Aren't those baby shoes adorable?
You don't see little ones running around with shoes like this now-a-days
I learned to walk in these shoes
There's a lot of my childhood on my office shelves
The handsome soccer player standing all the way to the right?
With his hands on his hips?
With the attitude?
That's my Nonno circa 1936
In Italy, soccer is the be-all and end-all of life. The world revolves around soccer.
And my grandfather was a king. He played soccer- and played it well. On a World Cup team. He travelled the world . He accepted accolades wherever he went
Then he came home and became Papa and Nonno. After he retired from soccer, he became a well-respected businessman and raised a family. In Vicenza. He and my Nonna managed to make it through the most horrendous war this world has known. They lived in fear and they lived heroically. Someday I'll blog about my Nonna. All 98 pounds of her standing up to the German soldiers who took over her house.
This is Vicenza as seen from the hill of Monte Berico, the cathedral where we went to Mass every Sunday during the summers we spent with my grandparents
Every year, from the last day of school till 2 days before it started again, we were in Italy. Before I was old enough for school, this vacation would last up to 4 months.
Monte Berico was straight up the hill from my grandparents' home. From this viewpoint in the parking lot, we could see their house and most of the downtown area
I tried to take a picture of a postcard that also resides in my office. This is the soccer stadium in Vicenza. The brown field to the left is the practice field. Right above the "V" and to the left is a tall red-roofed house. That was my grandparents'. In Italy it is quite common to buy your apartment. They had a gorgeous 2 bedroom flat with magnificent marble floors on the 3rd floor. On the evnings when a game was being played, we would sit out on the front terrace and have the best seats in the house. My Nonno always thought it was safer than taking us into the stadium-Italian fans during a soccer match make American hockey players look tame!
This is one of the palazzi in the main plaza-La Piazza dei Signori. We walked here at least 3 times a week with my grandmother carrying her net bags-one for each store or vendor she planned to visit
I LOVED the flowerboxes and Nonno would always let me buy a paper cone of seed from the old lady vendors who walked the piazza. I would throw some out for the hundreds of pigeons that would gather and then squeal in fright and delight till he scooped me up to his shoulders.
This is the Villa Valmarana. I would beg my grandfather to tell me the story each and every time we strolled past. According to legend (and my Nonno), it was built by a very rich Count who had a daughter who was born a dwarf. He loved her dearly and never wanted to see her hurt. He formed a colony of dwarves which his daughter never left-therefore she would never know she was different. The story says that she somehow saw and fell in love with a knight from the outside world and he cruelly told her the truth. Upon realizing that she would never be able to marry him, she threw herself out a window. Of course none of this is true, but Oh the romance to a young girl hearing the story! The castles of Romeo and Juliet are visible in the distance-there is no more beautiful or romantic country-my heart and soul remain there to this day.
I actually found this on Vicenza.com. The undying myth of Romeo and Juliet, considered the most romantic love story of all times, is authentically rooted in Vicenza’s territory. It was, in fact, Luigi Da Porto, born in Vicenza , commander in the Serenissima army and original poet, who wrote it in 1524. and was a commander of a military company of the Serenissima and original poet. The novel, that tells about the unfortunate love story between two young noble people, Juliet and Romeo, is set in the hills of Vicenza, with the two face-to-face castles, that are still visible in Montecchio, forming the background of the story. The great dramatist William Shakespeare was inspired by this novel and he made it famous in 1597. The legend wants in fact that the two young people belonged one to the family of the capuleti and the other to that of Montecchi, implacable enemies. In Contrà Porti in Vicenza the palace where Luigi da Porto lived, is still visible.
With memories of my grandparents, my childhood and the beautiful country of my ancestors in mind I decided to share a recipe for Paglia e Fieno. The literal translation is Hay and Straw which is represented by the fettucine in two colors of green and white.
Paglia e Fieno
12 ounces plain fresh linguine
12 ounces spinach fresh linguine
1/4 cup olive oil
about 1 pound (more or less) boneless chicken (breasts or thighs) diced
1-2 cloves garlic, finely minced (I use a garlic press and then mince again)
1 pkg, fresh mushrooms, sliced (about 2 cups)
sliced sundried tomatoes, julienned
1/2 cup white wine
2 cups (could be more or less) chicken broth
1/2-3/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 stick unsalted butter
salt and pepper
freshly grated parmesan
Put up a huge pot of water to boil for the pasta-remember, it needs to be LARGE for this much pasta
Heat olive oil in a large pan and add chicken. Cook 3-4 minutes till brown. When chicken is browned, add pasta to boiling water. Add garlic to chicken, stir, then add mushrooms and tomatoes. Cook and stir 2-3 minutes. Add wine and cook till just about evaporated. Add broth and heavy cream and simmer till thickened while you drain pasta. Swirl in butter, salt and pepper and add pasta to pan. Stir to mix, top with grated parmesan and serve
** if it seems dry, add a touch more broth and/or cream to taste
This is SO good
Buon Alimenti, Buon Amici,
xoxo Pattie and Allie