#324 I miss agrumi – 1

Agrumi, ‘citrus fruits’, lemons, oranges, tangerines…

The Italian regions most famous for their agrumi are Sicilia and Liguria, in particular the Riviera di Ponente 

 

 

Poet Eugenio Montale dedicated a wonderful poem to the lemon trees, one of the symbols of his beloved Liguria

I limoni
Ascoltami, i poeti laureati
si muovono soltanto fra le piante
dai nomi poco usati: bossi ligustri o acanti.
lo, per me, amo le strade che riescono agli erbosi
fossi dove in pozzanghere
mezzo seccate agguantano i ragazzi
qualche sparuta anguilla:
le viuzze che seguono i ciglioni,
discendono tra i ciuffi delle canne
e mettono negli orti, tra gli alberi dei limoni.
 
Meglio se le gazzarre degli uccelli
si spengono inghiottite dall’azzurro:
più chiaro si ascolta il susurro
dei rami amici nell’aria che quasi non si muove,
e i sensi di quest’odore
che non sa staccarsi da terra
e piove in petto una dolcezza inquieta.
Qui delle divertite passioni
per miracolo tace la guerra,
qui tocca anche a noi poveri la nostra parte di ricchezza
ed è l’odore dei limoni.
 
Vedi, in questi silenzi in cui le cose
s’abbandonano e sembrano vicine
a tradire il loro ultimo segreto,
talora ci si aspetta
di scoprire uno sbaglio di Natura,
il punto morto del mondo, l’anello che non tiene,
il filo da disbrogliare che finalmente ci metta
nel mezzo di una verità.
Lo sguardo fruga d’intorno,
la mente indaga accorda disunisce
nel profumo che dilaga
quando il giorno piú languisce.
Sono i silenzi in cui si vede
in ogni ombra umana che si allontana
qualche disturbata Divinità.
 
Ma l’illusione manca e ci riporta il tempo
nelle città rumorose dove l’azzurro si mostra
soltanto a pezzi, in alto, tra le cimase.
La pioggia stanca la terra, di poi; s’affolta
il tedio dell’inverno sulle case,
la luce si fa avara – amara l’anima.
Quando un giorno da un malchiuso portone
tra gli alberi di una corte
ci si mostrano i gialli dei limoni;
e il gelo del cuore si sfa,
e in petto ci scrosciano
le loro canzoni
le trombe d’oro della solarità.
 
‘The Lemon Trees
Listen: the laureled poets
stroll only among shrubs
with learned names: ligustrum, acanthus, box.
What I like are streets that end in grassy
ditches where boys snatch
a few famished eels from drying puddles:
paths that struggle along the banks,
then dip among the tufted canes,
into the orchards, among the lemon trees.
Better, if the gay palaver of the birds
is stilled, swallowed by the blue:
more clearly now, you hear the whisper
of genial branches in that air barely astir,
the sense of that smell
inseparable from earth,
that rains its restless sweetness in the heart.
Here, by some miracle, the war
of conflicted passions is stilled,
here even we the poor share the riches of the world—
the smell of the lemon trees.
See, in these silences when things
let themselves go and seem almost
to reveal their final secret,
we sometimes expect
to discover a flaw in Nature,
the world’s dead point, the link that doesn’t hold,
the thread that, disentangled, might at last lead us
to the center of a truth.
The eye rummages,
the mind pokes about, unifies, disjoins
in the fragrance that grows
as the day closes, languishing.
These are the silences where we see
in each departing human shade
some disturbed Divinity.
But the illusion dies, time returns us
to noisy cities where the sky is only
patches of blue, high up, between the cornices.
Rain wearies the ground; over the buildings
winter’s tedium thickens.
Light grows niggardly, the soul bitter.
And, one day, through a gate ajar,
among the trees in a courtyard,
we see the yellows of the lemon trees;
and the heart’s ice thaws,
and songs pelt
into the breast
and trumpets of gold pour forth
epiphanies of Light!’

#314 I miss Italian satyre – 2

Lercio, the Italian The Onion

“Dategate: Michelle Obama spied on other First Ladies in order to decide what to wear”

Politically incorrect, disrespectful, and super-cynical, Italian style

“Trapani: nun changes sex to become a priest”

(See also “I miss Italian satyre – 1”

https://misshome.wordpress.com/2014/05/08/310-i-miss-italian-satyre-1/ )

 

 

#305 I miss mercato – 3

Roma, mercato scene from Mamma Roma, by Pier Paolo Pasolini.

Anna Magnani.

Porta Portese, the most famous market in Roma

Porta Portese by Claudio Baglioni

(See also: “I miss mercato – 1 – 2 ″

https://misshome.wordpress.com/2013/07/28/28-i-miss-mercato/ ‎

https://misshome.wordpress.com/2014/04/28/300-i-miss-mercato-2/ )

 

 

#303 I miss maggio

Il mese di maggio (‘May’), the month of roses and cherries, the month dedicated to the virgin Mary…

In the city of Noto, Sicily, they use flowers for the spectacular infiorata 

Calendimaggio, or Canto del Maggio is an ancient feast to celebrate Spring, farmers used to celebrate with dance and songs, i canti del maggio, 

From that tradition orginated the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino festival

#296 I miss Mortadella – 1

One of my former student, who spend one year in Italy once wrote a letter to someone she really loves, and than posted this love letter on facebook

Cara Mortalla, 

mi manchi tanto, ricordo i bei momenti passati con te, e spero  di poterti incontrare presto. Perché non vieni a farmi visita negli Stati Uniti? Troveresti tanti amici anche qui.

Con affetto

‘Dear Mortadella,

I miss you so much, I remember the beautiful time we spent together, and I hope to see you soon. Why don’t you come to visit me in The States? I am sure you will find many friend here.

Love’

 

#286 I miss ammazzacaffè

Ammazzacaffè, literally ‘coffee killer’ is a little glass of liquor you have at the end of a meal, after the coffee, with which you “kill” your caffè.

Popular ammazzacaffè are Amaro (lit. ‘bitter’), an herbal digestif liquor, typically produced by macerating herbs, roots, flowers, citrus peels in alcohol, mixing the filtrate with sugar syrup. There are dozens of Amari, one of the most common is the Amaro Montenegro, named after Princess Elena Of Montenegro

In my top three: Limoncello, a sweet lemon liquor typical of Sorrento and the gulf of Napoli

Mirto, produced in Sardegna, obtained from the myrtle plant; Mirto rosso (‘red’) is made with the berries and is sweet, Mirto bianco (‘white’) is made from the leaves

Grappa ai mirtilli

Blueberries spirit, common in Northern Italy.

 

 

#283 I miss farinata

Farinata

or Farinata e pizza

This is what you get when you go to La Spezia, and in particularly at La Pia a pizza and farinata place, since 1887.

They made a very “rustic” pizza, normally margherita (tomato sauce, origano, mozzarella), quite thick, and a fantastic farinata.

Farinata is a thin “pancake”, made from chickpea flour, and oil, baked (in a wood oven, no question) in a huge round baking tray, with some olive oil.

Is soft and crispy at the same time

You can find it in any Pizzeria in Liguria and Lunigiana. In Tuscany, in Pisa and Livorno they have something similar, called cecìna (from ceci, ‘chickpea’)

thicker and softer than farinata, often served with focaccia

this version, in Livorno is called Cinque e cinque, 5+5, because at the old time it was “5 lire di focaccia e 5 lire di cecìna” (‘five lire for a slice of focaccia plus 5 for a slice of cecìna‘).

I enjoyed that when I lived in Pisa, but farinata stole my heart many years before!