venerdì 30 novembre 2012

FINE (the end)

Ladies and gentlemen,
our 'Italian language and culture club' has come to its end, and my volunteering period in Birštonas Public Library as well.

Just a last, silly song, performed by the comic duo "Cochi & Renato". The refrain sais: "la vita, la vita/la vita l'e' bela, l'e' bela/basta avere l'umbrela, l'umbrela" (the life, the life/the life is beautiful, beautiful/you just need the umbrella, umbrella).

And to finish, thank you very much to everybody.
Arrivederci & sekmės!

Cost of living


Some weeks ago, one interesting question was about the cost of living in Italy and about the level of salaries, in order to make comparisons with Lithuania or other countries.

After many research in the Internet, I found a very useful web site: In particular, the section "cost of living" is very useful for our aim. You can choose a city or a country as a whole. Then, you can have information about average net salary and prices level (for house renting, house utilities, food, clothing, etc). Here, as an example, the page about Italy.
It's very interesting, in my opinion, compare the cost of living between northern and southern cities, or between big and medium-sized cities. And, of course, compare the cost of living between Italian and Lithuanian cities.
So, I suggest you to use this website and draw your own conclusions.

In general, even if the level of salaries is higher in Italy in comparison to Lithuania, I would not suggest to move to Italy in order to earn money. In fact, the Crisis is beating hard, unemployment rate is constantly growing, real salaries don't grow, price level is increasing, new or higher taxes and big cutting in public expenses (education, healthcare system, welfare state) are imposed... In short, the so-called "austerity" is shaping  a very difficult situation, and Italians - especially youth - are starting to emigrate.

Anyway, in spite of this situation, Italian people found some ways to react to Crisis.

  • According to valuations made by one consumers' defence association, at the end of 2011 the self production of vegetables (grown in gardens) had increased around 20%;
  • Reduction of unnecessary expenses and food and goods waste;
  • Increase of second hand market;
  • Increase of social unrest and protest (I suggest to read the website struggles in Italy, which provides up to date information in English about protest and social movements in Italy);
  • Growth of GAS - Gruppi di Acquisto Solidale (Solidarity Purchasing Groups): people who associate in order to buy directly from producers (farmers, breeders, cooperatives or small producers) big quantity of goods; in this way, people get better quality products at a lower price (because they can avoid the cost of big retail chains brokerage) and producers increase their business and get higher price. As example, here a short documentary about the GAS based in the city of Pavia.

giovedì 22 novembre 2012

Notice - Last meeting

We all know that pleasant things quickly come to their end. So is our Italian club. Next week's meeting - on 28 November - will be the last, because my European Voluntary Service will end at the beginning of December.
See you!


A video from Napoli, the home town of good luck amulets. It is said: "It's not true (superstition), but I believe in it" [Non è vero, ma ci credo].

Malocchio (evil eye)
The evil eye is a look that is believed be able to cause injury or bad luck for the person at whom it is directed for reasons of envy or dislike. The term also refers to the power attributed to certain persons of inflicting injury or bad luck by such an envious or ill-wishing look. The evil eye is usually given to others who remain unaware. Charms and decorations are a common tool against it.

Jettatore (bad luck bearer)
The bearer of the evil eye, the jettatore, is described as having a striking facial appearance, high arching brows with a stark stare that leaps from his black eyes. He often has a reputation for clandestine involvement with dark powers and is the object of gossip about dealings in magic and other forbidden practices.
Here one example: once again the famous Neapolitan actor Totò, in the episode La patente (The licence) from the 1954 film Questa è la vita (This is life), inspired by Luigi Pirandello's short stories.
Please notice at the beginning of the clip some good luck spells made by people crossing jettatore's way: holding a big horn and grabbing testicles.

And now, some traditional spells against evil eye, the first from Sicilia and the second from Campania (the region of Napoli). It's interesting to see that the ancestral and pagan belief in evil eye is mixed together with christian elements: those old women say prayers to saints, Jesus and Virgin Mary and make crosses with hands or oil drops.

To finish, a clip from a 1983 comic movie: Occhio, malocchio, prezzemolo e finocchio (Eye, evil eye, parsley and fennel), with the actor Lino Banfi. It witnesses the place superstitions have in popular culture.

Language 5

giovedì 15 novembre 2012

Lifestyle 2 - Pasta

To finish, some scenes from Italian movies, which witness the important place of pasta in popular culture.
The first is from "Miseria e nobilta'" (Poverty and nobility), 1954, which main actor is Toto' (Antonio De Curtis).

The second is from "Un americano a Roma" (An American in Rome), 1954, which main actor is Alberto Sordi.