Italian Festivities Start Tonight!

This year Italia in Ohio will be in 2 locations at the Festival. In the Culture Tent (near the limoncello and grappa guys (go figure!) for the language and cooking demos and also in Tent A opposite the music tent for children classes and mask making. Lisa and Ellie will be handling the children’s area but they could use some help – y’all come. Contact Sergio at 614.906.9087 or 614.214.9087.

Festival Map



Grappa: from ancient Egypt to Bassano del Grappa

Grappa EgyptThe origins of grappa are clearly Italian. However, the process of its making originated in Egypt, at the time of Queen Cleopatra, and is linked to the mysteries of alchemy.

As the story goes, some Egyptian alchemists had designed special equipment for distillation that went under the name of “Cleopatra’s philosopher’s stone”. The Romans came somehow to know it as the “Crisiopea di Cleopatra”.  Such equipment was eventually stolen from Cleopatra’s court in the II century AD and later reappeared in the Italian village of Bassano del Grappa, in the hands of a Roman soldier.

From grapes to Grappa

The “Crisiopea of Cleopatra” was basic distillation equipment made of hourglass-like bottles. The Roman soldier applied the distillation principles ruled by the School of Salerno to process grape pomace (i.e., grape skins, pulp, seeds, and stems).
What he obtained was grappa.
Grappa stillGrappa is a fragrant graped-based pomace brandy containing 35 to 60 percent alcohol by volume (70 to 120 US proof).

Like wine, grappa’s flavor can vary consistently according to the quality of grapes and distillation process used. What we call “pomace” are leftovers from the winemaking process.   Professional tasters distinguish four categories of grappa: young, cask-conditioned, aromatic and aromatized grappas.   Grappa is now a protected name by the European Union to distinguish Italian brandy from all other types of brandy.  The most famous brands are Nonnino, Nardini, Poli, Brotto, Sibona, De Negri, and many more.

The grappa etiquette

Grappa ammazza caffeAs many other Italian products, grappa has its own etiquette: its use is that of a “digestivo”, or after-dinner drink. Indeed, drinking grappa after a heavy meal helps the digestion.  It is typically drunk in shots, separately or in the tiny espresso cup, after coffee. When liquors are drunk after coffee in a shot, as is the case of grappa, they are commonly called “ammazzacaffé” (literally, “coffee killer”).  In the province of Venice, where Bassano del Grappa is, grappa is often used also as an ingredient for “caffé corretto” (meaning “amended coffee”).  Posted by Giardino Italiano

Concerto di Domenica: 25 Ottobre

Barbara Furtuna is a polyphonic Corsican group of four men. Even though the group still finds its inspiration in the island’s oldest traditions, it is now distinguished by its own creations and offers a music that answers our contemporary longings.

Barbara Furtuna

The group has been present on the international scene for the last ten years, in Europe, but also North America or Australia. It has increased prestigious scenes, solo or with unexpected collaborations. With the baroque ensemble L’Arpeggiata, with the ancient music of Constantinople. The quartet has shown that it could transcend a single register and that traditional music has still the ability to surprise us and to move us.

Before you see them in person, try the cheap seats at Youtube:


To buy tickets to their live performance in Columbus on Oct 25th, visit:


Ci vediamo lì !