Tag Archives: italy

Global solar power surged in 2011 – 73% growth

2011 was a great year for solar power with an increase of 73.3% in generating power – the fastest growth since reporting began. Germany and Italy led that charge by installing 57.1% of the new power. Worldwide there is now 63.4 gigwatts (GW) of solar power – of which 29.3 GW were brought online in 2011.

In graphical terms that is exponential growth:

 

source: Smart Planet

 

Of course, Europe is leading the charge into solar having recently passed the 50GW milestone. Which makes the United States look tiny in comparison, having only recently surpassed the 4GW mark. We are just as far behind in wind power with Europe having 100GW and the United States at 50GW.

The good news is that both are rapidly constructing new installations – both solar and wind – and growing at an exponential pace.

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For more details and a graph of the United States’ exponential growth, visit Solar’s Dramatic Rise.

Mexico’s wine country – Valle de Guadalupe – is on the rise

Baja California seems like the perfect place to recreate that Italian sense of wine. Both are peninsulas with rolling hills of heat and fresh ocean breezes, perfect for a multitude of grape varieties. Food is central to the culture, like it is in Italy, with most Mexicans in the area practicing some sort of agriculture, aquaculture, or livestock herding. Finally, both have a bustling tourist industry more than ready to accommodate wine loving visitors.

Mark my words, Baja California is on the rise as a wine destination.

A review of Deckman’s seasonal restaurant located on the El Mogor winery:

My dear pal took me to Baja’s wine country – the Valle de Guadalupe near Ensenada – to lunch under the pine trees at Drew Deckman’s new seasonal restaurant at the charming Mogor Badan winery…there is no dearth of fine eateries in the Ensenada area.

And all take full advantage of what the region offers including organic produce; regional cheeses in both the farm and European styles; hand-crafted wines that are winning accolades throughout the world, and meats and seafood that are cultivated locally.

 

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Sunday surf film – a short video about Italian surfer David Pecchi

 

“I based everything on that part of the ocean called the beach – the border between common civilization and dreams…I chose the dreams and it’s like living in Wonderland.”

 

Block10 productions is proud to present David Pecchi, eclectic and talented surfer of the Onde Nostre Crew, shot in Italy, California, Indonesia.

Ritratti Di Surf is a series of short videos about surfers, shapers, artists and other characters somehow connected to Onde Nostre and the Italian surf culture.

 

“Us Italians we don’t have waves but we have a heart, big like this, more. Even bigger than the brain. We have passion. We suffer, we wait for waves for months, and after a month of flat spell when we get a 2 foot wind swell. If you really like surfing, you paddle out and give it all you got.”

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Directed by Luca Merli
Edited by Giovanni “Sbrokked” Barberis and Luca Merli
Photography by Luca Merli, Matteo Ferrari and Giovanni “Sbrokked” Barberis.
Additional Photography by Alessandro Ponzanelli, Daniele Testi
Lettering by Luca Barcellona
Music Consultant & Marketing by Gabriele “Gabro” Minelli
Songs: VOICES OF JAMAICA A Mixtape by Blundetto, Joya Landis (Blundedit) ‘When The Lights Are Low’, Ken Boothe ‘Mr Wind’, Gregory Isaacs ‘Reform Institute’, Blundetto dubplate with Don Camilo ‘Rocky Road’.
Starring: David Pecchi, Alessandro Ponzanelli, Oliver Parker, Ricky Brotini.

 

 

I love sharing surf films on 1X57 – check out the nearly 50 videos.

Travel writing – visiting the tiny island of Giglio, a wrecked cruise ship in the harbor and old-time Tuscany in the villages

(Filippo Monteforte / AFP/Getty Images / June 8, 2012)

 

GIGLIO ISLAND, Italy — My ferry was full of school groups, delivery trucks and tourists when we left the Tuscan port of Santo Stefano and headed toward the island of Giglio, 12 miles away. I sat on deck with the other foreigners, enjoying the spring sunshine: It was too cold for the Italians, who huddled downstairs drinking espressos.

And then, Giglio’s white cliffs appeared in the distance and gradually grew closer.

Except that there are no white cliffs on this granite island. I was looking at the wreck of the Costa Concordia, which ran aground Jan. 13 just outside Giglio’s harbor.

As the ferry whipped past, my eyes were drawn to the great wreck, which lay on its side with a long, rusty gash in its hull. It name was inscribed on a white bow towering above the water. The ship was so close to the tiny harbor, massive and modern and incongruous.

Giglio is known around the world because of the Concordia, but I was hoping to see a Giglio that was not defined by the disaster in which 32 passengers and crew died. Thirty-five years ago, my husband, Mike, lived on Giglio for several months, shortly after its inhabitants gave up mining granite and pyrite and abandoned self-sufficient agriculture in favor of tourism. He remembers an unspoiled family vacation island, little known outside Italy, where affluent Romans (plus a handful of foreigners such as Los Angeles political power broker Stanley Sheinbaum) spent their summers in apartments or second homes.

 

Keep readingLife returning to normal on Giglio Island after Costa Concordia

 

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Researchers find ancient Roman beads in Japan – then find an East Asian man in Rome

Ancient Roman beads in Japan

Glass jewellery believed to have been made by Roman craftsmen has been found in an ancient tomb in Japan, researchers said Friday, in a sign the empire’s influence may have reached the edge of Asia.

Tests have revealed three glass beads discovered in the Fifth Century “Utsukushi” burial mound in Nagaoka, near Kyoto, were probably made some time between the first and the fourth century, the Nara National Research Institute for Cultural Properties said.

The beads, which have a hole through the middle, were made with a multilayering technique — a relatively sophisticated method in which craftsmen piled up layers of glass, often sandwiching gold leaf in between.

Via - Yahoo! News

 

 

East Asian man in ancient Rome

Some people of Italian ancestry, like me, might have a surprise in the family tree—a man of east Asian descent, who was living and working 2,000 years ago in the boondocks near the heel of the Italian boot. The discovery is the first good evidence of an Asian living in Italy during Roman times.

Researchers tested his mitochondrial DNA, which is passed down through your maternal lineage. And this fellow had east Asian genes. The finding appears in the Journal of Roman Archaeology.

It’s impossible to say if the man trekked to Italy himself or one of his ancestors did. But it’s clear that this first known Roman Asian wasn’t some aristocratic diplomat. He was just a poor worker, buried with a single pot.

Via - Scientific American

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Stereotypes in Europe – hardest working, most corrupt

Among the usual questions about attitudes to the euro and the European Union, people in eight nations (Britain, France, Germany, the Czech Republic, Greece, Italy, Poland and Spain) were asked which country in the European Union is the hardest-working.

The Greeks ignored the obvious answer (Germany) and instead nominated themselves. (The other seven nations all plumped for Germany, as the table shows.) Yet Greek perception is not quite as misaligned with reality as it seems. Greece does actually work the longest hours in Europe…However, as any economist will tell you, working longer does not equate with higher productivity, and Greece’s productivity is relatively low.

via Economist Daily Chart

 

Also, very interesting to look at the “most corrupt” column where Italy dominates, but four countries consider themselves the most corrupt (even the Italians).

Rick Steves episode diary – filming in Venice – an enchanting behind-the-scenes

We’re nearly finished filming two new TV shows on Venice. Thinking back over a very productive day, I realize how much I love this work. Our scripts are about 3,400 words per half-hour show. They are split between “on-cameras,” with me talking directly to the camera, and “B-roll,” where we “cover the script” with footage that illustrates what we’re describing. While it’s been called “shooting the nouns,” we think of B-roll as more than that.

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We started early, on St. Mark’s Square. While it’s littered with kitschy souvenir carts and jammed with tour groups most of the day, at 7:30, there is no tourism. The square is clean, with just a few well-dressed businesspeople walking to work, the random jogger, and very focused photographers like us marveling at how the history pops with the architecture and without the modern tourism. The Gothic is so lacy, and the Renaissance so capable. We got a few “walk-bys” to establish me in what looks like a pure, computer-generated Venetian cityscape.

 

Venice’s St. Mark’s Square before the crowds hit.

 

At 8:30, we met our local guide, Michael, who has been instrumental in setting things up in advance for us. He is brilliantly navigating the Byzantine bureaucracy of the city and helping us open all the right doors — some of them literally pillaged from Byzantium.

We climbed the Torre dell’Orologio, or Clock Tower. This was built 500 years ago, providing the city with…

keep readingJust Another Workday — in Venice

Video of Sicily’s Mount Etna erupting with lava flows and steam sprays

April 13, 2012 – Europe’s highest active volcano, Italy’s Mount Etna, erupted again this week. The eruption, which spewed blood-red molten lava and grey and white ash into the air, is the 24th in a series that started in January 2011.

 

A decade ago the volcano was at it again, this time more serious. Several thousands residents were forced to evacuate. Tom Pfeiffer was there, 800 meters away in February 2000, during one of the eruptions and described it for us.

From Scientific American:

After a few minutes, the first red spots began dancing above the crater, rising and falling back into it. The explosions grew stronger, first slowly, then with breathtaking speed, throwing bombs more than 1,000 meters above the rim. Soon the volcanic cone surrounding the crater was covered with glowing rocks. At the same time, a fountain of lava started to rise from a fracture on the flank of the cone. Several other fountains rose from the crater and formed a roaring, golden curtain that illuminated the scene like daylight. Some larger lava bombs crashed into the snow not far from us, but we felt secure in our viewing position. The fountain was nearly vertical, and a strong wind carried the mass of glowing lapilli and ash gently away from us.

 

// Thx to Seth Goldstein

Sticking to Neapolitan tradition in pizza making – the Marinara and Margherita

The dish that has been called “almost certainly the most widely eaten food on the planet” originated in Naples, though Neapolitans would be aghast at the pizza toppings such as chicken tikka, ham and pineapple, and chicken pesto that have taken root in this country. Back in the home of the pizza, people keep it simple. Most go for the Marinara, topped with tomatoes, garlic, oregano and olive oil (with the option of a few anchovy fillets) or the Margherita, topped with tomatoes, mozzarella, basil and olive oil.

  • Marinara – tomatoes, garlic, oregano, olive oil
  • Margherita – tomatoes, mozzarella, basil, olive oil

I discovered how these tasty toppings retain their artisanal excellence on a recent visit to Naples organised by the restaurant chain Rossopomodoro (“red tomato”), which is based in the city. Established in the late Nineties, it has opened more than 100 branches in 12 years. Most are in Italy, with nine branches in Naples alone, but the company is rapidly expanding around the world. Already operating three restaurants in London and one in Birmingham, it plans to open another five per year in the UK.

Starting as a dough ball, the pizza base is pressed into the requisite disc with a raised edge (called the cornicione) by the fingers of the pizza-maker. All that flamboyant whirling in the air that you might have seen is frowned on. The Rossopomodoro pizza is then cooked in a wood-burning stove for 60 to 90 seconds at 485C.

But what goes on top? The zingy sauce made from the San Marzano tomato, grown around Vesuvius, explains why not much else is needed on local pizzas. Ripened by the sun, which shines here for 250 days a year, its flavour benefits from the mineral-rich volcanic soil and deepens during the preserving process.

keep reading to learn about the exclusive buffalo herds used for mozarella and more!

 

 

// Photo – Krissy Ho