Thursday, December 31, 2009

Buon Anno!

Happy New Year!

Tonight's the night for fireworks in Prato della Valle, if it doesn't get rained out.

I won't be in town for it but here is a photo from a former pyrotechnic display in town.

Photo from gad_jet's flickr photostream.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

A White and Black Christmas

So it was a very white Christmas in the Dolomites this year for me. I went snowshoeing in the San Pellegrino and Valles areas pictured above. The views were spectacular. The new shoes worked wonderfully.

Down in the valley, it rained for 27 hours straight from Christmas Eve through Christmas Day. The rain was obviously snow up at these higher altitudes and lay over a few other meters of recent snow. Usually, this kind of combination makes for lots of lovely powder but can be dangerous. The new layers only lightly adhere to the lower layers. Snow generally needs a few days to settle and become more solid, and especially safely join with the older snow.

So why am I talking about this? Because the Arpav bulletin warned a level 4 (on a scale of 5) for avalanche risks after Christmas. Yet 2 alpine enthusiasts launched out on snowshoes to check the conditions of an iced-over waterfall. They ventured into a particularly dangerous area at Sass Pordoi and went missing. The Protezione Civile sent 4 volunteers to look for the missing people, Fabio Baron e Diego Andreatta. Drammatically and sadly all 6 were killed from the avalanche danger in the area. Ervin Riz, Luca Prinoth, Diego Perathoner and Alex Dentone were the alpine emergency volunteers who lost their lives trying to help others.

Obviously this loss has angered many who blame the stupidity of the alpinists who first went missing with the Arpav published warnings. Some say that the volunteers should not go out to help when there is a level 4 danger. The volunteers do not want to make that kind of judgement call when their job is to help people in need. It is a painful situation, especially for the community of Val di Fassa and Canazei, where the volunteers lived and worked.

The mountains I chose to visit were on a high plain and had hills, not mountain walls, that flanked the snowshoe path. The avalanche risk is not high in that situation.

The mountains have claimed many lives and particularly those of emergency service people. There was a helicopter crash earlier this year that I wrote about here.

The beautiful snow white, turned black with grief just after Christmas.

We all need to be responsible as we go out in the snow.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

A Different Kind of Christmas Present

Two days ago, Santa Claus had a special chat with the big bank in Turin. He finally convinced them to accept our mortgage loan request. With this news, my husband and I were able to sign the preliminary paperwork to buy our first house yesterday.

After two months of signing documents, gathering money, providing a mountain of paperwork and waiting, we had our wish come true. In the new year, we will be living in our own property.

Thanks Santa!

Buon Natale a tutti!

Happy Holidays to all!

Image taken from site:

(I'll be back at posting on Monday.)

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Story of a Fellow Foreigner

In yesterday's snow aftermath in Padua, I was waiting at the bus stop to catch my ride to work. The 8:40 bus left 3 minutes ahead of time, according to my watch, so I began my long wait to get to the city center. A man arrived at the stop just after me and had seen the same bus leaving early. We started talking.

It turns out that he is a neighbor who is from Nigeria. He was taking the bus because his Fiat Punto wouldn't start. It had been that way since Saturday's snowfall and the deep dip in temperatures. Even though he has a degree in Business Economy received in his country, his job here in Italy involves being a professional cleaner. Yet his paycheck in that humble job, with the advantageous exchange rate, is about three times more than what he was making in Nigeria when he was involved in bookkeeping for the military service.

He came to Italy because a friend said he could probably find a good job here, even in his field. Of course, his friend was terrible optimistic about an African man actually being able to use his degree in this country.

Now, four years laster, he plods along and endures prejudice everyday from a population who has become quite hostile toward foreigners in recent years, especially those that look different. He seemed so sincerely happy to speak in English to someone, me, who would actually have a decent conversation with him.

He dreams of moving to another country, maybe Canada, and continuing his studies to eventually get a Ph.D and teach. I sincerely hope he can do that although I am doubtful because he seems to just get-by here. He'll probably need a lot of cash to chase that dream. At the moment, he is in contact with an internet company that says his paperwork and credentials are ready to make the formal request to emigrate to Canada but they are asking him for Euro 360 upfront. He is afraid they just want his money and that they are not trustworthy. I tried to give him suggestions about how to find out more about the company through official Italian channels. He was leaving the bus at that point and I don't know if he understood exactly which government body I was referring to.

He believes God will help him find his way. He's happy he tried to come to this country despite some of the unpleasant surprises he found once here.

I may be having some of my own troubles during this Christmas season but P. put that in perspective.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Bomarzo, in tema in tempo

So my recent nostalgia about Bomarzo: Il Sacro Bosco is shared by other Italians! I came across a La Repubblica article that focuses on the wild late-Renaissance garden in yesterday's online edition. It announces the release of a book, "Bomarzo: il Sacro Bosco", published by Electa and edited by Sabine Frommel with the collaboration of Andrea Alessi.

Until now, Bomarzo has always been underrated. I am so glad it has been seen as worth of having a book dedicated to it now.

For my blog post. For La Repubblica's article.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

An Exceptional Snowfall

I could write about the difficulties of travelling along the highways.
I could write about the problems with the local tram which was stuck at the stop, Trieste, yesterday morning and halted city service for at least 30 minutes.
I could talk about the icy roads.
I could talk about the delayed buses.
I could talk about the shopping centers exploding with people, especially in the skiwear section.
I could talk about the miserably cold stand owners in the city center that lacked their normal Christmas customers because they were all at the heated shopping centers.
I could talk about Berlusconi's health and theories about his attack.
I could talk about frigid temperatures at -5° C.
I could talk about my dog's swollen anal glands.

But I'm not going to...

I don't care...

Because it snowed 12" in Padua.

An Exceptional Event

Some drive-by images:

Prato della Valle

Under Santa Giustina

Along V. Gattamelata

We all turn into children with our city covered in this white blanket!

Friday, December 18, 2009

More "Juice" About Olive Oil Harvesting

The "juice" is the great description developed in a five part series published on italyMONDO!'s site, with the collaboration of Ciao!Amalfi. This should appease any curiosity which ensued from my post on the olive harvest I participated in at the farm Monte Sereo in November. For a quick read of that post for those who missed it, here is the link.

Reminder: make sure you have some good quality olive oil on at least one dish during your this holiday season and think of Italy!

Friday's False Friend

romance v. romanzo

Romance is when you are in love with a person and have a love affair. However Italian's word, romanzo, means a novel (which may or may not have some romance as part of the plot). Translate with una storia d'amore.

Eng) Some women come to Italy for romance.

It) Alcune donne vengono in Italia per vivere una storia d'amore.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Berlusconi Meets a Vicious Statuette

President Berlusconi's encounter with a Duomo statuette yesterday evening was quite violent. While at a Popolo della Libertà (his political party's) rally, a member of the public in Milan's Piazza Duomo threw the souvenir at him. It hit his face causing a gash on his lip, breaking some teeth and hurting his nose. For the Financial Times article and video, click here. He has been in the San Raffaele hospital in Milan for 24 hours already and his next doctor's check up will be announced at 10 a.m. tomorrow. At the moment he is mostly tired and shocked, according to reports.

This said, violence is horrible.

I can't believe this is organized terrorism, as some people are stating. The assailant, Massimo Tartaglia, has been taken to a hospital clinic inside of a Milan prison for psychological testing and interviewing. He supposedly has a history of being mentally imbalanced. Tartaglia has declared to authorities that he acted alone.

Honestly, I can believe that even a sane person would want to hit Mr. Berlusconi up-side the head with his idea of governing the country in many aspects. But that's not the point.

Needless to say, this has caused a political uproar in the country.

But it also sounds like a joke if you tell the story: What happens to the premier when he's signing autographs? He gets hit by a figurine.

Yes, in the US, the secret service would probably not let the president get so close to the public. But isn't it Berlusconi who loves to be in the middle of his adoring public as often as possible? He's not just a politician. He's a celebrity over here.

I would like to just say for the record that I know an Italian citizen who withstood violence of the kind several years ago. He was attacked by a man who ended up biting him in the face which bled just as much, if not more, and required 6 stitches to repair the damage done to his cheek. Unlike Mr. Berlusconi who has his man behind bars immediately, this person saw the police actually arrive on the scene over 1 hour after the attack and waited 5 years for the trial to come to court. This is how the justice system works for "normal" people. Will Italy's president wait as long? Of course not.

Meanwhile, under the recent law that was passed just weeks ago, all trials that don't get tried within 2 years will be absolved automatically. So this means this common man's case would never have gotten to court. The current Italian system is slow for many and mostly bureaucratic reasons but let's allow people to see their day in court, please.

I wonder how truly shaken up Berlusconi is today.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Friday's False Friend

confidence v. confidenza

Confidence is when you feel very good about a situation. Confidenza means sharing intimate thoughts with someone. Translate with fiducia when searching for the proper Italian word.

Eng) We have confidence that the system will change soon.

It) Noi abbiamo la fiducia che il sistema cambierà presto.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Baking Birthday Cookies

So today's my birthday and it's a national holiday in Italy: the Immacolata. I love the idea of never having to report to work on my birthday. (Of course this is one of the main reasons I decided to settle here, right?)

When I lived in the US as a child, my birthday was one of the most stressful days of the year. Not only did I have to attend school, but I also had to do homework, go to church to please my grandmother who was a devout Irish Catholic (where holy days require going to Mass) and have a birthday party, at least with family. I would end up exhausted from it all!

Fast forward. Now I am an adult and live in a country that is officially Catholic so the holy day dedicated to the Virgin Mary means: NO SCHOOL OR WORK.

Although it's raining and generally pretty miserable today, on this particular December 8th, I have decided to cheer myself up with a session of cooking chocolate chip cookies. I haven't eaten them in over 2 years. I'll use the chips brought by an American friend during her last trip to visit me. I will gorge on the cookies when they are baked today. Then I will take the rest to work tomorrow for my belated birthday celebration with colleagues.

In this country, as the "birthday girl", I have to offer something to others. It's basically the reverse of American tradition where everyone is supposed to do nice things for you. In this Italian case, I will bring cookies and a bottle of prosecco to open at the 11 o'clock school-day break. This is the tradition where I work. Either something sweet (pastries) or salty (pizzette, tramezzini) or both are offered and a brindisi is made together at that early hour.

I like to have the Italian colleagues taste American flavors. One year I took brownies, for example. Another year I took zucchini bread, flavored with cinnamon, an uncommon spice in Italian desserts.

No cake. Yes, cookies. Happy Birthday to me!

Cookies baked:

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Bomarzo: Park of Monsters

"Tu ch'entri qua con mente parte a parte et dimmi poi se tante meraviglie sien fatte per inganno o pur per arte."

These cryptic words are inscribed into the rock that makes up the statues and monuments in Bomarzo's Park of Monsters in the province of Viterbo, 90 km north of Rome. I came to this park most recently 4 years ago on a foggy December afternoon to revisit Prince Pier Francesco (a.k.a. Vicino) Orsini's mysterious park, which he originally called the Sacro Bosco (Sacred Wood) at its construction in the 16th century.

The prince dedicated the park, a Mannerist labrinth of monsters, exotic animals, mythical characters, monsters and bizarre buildings, to his deceased wife, Giulia Farnese. The architect Pirro Ligorio, who also was commissioned by the Vatican at the time, elaborated the plans for Orsini's park that walks its visitors through a "wild" woods where enormous mounds of Tartufo rock jut out in the shape of elephants, dragons, lions, giant turtles, temples, Pegasus, Orcus, Neptune, Hercules, Sirens and Sphinxes.

Is it art? Is it a mystery? Is it a park? Is it a graveyard? Is it mythical? Is it real? Some of these questions have been pondered by writers and artists who have visited Bomarzo over the centuries.

The park was abandoned after Prince Orsini's death in 1585 and was not revived until this past century by the couple, Giancarlo and Tina Severi Bettini. They are buried in the temple, with perhaps, the remains of the beloved Giulia.

No one can exactly explain the precise reasons for the collection of characters and pathway through the wood.

With that winter fog I witnessed in 2005, the mystery felt alive even 4 centuries after its creation.

You walk into a leaning house which plays with your perception of reality and construction. You start to get confused about direction and gravity as the doorways and floors tilt and the proportions become too small compared to the size of your human body.

Monsters glare at you beyond their mossy stare and frozen movement. The sun struggles to reach the ground under the blanket of foliage in the dense wood, considered a park. It is wild yet has been controlled by a human's handiwork. This is not your traditional English or even Italian Renaissance garden. Everything is exaggerated in Orsini's natural oasis, built as a monument to death.

The man was rich and depressed. He commissioned a grotesque work to be made of rock and trees. Inscriptions provoke the visit as he moves through the space:

"Voi che pel mondo gite errando vaghi di veder meraviglie alte et stupende venite qua, dove son faccie horrende, elefanti, leoni, orchi et draghi."

"Sol per sfogare il core"

I highly recommend this bizarre park of monstrosities. It's a unique experience into the past, sublime, mysterious and dark world of a former prince.

For more information, go to Bomarzo's website.

Dragon with Lions

Hercules and Cacus

Pegasus Fountain

Temple and tomb

Leaning House

Me inside of Orcus' mouth

Friday, December 4, 2009

Friday's False Friend

gross v. grosso

Gross, in our language, means 1. total or exclusive of deductions 2. glaringly obvious or 3. crude. However grosso, in Italian, means "big" so use 1. lordo 2. ovvio or 3. volgare when translating the word from English.

An example of definition 3:

Eng) Little boys like gross things and especially like to embarrass their female classmates with them.

It) Piaciono le cose volgari agli ragazzini e a loro piace sopratutto mettere in imbarazzo le loro compagne di classe con esse.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Thanksgiving 3 Days Later

After 6 years of not celebrating, I sat down to a Thanksgiving meal today, 3 days after the American holiday. Since I live in Italy and found myself working 10 hours at a fair on the actual festivity, the relaxed meal had to wait until Sunday, but it was worth it. We had our feast in the company of 4 Americans, a Venetian, a Paduan, a Roman and a Romanian. Wine and food abounded. There was turkey, cranberry sauce (homemade and can variety), sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, string beans, stuffing, pumpkin pie and tiramisù.

We stuffed ourselves into a small apartment and then proceeded to stuff our stomachs with the American traditions. We joked over the food and Italian wine. It was a great company of foreigners. Coffee and cognac finished off the meal. It was a very satisfactory experience.

Compliments to the chefs and good work on the part of those who found the difficult ingredients such as cranberries!

Baci a tutti! Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Ski Slopes Open for Business

It's not even December yet and the ski slopes in the Cortina area have already been open for about 3 weeks. It's the beginning of what should be a very long and snowy winter in the Dolomites this year. For a look at the Faloria's slopes, click here.

Down in the Padana valley, at my house, preparations are under way for the winter season. This involves listing what needs to be bought like new gloves, ski poles and thermos, sharpening the crampons' points, practicing safety knot combinations and reading about interesting snowshoe and alpine skiing trails.

This is a picture of one mountain view from Monte Pore, which we climbed last season. We are looking forwarding to more of the same.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Friday's False Friend


preservatives v. preservativo

Preservatives help keep food from going sour or stale in English while the Italian word with only one letter that changes, the "e" to an "o", reveals a completely different meaning: a condom. So once you have finished your Thanksgiving turkey dinner and you want to talk about food quality and keeping food in good condition, remember not to bring the "sexy" false friend into the discussion! Use conservante for a better translation unless you want to turn red at the dinner table with your in-laws...

Eng) American bread usually has more preservatives than Italian.

It) Di solito, il pane americano ha più conservanti di quello italiano.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Expensive Mail

I am completely frustrated by the Italian postal system and custom's office. Every time I receive just about anything from the US, I end up paying at least Euro 10 ($14) on it because it's value gets taxed at 20% and then additional customs and postal services are added for it to be handled at the Italian border.

The most recent frustrating payment occurred when someone sent what they declared as $50 worth of pictures to me (but pictures weren't even in the envelope). I found myself paying the normal taxes and fees with none of the benefits of even getting what I thought I was helping pay for!

Another good story comes from the time I sent 3 big boxes of old kitchen supplies to myself. Once the packages arrived, and since I had declared no value on the old pots and pans, Italy's customs office decided to tax me on the cost of the postage of having the boxes sent from the US. So for the box that cost $80 to send, I was taxed 20% on that value. It was absolutely crazy!

Those boxes were delivered to my house by a man with a TNT tag on his shirt and he was driving not a TNT van but a plain white one with no insignia . I found out later that the Italian postal service pays for private delivery services once the big packs come into the territory. I suppose some of these bogus fees are helping subsidize this costly Italian option. I just don't know why the Italian postal system cannot complete the delivery cycle itself, especially considering the foreign sender has paid for its total voyage to destination at the departure site.

If you think you can just take your boxes and not pay, you risk having the police come to your door with a criminal report.

Meanwhile, if you call the phone number the post office gives you to inquire about these fees, no one answers. You only have five days in which the package will remain in-country and not delivered. If you do not pay within that time, you risk having the package sent back to the sender for the cost of return delivery. It's a no-win situation for the receiver.

As usual, the system is awful and who pays? YOU

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Diesel Jeans, No...Olive Oil and Winery

The famous jeans-maker extraordinaire not only designs cutting-edge and trendy clothes, but also boasts land that produces wine, grappa and olive oil. Renzo Rosso, who created his dynasty in 1994, wants to go back to Italian tradition and work the land-with design in the bottles and tradition in the fruits of the land.

In Marostica (Vicenza), Diesel company owns 7 hectares of land that they dedicate to farming, an azienda agricola.

I find this an interesting addition to the company. Something like this would only happen in Italy. Would Gap company ever make cheddar cheese or open up an authentic hamburger joint in the USA?

Diesel's wine list includes the following: "Bianco di Rosso" Chardonnay; "Rosso di Rosso" Merlot and Cabernet (together?); "Nero di Rosso" Pinot Nero; "Grappa di Rosso" with a combination of all the plants together; and "Olio di Rosso" with mostly the Leccino tree and some additions of olives from the Frantoio and Ascolane varieties.

I wonder how good these wines and oil are being that a business guru, most interested in design, is trying to produce some quality food and drink products. It's definitely an interesting project. It's probably mostly in the hands of farmers with just the label put on the bottles and promotion.

Click here for the website of Diesel Farm, including online store. Of course, the site looks great--it's pure design!

If any of you taste these products, let me know about the quality. Thanks!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Friday's False Friend

stranger v. straniero

We English-speakers use stranger to refer to someone we don't know. In Italian, straniero may look similar but the meaning is more specific: a foreigner. Translate the word with estraneo for a better solution.

Eng) "Don't talk to strangers," the mother said to her son.

It) "Non parlare con un estraneo, " dice la madre al suo figlio.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

A One-Name Street

While walking my dog today, I got especially curious about who lives on my street. There are many nice houses with fenced gardens. It's an Italian dog's paradise for this reason. Plus, it is within a mile of the city center.

My careful observation of the names listed on the houses' mailboxes revealed that either almost everyone comes from the same family or there are a hell of a lot of people in Padua with the last name of Schiavon. Out of 13 consecutive houses, 11 have at least one person (husband or wife) with that name. So this leads me to believe that either one or two farmers were able to sell off their copious land and house all their relatives in the area from the funds derived from that sale, the family is incredibly large and full of generations of people who have chosen lucrative jobs, or all the Schiavon's just happened to love this area and settle here. Since the people are not exceptionally friendly or talkative, I probably will never really find out the real reason. I've lived here for over 3 years and only know 2 neighbors by name. Everything is very discrete...

The same street (which I won't mention for privacy's sake) has recently become a one-way road towards the city center so that a bicycle lane could be installed, making the area safer for everyone.

This one-way street has basically one name as owner: Schiavon.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Who's not paying their taxes these days?

Last week, Padua registered 75 arrests for tax evasion. The Guardia di Finanza's crackdown has come home and some of the sh___ has hit the fan locally. People were studied to compare their tax returns and their lifestyle. Red flags went up when, for example, a tax return showed earnings of 20,000/year while the person was driving a luxury car, going to exotic locations on holidays, a member at an elite golf club, etc. The tax-evasion offenders are not only business owners and freelance professionals, but also public officers. Padua comes in third in the Veneto as the city with the most arrests in this category while Verona takes the lead.

This initiative on the part of the government has ruffled many feathers. Mayors don't want to "tattle" on their citizens. Switzerland does not want to continue cooperating with the Italian authorities who are investigating money which might have been transfered illegally to tax havens in their country.

Alas, if only everyone would pay their taxes: the country's services would be so much better. Unfortunately the brunt of the tax "euro" is being paid by low-level employees who already get by on very little earnings. A 40-60% tax bracket is difficult to bear.

Share the wealth, evaders! Pay up! Maybe if we all paid, taxes could even go down. Now wouldn't that be novel!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Friday's False Friend

proper v. proprio

In English, proper most often means, "characterized by appropriateness," while the similar-looking word proprio from Italian actually primarily means "own" as in "your own." Use adatto or appropriato or corretto when translating from English in this case.

Eng) I never know the proper thing to say on special occasions.

It) Non so mai la cosa adatta/corretta da dire nei momenti speciali.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Olive Oil Update

The weekend's work at the Farm Monte Sereo from October 31 and November 1, when I participated, produced a total of 317 kilos of olives picked and 58 liters of oil pressed.

Now that's a lot of oil!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

A Rainy Sunday with Nothing to Do

Could this be the best part about Italy? When it rains as hard as it is doing today in Padua, on a Sunday, you revel in nothingness. You don't want to get out of bed. You have no reason to get out of bed. Everything is closed anyway. (But actually that is not true the closer we get to Christmas.)

I started to appreciate this aspect of life when first living in Rome in 1992: the zen of doing nothing. It still continues almost unchanged in 2009, although a few more northerners try to be productive on Sunday by shopping when they can, since shops can sometimes have open hours on the Sabbath day.

In the US, Sunday became a fairly regular day when I was about 8 years old. All the shops were allowed by law to be open every day of the week that year. By the age of 16, I was even working on Sundays in the shops.

Upon arrival in the bel paese, that was distinctly not the reality here. Sunday was for church, relaxation, family lunches and/or walks in the city square or along the riverbanks. Maybe an ice cream cone could be eaten in the afternoon, but work or hard-core shopping was not part of the possibilities for that particular day of the week.

Now I follow my dog's cue and don't even want to step foot outside of the house. It's a glorious time to do nulla--

Friday, November 6, 2009

Friday's False Friend

noisy v. noioso

Noisy in English means sound that is loud, unpleasant, unexpected or undesired, however the similar word, noioso, in Italian means bored. Use rumoroso as the correct translation.

Eng) My first apartment in Padua was extremely noisy because it was several yards away from a hospital. It made my former New York apartment seem quite!

It) Il mio primo appartamento a Padova era estremamente rumoroso perché si trovava ad una centinaia di metri dall'ospedale. Ha fatto sembrare silenzioso il mio precedente appartamento di New York!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

The Lone American with an Italian Driver's License

That's me. It's been a revelation to realize that I am the only female American that I know up north with an Italian driver's license. This is not to pass judgement but rather an insightful look into the phenomenon. All the other women appear not to bother. They just use public transportation or their bicycles to do everything. If a car is necessary for anything, they depend on their significant other to drive them. That's fine but I could only survive about 2 years in those conditions.

This topic came up again as I was leaving the Euganean Hills this past weekend and yet another person seemed surprised to see me with car keys in-hand.

For me, it is important to have my own autonomy and a license helps ensure that. Although public transportation is much better in Italy than in the US, it doesn't get me everywhere I would like to go, especially outside of Padua's city center.

Yes, I did have to go through the hassle of getting a learner's permit, taking some driving lessons, studying for a written exam in Italian and paying a lot of people a lot of money to get my little pink plastic patente. It was one of the strangest experiences, going through what most 16 or 18-year-olds do while I was at the ripe age of 28, and being tested to do it in a foreign language.

The worst part was how the driving instructor treated me: like I didn't know how to drive after 12 years already behind the wheel of American cars! But I swallowed some pride for those "whopping" 3 lessons and saddled up to the test, passing with flying colors. (The old man reminded me of my former orthodontist who always ranted at women.)

You see, as Americans (and extra-communitari), we must get an official Italian license within 365 days of receiving our permesso di soggiorno (Permit of Stay). After 1 year, the Italian government will no longer acknowledge licenses issued outside of the European Community. So you only get a year of "free" driving and then you have to stay on foot or go through the hoops of obtaining the necessary certification on European soil.

I must admit that some situations as a driver in Italy had me scared at first: driving in the dead center of downtown Padua with things moving in all directions at all times, such as pedestrians, scooters, buses and impatient drivers. There's also the perennial fear of ending up in a z.t.l. (limited traffic area) by accident and getting a massive ticket! As for the countryside, the Veneto is full of important routes which are flanked by large ditches within only a few feet of the traffic lanes. One small mistake and you can end up head-first or toppled-over in them. There are no such things as emergency lanes along these roads to help abate this possible "demise". Plus, the lanes are narrow and large trucks are barreling toward you in the opposite direction at a distance that seems dangerously close. The wind they kick up alone almost makes you veer off course into those feared ditches.

In the end, you get used to everything: chaos, fog, people who stop randomly in the middle of a roundabout, reckless scooters and stupid cyclists who insist on being on the road at night without any lights or reflectors. Somehow, you don't get in an accident. Then more time goes by and when you return to the US, you find yourself bored by driving along large and orderly beltways and being able to immediately find an open parking space just about anywhere you go. You also have to remember to go slower on the highway.

In all, getting the Italian license has made me a better driver. I am prepared for anything now. Most importantly, I can drive a stick shift! How many American women nowadays can say the same?

Monday, November 2, 2009

Trees Raining Olives on a Lovely Sunny Day

800 trees need to be harvested for their olives at a friend's farm, Agriturismo Monte Sereo, in the Colli Euganee west of Padua.
What better way to spend a gorgeous November day than here, working under the warm sun! Together with a small army of about twenty adults and kids, we went to work.

An American with bright red hair, io, uses a bright orange comb to pull off the fruit from the tree branches which is much faster and more effective than pulling each olive off by hand. A net laid under each tree catches all the olives. As harvesters, we just needed to be careful not to crush the fallen olives under our feet as we moved around the tree, which is no small feat.

The farm owner, Leonardo Granata, demonstrates the art of "combing."

A close up of the comb.

One of the most difficult parts of the operation is actually seeing all the olives and making sure that the plant has been completely plucked of them. Since many of the olives are green like the plant's leaves, this can be more difficult than you would think. Other olives hide in the shadows of leaves while still others dangle from branches in the middle of the plant's thicket and it is not easy to physcially access them. This is where the young children are sometimes more effective than adults in the harvest quest.

The trees with fewer olives get picked by hand with no net underneath. The olives are gathered in baskets and added to the larger plastic cases. The children are helping top off this case.

Otherwise, the net is used to funnel all the olives into the cases as shown here.

The olive tree grove on Monte Sereo overlooking the plains including Padua in the distance.

A still life of the tools used during the olive harvest.

After working in the orchard, we relaxed in the afternoon sun with a regional speciality, pasta e fagioli (pasta and bean soup), bruschetta made from last week's pressed harvest, good wine and Nardini grappa extra-reserve. And of course, we all went home with a little bottle of the farm's olive oil blend.

Pictured below is the restored eighteenth-century farmhouse "Monte Sereo" which is also available for hire as a bed-and-breakfast or rental house property for longer stays.

For more information, consult the farm's website:
Owners: Leonardo Granata and Silvia Carenza (who speaks beautiful English)

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Halloween in Italy? Not Really

Italy tries to borrow a lot of American tradition. High school students want to organize "prom" their last year like they see in our films. Santa Clause now brings Christmas presents on Christmas Day instead of the traditional Befana delivering them on the Epiphany, a more Catholic version of the giving.

Halloween has been promoted steadily since I first came to Italy about 10 years ago. The children sometimes dress up. The bars host themed parties as an "exotic" and rather easy way to create a novel environment for a night and attract more customers. Clubs do the same. But most of what I see here is just a lot of merchandise being sold at the cartoleria and a few orange pumpkins appearing in the local supermarkets for inflated prices.

It's just not the same. Rarely do I see an honest homemade costume. The energy is simply not right among supposed revellers.

I wonder why this American tradition was borrowed by this country when it has no real place or connection to this particular culture. As for costumes, Carnival offers Italians 2 weeks of time to don a different face or persona, so there is no need to do the same now in October. Once a year is enough.

Pumpkins don't naturally grow here. They have to cultivate the special squash variety precisely for this foreign holiday. Nothing is indigenous about the whole thing.

This holiday is another example of globalization gone wrong. We really don't need to celebrate Halloween all around the world. As for those of us in Italy, just wait til winter and you've got Carnival to be masked and mischievous!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Friday's False Friend

possibly v. possibilmente

Our word possibly means that there is a chance that something is capable of happening, whereas the Italian possibilmente means "if possible", as in when you would like somone to do something for you. Although they are linked in meaning, they are not the proper fit as translations of each other.

For possibly, use forse in Italian:

Eng) I will possibly be going to the states next spring.

It) Forse andrò in USA la prossima primavera.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Scooter: City Life in a New Light

It's official, I have finally become absolutely Italianized.

I own a scooter.

It took over ten years for the day to come, but now my husband and I have splurged on Italy's favorite vehicle with 2 wheels.

It's liberating. Traffic is a breeze. There is a sense of freedom. We dart around town instead of plodding along in traffic at rush hour. It takes 5 minutes to get downtown. There's no fatigue involved like when cycling. The gas mileage is great!

On the other hand, it can be very cold with chilly wind rushing over your hands and through your pants. It can be dangerous: if a mistake is made, and even if it's the car's fault, I will probably suffer some serious consequences. I have to be "all eyes"!

It's a new scooter world for me and a very Italian one.

I am now relearning the roads through the city since z.t.l. (zona traffico limitato-restricted traffic zone) areas have previously been off-limits to me, a car owner who does not have a business or residence within those borders, and on a bicycle, I haven't had to respect one-way signs through town like scooters should do. Now everytime I get on the saddle, I have to rethink the roads to take, make mistakes and discover this new method of moving through urban space. I have to think like a scooter driver which is uniquely different than the cyclist or car driver.

"Buona guida," I think to myself, "e che brivido!"

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Automatic Porno Distributor Available

In case the local Sexy Shop doesn't have opening hours that are convenient enough, now you can purchase porno DVDs and accessories at all hours from the local gas station in Padua! I found this particular one at the EMG gas station along Via Venezia.

Beyond the lady's sultry face glows a world of porno stuff you can buy like a soda! Just put in your money, locate the object/video desired behind the veiled screen/photo, insert the right number and extract your choice from the black door at the bottom of the machine. It can't get much easier than that. No need to invent your own sweet dreams anymore....

Can you believe it?

Note, please excuse the low picture quality but it was taken from the cell phone at dusk.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Friday's False Friend

casual v. casuale

When not at work, Americans love to dress casual. Dressing up can be a pain: heels, runs in your hose, tight ties around the neck. But the word casuale in Italian refers to something coincidental that happens, maybe happening to see a colleague at the local shopping centre on Sunday when you are wearing your grungiest jeans and no make-up.

Use the Italian words sportivo or informale when translating casual.

Eng) On Fridays we can dress casual at the office.

It) Il venerdì all'ufficio si può vestire in modo sportivo.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Writing on the Wall: Portello

Porta, Scalinata e Ponte Ognissanti

This door to the city marks the university center for Padua since it has the largest concentration of university buildings in the area. The name is also borrowed to describe the residential area in its vicinity, "Portello". But it's first role was as a customs house when Padua still had all of its walls in place and it remained active long after the other city doors' lost their utility.

It was constructed in 1518-19 for Captain Marcantonio Loredan with an Istria stone facade by Guglielmo Grizi ("The Bergamasco"). The bridge dates from 1784 and connects Via Portello to the Istituti Universitari and fairgrounds to the north. On the other side of the door, there is the Edicola di Santa Maria dei Barcari, 1790, in a decorative chapel. Yet the steps seems to actually be the highlight since Canaletto supposedly depicted them and Barbarigo used them to welcome the Venetian authorities visiting Padua. On a warm spring day, you can spot numerous university students reading on them as the sunlight showers down.

In 1993, those steps, la scalinata della Fraglia, were put to public use, recently restored and have been monitored by the association Amissi del Piovego. They hold a market on the last Saturday of the month, Portello Cartastorie. Touristi boats leave there for tours along the Brenta, too. Then in the summer months of June and July, a temporary and floating screen is place in the canal and 4 weeks of events are planned around the Portello River Festival, including some of Hollywood's latest movies, experimental cinema, local documentaries, jazz concerts and short-film events.

For two years, the Portello area was completely transformed during the hot months (June-September) because all the local bars set up stands to serve their clientele along this canal instead of packing the city center with rambunctious teenagers and young adults with a buzz. It was a lot of fun because each stand created a different theme which was distinct from the next. You could walk down the road and drink at the "tropical" stand or "fashion" bar. It was a festival of color and furniture styles. Unfortunately the neighbors complained about noise and the city disbanded the concentration of bars this past summer.

This door is one of the most active still today. Hundreds of students walk and bike under its triumphal arch, not to mention the markets and festivals that take place here.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

A Teacher's Perk

As you can tell from my dwindling blog posts, my work schedule beefed up in the last two weeks.

All my courses are in full swing now and between the planning, transportation, invoicing, correcting and teaching, I feel swamped. On top of this, I just got a cold to ring in the new season that brought especially cold weather after an exceptionally long and hot summer season. The temperature shock affected my immune system. But on the bright side, calling in sick today has allowed me to spend a few minutes with you!

From the above picture, you can see one of my teacher's perks. I was given this lovely plant a couple of weeks ago by a sister-duo who are clients. I was able to help both of them pass their tests at the high school and university level, respectively, with flying colors. As the plant's buds continue to bloom, it is becoming more and more of a festival of color for me to enjoy as I invite other students into my house for their lessons.

Here is a close-up of the two-toned blooms, one color for each sister.

I periodically receive flowers from my students. In the past, I was given a great bouquet before leaving for 2 months in the US. It helps bring the sometimes frustrating job into perspective. I am somehow making a difference for them. Since so many schools and clients never tell me how their test results come out after my assistance, it is nice to have this kind of pleasant surprise and real recognition of my effort.

And by the way, once I feel comfortable in my new schedule, I will be posting more faithfully, although not everyday like I sometimes could this past summer.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Infiniti Completes the Luxury Suite in Padua

Paduans love their upscale cars! Especially on the weekends, the luxury and super-modern sports cars come out of their protective garage and hit the cobblestone streets of medieval Padua.

I remember gawking at them the first few months living here. I have lived in several big cities which are known for their wealth in the past but the frequency of passing these elite cars was not the same. Considering that only about 250,000 people live in this city and its suburbs, the per capita tally of how many luxury cars which can be spotted in town is surprisingly high. Paduans' business savvy, as part of the "Northeast miracle" which transfers into small or large family fortunes, seems to be directly poured into car sales.

Porsche's Boxster and Cayenne are almost as popular as the Toyota's Camry and Ford's F-150 in the USA. Padua is crawling with them! The situation verges on indecent.

Infiniti is the latest car company to hope to take a piece of the luxury car pie. It opened on Corso Stati Uniti in the industrial area a couple of months ago. Infiniti now joins the ranks of not only the old-faithful names such as Mercedes, BMW, Lexus, Porsche and Jaguar but also dealerships including Aston Martin, Lamborghini and Maserati. Padua is the smallest city to open an Infiniti showroom in Italy after Milan, Rome, Florence and Bologna. The company is probably targeting the entire Veneto region since Padua is fairly central. I am curious how there sales will fare during the supposed crisis. But like many say, the truly rich stay rich, even during a crisis.

So the next time you want to drive around town here, be aware that your jalopy will stick out like a sore thumb amist a sea of luxury cars.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Overwhelming Feeling of Work

It's the first real bulging full-time week back at work in months. I feel a bit overwhelmed. As usual, I have accepted to work a few too many hours than are comfortable but the job offers never come in the right order to make the "perfect" schedule. Such are the hazards of freelance work!

The new year brings new challenges and requires brushing up on old material. There are new colleagues, old spaces, a mixture of more-or-less enthusiastic students and my annual confrontation with language: how does it make sense to others and how can I make it interesting.

I am burning the midnight oil to get ready with lesson plans, syllabus and a bunch of books and photocopies in several different folders, all under the light of my glowing computer screen.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Friday's False Friend

mess v. messa

In English, a mess is a disorderly, cluttered, and often dirty condition. In Italian, la messa is a public celebration of the Eucharist in the Roman Catholic Church: our English word, Mass. No Italian would forgive you for associating her messa with a mess. That would border on offensive. Use the words confusione or casino when translating from English.

Eng) The construction of the new building across the street is causing a mess.

It) La costruzione del nouvo edificio dall'altra parte della strada crea della confusione.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

In Bad Taste

Perhaps some of you have heard about the intense rains that have pelted the Italian peninsula, especially in the southern regions. Padua had a couple of intense days with their share of precarious street situations. But in Calabria, the region received the equivalent of three months of rain in three days.

Then last week, the area of Messina was devastated by mudslides, triggered by the continuing torrential rains. This Saturday, the funerals of the Messina mudslide victims will be celebrated. Click on this TG3 excerpt regarding the tragedy.

While the Italians are being rocked by the effects of all this excess water, Sky TV, has continued to run a commercial for their HD product which portrays an entire town being completely flooded while some women cry as they watch the film, Titanic. The idea is supposed to be that Sky TV's HD quality is so good that you feel like you are inside the drama, for real. Yet the choice couldn't be worse given the similar and awful conditions found in Italy this season.
I find it a horrible managerial choice to be so callous towards real trauma and destruction, just in the hopes you can sell a few more Sky TV subscriptions!

For the commercial in question, watch this video.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Dolomites, the Shadow of War

Upon experiencing Italy's Dolomites, you quickly realize that you are not only beholding fabulous nature, glorious and challenging peaks and rich woods. You are also treading on the remains of a battlefield.

Much of WWI was fought in trenches along the stretch of mountains that divide today's Italy and Austria. Those two nations had thousands of soldiers living inside the mountain for years, defending their territory. They built networks of tunnels and trenches through the rock. To see part of the Italian side, take the Sentiero degli Alpini on the peak, Lagazuoi, which opens onto the Cengia Martini, a continuation of the national frontline. For an Austrain view, there is Sentiero dei Kaiserjaeger in the same area. This trail offers unusual panoramic views of the landscape and a piece where hikers traverse a suspended bridge to finish along the Vonbank trenches. Both hikes can be reached starting from the Passo Falzarego road leading to Cortina.

Today, along the open trails, you can still find barbed wire laying in heaps from a century ago. Some hikes now take you through the old tunnels where soldiers had to live, eat and sleep in a desperately cold climate. Imagine, the Italian government did not have enough money to buy socks for its soldiers so most of them stuffed their boots with grass or hay to keep their feet buffered and warm.

Passo del Valparola, an open air museum of restored trenches and buildings brings visitors back to a time of war. Now everything looks pristine. You have to remember that hundreds of men were sharing this confined space with their shared dirt, sweat, grime, terror and hunger.

The Austrains camouflaged their buildings by keeping them low to the ground, almost completely submerged, and covering the roofs with gravel so the enemy could not easily distinguish the man-made areas from the natural ones.

Also in this part of the Dolomites, Col di Lana was blown apart with massive amounts of explosives in an Italian offensive to finally disrupted the Austrian stonghold in the area. The mountain stands as an open wound, still today.

Further away, the Adamello glacier in Trentino periodically turns up entire dead bodies from WWI as the ice shifts, delivering pieces of history to the surface. Can you picture being the hiker who happens to find a dead soldier's refrigerated body along his path on a beautiful July day?

It's so hard for Americans to understand the depths of war fought on our own soil within living memory. We had Pearl Harbor and more recently September 11th, 2001 and its attack of the Twin Towers but in the end, only a few thousand people died from those militant actions. We have no real idea what it is like to lose everything: buildings, land, entire male populations of certain villages. The Dolomites are a reminder of a darker part of history even when they are at their most glorious.

A museum area which is also worth a visit to see life-size models of soldiers in context:
Il Museo all'aperto della Grande Guerra sul Piccolo Lagazuoi
Open Air Museum of the Great War on the Small Lagazuoi

A "living room" for soldiers carved inside the mountain

Image from Associazione Nazionale Alpini (National Alpini Association)

Friday, October 2, 2009

Friday's False Friend

It's been a week solidly dedicated to language which finishes off with the weekly "false friends".

front v. fronte

The most common definition of front in English involves the forward part or surface of something, such as a building. In Italian, la fronte, refers to the upper part of the head, between your eyebrows and hairline - the forehead.

Fortunately another meaning of the words is shared between the two languages: as in a military front (il fronte militare). Since the second one is less used, pay attention when translating front. For the first definition mentioned in English, used the Italian word facciata or parte anteriore.

Also, the difference between the masculine (il) and feminine (la) fronte in Italian, changes the definition from the military association to the part of the head.

Most common use and false friend:

Eng) The front of the Sant Sophia's Church in Padua demonstrates the Romanesque style often found in medieval architecture.

It) La facciata della Chiesa di Santa Sofia a Padova dimostra lo stile romanico che si trova spesso in architettura medievale.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

A Word's Mistaken Identity

I was reading Flash Art's Italian edition for August-September 2009 and chanced upon a curious and mistaken explanation for the title of a project called "Travelogue" involving contemporary art in Capri.

Benedetta Bernasconi, the article's author, wrote, "Travelogue- titolo che unisce i due termini ingesi travel e blog - ..." (Travelogue - a title that combines the two English terms, travel and blog).

She obviously didn't do her homework and made too many assumptions when giving this explanation to readers. Travelogue is a word with a much longer history than blog. Does she even know the background of how we came to the contemporary term of blog? Probably not.

According to Wikipedia, blog comes from the term "weblog" which was originally used to indicate a kind of online diary which chronicles daily thoughts, ideas, opinions, etc. Along the way, someone played around with the word by dividing it into "we blog". From that, the contraction was born.

Blogging is not necessarily relevant to a travelogue. A blog could be a travelogue. But a travelogue could also be a lecture, video, personal diary or book about travels.

More appropriate is to perhaps reflect on the word "log" that has been around in the English language for centuries, coming from the Middle English word logge. Two appropriate definitions that could help explain Ms Bernasconi's division and understanding of a compound nature of the word "travelogue" are the following: 1) to enter in a record, as of a ship or an aircraft. 2) to travel (a specified distance, time, or speed): logged 30,000 air miles in April.

Yet in the end, travelogue, is plain and simple a singular and real word that exists with its own definition. No artists organization is to credit for putting together this word.

Let's all try to read our dictionaries and online sources a little better in the future, Ms Bernasconi.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Guest post: The Anglo-Italiano invasion

by Ainsley Okoro

The English aren’t naturals when it comes to foreign languages – which may be why they spent hundreds of years ensuring the rest of the world spoke theirs.

As a Brit of a certain age, therefore, the five years in which I’ve tried to master Italian have been far from plain sailing.

Howlers that still make me cringe? Asking a Forte dei Marmi waitress where to leave la mancia (the tip)…only to end up enquiring what to do about la minchia (a crude term for the male genitals). Even worse was the time I confused ho scoperto (“I discovered”) with ho scopato (“I f*****”). It was only our second meeting – but I hope my future mother-in-law guessed what I wanted to say.

But all that trouble to learn the world’s most romantic language…only to find that half of Italy now seems to speak “Anglo-Italiano”, an ugly mishmash of English and Italian.

Accommodation for your visit to Florence? If gli hotel are fully booked, lo staff may point you to un bed and breakfast among i top in the area. Staying longer than a few days? Why not try un residence or un loft with un big open-space and equipped with tutti i comfort?

And being near the town centre should make it ideal to fare lo shopping at un shopping centre, boasting a wide range of i fashion outlet and i discount shop.

Just as bad is the media, where you learn Il Premier Silvio Berlusconi has misused il suo private jet to carry le showgirl and i VIP to i party at his villa. He is also said to have bedded una sexy escort. It’s not the first time il tycoon has committed un gaffe and the scandal has damaged il feeling between him and voters. Now he grumbles about il suo privacy and lo stress.

Following il summit di G8 in Italy – with altri leader such as Barack Obama and le first ladies – Berlusconi called un meeting of his cabinet to tie up un budget. But a journalist has un scoop – during briefing, Berlusconi blamed Il Ministro del Welfare for the deficit hitting un record.

But the worst offenders are beauty and gossip magazines: Madonna non è piu single. She’s found un nuovo boyfriend and she and il suo partner have been photographed in un resort. Fancy un po’ di restyling, Signora? Learn all about il beauty, gli accessory-must and i color this season – sono black and white. And il new look is un paio di jeans with un T-shirt extra large.

Elsewhere, una showgirl from un reality show is drinking i cocktail in un bar, before indulging in a spot of il clubbing then going home with un pop star from un boyband.

Surely Italian has enough words of its own that do the job just as well – velina rather than showgirl, spuntino instead of snack, il fine settimana, not weekend.

Little surprise that in 2008 the prestigious Dante Alighieri Society announced a campaign to halt the use of English in Italian. It’s going to be a tough task – Anglo-Italiano is now il nuovo trend


Ainsley Okoro works for the property for sale in Italy website Homes and Villas and specialises in Calabria property and Tuscany property

Friday, September 25, 2009

Friday's False Friend

magazine v. magazzino

We like to read lots of magazines in the US. I grew up in a household that had about 15 titles delivered weekly or monthly. The word magazine can easily be mixed up with the Italian magazzino, which means warehouse. After printing, the magazines might stay in a magazzino before being sent to subscribers and newstands. Use the Italian word rivista to translate magazine.

Eng) A new Italian edition of 'Wired' magazine was launched this year.

It) Una nuova edizione italiana della rivista 'Wired' è uscita quest'anno.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Oldest Botanical Garden in Europe

It's in Padua, mind you.
Founded in 1545 thanks to Professor Francesco Bonafede, who wanted to enrich his university seminars on the medicinal properties of plants.

I visited this Botanical Garden 222 years and 353 days after Johann Wolfgang Goethe visited it and was inspired to write about its palm tree, now one of the most prolific exotic tree types growing in Italy and the mediterranean.

The original is now housed in a gazebo su misura (custom-built).

These days, the huge old tree seems to be exploding in a big wild mess contained within some glass panes, but what is a palm tree still alive from 1585 supposed to look like anyway?

The great find on my visit to the garden was seeing so many university students using it as a research source. It's not just a tourist trap in Padua, which means a lot. It's original aim as a study center has been maintained over the centuries. Some of the first experiments in botany occured here. Now, there are corners dedicated to regional species that are endangered and students analyze the plants' properties before it's too late. Other areas cultivate exotic plants (including North American varieties which is funny to see as "exotic", like a maple tree). Medicinal ones are kept in still other sections.

At one time, the university students had to take exams by going around the garden and producing the correct names of the various plants which their professors pointed to. Now that kind of visual memorization is no longer necessary. In its place, carefully handwritten signs denomiate the plant species for students and tourists. In the US, you would NEVER see handwriting in this situation. Here is a picture showing the name and Bolivian origin to some giant lily pads.

A pink lily in bloom

A cactus detail

Agave and aloe plants first came to Europe from Mexico through this garden. Other plants which are taken for granted by today's Italians but which came from other continents include the sunflower, tulip tree, lilac and hyacith.

A tree that has seen dozens of wars and survived bombing this past century, exposes its inner belly.

A historical evolution of the garden:

The original plan for the garden. Each quadrant of plants formed a different design.

16th century pillars had very clear rules inscribed for its visitors as follows:

1. Do not knock at this gate before the date of St. Mark the Evangelist (25 April) or before 10 o'clock in the morning.
2. Whoever enters from the decumen gate must not go far from it.
3. In the garden, do not break off stalks, pick flowers, remove seeds of fruit or dig up roots.
4. Do not tread on small plants.
5. Do not damage the garden in any way.
6. Do not do anything against the Prefect's will.
7. Trespassers will be punished with fines, prison or exile.

The first enclosing walls were built in the 17th century to protect the plants from being stolen during the night.


When Padua's upperclass wanted to meander through beautiful gardens in their lovely attire on a Sunday afternoon, they decided to revamp the botanical one here in the shadows of St. Justine. The 1800's brought a flourish of decoration, statues, fountains above and around the circular walls of botanical garden and additional garden areas. The busts feature famous botanists.


In 1997, Padua's Botanical Garden was inducted into the UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Some more pictures of "my walk in the park" in the Botanical Garden.

Via Orto Botanico, 15
35123 Padova - ITALY

tel. +390498272119
fax. +390498272120


April-October: every day 9.00 a.m. - 1.00 p.m., 3.00 - 7.00 p.m.
November-March: 9.00 a.m. - 1.00 p.m. (closed on public holidays)


4€ regular
3€ reduced price
1€ students