A game played in all the Mediterranean area since 7000 BC. is one of the classic pastimes in Piedmont, where the rules variants are the same as the ones used in Provence for “boules”.
The local variant is sometimes called Bocce volo (‘flying bocce’) or simply Volo due to the fact that the bowls are not rolled towards the target, but rather tossed in a parabolic flight.
It is basically the same game as, and the Italian counterpart of, the French game jeu provençal, also known as boule lyonnaise, the ancestor of pétanque. Bocce volo is similar to pétanque in that the ball is thrown rather than rolled or bowled. It is similar to traditional bocce (and different from pétanque) in that the ball is delivered with a run-up. A volo players’ run-up is athletic, even theatrical, as in jeu provençal.
In bocce volo, the balls are thrown either underhand (palm up) or overhand (palm under), and are made of metal (aluminum alloys, steel or sometimes, for professional players, titanium), while in standard bocce, the wooden or plastic balls are tossed underhand (palm up) and rolled.
Volo derives its name from the Italian verb volare meaning ‘to fly’, and refers to the technique of throwing a ball through the air in an attempt to knock away an opponent’s ball.
As a curious note, many bowlers use carbonated drinks – usually Coke or Pepsy – to clean their bowls after use.
The San Carlo Fair is the major “off season” event in Nizza Monferrato – and in recent years, cultural or historical events have been proposed side-by-side with the traditional animals and tools market and vicarious celebrations.
This year in particular, the Foro Boario meeting hall hosted a small exhibition of bicycles – once both a working tool and a sports and leisure activity.
We took advantage of a rainy lunch-break to go and catch a few shots without the interference of other visitors.
Tourist Tip: if you are planning a visit to an exhibition, consider going there at lunch hours – most of the other visitors will be somewhere eating, and you’ll have the exhibition all to yourself.
We spent a beautiful Sunday exploring the mysteries of the Templar knights in Southern Piedmont, thanks to a very nice tour offered by Alto Monferrato Gusto & Tour – a purveyor of fine typical local foods that also designs and delivers quirky, unique and flexible tours of the hidden beauties of the Piedmontese countryside.
We spent the morning in wonderful Saliceto, once the seat of a Templar house and now a quiet and quaint village on the Appennine, in the Cuneo province. A perfect pit-stop for hiking and mushroom-hunting.
We explored medieval and renaissance churches, and visited the castle.
And saw lots of cats.
A great experience (and cheap!), that we will certainly repeat in the future (there’s more tours being planned).
Here are just some of the photos of our day (click on pictures to enlarge).
Mgftourism is an association that is trying to promote responsible, eco-friendly tourism in the Monferrato wine country of Italy (where I live), by organizing soft trekking and photo tours. And they need help!
They are participating in a campaign called “Io Agisco” promoted by the local administration – they get likes, and based on the likes rating they’ll get support from the local authorities.
So, if you like trekking, photo tourism etc., please consider the idea of signing up as fans and give them a like. There’s only a few days left.
We have been quiet for a while, and today we restart our transmissions with a special guest post.
I’m an old-fashioned traveller. I usually pack a good tour guide, a notebook and a novel set in the place I’m visiting. But these are the days of the smartphone, and as that guy said, there’s an app for everything.
So I asked my friend Alessandro Girola, writer, blogger, traveller and the man behind Quantum Marketing, to give me the list of the apps that he carries on his smartphone when he’s on the road. And he was so kind he said yes.
So, here’s a short list of app for your travels.
And because there’s an awful lot of apps out there, and we couldn’t list al, please suggest your faves in the comments.
Cheers! Continue Reading →
Incisa Scapaccino is a small village about five kms out of Nizza Monferrato, in the Belbo Valley, Piedmont, Northern Italy. A small industrial and agricultural center, Incisa hides one of the most fascinating and cozy Medieval centers in the area: Borgo Villa, the town’s historical center, is an undiscovered gem.
This morning, despite the overcast day, we took a stroll around the walls of Borgo Villa.
Here are some of the shots we took.
Click on the images to see a larger version.
Everybody knows Italy is the place to be if you like coffee. Italian tradition offers dozens of different variations on the common espresso. In Piedmont, three are typical – and here’s some information, and a few recipes.
Of the three, the most famous is called bicerin (sometimes written Bicerìn), and is closely connected with the other two.
The Bicerin (pronounced [bitʃeˈriŋ] in Piedmontese dialect, literally “small glass”) is a historical hot drink served in Piedmontese bars and cafés.
The drink was first mentioned in Torino e i Torinesi, a book by Alberto Viriglio, published in 1898. In 2001, the drink was recognised as traditional Piedmontese drink, its new status published in the official literatuire of the regional council. Continue Reading →