Trastevere-Beyond the Tiber
By Tommaso Gambino
The 13th district of Rome is named Trastevere for a reason. It is literally located beyond the Tiber River from what was once the center of ancient Rome. Its bohemian personality points to the unconventional life style of many of its residents. Mixed in with the working-class locals are artists, writers, musicians, students, educators, professionals, politicians, and aristocrats. There is an “embarrassment of choice,” when it comes to nightclubs, trendy bars, restaurants and trattorias. This extensive variety satisfies the taste of most pleasure seekers the world over.
Mangiamo a Trastevere! (let us eat in Trastevere!) Notwithstanding the nightlife, it is really all about the food, especially the Roman cuisine. As promised, a favorite local-place of mine awaits us.
Street leading to Trattoria Da Enzo
Da Enzo, is an appealing trattoria with a wide experience of traditional Roman cuisine. The popular locale was opened in 1950 and is still going strong. Much effort is put into creating dishes with quality ingredients. One of the best guanciale, a meat product prepared from pork cheeks and used in cooking pastas, comes from Central Italy. The Ricotta hails from near Rome’s vicinity in the province of Lazio. The olives chosen for the olive oil used in the cooking are grown without the use of pesticides. The results show. Delizioso!
My favorite dishes are the Burrata (Buffalo milk cheese, Stracciatella and cream) and the Coda alla Vaccinara.
Coda alla Vaccinara
The choices and selections are genuine and served up by a youthful, happy and friendly staff with great flair. It’s as if friends had invited you to their home. The tables are closely arranged in the limited space adding to the camaraderie. Often you are able to taste the dishes of the accompanying table, as the locals are often happy to share their choices. It is a blast and great fun.
Waiter at Da Enzo
Caveat, Da Enzo is very popular and hence rarely takes reservations. So, a bit of patience is needed. A hint is to get to the trattoria at 7:30 pm as first seating commences at 8:00 pm.
Waiting in line at Da Enzo
Address: Via Dei Vascellari, 29, Trastevere, Rome
The next posting is in 2 weeks, and we shall visit with 3 ancient Romans that changed the course of the known world.
Ciao, Tommaso Gambino
SPQR-The Legacy of Ancient Rome
by Tommaso Gambino
The overwhelming achievement of the Romans was their development of the foundation of our western civilization. The Pax Romana (Roman Peace) allowed for the elevation of the human spirit. Refinement, love of letters, law, art, science, religion, principles of life were established and enjoyed. How to live and behave with the ability to travel and conduct commerce in a lawful manner was spread throughout the vast empire. Many of these characteristics are still with us.
For example, the Roman twelve tablets written in 450 BC codified specific crimes and punishments. There were diverse Roman courts that dealt with different statutory offences that is common in the contemporary west of today. Rome applied the system of checks and balances over 2,500 years ago in their political structure. The American government was founded on this principle. Furthermore, the US Senate is modeled on the ancient Roman version.
The inscription SPQR (Senatus Populusque Quiritium Romanus - Senate and the People of Rome)
The Mediterranean Sea, known then as Mare Nostrum (our sea), became a safe conduit for transporting products and sharing ideas over a vast area. It took only seven days to sail east from Rome to Egypt and likewise seven days to sail west from Rome, caput mundi (world capital) to the straights of Gibraltar. Myriad coastal cities dotted the shoreline with storied names such as Alexandria, Constantinople (now Istanbul), Carthage, Ephesus, Ostia, etc.; many of which are still active today.
Carving of a trireme – an ancient Roman warship
“All roads lead to Rome,” and many are still in use. Via Appia, Via Flaminina and Via Aurelia are but a few of the 53,000 miles of famous roads that carried the life-blood of the Empire. It took six bumpy days to travel from Rome to Naples as compared with a leisurely 2 1/2 hour drive today on the modern Autostrada del Sole. The roads fortunately had rest places called missiones that were standard and spaced every 15 miles. Here the ancients could rest their weary bones after a long day of traveling.
A Roman road
Latin, was spoken on the shores of the river Tiber as well as on the shores of the river Thames. Italian, French, Spanish, Portuguese, and Romanian are merely modern versions of vulgar Latin and are spoken all over the world. Over 60% of English is derived from Latin roots. The same poetry was read and the same rhetoric heard. A single coin was in use, and a common set of laws governed all. The current European Union is an example today of a political and economic union that in some ways reflects the Roman empire with its principles of many peoples united under one common market and set of laws. The Romans also adopted much of the Greek school of philosophy, art and sculpture, thereby ensuring that it’s been handed down to us rather than being lost and forgotten in the dustbin of history.
Thus, mighty Rome was the mother of us all, having given birth to our western civilization. The majesty and glory that is Rome shall last an eternity.
Our next posting, Trastevere-Beyond the Tiber, will appear in a few weeks. Bring along a good appetite as we shall visit a favorite trattoria.
A Morning in Rome
by Tommaso Gambino
Rome is located in a physically beautiful setting, situated on its seven famous hills. It enjoys a mild climate, allowing for an uplifting feel to everyday living. The light is very special, being bright, crystal clear and stimulating. It makes one feel younger, more vital and in contact with life itself. One senses a feeling of wellbeing, leading to a joie de vivre. There is a spell produced that appeals to the human spirit and enhances every thing one does. It is magic! This grand setting encourages an innate psychology and distinguished character that is essentially Roman. This feeling is self-evident in the early morning, as the Mediterranean sun splashes ever-changing hues of pink and rose colors on to historic buildings, cupolas, towers, arches and fountains. It is a call to the human spirit. It is akin to a mother’s embrace, affectionate and long lasting.
Our morning starts in Trastevere, a bohemian part of Rome with a smart salute from a carabiniere. Emerging onto the ancient Via della Lungara, one must weave past the inevitable Vespa scooters as they wiz by before entering Café Settimiana. This bar was partially built along the ancient Aurelian walls constructed in the early 3rd century AD. “Caffe!” shouts Ferruccio, the proprietor and within minutes the best espresso imaginable is served with great fanfare. The locals mix often with the many notables arguing about the latest scandal adding to the chaos. Energized, one is swiftly out the door onto cobblestoned alleyways to Piazza Sonino and bus number 56. Crossing the storied Tiber River, the route continues past renaissance palaces, baroque buildings and innumerable fountains en route to Piazza Barbarini. Myriad Romans hurry off to work while conversing loudly with their companions.
Shop owners are opening their gated stores and the food market is in full swing filled with lively people buying fresh condiments for their evening repast. “Prova! E` dolce! E` fresco!” (Try, Its sweet! Its fresh!). Copious fruits and vegetables are colorfully on display, such as tomatoes, zucchini, parsley, eggplants, grapes, cherries, lemons, melons, etc. One must observes the swirl taking place, absorbing the energy and becoming part of the scene. Church bells chime out and signal the time to leave and continue on for another delicious espresso.
I hope that you enjoyed taking some quick steps together over the cobblestones of the Eternal city. We shall continue our odyssey on April 1, with SPQR-Rome’s Legacy.
Ciao e Buona Pasqua a tutti!
Post by Tommaso Gambino
In 2018, the Friends of Italy Society of Hawai`i, will happily invite you all on a bi-weekly blog odyssey to Italy. Together we will endeavor to discover, share and enjoy our common heritage and interest in Italia. Our postings will begin with a visit to Rome. We’ll be in the company of some of the great actors that shaped our western civilization. We will visit Rome’s history, culture, architecture and local points of interest. We will also look forward to experiencing the spirit and life that is contemporary Rome today.
Like many of you, I was raised in a typical Italian American family. As most of us do in our younger years, I soaked up my surroundings and imagined that the rest of the world was like my neighborhood; filled with Italian-Americans sharing space with the occasional Anglo-Americans and some other hyphenated groups. As I grew older, I wondered how and why my Italian culture was different from the others. I asked myself: “What does it mean to be Italian?” It was an enigma!
The beginning of solving this personal puzzle was to gain exposure to Italian culture, history and to discover my long-lost heritage. I began my pilgrimage to find my hidden persona by studying at the University of Perugia in Italy where I became fluent in Italian. With the language as key, I started to discover.
As a student, I hitchhiked, months on end, up and down the peninsula surrounded by the divine Mediterranean Sea. I became familiar with a spectacular country and its people whose history covered over three millennia. The extraordinary snow-capped Italian Alps that defined the top of the famous boot, along with the rolling Tuscan countryside and sun-drenched south was my playground. Through my exploration of the country and as a direct consequence of acquiring knowledge of my heritage; I began to feel an attachment to my newly found brethren. I had a sense that I had arrived home. My personal puzzle had been solved.
I welcome all of you to come along with me on our odyssey. Bring your walking shoes; as in two weeks’ time, we will enjoy–A Morning in Rome.”
Friends of Italy Society of Hawai`i
Board members Andrea and Zach had the chance to talk live on air with Pinoy Power Radio Host Sunny-Aloha Miller. In case you missed it, catch it here!
Festa Italiana Hawaii will take place on Cooke Street and in Wade Warehouse in Honolulu's lively Kaka'ako District. The event will occur both indoors and outdoors, providing attendees the opportunity to vai in giro - walk around - Cooke Street to enjoy a variety of food vendors and entertainment of Italian variety. Inside Wade Warehouse there will be an elevated food and wine experience allowing attendees a unique opportunity to indulge in a selection of carefully curated wine and food selections provided by top tier Chefs from Hawaii and Italy.
Open from 6pm to 9pm.
For those who aren't familiar with the Italian-American Podcast, it's a wonderful place to go to share experiences, discover the colorful stories of others and to learn more about the vibrant Italian-American culture here in the US.
Amici - we are very excited to announce the inaugural Festa Italiana Hawaii slated for Saturday, October 7 in Kaka'ako.
We are in the midst of planning the festa and are open to your suggestions and recommendations for sponsors, vendors, volunteers and partners. You can refer sponsors, vendors or volunteers to www.festaitalianahawaii.com where they can complete the appropriate forms.
Stay tuned for more!
Please note: if you're registering a non-member, you can simply select ADD GUEST in the registration process. You do not need to follow these steps.
The following is a copy of the email sent out to our contact list on February 13, 2017 regarding upcoming events and important changes to Membership Dues.
This year, the FOISOH Board is striving to revitalize the organization in spirit and activity. We have identified several areas where the club needs to be both modernized and better organized. Some of our primary focuses, to name a few, have been:
We have spoken with many of you who expressed that you wish to see more events and of better quality. We're on it. Here is a list of already confirmed events for 2017:
The Board is looking to finalize dates for the following events:
Current Dues Schedule Is Outdated and Not Properly Tiered
The current membership dues prices have not been changed for many years, yet the cost of putting on quality events has increased over time (dang that inflation!). Further, the current dues structure doesn't provide a logical tiered system. For example, "Household" memberships are $50. "Individual" memberships are $30, but so are "Senior" and "College" memberships. Clearly, we want our Senior Members to be paying the least amount given considerations such as fixed-income; the same goes for college students.
Over 100 Of Our Contacts Are Not Currently Paid Members
After reviewing our Membership rolls, we learned that 100 people on our contact list are not current members because they have not paid dues. Importantly, most events in the future will feature a "Member" and "Non-Member" rate. This could mean a $10 to $50 price differential, depending on the event. The idea here is to offer a subsidized rates to Members, while having Non-Members pay full-price for an event. It is only fair to our dues-paying Members. Thus, we encourage you to renew your Membership ASAP so you can pay the "Members' Rate" for the upcoming events.
New Dues Schedule Effective March 1, 2017
In determining the new membership dues schedule, the Board considered the anticipated increase in quality events, dues schedule of other similarly-situated cultural non-profits, and inflation.
Effective March 1, 2017, the following will be the new one-year membership dues schedule for each category:
You can renew your membership under the current membership dues schedule through February 28th by visiting http://friendsofitalyhawaii.org/Join-us.
Members Can Pay Dues On Rolling Basis
Our new website allows Members to pay their membership dues on a rolling basis. For example, if Franco pays his membership dues on March 5, 2017, he will not have to renew his membership until March 5, 2018. Similarly, if Angela pays her membership dues on July 12, 2017, she will not have to renew her dues until July 12, 2018. Everyone will have different renewal dates and our website will automatically send out reminders to you when your membership is up for renewal.
We're Open To Your Feedback and Suggestions!
Given that the Board is a purely voluntary duty, we hope you can appreciate our efforts to enhance the organization for the benefit of the Membership. With that said, we always welcome your feedback and thoughts on how to improve processes, ideas for new events, contacts who we can partner with, etc.
Please email us at friendsofitalyhawaii.org or firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also call us on our hotline at (415) 484-CIAO, leave a voicemail, and we'll promptly return your call. Thank you again for taking the time to read through this exhaustive email. We hope it provides better insight on the "big things" that FOISOH is doing in 2017.
Friends of Italy Society of Hawaii is a 501(c)7 non-profit organization | P.O. Box 1376, Honolulu, HI 96807