Italy

OpenCalais Metadata: Latitude: 
44.2632
OpenCalais Metadata: Longitude: 
11.4402833333
Photo Credit: Jack DuFon | Daily Texan Staff

Textiles from ancient Italy provide insight into the complexity of ancient societal rituals, such as weddings and funerals, and shed surprising light on the role of women in Etruscan society, according to archaeologist Gretchen Meyers.

Meyers, who spoke Tuesday at the Art Building, said the three main materials she focused on in her archaeological excavations were textiles, textile tools and visual representations that depicted women in Etruscan society. She said she focused her study on Poggio Colla, an Etruscan archaeological site in Vicchio, Italy.

“Cloth, whether we can consider that worn or draped over something, can communicate a great deal of information,” Meyers said.

The Etruscans were an ancient civilization that lived around the eighth century B.C. in Italy, before the Romans came to power. Many historians believe some of the characteristics of Rome’s government originated in Etruria.

Meyers showed several images of Estruscan artifacts, including a scene of several figures working on a giant textile loom carved in a wooden chair. She said the scene reveals that textiles were more than just a domestic hobby or craft but rather a public display that required intricate and large equipment to perform.

“There are examples on the visual record in the early part of the Etrsucan period that [show] they are taking time to represent women making textiles,” Meyers said. “Not just for a domestic use, but for a ceremonial purpose or function.”

Meyers showed further examples of excavated artifacts from Poggio Colla, such as cloth, ceramic visuals and a sarcophagus lid that showed images of textile production on a large scale. She said the Etruscans are known for portraying “transitions of life” moments such as weddings and funerals.

Classics graduate student Zachary Leh said Meyers’ research on gender in the Etruscan period explores an area that is not commonly talked about in her field of study.

“I think a lot of people who look into classics fail to consider … some things like gender inequality and sexuality,” Leh said. “But [Meyers] is really digging into what is happening with gender during this time period.”

Michael Thomas, director for the Center for the Study of Ancient Italy, said most archeological evidence supports the standard view of women as domesticated textile artisans, but Meyers’ evidence proves otherwise.  

“Textiles can be indicative than something greater than this accepted role of women in the ancient world,” Thomas said. “Textile production isn’t just this thing that’s happening in a house. … These [productions] may have been put on display as symbols of wealth and status.”

Photo Credit: Joshua Guerra | Daily Texan Staff

Students can travel to Italy without leaving the 40 Acres. They will not see famous biblical figures along the Sistine Chapel or toss a coin in the Trevi Fountain, but anyone interested in speaking only Italian for an hour can join Tavola Italiana, which meets every Friday at the Cactus Cafe.

Tavola Italiana is open to all members of the UT and Austin community. In order to practice their Italian fluency, attendees talk about politics, different flavors of gelato and Italian architecture. 

Antonella Del Fattore-Olson, an Italian senior lecturer from Rome, said the meeting is only one part of the Italian club. She has worked with the Italian club since 1984.     

“The club has not changed,” Fattore-Olson said. “That’s the beauty of it. It has the same spirit.”

Fattore-Olson said she and other members of Tavola collaborate with Italians living in Austin to educate the community about Italian culture. Last year, Tavola worked with Lucky’s Puccias & Pizzeria, an Italian restaurant in downtown Austin dedicated to creating Puccias, authentic regional Italian sandwiches. 

“We like to be to an active community,” Fattore-Olson said. “It strengthens our bond.”     

While working for Fattore-Olson as a teaching assistant, Elisa Valentini, Italian studies graduate student, learned about the weekly meetings. She said she loves the club because she thinks it is a valuable place for students to practice toward fluency. 

“We are in a bar during Tavola,” Valentini said. “It helps students feel comfortable, and every student is represented. Students that come to the Tavola see how a community works and what it means to be a community. It’s super relevant.”

Computer science sophomore Ginevra Gaudioso transferred from Bologna, Italy, and said she attended Tavola because it helped her meet native Italians. 

“There’s a huge community of us,” Gaudioso said. “We like to stick together. We have this diversity and we are all connected because we are all having the same experience abroad. We can share our origin and our culture.”

Gaudioso is now the vice president of Tavola. She said learning a language is difficult, but Tavola is a safe learning environment.

“I like seeing students learn Italian,” Gaudioso said. “I like to see how they study and how they learn. I like to give them the possibility.”

Juhie Modi, former Texan staffer and political communications and Italian senior, never thought she would study Italian. Modi said she was not interested in learning Italian until she was required by the University to take a foreign language. She said she took an Italian course because of her love for Italian food.

“It’s intimidating to start a language,” Modi said. “The nice thing about Tavola is everyone is understanding of that because we are patient and learning with each other.”

Modi also said people need to be a little selfish when learning a language.

“If learning a language makes you happy, you have to make the time to do it,” Modi said.

European studies senior Brigitte Chapman (left), studio art junior Cara Butler and fine arts senior Kristyn Coster share the journals they created during the Tuscany study abroad program. The met through their trip to Tuscany and were inspired to pursue art in their professional lives.

Photo Credit: Claire Schaper | Daily Texan Staff

Seated on a bench outside UT’s Visual Arts Center, Cara Butler, Brigitte Chapman and Kristyn Coster laugh about how their trip to Italy was nothing like a European romantic comedy.

“Scratch everything,” Chapman said. “We are just like ‘The Lizzie McGuire Movie.’”

Butler, Chapman and Coster met each other during UT’s “Learning Tuscany: Art and Culture in Italy” study abroad program. Despite their commentary on the importance of pizza, they emphasized how their time spent in Italy convinced them to pursue art in their professional lives.

“Being in someplace new gives you an outlet of ideas,” Coster said. “I think you become more productive.”

Butler is a studying English and art, Chapman is studying European studies, and Coster studies studio art. They said the trip to Tuscany sounded appealing because they finally had an opportunity to focus on art.

“I actually wanted to be an archaeologist,” Butler said. “This trip solidified [that] I want to do art.”

The program required students to create journals. Each student kept two journals. One journal was displayed in the UT Visual Arts Center as a part of the “Gestures of Travel: Learning Tuscany” exhibit, while the other was personal. Coster said the professors did not provide specific guidelines on how to format the journal. Chapman used watercolors, Butler drew illustrations, and Coster combined modern day events with traditional Italian art.

“I put a sarcastic twist on Italian culture,” Coster said. “It is difficult to explain. For example, I made Jesus into Mick Jagger. It does not look offensive. It just has a little satire in it.”

After returning home, Coster is currently working on another journal. In this journal, she translates poetry into different languages and makes videos based off of the poems.

“After learning Italian, I got more into languages,” Coster said. “It’s like I’m writing an inner dialogue with myself.”

Butler continues to create illustrations and would love to pursue illustration as a career.

“[Italy] taught me how to be disciplined,” Butler said. “I did not want to lose that and I try to make for my own versions of children’s books.”

Although Chapman is not working on an official project, she still dreams of opening a gallery one day.

“I went to many museums and I want to be surrounded by that beauty in my professional life,” Chapman said. “Italy reinforced what I want to do, rather than helping me what I work on, since I am mainly an art historian.”

Chapman also talked about the importance of studying abroad.

“When you study and study abroad, you’re looking at all view points,” Chapman said. “You can always take the LSAT after, but I think art can teach you a lot about how to be a human being.”

Butler, Chapman and Coster agreed they would study abroad again if they got the chance.

“When you’re stuck in one place, it becomes mundane,” Chapman said. “Sometimes, you have just got to shake it up a bit.”

Leo Silvestrini, Francesca Ferrarese and Marco Ferrarese, left to right, are the owners of Dolce Neve, an authentic gelato shop on South First Street. The gelateria features coffee and expresso, homemade gelato, custom cakes and ice cream sandwiches. 

Photo Credit: Pu Ying Huang | Daily Texan Staff

In their little shop on South First Street, Italian family Leo Silvestrini, Francesca Ferrarese and Marco Ferrarese shared — in thick Italian accents — the story of how they left their fast-paced lives behind to move to Austin and open their own gelato shop, Dolce Neve. The gelateria had its grand opening on Jan. 10 and hired three UT students to keep up with business. 

Dolce Neve’s initial opening took much longer than the owners anticipated. After searching for a location for six months, brother and sister Marco and Francesca, and her fiance Leo had almost given up on finding a building in South Austin.

After months of getting the proper permits, installing equipment and decorating the shop, Dolce Neve was finally ready to open. At the grand opening, customers waited in line for their authentic Italian gelato.

“We started the grand opening at 5 o’clock but before 5 o’clock we start to see people in the line out the door and we start to serve the gelato,” Silvestrini said. “We didn’t expect all these people. We started to make the gelato and we didn’t see what was happening outside.”

The family all agreed that customers in the U.S. were much more welcoming and happier than those in Italy. 

“When all the people showed, they treated us as family,” Francesca Ferrarese said. “They were talking with us, talking about their experiences in Italy, giving us advice on where to get ingredients, putting us in contact with other restaurants that they really like where we could provide them gelato. I think everyone was very much happy.”

The owners met Andrew Curtis, vice president of UT’s Italian organization Circolo Italiano and a supply chain management senior, about a year ago when they went to speak with the club. After getting to know the family, Curtis expressed an interest in working around the shop. 

“The owners are really just wonderful people,” Curtis said. “I think they really have a passion for it and their mission is what gelato’s mission should be: to make people feel happy and create a sense of community.” 

Dolce Neve arose from each owner’s dissatisfaction in their former career. Silvestrini was in Milan, Italy at the time, working for one of the country’s biggest computer design sites. Marco Ferrarese was a management consultant, and Francesca Ferrarese was working on her doctorate in finance. 

“I started to think about what I wanted to do years from now and I realized that that part was done,” Marco said. “I kind of decided I wanted to have something mine.”

It took only a phone call from Marco Ferrarese for Silvestrini to leave his job for the world of gelato-making.

“We started talking,” Silvestrini said. “Marco one day on the phone told us, ‘Hey guys what do you think about gelato? Francesca is a great cook. We love gelato so why can we not try to do that?’ I thought, ‘yes!’”   

The owners all grew up eating the frozen treat. Francesca and Marco Ferrarese fondly remember their hometown of Fabriano’s gelateria, one of the oldest in Italy.

“When were kids it was a tradition that in the evening, after dinner, all the kids went together to get gelato,” Francesca Ferrarese said. 

Francesca Ferrarese missed these childhood memories so much while in Columbus, Ohio, that she went to Italy to learn how to make the dessert. After going to culinary school to master gelato-making, she worked at one of the most well know gelaterias in Italy, Gelateria De’ Coltelli.

The family prides itself on Dolce Neve’s organic and local ingredients. All of their gelato is homemade in the shop from their own recipes. The gelato-making process includes combining milk, sugar and sometimes egg yolk in the pasteurizer, cooling the mixture, adding the desired flavor and, finally, freezing it. Francesca said this handmade process creates a product richer than ice cream but with less fat content. 

“What I learned there was how to make the gelato from scratch because a lot of gelato shops use premade mixes,” Francesca Ferrarese said. “Working with people who really knew how to do it in the artisanal way was very helpful.”

Silvestrini said that opening your own business is hard, but it’s worth it to see the customer’s happiness with the shop and to own and run a business for yourself.

“Now this is our business and we have no one to tell us what we can do, so we need to be able to have an agenda to know when we have to do something,” Leo said. “It’s beautiful because everything is a challenge. Sometimes it’s a big challenge, sometimes it’s a small challenge, but everything is yours.”

Some novels don’t stand still. Rachel Kushner’s second novel, “The Flamethrowers,”  moves abruptly but smoothly between several different worlds: from the New York art scene of the 1970s, to Italy, the backdrop of the growth and expansion of the Valera motorcycle company and the fierce political turmoil of the “Years of Lead” in the ’60s
and ’70s.

At the center of this sprawl is a character referred to as Reno because that’s where she’s from — the reader never learns her real name. Reno travels to New York City to explore her art career and make something of her fascination with motorcycles and speed. She quickly falls in with a perplexing group of people who insist that life and art do not need to be separated. 

As Reno meets these intriguing characters she remarks, “One was left unsure: if the thing observed was performance or plain life.”

Everything in Kushner’s novel balances on a thin line between fact and fiction. The fictional Valera company’s history is so convincing that one would really believe that they had used Indian slave labor to harvest rubber in Brazil to make tires for German vehicles in World War II. Reno’s story about Flip Farmer, who set the land speed record in 1965 traveling 522 mph, feels like it is resurrected from some neglected corner of history. But none of it is real.

The novel’s characters tell magentic stories that move forward quickly and intensely. The rapid movement of the story is often manifested in actual speed, as Reno races across desert highways at 150 mph and remembers cutting through the snow on skis, “tracing lines that were already drawn.” But the pace of the story can also be felt in the brisk progression of events and ideas, the scarcely connected collections of thoughts that make up so many of the stories in the book. 

Kushner’s prose flourishes at every opportunity, though at times, her indulgent descriptions can cause the novel to drag. Too many opportunities are taken to point out the savage, industrial beauty in a landscape or a piece of art. At one point Kushner describes a floor as “an interlocking map of various unmatched linoleum pieces in faded floral reds, resembling a cracked and soiled Matisse.” 

The novel slows toward the end, losing the rhythm of its seemingly disparate chapters that make the beginning so electric. But the effect is only weak by comparison, and the book is anything but underwhelming.

The novel’s epigraph is Latin: “Fac ut ardeat,” or “make it burn.” Whether it refers to Molotov cocktail-throwing political dissenters of 1970s Italy, the motorcycle battalions of World War I or the hip, avant garde artists of New York, “The Flamethrowers” is always burning — issuing hot, magnetic sparks of details that can’t help but set fires of their own.

Photo Credit: The Associated Press

ROME — The United States and some European allies are edging closer to direct involvement in Syria’s civil war with plans to deliver meals, medical kits and other forms of nonlethal assistance to the rebels battling President Bashar Assad.

The U.S., Britain, France and Italy aren’t planning to supply the Free Syrian Army with weapons or ammunition. But moves are afoot to significantly boost the size and scope of their aid to the political and military opposition. Such decisions could be announced as early as Thursday at an international conference on Syria in Rome.

Britain and France are keen to give the rebels the means to protect themselves from attacks by Assad’s forces, officials say.

For now, the Obama administration is advancing more modestly. It is nearing a decision whether to give ready-made meals and medical supplies to the opposition fighters, who have not received direct
U.S. assistance.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry was expected to announce the new contributions at the Rome conference, in addition to tens of millions of dollars intended for rule of law and governance programs.

The shifts in strategy are part of a step-by-step process that could lead to direct military aid to carefully screened members of the Free Syrian Army if the nearly two-year conflict continues.

Kerry said Wednesday in Paris that both the U.S. and Europe want a negotiated solution to the crisis and would speak to the leaders of the Syrian National Coalition about that. 

“We want their advice on how we can accelerate the prospects of a political solution because that is what we believe is the best path to peace, the best way to protect the interests of the Syrian people, the best way to end the killing and the violence,” he said.

Owner of Lucky’s Puccias Italian sandwich food truck Lucky Sibilla creates a puccia for a customer on Saturday afternoon. Through the taste of fresh ingredients and wood-fired flatbread, Lucky strives to bring elements from his culture’s passion for food to Austin.

Photo Credit: Maria Arrellaga | Daily Texan Staff

A careful inspection of Lucky’s Puccias reveals that there isn’t a single Italian flag hanging in the food truck. But it is not an oversight, a mistake or even against the health code. 

According to the heavily tattooed, pierced and gauged owner, Lucky Sibilla, one must worry about those who advertise that they are Italian because they have to convince people. 

So how does Sibilla get his nationality across?

“I advertise through my flavors,” Sibilla said. “I let my food speak for me. My personality. How I talk to people. My accent. And girls love it. I just throw a ‘ciao bella’ in there and they melt.” 

And based on its success, Lucky’s Puccias—which will be featured on the Food Network’s series “Eat Street” this May—is speaking loud and clear. 

At age 15, Sibilla began making pizzas for a local pizzeria in Puglia, Italy where he came up with the idea of selling pucce, a micro-regional soldiers’ bread from his hometown, Taranto, Italy. 

“It was the smell that got me really like ‘wow, I really want to do this,’” Sibilla said. “The smell is amazing. It smells cozy, comforting, like something you know, something that’s in my system. I related it to my hometown, and I thought ‘this is amazing; I can do something I really love and introduce it to a new culture.’ And that’s priceless.”

Two years ago, he created Lucky’s Puccias after falling in love with an American woman and moving to Austin. 

Initially, Antonella Del Fattore-Olson, distinguished senior lecturer and coordinator of the lower-division Italian Department, heard praises about the food truck. Fattore-Olson said Sibilla’s pucce make her reminiscent of Italy, which doesn’t happen to her often.  

“The first bite I gave to the puccia, I swear, I closed my eyes, it was dark, it was night and I just felt like I was in Italy,” Fattore-Olson said. “The feeling, the taste, really the sensation that I was there. But I could taste the mozzarella, the fresh prosciutto, the bread. For me, it’s sacred, the bread.” 

Sibilla then got involved in UT’s Italian department by contributing to and appearing in an Italian department music video, “Pesce Grande.” Sibilla is set to act in another Italian video for the intermediate class, entitled “ItalVideo.” 

Paola D’Amora, Italian graduate student and native Italian,  said that Olson has arranged meetings at Lucky’s in order to give Italian students a taste of Italy. 

“Students involved in the Italian language are very interested in the Italian culture and they want to get as much as possible in Austin,” D’Amora said. “They’re obviously interested to go there and have a taste of what real Italian food is like.” 

At a little under $10 each, D’Amora said that the pucce are too expensive for her college budget, but the fact that many people go regardless of the price verifies that the pucce are great.

Sibilla feels it is important to get involved at UT because there are a lot of people who need to learn how to eat a good sandwich. He said they spend their money on Subway or the Drag instead, but the money they save now will be spent on a doctor because they are not healthy.

“That’s why people are so sick, so obese … because they look at the price, because unfortunately, that’s how society was built, and it sucks,” Sibilla said. “So spend a little more money on good food now, and enjoy. Give food the importance it needs. They think meat is a package. I cannot believe that one corporation is able to make the exact same recipe and it tastes the exact same in Canada or Mexico. That is wrong. And that doesn’t help small farmers that work hard. So I stand up for local, simple, fresh.”

According to Sibilla, the main value of his sandwich is the ingredients. 

“I go out and buy the best products for you guys,” Sibilla said. “I don’t sell you meat that is 99 cents a pound. I’m here bringing you something you’ve never had before. I bring … my knowledge of ovens and bread and how to make my sauces. Other people sell sandwiches, and they’re really bad. They really are. I don’t sell sandwiches, but I sell history.” 

Although Sibilla would eventually like to open a restaurant that is less reliant on the climate, he feels fortunate to feed people of all ages.

“My best customers, in my opinion, are the really young people and the older people,” Sibilla said. “I’m able to introduce the young to a new bread that will stick to them. And for the old people, I feel honored and lucky to feed these people something they haven’t had in a whole lifetime. Therefore, you know, I feel like I want to cry.”

Spanish Goal

Erika Velez reacts to a Spanish goal at Cuatro’s during Euro Cup Final between Spain and Italy on Sunday. Spain won 4-0, becoming the first European team to win three consecutive international tournaments.

Apron Optional: A penné for your thoughts

Apron Optional cooks up an adaptation of The Pioneer Woman’s Penné with Shrimp & Tomato Cream Sauce. This version adds a bit more color and zest with a cup of peas and one large lemon.
Apron Optional cooks up an adaptation of The Pioneer Woman’s Penné with Shrimp & Tomato Cream Sauce. This version adds a bit more color and zest with a cup of peas and one large lemon.

Hey everyone, its Rachel here again for another round in the kitchen!

Maybe it’s just me, but it seems like we’ve been making a lot of sweet stuff around here. Not that I don’t love baking them — and certainly not that my friends don’t like eating them — but I’ve actually always been more of a salty food person myself.

Therefore, I thought this week we would make something easy that you could have before your cookies. What the hell, eat them after your cookies! You’re in college now, these are the types of crazy experiences you will look back on years from now when you think of what a wild child you were. In any case, we will be making penne pasta with tomato cream sauce and shrimp.

Before I fill you in on why I chose this dish, here are two quick tutorials that may help you out in your kitchen endeavors:

To mince garlic, first peel two cloves (segments) off of the pod. Laying them on their sides on a cutting board, cut off both tips with a large chef’s knife. Firmly holding your knife, rest the flat side of the blade on top of the garlic clove. Carefully pound the knife down to crush the garlic (the motion is similar to something you might see in a “cool” guy handshake). Peel off the skin and discard it. Now, thinly slice the garlic, being careful to avoid your fingers. Do the same in the other direction and you are done!

To chiffonade basil, neatly stack several basil leaves (washed) on a cutting board. Then, tightly roll the stack of leaves up lengthwise. Slice the roll into thin strips, opposite lengthwise. That’s all there is to it — the French name is fancier than the skill.

If you know me now, this may come as quite a shock, but when I was younger I really didn’t care that much for pasta. I would eat it, but I just didn’t ever really want it (excluding macaroni and cheese, naturally). Then, when I was 16 I went to Italy with my family for a summer vacation.

I know I’m not the first, second or millionth person to go to Italy and fall in love with Italian food, but I am perfectly fine counting myself among the masses. Never before in my life did I actually crave pasta, and then suddenly I was obsessed, as if every meal was my last supper before the Atkins diet.

Among the many things that I ate (after just a week, I’m legitimately surprised I still fit on the plane, much less into my pants), a spaghetti dish with tomato cream sauce still sticks out in my mind. Simple and rich, it was the first time I had ever seen anything other than a traditional red sauce. The bright, reddish orange color was a departure from any previous sauce I had experience in the realm of pasta. To this day, I seek it out at restaurants.

I found the recipe for this particular dish on one of my longtime favorite food blogs, The Pioneer Woman — although I believe this the recipe was also included in author Ree Drummond’s cookbook, published in 2009.

I decided to add fresh peas to mine because they are in season and I love them. Honestly, if you aren’t paying attention when dinner is cooking, I will try to add them to just about anything I can justify. I think they go well with this dish in particular (you can use the frozen variety as well) — but I won’t be hurt if you skip them.

Lastly, I like to keep a lemon wedge nearby sometimes when I’m eating particularly rich pasta. The acidity cuts some of the heaviness out of the dish and adds a nice balance.

I hope you guys enjoy! The dish itself isn’t too terribly difficult to make, but it looks pretty and tastes fantastic, and that’s pretty much all I could ever dream for in pasta.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go eat myself into a carbo-coma. See you next week!

BRUSSELS — Eurozone ministers offered Greece €8 billion ($10.7 billion) Christmas rescue package Tuesday to stem an immediate cash crisis yet failed to resolve fears that the common euro currency might be doomed.

The 17 finance ministers insisted they found a veneer of credibility to coat the euro’s rescue fund with enough leverage to deal with potential financial crises much bigger than the one facing peripheral Greece. And they called on the International Monetary Fund for resources to help further protect Europe’s embattled currency.

“We made important progress on a number of fronts,” Jean-Claude Juncker, the eurozone chief, said late Tuesday.

After saying earlier that the eurozone’s rescue fund would be able to leverage up to one €1 trillion ($1.3 trillion), the fund’s chief remained vague on how beefed up it was after Tuesday’s meeting in Brussels. Klaus Regling said it would grow according to demands and market conditions, but assured reporters it was more than big enough to deal with Europe’s immediate financial debt problems.

Still, making progress on the fund — a firewall to keep Europe’s debt problems from engulfing nation after nation — “shows our complete determination to do whatever it takes to safeguard the financial stability of the euro,” Juncker said.

Italy remained an enormous concern. Carrying five times as much debt as Greece, Italy was battered for the third straight day in the bond markets, seeing its borrowing rates soar to unsustainable levels of 7.56 percent. Investors appear increasingly wary of the country’s chances of avoiding default — and making matters worse, the eurozone’s third largest economy is deemed to big for Europe to bail out.

The ministers still insisted Italy’s new prime minister would come through, saying he has promised to balance Italy’s budget by 2013.

“We have full confidence that Mario Monti will be able to deliver this program,” Juncker said.