Saturday, 14 December 2013


Antonio De Curtis b: 15/02/1898, known as Totò - nicknamed Il Principe della Risata ("the Prince of Laughter"), was an Italian comedian, film and theatre actor, writer, singer and songwriter. He is widely considered one of the greatest Italian artists of the 20thC. While he first gained his popularity as a comic actor, his dramatic roles, his poetry, and his songs are all deemed to be outstanding; his style and a number of his recurring jokes and gestures have become universally known memes in Italy. Prominent Italian directors and actors that have worked with Totò include Claudia Cardinale, Sophia Loren, Pier Paolo Pasolini and Marcello Mastroianni. 

As a comic actor, Totò is classified as an heir of the Commedia dell'Arte tradition, and has been compared to such figures as Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin. He starred in about 100 films; while many of them were low profile, box-office driven productions, they tend to be all appreciated by the critics, at the very least, for Totò's performances.

He learned the art of the guitti, the Neapolitan scriptless comedians, stemming from the tradition of the Commedia dell'Arte, and began developing the trademarks of his style, including a puppet-like, disjointed gesticulation, emphasised facial expressions, and an extreme, sometimes surrealistic, sense of humour, largely based on exaggeration of primitive urges such as hunger and sexual desire. 

Totò died at the age of 69 in April 1967 in Rome, after a series of heart attacks. Even in death he was unique—due to overwhelming popular request there were three funeral services: the first in Rome, a second in his birth city Naples—and a few days later, in a third one by the local Camorra boss, an empty casket was carried along the packed streets of the popular Rione Sanità quarter in the north of Naples where he was born. Totò's birth home has been recently opened to the public as a museum, and his tombstone is frequently visited by fans, some of whom pray to him for help, as if he were a saint.

His comic features figure everywhere in Naples - from restaurant signage to postcards and the scores of souvenir stalls throughout the via Croce B. and San Lorenzo Maggiore areas of the Historic Centre. 

Babette Bar and Birreria
via Raffaele Caravaglios, 27
Fuorigrotta, 80125
Tel: 081 2399212

Thursday, 12 December 2013


Limoncello - what's that all about, then?

Limoncello is the Italian lemon liqueur mainly produced in the region around the Gulf of Naples, the Sorrentine Peninsula and the coast of Amalfi. 

Traditionally, it is made from the zest of Femminello St Teresa lemons, also known as Sorrento lemons or Sfusato lemons. This lemon variety is so particularly sweet that locals eat thick slices of the fruit, skin and all, with, perhaps, just a dusting of sugar. To make limoncello, lemon zest, or peels without the pith, are steeped in grain alcohol until the oil is released. The resulting yellow liquid is then mixed with simple syrup. Clarity and viscosity are affected by factors like the relative temperatures of the two liquids. Opaque limoncellos are the result of spontaneous emulsification, otherwise known as the Ouzo Effect, of the sugar syrup and extracted lemon oils. Limoncello imparts a strong lemon flavour without the sourness or bitterness of lemon juice. 

Italy is the world's largest producer of lemons so, naturally, Italians have developed a way to use the plentiful fruit. Citrus trees dot the landscape throughout Italy but along the Amalfi Coast you will find lemon trees growing in abundance.

As in all of Italy, growing and producing agricultural-based products follows strict guidelines to ensure integrity of the end product. Methods of cultivation are region specific and the lemons from the Sorrentine Peninsula and the island of Capri follow the rules for the Limone di Sorrento IGP (Protected Geographic Indication) resulting in, most arguably, the best limoncello. It has only been in the last century that limoncello has been commercially produced.

Bar del Carmine
Piazza Tasso (Torquato), 38, 80067
Tel +39 081 8072889

Monday, 2 December 2013


Christmas is coming! My mum used to love this time of the year - for as she used to say it was the only time she got to strangle a turkey!
Ever wondered how to prepare your Christmas turkey? Here is all the stuff you need in this infographic...

A Visual Guide to Roasting Your First Turkey

by Column Five Media.

Explore more infographics like this one on the web's largest information design community - Visually.

Bell Inn
18 Angel Row