Life in Italy


Carnevale (Carnival) e' una festa allegra e divertente.  It is celebrated in the period leading up to martedė grasso (fat Tuesday).  The next day is of course mercoledė delle cenere (Ash Wednesday).

For Carnevale (Carnival) which is celebrated all over Italy but most famously in Venezia, you may want a maschera (mask) and a costume (a costume).  Some traditional figures are Arlecchino (Harlequin), with his suit of molti colori (many colors), Pulcinella, with the long camicia bianca (white shirt), and many figures from the Italian "Commedia dell'Arte."

In some cities, la gente (people) va per le strade e le piazze (go out in the streets and piazzas) divertendosi (having fun).   They throw coriandoli (confetti) and stelle filanti (streamers).

The classici dolci di Carnevale (traditional treats) are fried dough sprinkled with confectioner's sugar, named differently depending on what region you are in.  While chiacchiere is common they are also called grostoli, sfrappole, galani, frappe (in Rome), bugie, cenci, stracci, crostoli, rosacatarre, zonzelle, pampuglie, lattughe, lasagne.  Others, fritelli tondi (round fried balls), are called tortelli in Milano and central Italy, castagnole in Emilia Romagna and in Friuli Venezia Giulia, while in Venezia, frėtole.   How do you call them?   Buon appetito!

March 2011
Betsy Mignani

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