Category Archives: Curiosità

‘Fare San Michele’: Moving Day for the Métayer

Fare San Michele is an Italian idiom synonymous with ‘moving day’. In the mezzadria era, contracts between farm laborers and landowners expired on September 29, which is also the feast day of Saint Michael (aka Michaelmas), and thus it was on … Continue reading

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Jülich: Past and Present (and Future?)

This brief post has little to do with the topics I usually write about, save the WWII connection. Yet who can resist any historical tidbit related to one’s personal ancestry? All American Gulicks have a common ancestor, Hendrick Van Gulick—born in … Continue reading

Posted in Curiosità, Local History | Tagged , | 1 Comment

The Passo dell’Osteria Bruciata, or ‘Burnt Inn’ Pass: A Macabre Mugello Legend

In the late Middle Ages, the principal road between Florence and Bologna crossed a stretch of Apennine mountain ridge that also connects the Mugello towns of Scarperia and Firenzuola. This strategic route, known today as the Passo dell’Osteria Bruciata, or … Continue reading

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Who’s the Real ‘Mouse’? Or How to Emasculate an Awards Show Host, Loren-Style

While welcoming Sophia Loren to the stage during the David di Donatello Awards Ceremony on Tuesday, host Paolo Ruffini, and actor from Livorno, addressed the legendary actress with an uncouth vernacular comment: ‘Lei è sempre una topa meravigliosa.’ To translate … Continue reading

Posted in Curiosità, In a Strange Land | 2 Comments

Brave New Mayor: Omoboni Defends Commuter Rights—And How!

The new mayor of Borgo San Lorenzo, Paolo Omoboni, was a founding member of the committee Mugello Attaccati al Treno, a group dedicated to promoting commuter rights in our region and exposing frustrations and inconveniences faced by commuters who rely on the … Continue reading

Posted in Chasing Trains & Buses, Curiosità | Leave a comment

La Beppa Fioraia: Florentine Flower Vendor and Witness to the 19th Century

Giuseppina Caciotti, the woman known to 19th-century Florentines as La Beppa Fioraia, was born in 1809 and lived most of her life in the Porta San Frediano area of Florence. Her epithet derives from Beppa, a nickname for Giuseppina, and … Continue reading

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Curiosità: Pompeii Red

A study last fall by researchers at the National Institute of Optics-National Research Council of Florence (CNR) revealed that the intense red color in many of the stunning frescoes of the ancient Roman world–at sites such as Pompeii and Herculaneum–is … Continue reading

Posted in Curiosità | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments