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Venice praises UN listing for pandemic-hit glass bead makers

The delicate and intricate beads are a speciality of the island of Murano, in the Italian city's lagoon, where skilled workers have been making glass for centuries.

Venice praises UN listing for pandemic-hit glass bead makers
The island of Murano, Venice, is home to artisans crafting delicate glass beads. AFP
Venice on Thursday praised a UN decision to put the art of glass bead-making on its Lists of Intangible Cultural Heritage, expressing hope it would help artisans hit by the coronavirus pandemic.
 
“It is a source of great pride to be able to see such a prestigious and significant recognition for one of the excellences of our tradition,” said Luigi Brugnaro, mayor of Venice, itself is a UN world heritage site.
 
 
Luca Zaia, president of the Veneto region, said it was “excellent news, which comes at a particularly difficult time for Venetian craftsmanship and
its activities”.
 
“The activities of glass furnaces and artisans have been hard hit by the effects of the health crisis, many are on the brink due to the collapse of tourism but also due to the closure of international markets and fairs,” he said.
 
“We hope that this recognition will become a driving force for recovery.”
 
Normally thronged with tourists, Venice has become a ghost town in recent months due to the coronavirus pandemic.
 
UNESCO highlighted both Italy and France for the art of glass beads and the countries submitted a joint application, saying the practice “is closely
linked to the wealth of knowledge and mastery of a material (glass) and element (fire)”.
 
The heritage body highlighted the “lume” technique, where glass is melted around a metal rod and then shaped, as well as “da canna” beads, made by
cutting and softening hollow canes of glass.
 
The production of glass beads in Venice has been documented at least sincethe 14th century, and for hundreds of years they were considered a precious commodity for exchange and export worldwide.
 
Even when demand for glass objects fell, the production of pearls continued to flourish and kept the industry growing.
 
But the history of Venetian glass pearls has often been forgotten, as their creators are generally unknown, unlike the renowned glass masters, who crafted sculptures and vases in the Murano glass furnaces.
 
The glass factories have been based on the island since they were ordered to move there in 1291 after causing too many fires in the city centre.

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LA BELLA VITA

La Bella Vita: Pasta, coffee, and the signs you’re becoming Italian

From how your eating habits become more Italian (without you even realising it) to the best ways to prepare and drink coffee, our new weekly newsletter La Bella Vita offers you an essential starting point for eating, talking, drinking and living like an Italian.

La Bella Vita: Pasta, coffee, and the signs you're becoming Italian

La Bella Vita is our regular look at the real culture of Italy – from language to cuisine, manners to art. This new newsletter will be published weekly and you can receive it directly to your inbox, by going to newsletter preferences in ‘My Account’ or follow the instructions in the newsletter box below.

The longer you spend in Italy, the more you might find yourself adapting to Italian culture in ways you didn’t expect. For Brits like me, that might mean swapping your tea with milk for black espresso. For Americans it could be that your tastebuds have slowly become less accustomed to spicy foods (good tacos are, sadly, hard to find in Italy). And you’ve heard all about the tomatoes, but are you eating more lentils yet?

Once you find yourself eating pasta on an almost daily basis and reacting to the idea of fast food with a heartfelt ‘che schifo!’ you’ll know there’s really no going back. These are just some of the eating and drinking habits you might see change over time:

17 ways your eating and drinking habits change when you live in Italy

With all that pasta in mind, if you want to make sure your favourite recipe is executed in truly flawless Italian style we’ve got some expert advice on nailing the technique for saucing all of your pasta dishes correctly every time – and there’s more to it than you might expect.

Ask an Italian: How do you sauce pasta properly?

And then there’s the coffee. Whether you prefer yours from an espresso machine or the iconic stovetop moka coffee pot – personally I find it hard to pick a favourite – everyone who’s spent even a short time in Italy knows there’s an art to preparing and drinking coffee all’italiana

This rich tradition comes with a set of rules and norms that can be hard to navigate if you weren’t born in the country, so here’s our complete guide to where, when and how to drink coffee like a true Italian.

Where, when and how to drink coffee like an Italian

A shot of dark, velvety coffee is more than just a quick caffeine hit: Italy’s espresso is a prized social and cultural ritual the country considers a part of its national heritage. (Photo by Alberto PIZZOLI / AFP)

The weather has taken a turn for the worse this week and many parts of northern Italy are experiencing freezing temperatures and snow. It sounds obvious now, but before I moved to Italy I didn’t realise just how bitterly cold it gets, and my first winter in Tuscany was a bit of a shock. Luckily, Italians from around the peninsula share a love of talking – or complaining – about cold and wet weather so there were plenty of people ready to commiserate.

Here are ten Italian phrases you can throw into your weather-related conversations during these chilly days:

Ten phrases to talk about cold and wet weather in Italian

And have you noticed how some Italian translations of English-language film titles bear very little resemblance to the original? I first realised this when an Italian friend told me how they always watched something called ‘Mamma ho perso l’aereo’ at Christmas, and described the plot, which sounded identical to that of Home Alone…

From the very literal to the improbable, here’s a non-exhaustive list of our favourite Italian movie title translations.

Puns and plot spoilers: How English movie titles are translated into Italian

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Is there an aspect of the Italian way of life you’d like to see us write more about on The Local? Please email me at [email protected]

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