Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Song of the Week 5

I didn't watch Sanremo, and for some reason it's taken longer for me to hear this song than most of this year's entries. The first time I properly heard it was when I was in the hairdressers' on Saturday! I heard it this morning, and it's been going round and round in my head all day!! It's Arisa's entry, Malamorenò.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

How to (not) be Milanese...

.... with a liberal topping of stereotypes and exaggeration ;)

1. The Milanese are stylish

This can be said for the whole of Italy, but the international reputation for Milan being a fashionable city seems to knock it up a notch. The idea of bella figura when it comes to dressing means dressing well, elegantly, stylishly. It's all about presentation, how you come across to others.

Ehehehehe. I live in skinny jeans and Converse.....

2. The Milanese love to ski

Hardly surprising considering how close to the Milan is to the mountains, many Milanese spend their winter weekends skiing, and would never give up their settimana bianca - the 'white week' of holiday in the mountains.

Err, no thanks. I wouldn't willingly put myself or other people in danger like that... Next!!

3. The Milanese escape from the city whenever they can

It's not just when they go skiing, when it's not ski season the Milanese still try to escape from the city every weekend and holiday they can.

But what's wrong with Milan?? Ok, so it's grey and smoggy, but there's no need to escape every single weekend, is there??

4. The Milanese drive everywhere

Even though Milan has cheap public transport (1 euro for one 75 minute train/underground/tram/bus journey within the city limits), the preferred mode of transport is still the car. Which makes for one smoggy Milan...

I don't drive, I never passed my test. And I would NEVER want to drive in Italy!!!

5. The Milanese love their aperitivo!

The story goes that it was Bar Magenta in Milan (on Via Giosuè Carducci, near Cordona station - highly recommended!) that invented the aperitivo. It's now a very important part of social life in Milan, and in some areas such as the Navigli (canals) during the evening you'd be hard-pressed to find a bar that wasn't doing some sort of aperitivo.

Ok. This I can't argue with one bit. I do love me a good aperitivo!!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Clothes Shopping in Italy

I've got a bit of a reputation at work for spending every weekend shopping, which, I'd like to add, is so not true! Yes, I did go shopping this morning, but the last time I'd gone shopping before then was almost a month ago, and before then it was back when the sales started! Now that's not excessive, is it??

But I do love shopping, and living in a big city's fantastic! I'd always lived in the country or in a village, and not being able to drive or living on a bus route (seriously...) I had to depend on others to get me to town. At university I was on campus in England, and then in Urbino during the second year of my degree - and there wasn't much opportunity for shopping there! But here I can hop on the underground and be at the shops in less than half an hour - it's fantastic!!

When I go shopping, I mostly hit the centre of Milan, there are three streets I like to have a wander down. The clothes I buy are mostly from international stores, mainly H&M (loooooooove!!) and also Zara, Pimkie and Promod. So there usually isn't much of a problem with the sizes of the clothes. Yes, H&M does its own thing with the sizes, they're neither Italian or the standard European sizes, and annoyingly, there are no other sizes on the tags to give you a clue as to what the Italian size could be! But bar that, tags in international shops will give you British sizes, amongst others, obviously! But still, clothes shopping in Italy can be problematic...

To be brutally honest, if you're even a size 12 (I was a size 12-14 when I first arrived in Italy) you're going to have some problems. During a holiday in Bergamo a few months before I moved here we spent a day in Milan, and obviously did some shopping! And it was then I really realised how small Italian clothes were. Italian women are tiny, but I didn't expect things to be as bad as they were. It was a pair of jeans I tried on in Terranova, a size Large, the biggest size they had. They didn't fit. I despaired. How could a Large not fit?? And then after moving to Milan, after starting to go round the shops here, it turned out that it was the Italian equivalent of a size 14 that fitted me, not a size 12 - I definitely hadn't put on any weight since arriving in Italy, infact, I was already starting to lose some! And to make things worse, it turned out that said size was considered a plus size in Italy!! A 14 by British standards!!! I couldn't believe it.

So now as a British size 8-10, I should be down to an Italian size 40-42. To get your Italian size, add 32 to your British size, or 4 to the standard European size - but from past experience I can't say I'm very convinced... But either way, I'm having much more luck finding clothes in Italian stores these days! Maybe I should go back to Terranova and try on another pair of jeans.....

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

More snow!

This's the slightly pathetic snow I woke up to this morning, I went out on the balcony in search of a decent picture, and this one of the plants in the courtyard was the best I could do! Another wave of bad weather's hit Italy, but the city of Milan's not had it too bad. I guess with it being a city and all I shouldn't ever really expect a lot of snow... And by the time I was going home the snow had turned to rain - properly pathetic!! Snow in March seems to be really rare up here, though when I was in Urbino we had a good dose of the white stuff at the beginning of March the year I was there - I suppose being up in the hills helped!!

Oh Spring, where are you hiding??

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

A Beginner's Guide to Italian TV - Part 3

Oops, I should've got round to posting this before now!!

Chat Shows

Italians love to talk, and naturally there are plenty of opinion and talk shows on Italian TV! And even if it isn't actually a talk show, Italians will still find a way to talkandtalkandtalk about anything and everything! Not a favourite of mine, they get a bit tedious after a while, and they inevitably end with people shouting and arguing over each other! Interestingly though, during this period before the regional elections in Italy (the elections are held on the 27th & 28th of this month), RAI have taken their political talk shows off the air thanks to a law here which ensures equal airtime to all political parties during election campaigns. Any TV station found to break this law, called par condicio, by favouring one political party over another faces a hefty fine.

And if you get bored of what RAI, Mediaset and La 7 have to offer, there's always the music channels! Italy has two free-to-air analogue stations, MTV Italia, and the recently launched Deejay TV (formerly All Music). You can watch trashy imported American reality TV shows on MTV - either dubbed or subtitled in Italian - or watch some Italian music videos (of course there'll be some English language ones too) on Deejay TV.

All of this is based on the three RAI (Uno, Due, Tre), Mediaset (Retequattro, Canale Cinque, Italia Uno) and La 7 channels, which are the seven national free-to-air analogue stations in Italy. Many more local stations exist, and of course, there are new digital stations popping up all the time. The digital switchover is well underway in Italy, but for some reason here in Milan we're still on analogue!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Festa della Donna

Tanti auguri a tutte le donne!! It's International Women's Day, known in Italy as Festa della Donna. It's nice to see it's properly celebrated in Italy, even if for me today it meant receiving the mimosa plant I took a photo of!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Una canzone al giorno - settimane 8 & 9

Last weekend I was in London (if you follow me on Twitter you would've read some very excited tweets, as I was there to see Mika playing at the Hammersmith Apollo!), I was meaning to post week 8's songs before I left, but as disorganised as I was, it slipped my mind... So here's the songs I've discovered over the last two weeks.

Gemelli Diversi - Un Attimo Ancora
Gianna Nannini - Aria
Cesare Cremonini - Dev'essere così
Dolcenera - Piove
Jovanotti - Safari
Daniele Silvestri - Il Mio Nemico
Fabrizio Moro - Parole, Rumori e Giorni

Eros Ramazzotti - Solo Ieri

Frankie HI-NRG MC - Dimmi Dimmi Tu
Luca Carboni - Farfallina
L'Aura - Nell'Aria
Max pezzali - Sei fantastica
Irene Grandi - Vai Vai Vai
Finley - Fumo E Cenere