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August 5, 2007
It's harvest time

We are visiting my mom's family's vineyard, and I am helping with the grape harvest. I get to ride on the tractor filled with grapes, then we dump the grapes into a vat to mush them up and let them ferment. My nonno (grandfather) makes the best Prosecco (sparkling white wine) in the region. He has won many awards for his wine. For special dinners, I get to sip a little Prosecco mixed with peach juice, called a Bellini

I like being on the farm in the countryside. It is very green and beautiful. I wish I could stay here forever and not have to go back to school. But I am looking forward to seeing my friends again and finding out about their summer vacations.


July 9, 2007
Roman Holiday

We have been in Rome for a week, for a vacation with my cousins from the US. This is their first trip to Rome. I've been here before with my family, when I was 6 years old, but all I really remember from that trip was eating pizza at an outdoor café.

The first place we went to visit was the Roman Colosseum, one of the most famous landmarks in the world. Some say it should be considered a Wonder of the World. When it was built during the ancient Roman times, it seated over 50,000 people. It was the biggest stadium ever built 2000 years ago, but today most stadiums in the world hold 100,000 people or more. The stadium was used for gladiator matches way back. Now they have music concerts at the Colosseum. Bryan Adams and Billy Joel played a free concert here last summer. I would love to be at a concert at the Colosseum someday!

Arches, beneath the brick facing

From the Creation of Adam
What makes the Colosseum so recognizable, are the arches. The ancient Romans invented the arch! The world has been able to build structures that are stronger and more beautiful, because of this Roman invention.

Today we went to the Vatican City to see St. Peter's Basilica, where the Pope sometimes says Mass, and Michelangelo's masterpieces, among them the white marble
Pieta and the ornately painted ceiling of the Sistine Chapel (you'd recognize it if you saw it – the most famous part is where Adam reaches out to God and their fingers nearly touch). Michelangelo is probably one of the most famous artists in the world. He was also considered a celebrity and was one of the few artists during this time that had a biography written about him while he was still alive.

May 19, 2007
A romantic walk in Venice

Today when we visited my grandparents in Venice, we went for a walk after lunch, called a passegiata (a long stroll). We walked along the water, and watched the gondolas sail gracefully up and down the canals. Some of the gondolas are used to carry visitors who want to admire the city from the water. Some are used to transport goods to market (because it is faster and easier than moving the goods by car).  

Sometimes we stop in a
gelateria for a treat. Gelato is special thick and creamy, Italian ice cream. Sometimes it is made with water instead of cream, like a sorbet.  My favorite flavor is chocolate. Yum!

Walking along the canals in Venice is so romantic. It's no wonder that people come from all over the world to see them every year!

A gondola on the Grand Canal

A gelateria

March 10, 2007
Visit to Verona with drama club

This week I visited Verona with the drama club. We are reading Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, and it was exciting to visit the town in which the story is supposed to take place. It is not confirmed that Shakespeare was here when he wrote it. But what you see really fits the story and makes it come to life, so I'd like to think that it really happened! 

We saw Juliet's house, the courtyard and balcony where she delivered her famous lines, "Oh Romeo, where art thou?". We also saw the brick House of the Montagues (Romeo's house) and the monastery where Juliet's tomb is supposed to be located. There is a statue of Juliet in the courtyard, where we had our group picture taken. We had a really fun time.

Juliet's Balcony

January 5, 2007
La Befana rides tonight!

It has been 12 days since Christmas and tomorrow is the last day of Christmas. January 6 is called the Epiphany, when the 3 wise men visited Jesus in the stable in Bethlehem. My brother and I hang stockings so that
La Befana (la beh FAH nah) will bring us toys. I've hung up my stocking at the foot of my bed. They say that La Befana rides on her broom every year to search for the Christ child, but never finds him, so she gives her presents to good children (and bad children get coal in their stockings).
December 24, 2006
It's snowing on Christmas Eve

Buon Natale! I love Christmas, it is my favorite holiday. For the past week we have been getting ready. We set up the presipio (manger scene) on the table near the fireplace, and we have been saying special prayers called novenas, everyday.

The snow tonight has been amazing. It almost never snows in Trieste, and to have snow on Christmas Eve is quite special. We just finished our Christmas Eve dinner, called
Cennone, where we do not eat meat, just fish, pasta and vegetables. We'd been fasting for 24 hours prior to tonight, as we do every year, so everything tasted especially good!

It is so quiet when it snows – no one is out and all you can hear is the quiet night. So quiet that I can almost hear my thoughts. Tomorrow morning everything will be covered in a blanket of white. We will walk to Christmas Mass in a snowy wintery-land.
November 28, 2006
Today is my 11th birthday

Today was a GREAT day. I still cannot believe it. Not only was it my birthday, but I performed my first solo! Our fall play this year was written by my drama teacher. I was the lead Angel Star. It was the first time I got to sing a solo on stage. I was so nervous, but I practiced a lot and everyone was so proud of me. It was the best birthday present I could ever have.

My solo!
November 5, 2006
I love pasta
What is your favorite food? Guess what mine is? In northern Italy, risotto (a rice dish) is very popular, but my grandmother makes the best pasta in the world. My father's parents live in Venice. Today is Sunday, and we went to visit them. We go every other Sunday. My nonna (grandmother) usually makes pasta for lunch (we eat a large lunch in the middle of the day). 

There are lots of different types of pasta. My favorite since I was a little girl is
farfalloni, which means "large butterflies". Some people think that pasta came from China, when Marco Polo (who is from Venice!) traveled the Silk Road to visit the Emperor of China. But we learned in school that archeologists found pasta making equipment in the ruins of Pompeii which proves pasta has been made in Italy for at least 2000 years (over 1000 years before Marco Polo!). 

Spaghetti Carbonara
My favorite sauce is Carbonara, which is a creamy white sauce with bacon. My grandmother once won a prize for her Marinara, which is made with tomatoes, cooked slowly with spices into a rich, thick sauce. It's really good, too.

I can hardly wait until our next trip to Venice in two weeks, for more of my grandmother's yummy pasta!
October 15, 2006
Ciao! It's Paola from Italy!
Ciao! That's what friends say when we greet each other. I love to make new friends. I am always curious about new people. My best friends are Mariella, Lucia, Caterina and Celeste. We all go to the same school in Trieste.

I love hanging out with my friends. Sometimes we play "
il calcio" (that's Italian for soccer, my favorite sport!) or sometimes we just hang out. Many of us are in the same drama classes, and we like to get goofy a lot.

My favorite subjects in school are Drama and PE. I like to sing. When I am not in school, I spend time with my family, or watch TV. I have a few chores to do around the house, too. My job is to dry and put away the clean dishes, keep all of our shoes neat on the rack just inside of the front door. We live in an apartment, on the 3rd floor.
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