Happy Holidays from Florence!

Florence_in_the_winterFlorence_holidays
It’s our second favorite time of year (first being the summer, obviously!) and we thought we’d give you a taste of the magic; lights strung from practically every street with the winter sun setting and splashing golden light everywhere. Sigh. Just another reminder, as if we needed another one, of how much we love this place. Hope to see you here soon!

Until then, happy everything and everything happy.

Sincerely,

The team at Select Study Abroad

Technorati Tags: , , , , ,


Italian Festivals: Festa della Rificolona

festa_della_rificolanaWho doesn’t love a local festival inspired by dowdy farmers, reenacted for hundreds of years by a procession of lanterns (that end the evening in flames) and children with spitball assault rifles. Answer: no one. Do I have your attention?
Welcome to the (seemingly innocent and wholesome) Festa dell Rificolona! To the uneducated eye, it is a perfectly quaint event involving one contingent of children processing with lit lanterns while another (perhaps slightly more unusual) contingent uses long pipes and putty to shoot spitballs at the passing paper targets. Everyone involved seems perfectly happy with the situation, so you assume it’s all part of the fun. It is. And it is fun, if a bit of an odd way to honor the eve of the birth of the Virgin Mary.
Continue reading…

Technorati Tags: , , , , , ,


Photo of the Week: Buona Pasqua! (Happy Easter!)

Photo of the Week: Buona Pasqua! (Happy Easter!)

Happy Easter!

From your team at Select Study Abroad

Technorati Tags: , , ,


Photo of the Week: Happy New Year!

Photo of the Week: Happy New Year!

Happy everything & everything happy for 2013!

From your team at Select Study Abroad!

Technorati Tags: , ,


Photo of the Week: Panettone & Pandoro

Photo of the Week: Panettone & Pandoro

If you plan on spending Christmas in Italy, there are two words you need you know: Panettone and Pandoro. These are two somewhat similar looking (but very different tasting) traditional sweet breads that are enjoyed during the holiday season. They are sold in large cardboard containers or exciting packaging (as pictured above) and come out in the hundreds, piled high in grocery stores, and lining the walls of bars and bakeries all over Italy.

Panettone is a sweet bread from Milan and is shaped like the cupola of a dome. The process to make this seemingly simple desert is actually rather lengthy and difficult, requiring many days and at least three separate dough risings. The final product, a fluffy, light dough, is filled with candied fruits and/or raisons. It is usually served with a sweet drink, often hot, and with mascarpone on top.

Pandoro, or Pan d’oro (bread of gold or golden bread), is a yeast bread baked in the shape of an 8-pointed star. Equally flaky and light, but without the candied fruit, many brands come with powdered sugar that is sprinkled all over to create a “snow-covered” effect. Like the panettone, it can also be served with mascarpone, a chantilly cream, or even gelato.

I personally enjoy my Pandoro dipped in coffee the morning after. Next time you’re here, make sure you try it. It only comes out once a year!

Technorati Tags: , , ,