Tag Archives: Italian Traditions

How to Stop and Smell The Roses: 5 Things We Can Learn From The Italians

Italians are undisputed masters in so many arts. The art of La Dolce Vita, the art of adapting and finding a way out, the art of living in the moment and enjoying it. So for those of us who are stressed out and balancing the demands of the daily life while experiencing the deficiency of joy, why not learn a few lessons from the Italians?

5 Things About Life To Learn From The Italians

When you travel to Italy you may notice that Italians approach many things in life differently than Americans do. They linger in cafes and restaurants, they don’t rush to work with paper cups in their hands, they take temporary obstacles in stride and rarely complaint. To illustrate my point let me tell you an anecdote from my life in Italy.

Once I took a city tram in the center of Milan during the evening rush hour. It was a very nice autumn day and the tram was full of people heading home or going to meet friends for a nice dinner al fresco. All of a sudden the tram stopped in between two stops. After a short commotion and confusion the reason for the unexpected stop became clear: a car was parked right on the tram tracks and its driver was nowhere to be found. I mentally prepared myself for a long unpleasant wait in the crowd of angry people and started thinking about an alternative way to get home. What happened next was both surprising and amazing. Without much discussion, a few men who did not previously know each other got out, surrounded the car, lifted it off the ground, and voila… moved it off the tacks. They then got back into the tram as if nothing unusual just happened, the people in the tram started clapping and screaming “bravi” to the men, the conductor restarted the tram, and everything went back to normal just like that.

This short story opens a window into Italian values and attitudes and shows how camaraderie, can-do attitude, decisiveness, and upbeat approach to life help Italians turn temporary difficulties into adventures.

While not everything that Italians mastered can be easily adapted outside of Italy, their attitude to everyday life is something we can all learn to bring our own lives closer to the famous if idealistic “la dolce vita”. Here are 5 things Italians do that you can implement quickly to start upping your level of enjoyment and lowering stress every day.
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Mother’s Day Special: A Little About Italian Moms

Mother's Day in ItalyMother’s Day is an important holiday, a day we take to express our love and make our moms feel extra-special, showering them with attention as well as gifts and treats. Mother’s Day is celebrated not only in the U.S. but all over the world, and of course Italy is no exception. Today we are going to shed a little light on what makes Italian moms and women in general so special (at least in the minds of Italians), and what role Italian moms play in the family as well as society.

If you ever visited Italian playgrounds on a weekend you would have noticed that mostly dads are there playing with kids, while moms are often chatting with their girlfriends on the side. This is not because Italian moms are too lazy to play with kids. In fact many of them dedicate all their time to kids and family, which is why every day off that dads get they often spend with their kids. Despite changing times, now like in the past, many Italian women with kids do not work outside the home. Nursery schools and kindergartens close around 1pm, while school day is over at 4pm, making it very challenging for Italian moms to do full time work outside the home. So moms care for the kids, but the term “care” doesn’t even begin to describe the commitment of moms to their kids.
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Easter Traditions in Italy

Easter_Doves 
Easter is an important time in Italy, not only from religious, but also from spiritual and family perspective. Learning more about Italian celebrations and events around Easter time and getting to know the traditions so meaningful and dear to Italians will bring you richer cultural experience when you travel to Italy. Continue reading

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The History and Present of Venice Carnival

carnival venice venice carnival carnival in venice venitian carnival

Venetian Carnival, an intriguing mix of gorgeous masquerades, street fairs, high-end balls, and tourist craze set against the beautiful backdrop of Venice, is one of the most famous and highly anticipated events in the world. The Venetian Carnival in its present form has been celebrated since 1979 when Italian government and Venetian civic society decided to revive it as an attempt to re-ignite interest in Venice and its rich traditions. However, the original Venetian Carnival has a long history that dates back to the 12th century, if not earlier, and many of the traditions and glamorous highlights of today’s Carnival come straight from the Middle Ages.

Origins of the Venetian Carnival

Many scholars agree that Venetian Carnival has its roots in Christian tradition and that it has likely evolved as a way for people to indulge in life’s pleasures and have fun in the days before the solemn period of Christian Lent (a time of sorrow and reflection leading up to the Holy Week). One of the theories is that the Italian word “Carnevale” comes from the two Latin words “carne” meaning meat, and “vale” meaning farewell or goodbye, signifying the fact that during Lent people had to fast, avoid temptation, and give up life’s luxuries, in order to concentrate on prayer, reflection, and self-denial.
However, the Carnival’s history likely runs even deeper. Venice was founded by Romans escaping barbarians and built on the remains of crumbling Roman Empire. As such, it has deep roots going all the way back into Roman and even Greek history. Hence, Roman celebration of Saturnalia and Greek Dionysian festival before it are thought to have played a role in Venetians’ desire for a festival that allows people to be free from social norms. Saturnalia in ancient Rome was a time of complete break from normal social order and hierarchical boundaries, when masked slaves and Roman citizens alike celebrated with music, dances, symbolic acts, and orgies. Continue reading

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Celebrations of Love: Venice Carnival and Valentine’s Day

As we all know, Venice is one of the few remaining cities that changed very little over the last few centuries. In the spirit of retaining it historic and cultural identity, Venetians keep many of their age-old traditions alive, the most important of which is annual Venetian Carnival. This year the Carnival will take place from February 11th to 21st. If you have never been in Venice during the Carnival, you should definitely make plans to go and experience the magic, enchantment, and breathtaking beauty of Venice as it was meant to be. February is a dull and dreary month in Europe, but not in Venice, thanks to the Carnival which brings out colors, celebrations, music and historic events onto the streets of Venice.

A tribute to Venetian extravagance and decadence, one of the most interesting introductions for the 2012 Carnival will be the Wine Fountain set up in St. Mark’s Square. Set up in front of the Doge’s Palace, this unusual fountain will cast out fine wines produced in Venice which will be offered to the public. Carnival will be opened on February 4th with the official toast made by this Fountain, and, after the opening toast, in a truly Venetian enchanting scene, everyone will be dancing waltz in the Piazzetta San Marco.

Another important part of the Carnival festivities is “The Angel Flight”, a traditional flight of a secret guest of the city of Venice, from the top of the bell tower of St. Mark’s down to the centre of the square. An internationally acclaimed star, whose name has not yet been revealed, will wear a gorgeous Carnival costume and the magical flight will pay homage to the events of the centuries past.

The Venetian Carnival will end on Tuesday, February 21st 2012, with the Rowing of Silence: a picturesque procession of ornate historical boats along the Grand Canal from Rialto to St. Mark’s Square with no artificial lighting. All the gorgeous palaces overlooking the largest Venetian Canal will be lit entirely by candles, and motor boat traffic will be prohibited, recreating the atmosphere of Venice in the middle ages and allowing us to see the magical and unreal Venice just the way it appeared to the travelers centuries ago.

Whether you manage to travel to Italy for the Carnival or choose to stay at home, we hope you don’t forget another important festival of Love that we celebrate here in the U.S. – The Valentine’s Day. And what better way to show your love than with a piece of authentic Murano Glass created right in the Capital of Romance, the timeless and beautiful city of Venice!
Murano Glass Goblet

To help you celebrate and announce your love we announce Special Valentine’s Day Sale from GlassOfVenice.


We invite you to take advantage of our limited time Valentine’s Day Special and get 15% OFF everything on our website when you use coupon VALSALE15 during Checkout until February 15th, 2012. Plus, as always, get free shipping in the U.S. on all orders over $100 and discounted shipping on all other orders.

To get your own piece of artistic Murano Glass, please see our wide selection of authentic Murano Glass at www.GlassOfVenice.com

Become our Fan on Facebook and Follow us on Twitter @GlassOfVenice to stay up to date on our promotions and updates.

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Christmas in Venice: Romance, Art, Tradition

Christmas in Venice ItalyChristmas is an enchanted time, especially when it’s celebrated in the enchanted city of Venice. Winter Holidays bring special cheer and magic to Venice and we will give you a quick overview of Venetian celebrations and events this holiday season.

This year Venice set up its largest skating rink ever on Piazza San Polo surrounded by a traditional Christmas market. At the market you can buy Murano Glass, Venetian masks, and other local artisanal products, as well as try great local food and wine. When you get tired of skating and feel like getting a culture fix, you can visit a very interesting exhibition in Murano Glass Museum on the island of Murano, entitled “1861-2011: UN’ISOLA, UN’ARTE, UN MUSEO” (translated as “One Island, One Art, One Museum”). This retrospective exhibition dedicated to the long history of Murano glass-making offers insight into Murano Glass tradition and showcases almost two hundred of the most significant items in the Museum’s collection made in the last 150 years.

If you are in Venice over the Holidays, you will get a chance to enjoy some colorful centuries-old Christmas traditions honored here and in the rest of Italy. One of them is Messa di Mezzanotte, Christmas Mass that starts around midnight. After the Christmas dinner, families head out and walk brightly decorated streets to a candle-lit church, where choirs sing Christmas songs and create true Christmas spirit. Evoking spiritual traditions of the centuries past, festive and beautiful Messa di Mezzanotte is an event not to be missed.

After Christmas, all eyes turn to the New Years with its own share of colorful celebrations and interesting traditions. Make sure to eat lentils on December 31st to attract money and riches in the new year. Lentils symbolize coins, and, according to the Italian tradition, the more you eat, the more money you’ll get. On New Year’s eve, most Italians serve their lentils with either cotechino (pork sausage) or zampone (pig’s trotter stuffed with the same filling as cotechino). After this feast, head to Piazza San Marco, where New Year celebrations take place. The festivities focused on beauty and romance and entitled “The Love Celebration” will continue through the night and culminate with the spectacular fireworks over the Venetian Lagoon.

Whether you manage to travel to Italy this Holiday season or just enjoy reading about Venice and Italy, we hope you get a cue from Italians and remember to take a break to enjoy good food, festive atmosphere, art, and the company of friends.
Murano Glass Christmas Ornament

Happy Holidays from all of us at GlassOfVenice and best wishes for happy and prosperous New Year!

Holiday Sale Reminder

Remember to take advantage of our limited time Holiday Special and get 15% OFF everything on our website when you use coupon DECSALE15 during Checkout until January 1st, 2012. Plus, as always, get free shipping in the U.S. on all orders over $100 and discounted shipping on all other orders.

To get your own piece of artistic Murano Glass, please see our wide selection of authentic Murano Glass at www.GlassOfVenice.com

Become our Fan on Facebook and Follow us on Twitter @GlassOfVenice to stay up to date on our promotions and updates.

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