Come and join us at Tūranga to celebrate Festa della Repubblica, Italy’s National Day!
The Dante Alighieri Society and the Italian community in Christchurch have teed up a special day of stories, music, and light refreshments on Sunday 6 June from 11am to 2pm. This event is free, no bookings are required, and ALL are welcome. No Italian heritage or language knowledge is needed - as a small community in Christchurch we'd love nothing better than to share our special day with other Christchurch residents.
Festa della Repubblica falls on 2 June each year (yes, we are a few days late with our celebrations at Tūranga, but we did want as many of you as possible to be able to attend, hence the Sunday event) and commemorates the day in 1946 when Italy voted to be a Republic. To get some great tips on what to read and watch ahead of the celebrations at Tūranga, check out our recommendations below.
Helen's Italian resources for beginners and non-Italian speakers
The Italian language would have to be the most romantic of the romance languages. How much nicer does “Arrivederci, alla prossima” sound compared to "Goodbye, see you next time", and even a walk dazzles that little bit more when described as a ‘passeggiata’. I have tried (and admittedly failed) to master this beautiful language, but, though I haven’t got there yet, it is a joy to learn and to (nervously) try to speak it. Below are some great library resources I used when attempting to learn the language, as well as some excellent books on Italy and Italian heritage. Who doesn’t want to learn about Italy’s remarkable culture by viewing beautiful works of art, cooking from its exquisite cuisine, and reading about its fascinating history? If this sounds like you, read on to start your ‘bella avventura’!
Here are some entertaining and informative reads on Italian history, culture, language, art, and cooking that will have you itching to experience more.
A Florence diary
If you are looking for a taste of Italy, then this vivid account of Diane Athill's visit to Florence in August 1947 is a delightful pick. Athill truly makes you feel as though you are there with her, viewing architecture, trying local cuisine, and enjoying the the vibrancy of this thrilling city.
The pursuit of Italy
This sweeping history of Italy tells the story of the peninsula with fascinating anecdotes, and great insights from its varied citizens. From Virgil to Verdi, from the Medici to modern political figures, this is an enlightening and engaging panorama of a nation.
Italian complete language pack
There are many great resources out there to help you learn Italian but this was a real stand out for me. Broken down into easy-to-follow sections, this resource eases you into learning the language, and just asks 15 minutes each day of your time to master the essentials.
Michelangelo and the Sistine chapel
Meet one of Italy's most celebrated children, and examine one of its most iconic art works, with leading art critic Andrew Graham Dixon. This unique portrait of an artist, and his most gruelling and ingenious work, transports readers back to a fascinating moment in the history of the Italy and of art.
Great museums of Italy
What better way to learn and celebrate the heritage of Italy than with an exquisite tour through Italy's finest museums. Take a journey through eight of the nation's greatest museums, including Galleria dell'Accademia and National Archeological Museum, without leaving your living room.
The food of Italy
This beautifully photographed cook book will have you cooking your way through Italy, and picking up essential tips and tricks for authentic mouthwatering Italian cuisine.
Eating my way through Italy
Go on a journey with Elizabeth Minchilli through the regions of Italy, to sample the nation's most beloved and varied food. From pizza in Naples to truffle hunting in Umbria, these wonderful stories of Italian food and their significance in various regions are also lovingly accompanied by recipes, reflections, and tips for great Italian food.
The land where lemons grow
You may be thinking about now that you've had enough of the books indulging my foodie cravings, but really, this pick is so much more than a story of food. Atlee weaves a gripping cultural history of Italy, following the geographical and historical journey of the citrus, from ancient Rome through to the nineteenth century, from the shadow of a Sicilian volcano to tables around the world.
A small place in Italy
Eric Newby’s memoir of building a new life in the foothills of the Italian alps is an enchanting look into the Tuscan way of life. Filled with wonderful anecdotes of local characters, wine making, and the Newbys' adventures in building a new home (out of a worn-out farmhouse), Newby’s evocative writing will make you feel you too have adventured in rural Italy. The follow up read to this would have to be Under the Tuscan Sun, the memoir of a woman who bought and restored a villa in Tuscany.
The best gardens in Italy
Explore over 100 years of breath-taking Italian gardens with Kirsty McLeod. Along the way, hear the history of these gardens, and stories from their current owners.
Love & gelato
If you are more of a fiction fan, why not try a novel set in Italy? This novel follows the story of Lena, a sixteen-year-old fulfilling her mother’s dying wish that she go to Italy to know her father better. Armed with her mother's old diary, Lena retraces her steps and in the process learns much about Italy, her parents, and herself.
Italy boasts amazing writers, from Dante to Ferrante. Why not enjoy some of Italy’s literary heroes and try out this 20th century classic? Set during the reunification of Italy, The leopard tells the story of the charming and wealthy Sicilian Prince Don Fabrizio, and the fascinating array of nobility, peasants, and politicians who surround him. (Librarian's tip: read The leopard now in time for the showing of Luchino Visconti's masterpiece film of the book as part of the Cinema Italiano Festival, which will be touring Christchurch in August).
Mango Languages is a language learning website and app that can aid you tremendously when beginning your learning journey. Free and easy to use, this is a great way to hear spoken Italian and get to grips with the basics of the language.
There is a huge range of free videos, both for adults and kids, that can aid you in not only learning Italian, but also in learning more about the Italian culture.
Vanessa's picks for Italians and fluent Italian speakers
If your Italian is fluent, there is much to enjoy in our eResources. Our OverDrive collection includes numerous popular magazines:
You can find more magazines on PressReader as well as choosing from a wealth of newspapers.
Helen and Vanessa