Hope, Faith and Charity; Honoring the Flag of Italy!

By Alberto Amore

20 regions,110 provinces and 8101 Comuni fought, invaded and resisted each other for thousands of years, only to join together for the final time during the ‘risorgimento’ as  ‘La Repubblica Italiana’, ‘The Republic of Italy’ under a single flag, that of the Green, White and Red, known as ‘il Tricolore’.

The flag is seen everywhere in Italy, in the Green fertile mountains, the White wash of the water lining the peninsula and the red of the volcanos. It is in the red and white wines and the mountain fresh mineral water that adorns every table in the country and of course it is in so many meals, the white Pasta, the Red Tomato’s and the fragrant Green Basil that grows wildly on the roadsides. But what do the tricolores really mean and where did they originate from?

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Popes, Pig Trotters and Red Underwear; Italian New Years’ Traditions!

By Alberto Amore

New Years Eve in Italy, known as ‘Capodanno’ also marks the night of Saint Sylvester of ‘Notte di San Silvestro’. It is a night tied up in ancient mythologies, religious practices and red underwear, but we’ll get to that in a minute. The Italians invited the known world to join in wild celebrations to see in the New Year and celebrate new beginnings.

In southern Italy the ancient practice of dropping old and unused goods, often kitchenware from the window is becoming less typical in the modern day.  It is, however, a must, throughout the old country to share ‘cena’ or dinner with friends and or family. Who would have thought that there would be food involved in a celebration concocted by our Italian ancestors?

Various meals are traditional to various meals but commonly, cotechino, pig trotters or entrails are eaten with lentils. In fact lentils said to represent coins for good fortune are almost universally eaten throughout the old country. When the bell tolls at midnight tradition asks that you eat one spoonful of lentils per chime to bring good fortune for the year ahead.

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Preserving Bloomfield’s Charm Through Housing The Community

The inherent charm of Pittsburgh and Bloomfield hasn’t gone unnoticed, and it was reported earlier this year that developers are looking to move in. While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, residents and their descendants are concerned that they won’t be able to settle. According to Pittsburgh journalists Public Source, new units will cost $1,012 a month in rent payments.

If a development can tie together the classic architecture of an area and the vibrancy of its people with new infrastructure, it’ll be lauded. Part of keeping that vibrancy alive is through people familiar with the area finding their own space to call home. Fortunately, there are great ways of finding value in the Bloomfield property market, and indeed wider Pittsburgh. [Read more…]

How CBD Could Be Used in Sport

The World Anti-Doping Agency recently removed cannabidiol (CBD) from its list of banned substances, after numerous calls from athletes for new treatment options for pain, so they can avoid addictive opioid-based painkillers and the side effects that they bring. Memorably, following his defeat to Conor McGregor in the main event at UFC 202, Nate Diaz was using a CBD vape pen at the post-fight press conference – an incident which may have caused controversy, but also garnered media attention for CBD.

CBD is at the forefront of the medical cannabis revolution currently taking place in the United States. The cannabinoid has a myriad of important therapeutic uses, not least helping to reduce seizures in children with otherwise untreatable epilepsy, and these effects can be administered without causing a psychoactive “high” – that effect, which has made cannabis such a popular recreational drug, comes from another cannabinoid in the plant, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

Medical cannabis advocates are quick to point out that THC has unique therapeutic value, but its psychoactive status, and potential adverse mental health effects, have held back its progress as a medicine. CBD products, however, have enjoyed a much swifter passage into mainstream society, as they are neither psychoactive nor addictive. Indeed, specific medical cannabis legislation is not required in the United States for CBD products, providing the extract used is from hemp and contains no more than 0.3 percent THC. [Read more…]

Tortellini: ‘The Femme Fatale of Pasta’!

By Alberto Amore

The beginnings of the pasta variety known as tortellini are obscured through many legends and many villages who lay claim to the origins of the small naval shaped pasta also known by the Italian name for a belly-button, ‘obellico’.

A strong local tradition has it that this dish was born in Castelfranco Emilia (province of Modena). One night during a trip, Lucrezia Borgia stayed at an inn in the small town. During the night, the host became so captivated by Lucrezia’s beauty that he could not resist the urge to peek into her room through the keyhole. The bedroom was lit by only a few candles, and so he could barely see her navel. This pure and innocent vision was enough to send him into an ecstasy that inspired him to create the tortellini that night. Like many Italian stories, there are variants and some believe this to be absolute gospel while others perceive it to be little more than an urban myth.

Many knew Lucrezia, not as the victim, but as a femme fatale, who rather than being the preyed upon was the predator. Lucrezia was known to have a ring that carried poison. She was known to poison, murder and commit incest with those she preyed upon and was easily entertained due to her intoxicating good looks. [Read more…]