Monthly Archives August 2013

31st August: The Attic Under the Bell

Last Sunday I got dragged somewhat reluctantly to the flea market in Pontremoli, known locally as La Soffitta sotto il Campanone or The Attic Under the Bell. I love food markets but I’m afraid that the same thing can’t be said for antique or flea markets. I’m not really a fan for the following reasons: 1. They smell funny. 2. They’re normally incredibly crowded and full of the sort of people that will happily trample you to death if they suspect that you might beat them to that antique tea set they’ve been eyeing up. 3. They’ve become fashionable and
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30th August: Festival of Books

This week, Montereggio has been the host of the annual festival of books.This year marks the tenth year of the festival of books, with Montereggio being the only Italian town in the International Organisation of Book Towns. Montereggio is an ancient fortified village with a host of winding back alleys and medieval architecture, a fitting place for an event of such cultural significance. Over the past week, there has been an antique book market and public readings with authors. Their have also been open debates on subjects including immigration, the environment and consumerism led by journalists, Giovanni Fasanella, Stefania Limits, Andrea
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August 24th: An Impromtu Seaside Holiday

Today I woke up and contemplated the quiet day I was going to have. I would get up, feed the chickens, have a look at my olive grove and maybe read a book by the pool if I was feeling really adventurous. Oh what a naive fool I was. Halfway through an inner debate I was having about what to have for breakfast, my friend M called me and decided that my day plan sounded decidedly dull and in need of livening up. You may remember M, from a previous blog post about drinking and debates. As well as having
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August 21st: Concluding Event of ‘Nights at the Castle’ Taking Place This Weekend

The Concluding event in the summer programme ‘Nights at the Castle’, at the Castle of St George in La Spezia, is ‘Travel the Universe’, taking place this Saturday night at 9.15pm. The event is organised by the Spezzino Institute of Astronomical Research and the talk will be led by their vice president. A number of speakers will talk about different aspects of the moon including the myths early mankind believed about the moon, the role of the moon in works of art, music and literature, and the arrival of man on the moon. It will conclude with a discussion on the
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13th August: Because Apparently There’s A Never Ending Supply of Day Festivals in Italy…

Tomorrow Appeninnfest takes place. For one day the land between the National Park of the Tuscan Emilian Apennines and the Parco dei Cento Laghi will be transformed into a festival space with a market, music and a whole lot of activities for kids. It looks like it’ll be ideal for those of us with children as the organisers have placed a special emphasis on activities for children this year. Children’s activities include donkey acrobatics in which children will be taught how to balance on the backs of donkeys, donkey rides, obstacle courses, puppet shows and canopy tours. For those of
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9th August: ‘Music Under the Stars’ and ‘The Opera in Concert’: Summer Music in La Spezia

La Spezia is celebrating the end of summer by holding two classical concerts which explore classical music in different ways. Tomorrow (Augest 10th) ‘Music Under the Stars’ will be performed in the open air in Piazza Saint-Bon. The Flutist Tito Ciccarese and the accordion player Gianni Fassetta will be playing a selection of music including work by Mozart, Piazzolla and Verdi. Next Saturday soprano Silvia Martinelli, flutist Fabio Taruschio and pianist Andrea Found present ‘The Opera in Concert’ outside the Church of St John and Augustine. The concert is a celebration of the bicentenary of the birth of Verdi and will
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August 5th: Tattooed Statues and Slightly Drunk Debates

I’m coming to the conclusion that there is no such thing as going for a ‘quiet drink’ in Italy. By that I don’t mean that a quick drink at the local inevitably turns into an all night drinking session, I mean that the word ‘quiet’ coupled with the words ‘Italian bar’ don’t naturally go together due to the high level of engaging, interesting people you’re bound to start debating with on various subjects. This was the situation I found myself in, when last night I decided that it would be a good idea to go for a fabled ‘quiet drink’
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August 2nd: Mama Africa Meeting 2013

Villafranca is currently hosting the annual Mama Africa Meeting, a festival of African culture, which brings together workshops, live performances, film screenings, bars, food stalls and debates on contemporary African issues bought to you by forty different artists and teachers. It started on the 28th of July, with a parade through the town and an evening celebration. The workshops on offer include African jazz dance, balafon music and African dance theater and the debates range from African economics to the experiences of African women. I’m going to have to break out of tourism writer mode to tell you about the
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