Friday, 24 August 2012

learning the lingo

So this is how i'm kind of trying to learn italian in Rome!

Well, it's not the only way but i found this kiddies book for about 2euro in a market and thought....

''what the heck?''

except that it's kind of hard...............or am i just being 'childish'? (excuse the pun)

Here's an exert that has really helped me may sound strange but just learning the vowel sounds can make all difference if you want to know how something should sound.
This little rhyme leads you to pronouncing the correct vowel sounds.

gamba qua gamba la
mi presento son la A

lo di braccia ce ne ho tre
mi presento son la E

sempre dritta, notte w di
mi presento son la I

Oh che sonno, niente fo
mi presento son la O

lo'arrendo, mani in su
non sparate son la U

The literal translation from google is 

the leg side leg
I am present at the
the arms we have three
I am the present and
always straight night w
I introduce myself I am the

Oh that sleep, no fo
I am presenting the O
lo'arrendo, hands up
Do not shoot the son U

which clearly makes no sense whatsoever....but i'm sure a native italian would think it a sweet little ditty.

Which leads me to giving a few pieces of advice for anyone wanting to learn italian.

1) practice the vowel sounds ( i get mixed up with how 'E' and 'I' should sound.)

2) buy a dictionary. A good one, not like me who bought an italian to english dictionary in the local italian supermarket for about 4 euro. It seemed like a good idea, but really it was cheap for a reason and isn't that extensive. The notes are in italian and the emphasis was to help them learn english....not the other way round.

3) don't trust google translate. I can't tell you how many times me and Alessio have tested this. For some basic things, it's ok, like checking nouns. But you have to remember that each region of Italy is like a whole different country compared to each other. They have different dialects, accents and intonation. I'm learning from a my italian language knowledge will be 'dirtier' than most.
(yeh....i know the swear words already)

4) and of course practice as much as possible with real italians 
(i'm still working on this one, I'm a bit chicken..........)

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Willy wonka...but for adults....and in Rome

Bestie pal Kristina (noted columnist for spirit and destiny magazine ( and her fella Genaro (creator of were visiting Italy on tour and stopped off in Rome to meet up!
So of course we had to take them to the chocolate bar, on vicolo del cinque, near pizza santa maria, Trastevere.

If you haven't been before, get in line.....a book shop, a bar, wine, chocolate........
need i say more?

This is the specials board which details combo shots served from a chocolate cup, 
topped with panna.

 With strict instructions to down the shot, dropping the cup into your mouth bottom first.

Watch out for the most sensual chocolate italian bar maid you've ever met, she's a great saleswoman....

oh the anticipation..........

Kristina then treated us to a turn on the piano! 
 all together now.....''Knees up mother brown........''
( was wasn't that, it was something far more elegant)

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Keeping Kosher

''do you know where the jewish ghetto is?'' the geek chic american girl said about 2 inches from my face.

I was hurrying to Trastevere so answered in my clipped english accent ''I have been there before but i've only been here two weeks so i haven't a clue on how to direct you, i'm sorry''

(This is where i wished i had pretended i was italian to feign innocence. ''Mi dispiace, non parlo inglese'')

''like, omg where are you from? she replied, instantly drawn to the accent

''i'm from London''

''like, omg, where in London''


''like, omg, my mother lives in London''

''oh right, whereabouts?''

''stanford hill?'' 

How she managed to make it sound like a university i don't know.

''oh cool, that's...ummm.....great''

(was this going to turn into one of those 'we know a mutual place, therefore you must know the person i'm speaking of?'

''So are you jewish?'' she said with expectant eyes.

Gotta love it right?

I'm a veritable chameleon, when in israel they think i'm Israeli, when in italy, Italian, get the picture. But the jews have a funny knack of seeking me out....sniffing my Jewish ancestry.

So because i truly was in a hurry i replied.....''Well, my dad is, so i'm kind of a half jew....but hey potatoes, potatoes?''

her interest suddenly wained.

jewish ghetto rome

So if course there's a jewish ghetto in Rome! It's not far from 'bocca di verita' (the mouth of truth) and it's a quiet, cute area. If you are jewish and want to keep kosher then head on over to 'Ba ghetto'.

There is a huge synagogue, and also a museum which i have yet to check out.

Needless to say there is always a horrific history linked with any jewish quarter anywhere in the world around the time on WW2. Because this morning i have no head for details here's an exert from life in italy website.....check it out for more details on the area!

The Roman Jews came directly from the Holy Land before the Diaspora, first arriving in the 2nd century BC to establish business ties. Then in 70AD Emperor Titus became angry when the Jews in Jerusalem would not worship him and he attacked Jerusalem, destroyed the Temple and brought home 50,000 Jewish slaves. The Popes eventually ruled the Jews and although some Popes treated the Roman Jews more humanely, others persecuted them.

During a time of an increase in anti-semitism, Pope Paul IV created the Jewish Ghetto in 1555. 4000 Jews were walled in on 7 acres of land. The Jews had to wear yellow scarves and caps, couldn't own property and a curfew was enforced. The Ghetto walls were finally torn down in 1848. In 1870 after Italian unification they were granted full rights and citizenship.

September 11, 1943 the Germans occupied Rome and 2000 Roman Jews were sent to concentration camps. Only 16 survived and returned to Rome. Pope John Paul II initiated steps toward healing between the Roman Catholic Church and the Jewish community saying the church should have stood stronger in defending the Jews during the Holocaust.

 So if i'm ever in the mood for latkes.............