The Adventures of Flat Faith in Italy
Flat Faith came to visit Sophia's cousin who lives in Vicenza, Italy. Her cousin Tyler (and her husband Chris) live in Italy because Chris works at a U.S. Military base, Caserma Ederle, that is located there.
They get to experience living in Italy while still having some of the comforts of being around an American community.
Here are some of the amazing adventures they got to have with Flat Faith on her visit!
The City of Vicenza
Vicenza (VEE-chen-zah) is a city in northeastern Italy and it is in the Veneto region. (Italy has regions similar to states in the U.S. and Veneto is one of them.) This area has been populated since the 2nd or 3rd century BC! By 157 BC it was a part of the vast Roman Empire.
Vicenza is sometimes called "The City of Palladio"(pa-LAH-dio) because a very famous and influential architect, Andrea Palladio, designed more than 20 buildings in the city during his life in the 1500s.
Here is Faith (on the left) in downtown Vicenza by the most famous building in the city, The Basilica Palladiana. The clock tower was originally built as early as 1172, but it was updated many times. The building itself was renovated by Palladio in the 1500s, hence it's name.
In the middle photo Faith went to a big hill, called Monte Berico (MON-tay BER-ico), that overlooks the city. The views are beautiful, but it was so windy that day it felt like Faith was going to blow away! She was held very tight to make sure she didn't! In the last photo she was about to use the view-finder to look more closely at the mountains in the distance, called the Dolomites.
On top of the big hill with lovely views, is also The Church of St. Mary of Mount Berico. (photo on the left) It was built in 1428, but has been updated many times by lots of different architects including Palladio.
The large square, or piazza, in front of the church is called Piazzale della Vittoria. It was built after World War 1 to celebrate the victory (that's where the name Vittoria comes from, and where the English name Victoria comes from too) and to remember those who had died in the war. The monument with the statue is called the Angel of Victory. (middle photo)
There is a long covered walkway called an arcade, or portico, that goes all the way up Monte Berico to reach the church and piazza at the top. It was built in the 1700s so that people could walk up to the church in the shade. Porticos are very common to see in northern Italy, and one of the longest in the world is just a couple of hours away from Vicenza, in Bologna Italy.
Food in Vicenza
Every region of Italy has different foods that are popular. You might be surprised to find out that foods Americans think of as "Italian" aren't always as popular in Italy. For instance, you would almost never find a dish called "spaghetti and meatballs". You can find spaghetti with a tomato or meat sauce, but you would have to order the meatballs separately, if they even have them on the menu!
In the Vicenza area a pasta dish called "bigoli con anatra" (BEE-go-lee cohn AHN-ah-tra) is one of the most popular things you'll find on restaurant menus. (left photo below) "Bigoli" is the type of pasta, and it's like a thicker spaghetti noodle. "Con anatra" means "with duck" and duck is very popular around here. It's ground up like beef and made into a ragu-type sauce. It's a mild, easy flavor that is eaten a lot. Faith was a good sport and tried it. She liked it too!
Something that is very popular all round Italy is gelato!! It's kind of like ice cream and it is delicious. Faith REALLY liked going out for gelato! You can get it in a cone or a cup and sometimes they'll put a little extra candy or cookie on top! (middle photo below)
Because Vicenza is not very far from the ocean (about an hour's drive), sea food is also extremely popular here and you'll find all kinds of sea food dishes at restaurants and lots of sea food to buy for yourself at grocery stores and local markets. Faith said "no thank you" to trying the octopus or squid she saw at the local grocery store! (photo right below)
Finally, one thing that IS Italian and is popular all around Italy, and in America too, is pizza! In most places in Italy the pizza has very thin crust and a sauce that is more tomato-y than in America. But it is just as delicious, if not more! Because it's so thin it's almost always eaten with a knife and fork, not just with your hands.
Christmas Markets in Northern Italy
Faith was lucky to be visiting during Christmas time, so she got to see some Italian Christmas markets. Christmas is called Natale (nah-TAL-ay) in Italian. Going to the markets is a big tradition, not only in Italy but across the rest of Europe too. You can find them in many, many towns and villages, big or small. They are usually full of locally-made goodies, all kinds of food and drinks, Christmas ornaments and decorations, and other fun winter items like scarves, hats, and slippers. Sometimes Santa is even there! Adults will drink hot wine and kids will drink hot chocolate to stay warm. It's a fun time for the whole family!