, all Italy eats spaghetti carbonara, but in Rome you will just as likely be served rigatoni).
How is the poor non-native to find his way in this maze to a proper Italian pasta-sauce combination? Here are a few thumb rules; use them wisely and you’ll be able to fake an Italian ascendant nine times out of ten:
- use a recipe book written by an Italy-grown Italian
- use the variety of pasta the recipe indicates, or another of a similar shape
- ragu (so-called bolognese sauce) only goes with egg pasta, either long or short of stuffed, or with potato gnocchi
- there is no such thing as “spaghetti bolognese”, see above
- for fish sauces prefer thinner long pastas, either egg or non-egg (“spaghettini”, “linguine”)
- thicker long pastas are ideal for thick meat sauces
- sauces with diced vegetables, peas or chick peas are a perfect match for large short pastas where the bits can sneak into: “lumaconi”, “maniche”, etc.; the same could be said for meat sauces, only we don’t do it
- for simple sauces (“aglio e olio”, “pomodoro e basilico”, etc.) or when in doubt, use thick spaghetti
- stuffed pastas are a world apart, do as the recipe says.
As I wrote yesterday, I was planning to go to the ‘May Fair’ (Fiera de Magg) on Sunday together with my husband and daughter.
However, I was offered this great opportunity to promote ‘Promemoria’ magazine, and my blog as well, at the Turin International Book Fair. So, Walter and Costanza will go as WLB specialist correspondents (!) to the ‘May Fair’ in Bottega, whereas I’ll be heading to Turin.
So I’d like to thank Cristina Ortolani for inviting me, the Pian del Bruscolo Union of Municipalities and special thanks to the Province of Pesaro and Urbino, which is hosting a link to Where Lemons Blossom, on its Tourism Home Page, as ‘Ambassador to the territory’ – a real honor for me and my collegue blogger.
I don’t know about you, but when it comes to the ‘what-are-we-going-to-do-next-Sunday?’ issue, being a mother I tend to give priority to what our little Costanza would be pleased to do. Besides, I am often pushed by the ‘inner wanna-be pedagogue’ in the choices I make, trying to combine fun with educational aims.
Sometimes I succeed, like I did last Sunday, taking her to the beautiful children’s book fair in Colbordolo, some others I totally fail like when I took her to the ‘Puppet Opera Festival’ in Pesaro (BOF) last Summer. As an adult, I enjoyed Rossini’s ‘Cenerentola’ shortened version and I loved the wooden hand-made puppets. However, Costanza got immensely bored at staring puppets singing opera and kept asking me: ‘when is the Prince going to arrive?’.
Next Sunday (May 19th) we’ll take Costanza to the ‘Fiera de Magg’ (May fair in local vernacular) displaying in Bottega di Colbordolo (Province of Pesaro and Urbino). I’ve never been there but it seems the typical traditional open-air event you don’t want your daughter to miss, as ‘traditional’ feasts tied to the farmer’s world tend to be dismissed with the passing of time.
As my mother was born in Ginestreto, a lovely little village on the surrounding hills, she has beautiful recollections of country feasts from her childhood. I remember one, in particular, the so-called ‘festa sull’aia’ (farmyard feast): when it was harvest time, neighbours would all gather and help the owner of the cornfield to harvest (for free, of course, remember the ‘social catena’ of my latest post?). So, the family owing the land would organize a feast for all those who helped out, offering food, wine and music (mostly played by accordion players). Oh my, right now I’m actually thinking of the musical ‘Oklahoma’ by Rodgers and Hammerstein… ‘the farmer and the cowman should be friends’ (who knows me also knows about my insane passion for American musicals – especially those starring Gene Kelly!).
Going back to the fair, the programme looks promising: creative workshop for children, sheep-shearing, exhibition of farm animals – including those we call ‘animali da cortile’ (courtyard animals) – exhibitions of: ‘objects from the past’, old and new agricultural machineries, farming tools, and – being in Italy – you’ll find the inevitable booths selling all kinds of local eno-gastronomic products.
Coldiretti ‘Campagna Amica’ will also take part in the event, offering typical local products tasting (wine, olive oil, cheese, ham, salami & much more).
In addition to that, a few nearby restaurants/agritourisms will offer – for the occasion – an 18 EUR menu.
For more info, please go to ‘Fiera de Magg‘. You’ll find us there, if it does not rain.
To my great surprise I have been nominated for the Best Moment Award!
As it’s my first nomination for an award, I hope I did not get anything wrong (if I did, it was unintentionally!)
RULES of the Best Moment Award:
Winners re-post this completely with their acceptance speech. This could be written or video. Winners have the privilege of awarding the next awards! The re-post should include a NEW set of people/blogs worthy of the award; and, winners, notify them the great news!
- What makes a good acceptance speech?Get an idea from the great acceptance speeches, compiled in MomentMatters.com/Speech
- Gratitude. Thank the people who helped you along the way
- Humour. Keep us entertained and smiling
- Inspiration. Make your story touch our lives
- Display the award’s badge on your blog/website, downloadable in MomentMatters.com/Award
I would like to thank chandanimane (grazie!) who nominated me for this award, which makes me feel really honored. As I state in my ‘About’ page, I am a frequent traveller and even if I like thinking of myself as a world citizen I am — and feel — thoroughly Italian (even though an atypical one). I am not denying that pizza, mandolino, spaghetti, mafia, Leonardo, Valentino, Prada and Chianti wine (well, not necessarily in this order) made our country famous in the world and that — to a certain extent — they represent a part of Italy. As well as I don’t deny that a traveller visiting Italy should not miss the Sistine Chapel in Rome, the Uffizi in Florence, or the Canal Grande in Venice. My point (and my ambition too) is that of helping you to get to know the real Italy (as seen from the heart).
Special thanks to our Food & Wine expert, Walter, to my followers and to all of you out in the blogosphere. Thank you for sharing your ideas, pictures, memories, points of view, recipes, tips, experiences, in one word (actually two) ‘your life’! through your blogs. Our regional great poet, Giacomo Leopardi, could write today that the blogoshpere is a ‘social catena’ (a supportive bond between human beings).
A funny note in the end. The words by Giacomo Leopardi that I quoted (‘social catena’, i.e. a supportive tie between human beings) come from a beautiful poem called ‘La Ginestra’ (‘The Broom’). ‘Broom’ – obviously – is to be intended botanically but I feared of being misunderstood as – according to Collins Concise English Dictionary © HarperCollins Publishers – the first definition of ‘broom’ is: an implement for sweeping consisting of a long handle to which is attached either a brush of straw, bristles, or twigs, bound together, or a solid head into which are set tufts of bristles or fibres! Of course, this kind of brooms have their raison-d’être and a very practical use too, but – you see – misleading people into thinking of this kind of broom as ‘a supportive bond between human beings’ was a chance I did not feel like taking!
My nominees are:
Congrats to all!
I cannot think of a best way to celebrate Mother’s Day than enjoying a Sunday afternoon among children books with my 4-year-old daughter Costanza.
If you happen to visit the Province of Pesaro and Urbino in May, whether you have children or not, I suggest you to call on Morciola book fair (within the municipality of Colbordolo, half way between Pesaro and Urbino).
First of all, the children’s book fair (celebrating in 2013 its 36th edition!) is hosted by the ‘Sporting-Bocciodromo‘ (the English on-line translator gives me ‘bowling ground’ – however the very Italian ‘bocce’ game is more similar to the French ‘pétanque’ than to bowling). Anyway, I remember reading on my guide – when I was in Saint-Paul-de-Vence (Provence) a few years ago – that the elderly playing pétanque was a scene you didn’t want to miss; well, if you ever come to Italy, especially in the Summer (the ‘bocce’ players give their best on hot Summer days), and if you have spare time, you might as well stop by any ‘bocce’ playground you come across, and get quite a colorful overview on Italians (!)
A second reason to visit the children’s book fair is that it gives grown-ups the opportunity of going back in time and feel the excitement of being surrounded by colorful, fascinating books; whereas it gives the children the excitement of being children, surrounded by colorful, fascinating books!
This afternoon we attended the inauguration and, besides thebook show, there was a children make-up artist who drew beautiful butterflies on bewildered children’s faces.
This year’s theme is ‘monsters’ and the show (‘mostra’ in Italian) has been called ‘mostra selvaggia’ (a pun gaming with ‘mostra’ – show in Italian – and ‘mostro‘ – monster) – ‘wilde monster/show’.
The Book Library of Pian del Bruscolo (a union gathering the municipalities of Colbordolo, Montelabbate, Montecchio, Monteciccardo-Sant’Angelo in Lizzola and Tavullia) have succeeded also this year in organising a ‘programma mostruoso’ (another pun meaning scary/awesome programme)
The book fair will be open until May 18th but watch out: a few activities each day are reserved to schools, so please refer to the programme if you wish to visit.
I was glad to find ‘Pinocchio’ by Collodi (the book my dad used to read me to sleep when I was a child), Pippi Longstocking (my favourite TV serial!) and a book we got for Costanza on the Italian singer/minstrel Angelo Branduardi’s ‘La pulce d’acqua’ (a song she likes to whistle when we ride on the car).
And last but not least, ‘The Little Prince’ by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry: maybe the most poetic book ever written for children and adults. It’s thanks to ‘If you please – draw me a sheep’ that I started my sheep collection (by the way, I bought one of my favourite pieces of my collection in Saint-Paul-de-Vence, in a shop close to the pétanque playground I mentioned above… tout ce tient!)