On This Day: ‘La Dolce Vita’ Wins the Cannes Film Festival

Fifty-five years ago today—May 20, 1960—Federico Fellini’s “La Dolce Vita” won the Palme d’Or at Cannes. Watch “Three Reasons” why this film remains a classic.

For more details on where “La Dolce Vita” was filmed, explore this list of Fellini’s film locations from Rome and Rimini.

Lovely Time Lapse Video of Rome

I always love a good time lapse video. Here’s a very recent one that shows Rome in her late summer splendor. It was shot by Josh of jandrewfilmandphotography.com, who used 7,000 images to create this 2-minute, 37-second clip. Hyperlapse has a long way to go to get results like these.

Italy Hit Parade Vol. I

Discovering new or new-to-me music has always been one of my favorite things about traveling and living abroad. So I plan to use this space to bring you some of the songs that I’m listening to in Italy. Some of the music will be bubbly pop, some hip hop, some…I don’t know what. But most, if not all, will come from the radio and MTV (which actually plays videos here).

Note that some of these videos may not play because of region restrictions or on mobile. I really have no way of knowing if every video will work. So consider IHP Vol. I the first test.

Rocco Hunt is one of the more successful (and accessible) hip hop artists in Italy. Continue reading Italy Hit Parade Vol. I

Surf Italiano

Two films about surfing in Italy have come across my inbox in the past week.


The first video is Peninsula, a documentary about surf beginnings in Italy. On the occasion of the film’s debut in Milan this week, Corriere della Sera tells the story (in Italian) of Alessandro Dini and his friends who introduced surfing — both the sport and the lifestyle — to the Italian peninsula. The film will begin a world tour after its showing in Milan, so look for it at your local indie theater in the coming months.

PENINSULA from BLOCK10 on Vimeo.

Bella Vita

Bella Vita is a video about American surfer, artist, and environmentalist Chris del Moro who goes to Italy to reconnect with his ancestral homeland, his family, and tasty waves. This film came out in 2013 but it seems to be making the rounds now that it has received several film festival awards, such as the Official Selection for the San Sebastian Film Festival in 2013 and the Santa Barbara International Film Festival in 2014.

There’s Only One Rome

This well-produced vimeo short captures Rome quite well.

I chose to put this 9-month-old vid on the blog today to let everyone know that my family is set to move to Rome this summer. It’s going to be a big, very busy year. But I’m looking forward to getting to the other side so I can share the Eternal City (and Italy side trips) with all of you.

Happy 2014, everyone! Buon anno!

How Does Venice Work?

Although Venice has been sinking into the Adriatic sea for centuries, visitors, as well as many residents, pay little mind to this fact other than keeping close watch on the acqua alta forecasts. Few of the millions of people that tread on Venice’s cobblestones and stroll over its storied canals know how the city manages to preserve itself amid threats such as global warming, rising tides, and the inevitable erosion that accompanies them.

Enter Insula, the company charged with Venice’s maintenance, which has launched a website called Venice Backstage. Venice Backstage is a fascinating trove – in English and Italian – about the unusual landscape of Venice and how workers toil daily behind the scenes for its upkeep. The website contains educational tidbits on water levels and what happens when a sandbar builds up the lagoon; bridge construction and maintenance; a gallery of construction projects showing workers efforts to counteract building erosion; a glossary of terms; and videos.

I really enjoyed the video titled, “Venice Backstage: How Does Venice Work?” and I think that you will, too. So, have a look at this video, then head over to Venice Backstage to learn even more about the everyday efforts to save Venice and its iconic cityscape.

Video: Italian Hand Gestures

Even if you’ve never been to Italy, you’ve seen them. I’m talking about the hand gestures that Italians use to complement their vocal language. Indeed, sometimes all you’ll get is a hand gesture so “fai attento” – pay attention – and learn a few with this video from Nada’s Italy. This is also a lovely little primer because you get a glimpse of some piazze, cafes, alleyways, and the countryside while the gesture demonstrators give their little lessons.

A Year in Italy Video Giveaway

A Year in Italy DVD by Steven McCurdyWhen I’m not visiting Italy or writing about Italy I really enjoy watching travel shows about Italy. The Travel Channel, PBS, BBC, and other outlets all show Italy travelogues from time to time and I love them. I’ll almost always pause to watch aerial views of Capri or listen to historical details about the Colosseum. But many of these videos leave me wanting more: more views of real life and real people in Italy.

Enter “A Year in Italy,” a new video by travel journalist Steven McCurdy. This video love letter to Italy begins with a montage of video clips from Italy trips from the 1960s and continues with gorgeous, modern-day shots of famous and not-so-famous spots from all around Italy, from fountains to gelato stands and from village markets to bustling ports. McCurdy introduces his film by answering the question he is often asked, “What is your favorite place in Italy?”

“It depends. It depends on whether I’m talking about art, or history, or sheer beauty. It depends on whether I’m talking about the people, the piazzas, the pizza. It depends on the time of year and time of day. It depends because I like so many different places for so many different reasons.

“The real answer may be that I try not to have favorite places. I try to have memorable places. I have so many memorable places I would hate to list them as favorites for fear that a new discovery would upset the whole balance. After all, I still have so many places yet to explore.”

I think all of us who have had the opportunity to see Italy on more than one occasion can certainly agree with McCurdy’s sentiment. I feel like I have so many more places in Italy to discover and I have discovered some new ones with “A Year in Italy.” Some of the less-visited corners featured on the 4-hour, 2-disc set are Sardinia, Procida, Gubbio, and Matera, and McCurdy also goes to hidden spots in Rome, Naples, and Venice. The titles on each of the discs are “My Private Italy,” “Bringing Home Sardinia,” “Postcards from Italy, ” and bonus features “Every time I come to Rome” and “Montage of Venice.” Here is a little sample of type of lovely film-making you’ll see on “A Year in Italy”:

Steve McCurdy’s Venice

McCurdy really does cover the whole of the boot. If you want to know more about this and other travel videos, visit the website for Questar Entertainment.

It has been a pleasure to watch “A Year in Italy,” so I wanted to give Italofile readers a chance to enjoy this lovely video set with my first giveaway!!

Here are the details of the contest:

  • To enter the “A Year in Italy Video Giveaway” contest, leave a comment below answering the question, “How would you spend a year in Italy?” Be as concise or as elaborate as you want.
  • Anyone can enter. Please note, however, that this DVD is NTSC Region “0” and will not play on all DVD players. See these DVD format guidelines for additional information.
  • If you want to write a whole tome on how you’d spend a year in Italy, you can write a post on your blog and have two chances to win! Blog entries, please link to this post (http://www.italofile.com/2010/05/12/a-year-in-italy-video-giveaway/) and comment below with a link to your post.
  • Winner will be selected at random from all entries. There will be no extra points for creativity, though I may re-tweet the best blog entries on Twitter. 🙂
  • Contest deadline is 11:59pm EDT on Thursday, May 20, 2010.

Good luck and spread the word!

Full disclosure: Questar provided this video for my review and for the giveaway.

How To Make Bolognese Sauce


Here’s a great way to bring Italy home – learn how to make Bolognese sauce! There are dozens of instructional videos out there, including this recent one from Epicurious.com. But the best that I have found – that adhere to the original ingredients and techniques from Italy and are in English – comes from Mario Batali, the Italian-American chef who used to have a fantastic show on the Food Network. It’s fun to see Mario preparing the ragù. I’m definitely inspired to make my own!

A Year in Italy

Someone posted a great video on YouTube.com. The video features a rapid-fire slideshow of an entire year’s worth of photos taken in Italy. On the itinerary (at least in the first few minutes) are the Colosseum, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, fruit vendors in various piazze, cupolas, cobblestones, and more. There are more than nine minutes of Italy snapshots to give us the travel bug.