Sunday, 8 January 2012

Cabala Cafe

Cabala Café has become one of my favourite spots to enjoy an aperitivo after a long day. Conveniently located just a stone throw away from I Due Torri and housing a plush array of sofa seating indoors and a pretty exterior area too, Cabala Café is the place to be. The interior could easily be mistook for the set of an Ikea advertisement, with its vibrant red walls, wooden bookshelves sprawled with old type-writers, glossy magazines and stout houseplants, and modern artwork that graces every wall. But this modern décor shouts chic and retro, appealing to the cosmopolitan people of Bologna. You will find yourself sinking into a cosy armchair and preparing for an evening of mingling, eating and drinking.

Of course there is a reason why this bar has crafted an impressive reputation for itself amongst locals and visitors alike. Indeed, the aperitivo at Cabala Café is worth every centime. For just six euros you can enjoy a delightful cocktail and a good quality buffet; a buffet that ticks every box of traditional Italian light-dining. You will find everything from antipasti, ranging from a selection of olives to traditional Italian meats, to couscous, rice and pasta dishes freshly prepared that day. Friday and Saturday nights will see the bar bursting at the seams with people wanting to enjoy a refreshing cocktail or good quality vino and a superb choice of foods, and can you really blame them? Just one visit to Cabala Café and you’ll already be planning your next visit.

Cabala Café encapsulates Italian chicness and the modern outlook of one of Italy’s oldest medieval cities. Its central location, relaxing atmosphere and excellent food and drink makes it an all-round winner. 

Location: Strada Maggiore 10, Bologna
Opening Hours: 17:00 to 03:00. Closed on Mondays 
Tel: 0519913957 

Thursday, 5 January 2012

CIAO! (I am your slave)

Ciao is one of the most borrowed words from the Italian language. Indeed, good old Wikipedia tells me that it has been adopted as a salutation in more that thirty different languages! It even serves a dual purpose, being the word for both 'hello' and 'goodbye'.

And yet, not many people know the etymology of this informal greeting. Thanks to the ingenius Mark Forsyth and his love of words (his blog is definitely worth a look, I now know that every time I utter the word 'ciao' to another person, I am actually declaring myself their servant. The Italians really are there to help.

The word derives from the Venetian phrase sciào vostro (in Italian schiavo vostro) or s-ciào su literally meaning "I am your slave". It was then later shortened to 'ciao' (lazy slaves they are!). And so, if etymology is anything to go by, you are within your right to demand anything of a person that greets you with 'ciao'. That's handy.

Of course, for all you serious readers, 'Ciao' does not literally mean 'enslave me!', it just means that Italians are there for each other. We've got to think about Political Correctness, you know.

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Italian Journalism's low point

Who would've thought that a government would invest €170million PER YEAR in newspapers. Well, that has been the case in Italia. Yes, it is true.

Friday, 9 December 2011

The art of 'fare la spesa' in un supermercarto italiano

Italian supermarkets have a unique system that, should you get wrong, will result in many condescending looks from other shoppers. So, lucky for you i've comprised a brief list of how to operate Italian supermarkets!

1. Always, always, always weight out your fruit and veg in the scales provided. You'll then receive a lovely little sticker for your item that shows the name, weight and price for your items. Don't forget otherwise you will get sent back from checkout- it's like being back at school!

2. Before you go to weigh your items, remember the number of the product. You'll need to enter this number on the scales machine.

2. Never use your bare hands to select your fresh produce. Always use the gloves provided. Yes, it's true.

3. It costs 10cents for a carrier bag ('un sac')

4. Don't be offended when the checkout person throws your items at you. It's considered good customer service here.

5. Self-service is best if you're looking to limit your need for italian phrases- most self-service machines have different language options.

6.  Eggs are not found in the fridge sections. They're not refrigerated here.

And you're all set to go! Happy shopping!

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Teatri Di Vita- A modern theatre experience

Teatri Di Vita is perhaps Bologna's most avant-garde theatre. Indeed, the interior says it all. The bar room is filled with vibrant red square sofas with low lighting and eccentrically dressed theatre-goers. The decor is a perfect reflection of this theatre's aims; Teatri di Vita prides itself in being dedicated to promoting original and innovative theatre productions, and promoting interest in contemporary dance.

It was this latter focus of Teatri Di Vita that attracted my attention. I was particularly fascinated to see a Samuel Beckett play performed using the medium of contemporary dance. Could a dance capture the tragicomic essence that is at the core of Beckett's work? Beckett creates an air of mundaneness by stripping language down to near nakedness. How would the medium of dance show off Beckett's skilful play on language? Essentially, I was sceptical but also intrigued by this performance. It was a must-see for someone who has studied Beckett's work with much intensity for her A-Level French course.

We took our seats in a small theatre room, facing a stage that hosted just a single doorless passageway and a grand piano. Maybe, just maybe, this would work. The setting was exactly how I imagine every production of a Beckett play to be staged- with an unsettling bareness. And it did work. "Happy Days" is a play about the human condition, about our loneliness that caused by the people around us, about the suffocating experiences of marriage, about the moments of elation that break up our mundane existence into bearable blocks of life.

Periods of the play are broken up by the ticking of an unseen clock and music that signals both excitement and dejection. Time is measured and passes by with a intense slowness that leaves both the audience and characters feeling a sense of emptiness in the lives of the characters. Should we laugh at their poor state and at their obvious happiness when the other half leaves them alone for just a moment? Or should we pity their state of entrapment and obvious hunger for freedom?

Directed and starring Michele Abbondanza and Antonella Bertoni, the production does Samuel Beckett's masterpiece true justice. The play is dissected and stripped even further to only a few lines projected onto the stage at various intervals that encapsulate the play's main motifs. You can find out more about the company's work on their website

Teatri Di Vita evidently appreciates the changing dynamics of theatre and new ways of representing traditional masterpieces. If you're looking for a new theatre experience then make some time to see one of this theatre's many productions, which can be found at

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Italian Ailments, A True Obsession

I just had to share this article for the reason that it is both hilarious and very accurate. Italian mothers will end the summer already armed with all the remedies to ward off the first signs of a cold and no child will be without three layers of clothing, plus a hefty bommer jacket, scarves, gloves, and hat. The Italians really do have an obsession with health and vitality.