All posts by pitterpat0

ROMA, The Eternal City ~ by Daniela

In Italy on April 25th it’s a holiday. Liberation is celebrated, so my husband and I left for a short holiday, four days in Rome.

Piazza San Pietro - Vatican City
Piazza San Pietro – Vatican City

These days I saw fabulous things, indeed re-seen, because I’ve been in Rome many times, but every time, I discover something new that I like and that fascinates me.

The weather was magnificent, in fact I would say almost summer, but without being suffocating. Beautiful days, with a sky of an intense blue.

I returned home on the evening of April 25 and scrolling through Facebook to see if there were any news, I had the great surprise to see some beautiful photos of Rome, posted by the Ginoble family.

I had them at hand, we saw the same places on the same day and we did not meet ????


Instead it was just like that, but let’s start from the beginning.

Since April 25th is a national holiday we included a visit to the Altar of the Fatherland, where our President of the Republic would present the laurel wreath to the “unknown soldier”.

And here’s what Ercole Ginoble has posted, the ceremony at the Altar of the Fatherland.

Altare della Patria - Victor Emmanuel Monument
Planes fly over the Altare della Patria – Victor Emmanuel Monument

But I was there too, here are pictures with the police in full uniform who are preparing for the tribute to the president.

Victor Emmanuel PoliceVictor Emmanuel Police 2

Daniela at Tomb of Unknown Soldier
Daniela at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

Then I went to see the beautiful Trevi Fountain, magnificent, so white, so full of people.

But what do I see? Also Mrs. Lenora Ginoble has posted the photo of the Trevi Fountain.

I was there too!!! But we have not seen each other.

Lenora Ginoble post of Trevi Fountain

And here’s my picture.

Daniela at Trevi Fountain

Continuing on Via Condotti, we arrive at Piazza di Spagna, beautiful in these days, because the steps of Trinità dei Monti are literally covered with azaleas.

Once again, Mrs. Ginoble posted a beautiful picture.

Lenora Ginoble post of Piazza di Spanga

Really nice with the fountain of Barcaccia in the foreground …….. but once again I was there too !!!

Daniela at Spanish Steps

And what do I find out? Ernesto was there too with some friends.

Ernesto Ginoble at Spanish Steps

What a misfortune, I did not see any of them …….. but I saw a beautiful city, so I’m so happy.

I do not know what the Ginoble family has done yet, but I have continued my nice ride.

The Temple of Fortuna Virilis.

Daniela at Temple of Fortune Virile
The Temple of Fortuna Virilis is one of the best preserved of all Roman temples.

The Colosseo. Really mammoth.

Daniela at Colosseum

The Mouth of Truth ….. it did not bite my hand !!

Daniela at Mouth of Truth

Wherever we turned, there was something to admire.

Then the beautiful Vatican Museums and its masterpiece: The Sistine Chapel.

Sistine Chapel
The Last Judgment in the Sistine Chapel

Ok, I admit, I was sorry not to meet the Ginoble family, but then I realized that Gianluca was not with them, and thank goodness, I raised my spirits.

I confirm, for those who have not yet seen Rome, it is full of beautiful treasures and monuments.

Of course, as promised, I thought a lot about the whole crew while I was in Rome. Yes Jill, you’re right it would have been great to be able to meet all of you in Rome.

Hello Rome, we will definitely be back again …… but how many of you were in Rome?


Credit is given to Daniela and the Ginoble family for all photos.

Continue reading ROMA, The Eternal City ~ by Daniela

IL VOLO at the 2018 Winter Olympics!?!?

2018 Winter Olympics logo

I love the Olympics!

Winter or Summer, it makes no difference to me. Watching all the young, and sometimes not so young, athletes from all over the world come together in competition excites me and fills me with hope for the future.

There are many events in these 2018 Winter Olympic Games that I like to watch – from snowboarding and luge to the increasingly popular curling that I fell in love with at the 2006 Turin games.  But the most beautiful event, I think, is ice skating.

I have watched as much skating as I can, either live or recorded. Last Friday evening I turned on the men’s skating short program that had already begun and that I was recording. I stepped out of the room for a moment but I could still hear the music. All of a sudden I hear the familiar strains of L’Immensita and immediately knew who was singing it……our guys of IL VOLO! An Israeli skater named Daniel Samohin had chosen this powerful song for his short program.Daniel Samohin ISRAEL small

So I thought I had better watch the competition from the beginning and was so surprised to find that another skater, Matteo Rizzo, from Italy had skated to Torna A Surriento by IL VOLO.

Matteo Rizzo ITALY small

After scouring the website (thanks for the link, Jana!), I found program lists for all the skaters including what music they skated to during their performances. There were a few songs that our guys have sung in the past but not in these particular ice skating performances. They are Historia De Un Amor chosen by a Korean pairs team for their short program. A Chinese pairs team performed to Turandot by Giacomo Puccini and an Italian ice dance team performed to La Vita e Bella (Smile) by Piovani.

I am happy to know that the music of IL VOLO is getting out there and being heard by an international audience who may have not previously been aware of them. You just never know where their incredible voices will pop up next!

Credit is given to owners of photos and to the Olympic Games 2018 logo.


Sanremo Update! by Daniela and Pat

Today Daniela emailed us a website link to RAI 1 TV. Here is her note:

Hello ,

For all those who do not have the chance to see Sanremo, I send you the link to watch the streaming.

I hope everything works.

Here there is a lot of emotion for tonight.

We must make our love feel.

A hug to all: Daniela

I was unable to view anything at that site. The message states “The streaming of this content is available in Italy only. We apologize for the inconvenience.”

I looked online and found this link that worked for me:

I have been watching the show, In Vita in Diretta, all morning. There are quite a few folks on stage commenting about the Sanremo Festival. They are also interviewing some of the people performing at tonight’s event. At one point I saw the guys of IL VOLO outside the studio sneaking behind Sting as he was being interviewed by a lady named Barbara. You couldn’t miss Gianluca’s bright yellow sweater with BLIND FOR LOVE on the front! I was hoping they would interview them too and sure enough a little while later Barbara was climbing into their van to speak with the guys and Michele Torpedine, their manager. Here is a screen shot from that interview.

IL VOLO Interview Screen Shot

The transmission starts at 8.35 pm tonight Sanremo time.

This just in! A message just popped up on my Instagram saying, “Tonight headed on the Facebook page, pierobaronehouseteca_ufficiale, we give the chance to those who can’t connect in euro vision to see the boys of IL VOLO.” You might try that as another way to view the broadcast.

ALSO!  Gianluca just posted on Instagram that they will sing at 9:30pm Sanremo time! Looks like the guys will be performing an hour into the broadcast tonight.

Thanks to Daniela for sending the RAI 1 link. I hope it will work for some of us. If not, give the link I found a try or the Facebook page above. One way or the other we should all be able to watch! 🙂

Credit to all owners of videos and photos.

Luciano Pavarotti 10th Anniversary Concert

It seems unbelievable that a decade has already passed since September 6, 2007, when the world mourned one of the most beloved and legendary singers, Luciano Pavarotti.

Luciano Pavarotti

A special tribute concert dedicated to the unique and unforgettable tenor will take place on Wednesday, September 6, 2017 at the Verona Arena in Italy. This is a Roman amphitheatre internationally renowned for its large-scale opera productions as well as pop concerts.

Pavarotti 10th Anniversary

Verona Arena
Arena di Verona

Plácido Domingo and José Carreras will be paying tribute to their friend Maestro Pavarotti as part of the concert, having performed together several times as The Three Tenors. The extraordinary trio (who shared a common passion for soccer) changed the perception of opera around the globe and their incredible performances gained them legions of fans and brought classical music to the masses at a level never seen previously.

Many more stars, both from the opera and the pop field, will join Plácido and  José  to celebrate Maestro Pavarotti. Among them are Andrea Bocelli, Giorgia, Zucchero, Giorgia, Angela Gheorghiu, Eros Ramazzotti, Nek, IL VOLO, Fiorella Mannoia, Vittorio Grigolo, Francesco Meli, Nicola Piovani, Fabio Armigliato, Andrea Griminelli, Massimo Ranieri, Massimo Ranieri , Ron Howard, Alessandro Del Piero, and Fabio Fazio.

The music gala will be broadcast live on Rai Uno TV and hosted by Carlo Conti. I found a free live stream for Rai Uno TV at . I am hoping this will work to view the concert.

The concert will also be live on RAI Radio 2 at 21:25 (Italian time), on air and online. The link to Radio 2 is . Click on “IN ONDA” in the red box in the upper right screen to listen live. It also shows a nice video clip of the upcoming event. I did not hear any sound when it played.

I found a couple different times for this concert. I decided to go with the time listed on the TV and radio websites. Please forgive me if the concert time is off a bit.

Credit also to all owners of photos, logos and websites.

Truffles: Why You Love Them…or Despise Them

Today I would like to talk about truffles. No, not the chocolate kind . . . though they are ever so delicious and so-named because they do indeed resemble a real truffle.


I am speaking of the diamond of the culinary world, a truffle, or tartufo in Italian . . . a rare, edible mushroom that is considered to be a delicacy due to its intense aroma and characteristic flavor. They have a firm texture and are most often shaven on top of food before serving, although they can also be used to infuse flavor into dishes. Though there are hundreds of different species, only some — mostly those found in the genus Tuber — are considered delicacies. Truffles grow underground in symbiotic relationships with trees and are difficult to find; as a result, they are usually harvested in the wild by hogs and trained dogs.

Among the most popular of the different types of mushrooms that are used in foods are white mushrooms, morels, truffles and portabella mushrooms. I personally LOVE morel mushrooms! I’d really like to try some truffles to see how they compare.


Truffles are usually classified mainly based on their appearance, smell, and taste. Found in a variety of regions around the world, many are commonly known by their location rather than their technical name. Their value varies depending on their rarity and specific aromatic qualities; the rarest are the most expensive food in the world.

The French black or Périgord truffle, Tuber melanosporum, is prized for its aromatic and fruity qualities. When fresh, it has a brown-black exterior with white veins on the inside. It ranges in size from a pea to an orange, and weighs up to 2.2 pounds (1 kg). These truffles are found in the Périgord region of southwestern France.

The very rare Italian white or Piedmont truffle, Tuber magnatum, has the strongest smell of all truffles. At its freshest, it has a smooth, dirty beige surface that ages to a brown. It ranges from walnut-to apple-size, weighing up to 1 pound (0.45 kg). Found in primarily in the Piedmont region in north-west Italy, its aroma and flavor decrease approximately one to two weeks after harvest.

Other notable varieties include the Oregon White truffle, the Chinese truffle, and the Summer truffle. The two varieties of the Oregon White — Tuber oregonese and Tuber gibbosum — are white when immature and develop into an orange-brown and a pale olive-brown, respectively, at maturity. The brown Chinese varieties — Tuber sinense and Tuber indicum — are found in South China and are often harvested before they have fully matured, making them less expensive and more readily available. Found in France, Italy, and Spain, the summer truffle — Tuber aestivum — is the most common truffle, and exhibits a more delicate aroma.

Harvesting and Hunting

Found approximately one foot (30 cm) under the ground, the vegetative part of the fungi — the mycelia — forms a symbiotic relationship with the roots of a variety of species of trees. Since they grow underground, truffles rely on animals to eat them and scatter their spores in order to reproduce. The strong odor of the mature truffle is what allows animals to locate them.

Truffle hunting is a lucrative business when they are in season, from fall through spring. In North America, raking back the soil and searching by sight is the usual method for harvesting. In Europe, hunters use truffle hogs and specially-trained dogs to sniff them out. The female truffle hogs become alert to the scent of the mature truffle because it is similar to the pheromones of the male hog’s saliva. The sow is difficult to hold back, however, and will readily eat the expensive delicacy if allowed to do so. In Italy, the use of the pig to hunt truffles has been prohibited since 1985 because of damage caused by animals to truffle’s mycelia during the digging that dropped the production rate of the area for some years.

For this reason, many hunters have begun to use truffle dogs, with the Lagotto Romagnolo being the only breed specifically recognized for this trait as of 2009. If you’re thinking Italian sports car, think again. This curly-coated dog is an Italian truffle hunter who is generally smart, energetic and fun-loving. Though they lack the innate ability of the hog to detect the scent, dogs can be specially trained to do so. The advantage comes when the truffle is located, as the dog is much less likely to eat it.

Truffle Dogs
Lagotto-Romagnolo – Truffle Dogs

Click on the photo above to learn more about these amazing dogs!

Culinary Use

Truffles must be carefully handled to preserve their aroma and flavor. They should be cleaned of any dirt or debris, washed with water, and dried with a paper towel. To develop their aroma after being harvested, they should be placed in an airtight container lined with paper towels and stored in the refrigerator for approximately three days. They can be stored in a glass jar for several months, but should never be dried as this will cause them to lose their pungency.

As cooking dissipates their flavor, truffles are most often served raw. They can be sliced, scraped, or grated on top of ready-to-serve dishes, sauces, or soups. They also pair well with fattier foods, such as cheeses, butters, oils, and eggs.

Infusing flavor into foods creates another use for the truffle. Thin slices of the fungus inserted just under the skin allows meats to readily absorb the flavor. Only small amounts are needed to make truffle butter, as the aroma will flavor the entire batch. It should be noted that, while they can be added to olive oil to infuse their flavor, most “truffle oil” doesn’t actually contain any truffles.

If you’d like to read more about truffles check out this great website – L’Italo-Americano:

Grazie to Gina Hanna for this post idea and information!

Credit also to all owners of photos and websites.



Here is a lovely story of a trip to Italy submitted by Gina Hanna . . .thank you for sharing it with us!

I have enjoyed (with envy) all the posts by everyone who has made a trip to Italy and had a chance to get to an IL VOLO concert.

I doubt I will be making a trip to Italy AGAIN so I closed my eyes and tried to remember the trip I and my family made to a beach on the ADRIATIC SEA.

Now you must UNDERSTAND we were In the US Army stationed At Bad Kreuznach Germany and on a budget. So this story will not have much glamour.

My friend Anna, who was stationed in Frankfurt, invited her elderly aunt, who had just married, to spend their “honeymoon” in Italy. Then my husband’s young brother decided to come over to Germany and go with us to the beach. My three young children invited one of their good friends.

We had shipped over an OPEN ROAD camper as our transportation during our Army tour so we packed the camper with everything we thought we could not live without, packed the kids, my husband’s brother Rick and picked up Patty on the way to Italy. Anna with her aunt and new uncle drove her car.

About a hundred miles on the road Rick discovered he forgot his passport on the dining room table. Same was discovered with Patty. We knew that Italy would let us in but we might have problems coming back to Germany. Decided to keep going.

I will not describe the trip with four children ages 9 and three 6. “Are we there yet?”, was their favorite conversation.

We had rented two cabins on the beach. One for Anna and one for us. Within seconds the kids found out that the Italian children (girls)  did not wear tops of their bathing suits. Modesty was the conversation but finally settled on the individual’s choice. The group of four was made up of three girls and one boy.

After a group conference it was decided to go to VICENZA to look around and then go to the Army base laundromat to do all the sand-soaked clothes. While there we went to a ceramic factory and “loaded” up on pretty bowls and ceramic chandeliers.  Back to the beach.

Vicenza on Map
Vicenza on Map and website –
Città di Vicenza A collage of Vicenza showing: the Villa Capra “La Rotonda”, the classical temple in the Parco Querini, a panorama of the city from the Monte Berico, the Piazza dei Signori and the Renaissance Basilica Palladiana.

One more group conference and the decision was to go by boat to VENICE. We squeezed on this hot boat and hoped we make it  to see a gondola. The boat stopped right at San Marco’s square. Everyone was hot and thirsty so we sat down at one of the tables on the square and ordered Iced tea. WELL besides busting our budged due the exorbitant prices the “Iced Tea” was warm. “Refreshed” we then made a tour of interests on the square and wound up at a crystal store.

The tourist blood boiling in our bodies we started the shopping. The store had several floors and the higher the more expensive. We shopped on the first floor and again  bought a chandelier. To this day I do not know why the fascination with chandeliers since we were living in base housing and crystal chandeliers did not fit with the “decor”. A year after trying to clean all the tangling crystals I sold it to an unsuspecting newcomer.

St. Mark’s Square

St. Mark's Square overview– St. Mark’s Square overview-

St. Mark's Basilica– St. Mark’s Basilica-

St. Mark's Campanile– St. Mark’s Campanile-

Doge's Palace– Doge’s Palace-

The Basilica of San Marco overlooks one of the most beautiful squares in the world, a real marble salon, the city center for centuries. Next to both the Basilica and the Doge’s Palace, all the most important religious and civil ceremonies have always been held there and now the Piazza San Marco is considered the city’s main symbol and tourist attraction.

This great square overlooking the water is a mixture of spaces, volumes and styles: the Procurator’s residence, the bell tower, the Doge’s Palace and the Sansoviniana Bookshop.

On Ascension Day, the Doge and the city’s most important members got on board and sailed out to the Adriatic, to the Lido port. Here the Doge threw a ring, symbolizing union between Venice and water, into the sea and pronounced the solemn formula: “We wed you oh sea, in the sign of true, eternal dominion“.

Now to the highlight of the trip. A RIDE IN A GONDOLA. We found an empty gondola and asked how much? The price was astronomical so we went into the bargaining mode.  This poor gondolier gave in and took 8 of us for one price and then got yelled at by the other gondoliers for taking so many and and not sharing.  We had a “wild” ride thru some canals and were happy to get back on solid ground. Where was Ignazio singing “O Sole Mio”? Not born yet since this was 1975.  All the movies presented a different picture of a gondola ride.


A Practical Boat for Romantic Venice

The gondola originated in Venice, Italy, that magical city situated on a series of six islands at the edge of the Adriatic Sea. The “streets” of Venice are waterways, making boats the official transportation choice.

Of all the differing watercrafts in Venice, the gondola is the most well-known. It is an ancient row boat, evolving over the last 1,000 years to become the sleek, graceful shape you see today. Its unique, asymmetrical design allows just one oarsman to navigate the narrow Venetian waterways using a single oar.

Time to go back to Germany. Problem Rick’s lack of a passport. After checking we were told that he had to go to Trieste and get the papers to get back home. He went on his own and came back with the right papers. We hid Patty in the camper’s bathroom.

We packed, loaded all our purchases in every space we could find and hoped no one would stop us and ask why we had all these chandeliers. Anna left her purchases with us.

As it turned out no one asked us for passports at the German border and no one checked the van for the chandeliers.


We loved every minute of the trip and started talking where to go next.


Credit to all owners of photos, websites and videos.

Are You A True Italian?

I’m sure almost all of us here at the Flight Crew would like to feel a certain kinship to Italy and the boys of IL VOLO. Whether we are Italian by blood or by desire, the feelings are still there and grow stronger as we watch them mature and take on new projects.

My church choir got the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity 10 years ago to travel to ROME, sing three times in two different churches (including St. Peter’s for Pope Benedict at the New Year’s Day Mass 2008), visit many of the famous landmarks, walk along the little side streets and eat Italian food! It was not only a moving experience for me because of my faith, but I also felt like I belonged there. I was so at home and never wanted to leave!

I do a lot of genealogy research for my family so I thought I should do the DNA test. I knew I would have a lot of Eastern European in me from my Mother’s Polish roots –  I am 55% Eastern European. And my Father was mostly Irish/Welsh/English –  I am 27% Irish and 12% English. There are four other trace regions listed and one of them is 2% Italy/Greece! I knew it! It’s not much, but it’s there!

So in that spirit here is an Italian quiz idea from Ann Cruise. Grazie Ann! I took the quiz and, without cheating, got 80% Italian! Not bad for someone with only a smidge of Italian ancestry! 😉

Give it a try! It’s fun! And you might learn something new!

Italian Quiz
Click this image to take the quiz.

Credit to