Italian food is more than just Pasta and Pizza. Not only every region but also, every small village has its own typical dishes, often made with ingredients that can be grown or found only in that area. From wild truffle sauce to wild pig salami sandwich, every little kiosk can be a pleasant surprise for your taste buds. Then, just when you thought the dinner was over, there is the Gelato (ice cream). Sold in cones or colorful tubs, you can get it to go, and for coffee, cappuccino and espresso coffee are just waiting for you on every street corner.
With such a wide variety of food, choosing is definitely the hardest part of any meal.
Just as the weather gets better from North to South, so do the pizza and gelato. The most authentic pizza can be eaten in Napoli where it was originally invented, while the tastiest gelato can be eaten in Sicily, even though, nowadays, Sicilian style ice- cream shops can be found everywhere.
Since the secret of Italian food is simplicity. When ordering a pizza you should ask for a Margherita, this is only tomato and mozzarella. Even better is Buffalo mozzarella, which is a mozzarella made from the milk of buffalo, that only live in the South) When ordering a gelato just go for chocolate, cream, and seasonal fruit flavors. If the gelato maker (gelataio) is good, it doesn’t get any better than this.
Italian Clothes. Italian Fashion
In Italy, each region has a traditional costume, however, nowadays, people only wear a traditional costume during special celebrations (these are often agricultural festivals such as the end of the harvest season) and historical parades.
Traditionally a woman’s costume consists of a long, wide dress, which must cover her ankles. This is worn with a tight bodice and a short a small waistcoat. Women usually wear a cap or a veil too. The fabric used and also the color of the bodice and dress may denote the region she is from and also her status. Costumes made of silk were very common in Lombardia where the silk industry has flourished since the 16th Century. In the South, costumes were made out of wool or Orbach as it is called in Sardinia.
Traditional men´s costumes were less elaborate. Usually consisting of tight pants tucked inside long boots. Obviously, white trousers dirtied easily and were, in the past, difficult to clean, so white pants were worn only on special days when farmers did not work, or worn by more affluent men who did not work on the land. They also wore a shirt with a tight waistcoat, often a vest or a jacket and a hat. The shape of the hat depended on the region. In the North, people wore harder, more rigid hats, whereas, in the South, people wore a softer one such as a berretta.
Nowadays, however, people dress much more casually.
Italy is famous all around the world for its fashion and style and tourists from all over come to shop and visit famous boutiques in Rome and Milan (such as Versace, Dolce & Gabbana, Armani, and many others). Fashion is not just a hobby for wealthy people since you can find some great clothes at street markets too. Sometimes real treasures can be found among the vendors of Porta Portese, a Sunday street market in Rome or La Montagnola (the Friday/ Saturday street market in Bologna) Also, these days, many second-hand shops specialize in vintage clothing.
Italian Festivals, Holidays and Celebrations
In Italy, every village has its own little festival, often related to the typical food of the region, but the most well known are, probably the Truffles Festival of Alba and the Chocolate Festival of Turin (where Nutella was born) and Perugia (where Baci Perugina were invented).
Aside from food festivals, others very famous Italian celebrations include the Carnevale di Venezia (Venice Carnival) and the Palio di Siena. The Carnevale di Venezia is a weeklong event that harks back to the time of the Renaissance, stirring memories of a long-gone era.
Couples dressed in silk and lace and wearing masks, walk around the streets of the old town and through the squares (in Venetian dialect calli and campi) and pose in the most magical corner of the city for the pleasure of both tourists and professional photographers that come from all over the world just to take home some incredible shot.
The Palio di Siena is a horse race that dates back to the Middle Ages and it is still run following the ancient rules and traditions. Every horse in the race represents one of the downtown quarters and competition is fierce. The jockeys ride bareback around the main city square. Many of them fall off, however, since in this race all the attention is on the horse, even a horse with no jockey ( cavallo scosso) can bring its quarter to victory.
Famous Italian Stories or Epics
Italy is full of history so every battlefield, castle, city tower and stone, basically carries its own story or some very peculiar legend. A very famous one is the legend of Azzurrina (the little blue one), the daughter of the Rossena Castle porter. She was called Azzurina because of her odd features: she was a beautiful little girl with exceptionally fair skin and long, blue hair. Because of her strange hair color none of the other kids wanted to play with her, so she was often seen playing alone in the shadow of the castle courtyard. One day a sudden and heavy summer storm hit the valley and from that day she disappeared. All the castle was in despair because she was such a sweet little child that nobody could help but love her, and her parents spent the rest of their lives looking for her everywhere. They often asked the merchants that traveled the main road for news. Still, today, when a summer storm puts an end to the warmest summer days, some people can still hear the sound of a child laughing and playing around the castle courtyard.
Italian Children’s Games
When I was in kindergarten, we played 1-2-3- Stella (1-2-3-star) a very simple game that keeps us entertained for hours at a time. One person is ‘it’ and has to stand to face a wall with his/her eyes closed and ‘it’ says out loud ´1-2-3- stella´. In the meantime all the other kids have to stand away from the wall (5 meters away was usually the starting point) and move quickly towards it, while ‘it’ is counting. Once the word ‘stella’ was said, ‘it’ could turn and open their eyes while the other kids had to stop and stand still in whatever position they were in when ‘it’ said ‘stella’ and turned. Anyone who couldn’t stand still had to go back to the starting point. The game ends when someone can touch the wall.
He/she is the winner.
Verbal and Nonverbal Communication in Italy
In Italy, people talk as much with their hands as they do with their mouth. Many foreigners find that very charming and a bit funny, however, it is true that Italian cannot fully express themselves without gestures.
This makes every conversation very theatrical and fun to watch.
When your hands move so much, you end up invading other people’s personal, hence, in Italian culture, as in many other Mediterranean cultures, people tend to maintain a short physical distance and touching each other (hands on shoulders, pats on the back) is pretty common even among people that barely know each other. Even greetings among strangers became a kissing affair and, the number of kisses on the cheek that make a greeting proper changes moving from the North (just one kiss or even just one shake of the hand among man who meets for the first time) to the South, where there might be 3 or 4 kisses on the cheek even between people who barely know each other.
Still, nowadays, most Italian people consider themselves Catholics so Italy is full of old and, sometimes, new Catholics churches. The most important is, of course, the church of St. Peters, where the Pope lives and the body of St. Peter is supposedly buried.
In general Italian people are very close to their family and they often don’t leave their parent’s house until they are about 30 years old. Up to 40 years ago, people were actually only leaving home when they got married, but today things are different and once they graduate from high school or University, many young people move to another city (often a bigger city in the North such as Bologna, Milano or Torino) looking for better working or studying opportunities.
However, even when the kids have left, the mothers don’t stop cooking for them and a few times a year a package full of traditional homemade food will appear on the doorstep of a kid who is living too far away to be able to enjoy a traditional Sunday lunch every week.
Italian Fun Facts
Many Italian are highly superstitious so they try to spend the day in bed when Friday 17th comes around. They will change their path if a black cat crosses them, they never walk under a ladder and, when they spill salt, they throw a handful of it over their left shoulder using their right hand so to scare the little demon that stands behind them. Unlike many other cultures, for Italians, the number 13 is a very lucky number and some people always wear a charm in the shape of a number 13, often paired with a little red corn (very similar to a red chili pepper). Golden charms like these are considered lucky and they are often given to young children as a present on the day of their baptism. Even though superstition is slowing disappearing, many people try not to sit 12 guests around their table (13 people at the table with the host) and, when this is unavoidable, they prepare the table for 14 anyway so do not have the night ruined by some unfortunate events they brought on themselves.
Since Italy is full of history, almost every city has at least one famous place, so any travelers could choose for themselves where to go next. However, as a start, everyone should visit Rome at least once.
Rome, the capital of one of the most famous ancient empires can be considered a huge open-air museum.
Florence is the place where The Renaissance reached its highest peak of beauty and culture.
Venice, probably the most beautiful and romantic city in the world was once also one of the world’s most important trading cities.
Examples of Italian arts such as paintings and statues can, nowadays, be admired in many museums of the world, but nothing beats the magic of seeing a Michelangelo or a Leonardo Da Vinci in their place of origin, walking in the city where the artist lived and breathing the air that they breathed.
When in Rome: Beautiful Must -See Places of Rome.
The Pantheon is a temple/church in Rome. It is absolutely beautiful and attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors every month. The original Pantheon was built in 27 BC-25 BC under the Roman Empire, during the third consulship of Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa, and his name is inscribed on the portico of the building. The inscription reads, M·AGRIPPA·L·F·COS·TERTIUM·FECIT, “Marcus Agrippa, son of Lucius, consul for the third time, built this.”
The building is circular with a portico of three ranks of granite Corinthian columns under a pediment opening into the rotunda, under a concrete dome, with a central opening (oculus), the Great Eye, open to the sky. The weight of the dome is concentrated on a ring of voussoirs 8.5 meters in diameter (almost 30 feet), which form the oculus. A rectangular structure links the portico with the rotunda. In the walls at the back of the portico were different sections for statues of Caesar, Augustus, and Agrippa. The large bronze doors to the cella, once plated with gold, still remain, but the gold has gone. The pediment was decorated with a sculpture in bronze showing the Battle of the Titans, holes can still be seen where the clamps, which held the sculpture in place were fixed. It is adorned with paintings and a garden.
The Colosseum’s name has long been thought to be derived from a colossus (a 130-foot or 40-meter statue) of Nero close by. The statue was later remodeled by Nero’s successors into the likeness of Sol or Apollo, the sun god, by adding the appropriate solar crown. Nero’s head was replaced several times by the head of succeeding emperors. At some time during the Middle Ages, the statue disappeared; people believe that since the statue was bronze, it was melted down for usage of other things. Evidence of its base may be found between the Colosseum and the nearby Temple of Roma and Venus.
The Colosseum is an arena, a huge and vast space of masonry walls and can be seen miles away because of its height and width. The Colosseum measures 48 meters high, 188 meters long, and 156 meters wide. There are 80 arches on each of the first three levels, making 240. The wooden arena floor was 86 meters by 54 meters, and covered by sand. Its elliptical shape kept the players from retreating to a corner and allowed the spectators to be closer to the action than a circle would allow. Over 100,000 cubic meters of travertine stone was used in its construction.
Many plays and fights were viewed in this area.
The Temple of Venus and Rome
This is the largest temple in Ancient Rome. It is located at the far east side of the Forum Romanum, near the Colosseum. It was dedicated to the goddesses Venus Felix (Venus the Bringer of Good Fortune) and Roma Aeterna (Eternal Rome). The designer was emperor Hadrian. Construction on the temple began in 121AD.
It was officially inaugurated by Hadrian in 135AD but the building wasn’t actually finished until 141AD under Antoninus Pius.
The building measured 110m in length and 53m in width. It was placed on a stage measuring 145m in length and 100m in width. The temple is made up of two main chambers (cellae), where the cult statue of the god was, in this case, the statues of Venus, the goddess of love, and Roma, the goddess of Rome, both of them seated on a throne. The cellae were placed symmetrically back-to-back. Roma’s cella faced west, looking out over the Forum Romanum, Venus’ cella faced east, looking out over the Colosseum.
Pastiera di maccheroni AND MORE!!! Fun and Fast Italian Recipes for Kids
Pastiera di maccheroni
Ingredients: 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, 1 red onion, peeled and finely chopped, 1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped, 9 ounces pancetta, cubed, 18 ounces ground pork, 2 tablespoons freshly chopped rosemary, 1 x 14 ounce can cherry tomatoes, Salt and pepper to taste, 2 3/4 cups (11 ounces) penne rigate, 4 large eggs, 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Follow these steps …….
-In a large saucepan, heat 4 tablespoons of the olive oil and sauté the onion and carrot for 5 minutes until soft, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon.
-Add the pancetta with the ground pork and rosemary and cook, stirring continuously, until browned all over, about 5 minutes.
-Pour in the tomatoes, season with salt and pepper, and cook over medium heat for an additional 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Leave to cool to room temperature.
-Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente. Drain and add to the meat sauce. Stir well and let cool.
-Preheat the oven to 350°F.
-Break the eggs into the pan of cool pasta and sauce, then add the grated Parmesan. Mix together.
-Brush the remaining oil over the side and base of an 8 1/2-inch round nonstick baking dish with sides about 2 inches deep. Pour in the pasta mixture and spread out evenly.
-Cook in the center of the preheated oven for 20 minutes until crispy and set.
-Once cooked, let rest for 5 minute–it will be easier to cut and serve, as the layers will hold together. VOILA!!!!
Turkey Sausage & Tortellini in Creamy Tomato Basil Sauce
Ingredients: 1 pound Italian-style turkey sausage, casing removed, 1 can (10 3/4 ounces) Campbell’s® Condensed Cream of Chicken Soup (Regular or 98% Fat Free), 1/2 cup water,1 can (about 14.5 ounces) diced, undrained tomatoes, 1 pound frozen cheese-filled tortellini, 2 tablespoon chopped fresh basil leaves, grated Parmesan cheese
-Cook the sausage in a 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat until it’s well browned, stirring often to break up the meat.
-Pour off any fat. Stir the soup, water, tomatoes, and tortellini in the skillet and heat to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 5 minutes or until the tortellini is tender.
-Stir in the basil and serve with the cheese, if desired.
Arugula Pesto, Ricotta, and Smoked Mozzarella Pizza
Ingredients: Cornmeal, for dusting, 1/2 cup whole-milk ricotta cheese, 2 garlic cloves, crushed, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, 2 cups (8 ounces) shredded smoked mozzarella cheese, 1 packed cup (1 ounce) arugula, Flour, for dusting, 1 (1-pound) ball store-bought pizza dough, Olive oil, for drizzling, 2 plum tomatoes, sliced 1/4 inch thick
-In a food processor, blend the ricotta, garlic, salt, and pepper until smooth. Add the smoked mozzarella and arugula. Pulse until just combined but still chunky.
-On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough into a 14-inch circle, 1/4 to 1/8 inch thick. Transfer the dough to the prepared baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Spread the ricotta mixture on top, leaving a 1-inch border. Arrange the tomato slices on top and drizzle with olive oil.
Mama Mia! Homemade Italian Pizza Recipe for Parents to have fun with their Kids (Mama Mia part 2)
Ingredients: 1/2 tablespoon active dry yeast, 1 teaspoon sugar, divided 1/2 cup water (105 F to 115 F), 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, divided 3/4 teaspoon salt, divided 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided 1 (14 1/2 ounce) can whole canned tomatoes, undrained 1 medium onion, chopped 1 garlic clove, minced 2 tablespoons tomato paste 1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves, crushed 1/2 teaspoon dried basil leaves, crushed 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper 1/2 small red bell pepper, cored and seeded 1/2 small green bell pepper, cored and seeded 4 fresh medium mushrooms, 1 3/4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese , 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese , 1/3 cup sliced black olives, 1 boneless skinless chicken breast, cooked and shredded
Directions: -To proof yeast, sprinkle yeast and 1/2 tsp sugar over warm water in small bowl; stir until yeast is dissolved.
– Let stand 15 minutes or until mixture is bubbly. (If yeast does not bubble, it is no longer active. Always check the expiration date on yeast packet. Also, water that is too hot will kill the yeast; it is best to use a thermometer.)
– Place 1 1/2 cups flour and 1/4 tsp salt in medium bowl; stir in yeast mixture and 1 tbsp. oil, stirring until a smooth, soft dough forms.
– Place dough on lightly floured surface; flatten slightly.
– To knead the dough, fold dough in half toward you and press dough away from you with heels of hands.
– Give the dough a 1/4 turn and continue folding, pushing and turning.
– Continue kneading, using as much of the remaining flour as needed to form a stiff, elastic dough.
– Shape dough into a ball; place in a large greased bowl.
– Turn to grease the entire surface. Cover with clean kitchen towel and let the dough rise in warm place 30 to 45 minutes until doubled in bulk.
– Press 2 fingertips about 1/2 inch into the dough. The dough is ready if indentations remain when fingers are removed.
– For sauce, finely chop tomatoes in can w/knife, reserving juice.
-Heat remaining 1 tbsp. oil in medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onion; cook 5 minutes or until soft. Add garlic; cook 30 seconds more. Add tomatoes and juice, tomato paste, oregano, basil, remaining 1/2 tsp. sugar, 1/2 tsp. salt and black pepper
-Bring to a boil over high heat; reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer, uncovered, 10 to 15 minutes until sauce thickens, stirring occasionally. Pour into small bowl; cool.
-Punch dough down. Knead briefly (as described in step 3) on lightly floured surface to distribute air bubbles; let dough stand 5 minutes more.
-Flatten dough into a circle on lightly floured surface. Roll out the dough, starting at center and rolling to edges, into a 10-inch circle. Place the circle in greased 12-inch pizza pan; stretch and pat dough out to edges of the pan. Cover and let stand 15minutes.
-Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Cut bell peppers into 3/4-inch pieces. Wipe mushrooms clean w/damp kitchen towel and thinly slice (trim stems if desired).
-Mix mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses in small bowl. Spread sauce evenly over pizza dough.
-Sprinkle with 2/3 of cheese.
– Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes.
-Then remove from oven and raise oven temp to 400°F (200°C).
– Arrange bell peppers, olives, mushrooms, and chicken on top of the pizza. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top, and bake at new oven temp for a further 10 minutes or until cheese is completely melted, and looks done.
Mama Mia!!! What you didn’t know about Pizza…….
No trace can be found of the inventor of pizza because it was considered a meal for peasants in Italy. No person of higher rank would be caught eating it. Over centuries, it quickly became a household favorite comfort food.
Food historians have come to a unanimous decision that pizza- like dishes were eaten by many people in the Mediterranean including the Greeks and Egyptians. To our pizza-loving readers, did you know that modern pizza has been attributed to the baker Raffaele Esposito of Naples? In 1889, Esposito who owned a restaurant called the Pizzeria di Pietro baked what he called “pizza” especially for the visit of Italian King Umberto I and Queen Margherita. Gennaro Lombardi at 53rd and 3rd Spring Street in New York City in the United States of America opened the very first pizza shop here in 1905.
Why is the pizza round? Actually, a lot of pizza comes in squares, but to save space, people would make pizza round so that it could fit into a box without compromising the actual food. Americans eat approximately 350 slices of pizza per second. And 36 percent of those pizza slices are pepperoni slices, making pepperoni the number one choice among pizza toppings in the United States. That’s a lot of pizza!!!
From the Electronic Battery to Buffalo Wings, Italian Inventors and Crazy Things!!!
Buffalo Chicken Wings——— Teressa Bellissimo———– 1964
Electric Battery————– Alessandro Volta———— 1800
Jacuzzi————— ——- Jacuzzi Brothers—————1968
Ice Cream Cone————— Italo Marcioni————–1896
Pretzels——————- Italian Monks————— Circa 610 AD
Thermometer————– Galileo Galilei—————-1593
Wheel Lock————– Leonardo da Vinci———–16th century
Telephone————— Antonio Meucci————–1871
Piano—————— Bartolomeo Cristofori—————-1709
Big Mac————— Jim Delligatti——————-1976
Catapult————— Dionysius the Elder of Syracuse————399 B.C.
Eyeglasses———— Salvino D’Armate————-1268-1264
Radio——————- Nikola Tesla———-1895
Scissors———- N/A———-1500 B.C.
Liposuction——— Dr. Giorgio Fischer——–1974
Cursive Handwriting Aldus Manutius——-N/A
Ambulance—— Mountain Troops——-1872
Carbon Paper—— Pellegrino Turri——–1806
20 Helicopter ——— Enrico Forlanini——–1877
Popular Children’s Literature of Italy
Aesop’s Fables (Dover Children’s Thrift Classics):
(Author- Aesop, Pat Stewart) Ages 4 to 8
– The Adventures of Pinocchio: The Story of a Puppet.
(Author- Carlo Collodi, Iassen Ghiuselev) Ages 9 to 12
(Author- Peter Connolly) Ages 9 to 12
– The Buried City of Pompeii: What It Was Like When Vesuvius Exploded (I Was There)
(Author: Shelley Tanaka, Greg Ruhl)
Ages 9 to 12
– Vulca the Etruscan (Journey Through Time Series)
(Author: Roberta Angeletti, Beatrice Masini) Ages 8 to 12
– Leonardo and the Flying Boy.
(Author: Laurence Anholt) Ages 8 to 14
– Bravo, Zan Angelo!: A Commedia Dell’Arte Tale With Story & Picture.
(Author: Niki Daly) Age 10+
– The Legend of Old Befana.
(Author: Tomie De Paola) Ages 4 to 10
– Big Anthony: His Story.
(Author: Tomie De Paola) Ages 4 to 8
– Opera Cat.
(Author: Tess Weaver, Andrea Wesson) Ages 4 to 8
Historical Figures of Italy: Painters, Hero’s, and More, for kids!!!
Donatello (Donato di Niccolò di Betto Bardi) was born in 1386 and died on December 13, 1466. He was a famous sculptor and artist in Florence in the Early Renaissance period. Famous statues include Gattamelata and David.
Cristoforo Columbo (Christopher Columbus) was born in 1451 and died May 20, 1506. He was an explorer and trader who sailed to America, reaching it on October 12, 1492. His discovery initiated the colonization of the Americas.
Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni was born March 6, 1475, and died February 18, 1564. Michael Angelo was a Renaissance sculptor, architect, painter and poet. Angelo painted the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, sculpted the famous David and Pieta, and designed the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.
Galileo Galilei was an Italian astronomer, astrologer, physicist, and philosopher closely associated with the scientific revolution. Galileo was born February 15, 1564, and died January 8, 1642. Galileo improved the telescope, observed various aspects of astronomy, developed the first and second laws of motion, and found proof to support Copernicanism. The conflict Galileo experienced with the Roman Catholic Church is seen as an example of the freedom of thought conflict.
Gianni Versace created the Italian clothing business known as Versace in 1978. Donatella Versace with Santo Versace as CEO now heads “Versace”. As one of the world’s leading international fashion houses, Versace designs, markets and distributes luxury clothing, accessories, and fragrances, makeup and home furnishings.
Originally a term for an officer commanding one hundred soldiers. As the rank developed several degrees of elevation, so did the number of men under the centurion’s command. These officers were chosen for their intelligence and courage in battle. They were expected to lead the charge as an example.
A highly placed bureaucrat and diplomat in the Florentine republic, whose writings over a wide range of topics gave us a penetrating view into renaissance culture and politics. For almost five hundred years, men in high places have been influenced and encouraged to follow his outline for power, as stated in his book Il Principe (The Prince), based somewhat on his familiarity with the notorious César Borgia.
From 54 to 68 AD. Adopted by Emperor Claudius, he succeeded him upon his death. His reign was characterized by extravagance and tyranny. Morally weak and extremely sensual, he was guilty of many murders, including his own wife’s. He was accused of allowing the fire that destroyed two-thirds of Rome to burn. Nero escaped being overthrown by committing suicide.
Pope Alexander VI:
A member of a dynasty of Spanish popes, he was seen as one of the “seven bad popes,” but he was no better or worse than others of his time. He bought his election to the papacy, practiced nepotism with his large family, and tried to strengthen the papacy through the conquest of central Italy.
He was Machiavelli’s model for his ideal ruler, “The Prince.” He was very passionate about revenge and avenging murders.
ADRIANA: Feminine form of Latin Adrianus, Spanish Adrián, and Italian Adriano, all meaning “from Hadria.”
ALLEGRA: Italian name meaning “cheerful and lively.”
ANJELICA: Variant spelling of Italian Angelica, meaning “angelic.”
ELISABETTA: Italian form of Greek Elisabet, meaning “God is my oath.”
GABRIELLA: Feminine form of Italian Gabriele, meaning “man of God” or “warrior of God.”
GIOVANNA: Feminine form of Italian Giovanni, meaning “God is gracious.”
BALBINA: Little stammerer or stutterer, Also the name of a Catholic saint and early Roman martyr
ARIETTA: Small melody is sung by a soloist; variant of Aria
CARMELA: Garden, orchard, vineyard; Mount Carmel in Israel is considered a paradise.
DONNALEE: Lady; from the respectful title Donna
ARSENIO: Italian and Spanish form of Latin Arsenius, meaning “virile.”
BERNARDINO: Pet form of Italian Bernardo, meaning “bold as a bear.”
CLEMENTE: Italian, Portuguese and Spanish form of Latin Clementius, meaning “gentle and merciful.”
DORIANO: Italian form of Latin Dorianus, meaning “of the Dorian tribe.”
ELIA: Italian form of Hebrew Eliyah, meaning “the Lord is my God.”
EMILIANO: Italian and Spanish form of Latin Æmilianus, meaning “rival.”
GERVASIO: Italian, Portuguese and Spanish form of Latin Gervasius, meaning “spear servant.”
GUIDO: Italian name derived from medieval Latin Wido, meaning “wide.”
JOVANNI: Italian form of Latin Johannes, meaning “God is gracious.”
LEONARDO: Italian, Portuguese and Spanish form of German Leonhard, meaning “lion-strong.”
Online Italian lessons for kids: dinolingo.com