For Beauty, Art, History, Culture, Passion, Love and the Great Joys of Life
You Could Win a Free Trip to Italy at the Houston Italian Festival October 12-15
Houston – October 10, 2017 – Trips2Italy announces that it is donating a special trip to Italy that will be raffled for charity at the 39th annual Houston Italian Festival. The custom trip to Italy, valued at $6,000, will be awarded to a lucky raffle participant during the Italian Festival, October 12 – 15, 2017 at the University of St. Thomas.
The Houston Italian Festival features great music, art, dancing, food, entertainment, cultural encounters, exotic cars, wine and even an opportunity to stomp grapes. The festival and proceeds from the raffle support the nonprofit education and cultural programs of the Italian Cultural & Community Center. More information on the festival and raffle can be found at houstonitalianfestival.com.
“The best way to truly know Italy is to live Italy as a native,” said Tommaso De Poi, owner of Trips2Italy. “That’s why we are transforming this joyful festival into a spectacular experience in Italy for a lucky festival participant. We are proud to donate the Grand Prize and be a sponsor of this marvelous festival that brings so much of Italy to our neighbors in Houston.”.
For fifteen years, Houston has been home to Tommaso and Trips2Italy. During that time Trips2Italy has provided unique Italian experiences to thousands of travelers from throughout North America. Tommaso is passionate about bringing the wonders of his native Italy and American friends together. That’s why he encourages Houstonians to join him for the fabulous fun and experiences at the Houston Italian Festival this weekend.
For 15 years Trips2Italy has been dedicated to making travelers experiences in Italy unique and unforgettable. We take great pleasure welcoming travelers from throughout America to our home country of Italy. We believe you should do more than just see Italy, you should live Italy!www.trips2italy.com
The Italian Cultural & Community Center (ICCC) of Houston is a non-profit organization that was established in 1982. Our purpose is to advance, celebrate and preserve the Italian culture and heritage for all Houstonians through educational, cultural and social programs, as well as, scholarships for graduating high school students. www.iccchouston.com
Tommaso De Poi
For Beauty, Art, History, Culture, Passion, Love and the Great Joys of Life was last modified: April 30th, 2021 by Trips 2 Italy
When travelling to Liguria, in addition to the beautiful sea and warm sunshine, visitors will surely take notice of a ubiquitous treat enjoyed by locals as breakfast, an appetizer, or a snack throughout the day: focaccia. Though many varieties exist in Italy, the most traditional and delicious iteration of focaccia has its home in Liguria. Focaccia genovese, a golden flatbread with a fluffy center and a crisp crust, is considered to be the simplest variety of focaccia, but also the richest. Authentic focaccia genovese is one to two centimeters thick, is only seasoned with coarse salt and a generous amount of extra-virgin olive oil, and is covered with characteristic holes that serve as pockets to trap the delicious oil.
The historical origins of focaccia are quite ancient. The Phoenicians, Carthaginians, and Greeks all used barley, rye, or millet flour to bake flatbreads over flames similar to the modern process of baking focaccia. The word focaccia itself derives from the Latin word focus, which means “hearth” and “fireplace”. In ancient Rome, focaccia was considered to be such a rich delicacy that is was often offered as a gift to the gods. During the Renaissance, focaccia was enjoyed with wine and other treats as part of wedding celebrations. Legend has it that since these celebrations occurred in church, focaccia eventually became a popular treat during funerals too. This tradition was quickly put to an end by a local bishop as it was deemed too joyous for such somber occasions. In addition, the portable, delicious flatbread was typically considered the food of travelers and fishermen up until modern times.
Though several regions in Italy produce their own variations of focaccia, the Liguria region is considered to be the traditional home of this tasty bread. Here, focaccia is accompanied by coffee for a typical Genoese breakfast or by a small glass of wine for a midmorning snack. In addition to the focaccia from Genoa, the cheese-filled focaccia di Recco is quite popular as well. This simple focaccia composed of very thin unleavened crust filled with fresh stracchino cheese that melts as the focaccia bakes in a wood oven. This type of focaccia is such a local delicacy that it was granted IGP status by the European Union, meaning that authentic focaccia di Recco can only be made in the town of Recco.
Traditionally, focaccia made in northern Italy was usually brushed with lard or butter during the baking process, while focaccia made in Liguria and in southern Italy was, and continues to be, brushed with extra-virgin olive oil. The exact date of the origin of focaccia genovese is not known, but the oldest historical document that mentions this delicious Ligurian flatbread dates back to the year 1229. Focaccia di Recco, on the other hand, dates back to the 12th century and it is believed that its origin coincided with the Crusades.
Two additional varieties of focaccia are also quite popular in other parts of Italy. The first originates from the province of Bari and can be enjoyed throughout the Puglia region. This variety, focaccia barese, is quite unique for two reasons: boiled potatoes are added to the dough to make the focaccia even softer and it is topped with fresh cherry tomatoes. The second type is found in the province of Messina on the island of Sicily. Known as focaccia messinese, this variety has a thick, soft base that is topped with endive, diced tomatoes, anchovies, and cheese (usually tuma, though mozzarella can also be used). Other types of focaccia found in Italy are topped with a variety of other ingredients including rosemary, sage, onions, olives, salumi, cheeses, and other herbs and vegetables.
Though focaccia genovese may be considered simple compared the other varieties listed above, it is the high-quality ingredients and expert preparation that render focaccia genovese so incomparably delicious. Authentic focaccia genovese can only be made with finely ground type 00 flour, extra-virgin olive oil, and coarse salt. The key to focaccia’s unique taste rests in the baking process, which occurs in a wood-oven and brings all of the exquisite ingredients together. Truly, the best slice of focaccia is the one that has just been pulled out of the oven—nothing quite compares.
So the next time you find yourself in Liguria, be sure to enjoy some authentic focaccia genovese made with extra-virgin olive oil. We hope your slice is fresh out of the oven and perfectly golden!
Golden Focaccia Genovese was last modified: October 21st, 2020 by Trips 2 Italy
Busy cities are often referred to as “urban jungles”, but one of Milan’s modern high-rises gives a whole new meaning to this popular idiom thanks to some uncommon landscaping. In 2014, Italian architect Stefano Boeri unveiled his latest design in Milan’s rising Porta Nuova district; a skyscraper called Bosco Verticale. In English, Bosco Verticale means Vertical Forest, which is an appropriate name considering the construction is composed of two towers that between them incorporate more than 1,000 varieties of plants, shrubs, and trees. The buildings were born out of an ambitious and environmentally noble idea: creating sustainable living spaces that not only foster the natural environment of the city, but regenerate it.
Bosco Verticale’s two towers are of differing heights with the tallest measuring 360 feet and the shortest measuring 260 feet. Staggered balconies extend from every side of the towers to suspend 780 trees and 14,000 plants over the city. Each of the 113 living spaces in the complex includes a private garden with vegetation that not only serves to absorb carbon dioxide, but also to protect the space from dust particles, direct sunlight, harsh winds, and acoustic pollution. In addition, the views from the apartments are spectacular, providing panoramas of Milan, the outskirts of the city, and even the momentous Alps in the distance.
The location of the towers in the Porta Nuova district, near the center of Milan, is not a coincidence. The project aims not only to regenerate the Porta Nuova district, but to shift the planning of Milan’s city center towards a greener future. To aid in this vision, the parking areas for Bosco Verticale have been constructed underground in favor of a pedestrian and cycling area above them that spans 40 acres and features additional vegetation and public spaces. The location of the towers near normal skyscrapers also helps to aesthetically revolutionize the city’s skyline. Not only do the trees and plants of Bosco Verticale stand out amongst the city’s sea of grey, but their visual impact is dynamic; as the seasons change, so too will the buildings since the vegetation will adopt the distinct colors of each season.
Bosco Verticale won the International High-rise Award in 2014, an honor that recognizes the world’s most innovative and sustainable high-rises, which is granted every two years by the city of Frankfurt in conjunction with the German Architecture Museum. The Bosco Verticale design aims to be a new standard for sustainable buildings not only in Italy but throughout the world. Recently, Stefano Boeri announced that another tower in the style of Bosco Verticale, but with cedar trees, will be constructed in Lausanne, Switzerland. Currently, there are no plans to implement the design in other parts of Italy, but Parma, Siena, and Bolzano (considered to be three of Italy’s greenest cities) could be perfect candidates for the expansion of this architectural and environmental innovation.
A High-rise Forest in the Center of Milan was last modified: October 21st, 2020 by Trips 2 Italy
Trips 2 Italy welcome back and is proud to annouce the launch of our new newsletter format.
Now that we have completed our vastly improved website (come see us at www.trips2italy.com), it’s time to bring back our newsletter on the beauty and marvelous experiences of Italy.
Please take a moment and glance at our insights into what makes Italy so very special. If you like, please share us with your friends or join us at https://www.trips2italy.com/contact-us
We’ll be back with more next month.
New Website Design and Newsletter was last modified: April 30th, 2021 by Trips 2 Italy
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