Happy Befana day!

The 6th of January is a holiday in Italy to symbolise the baptism of Jesus. It is also a celebration to mark the visit of the 3 wise men to Jesus.

In Italy, there is the story of the befana, a housekeeper who looks like a witch because of her broom. She was invited to travel with the 3 wise men, and declined but she changed her mind at the last minute. But by then, it was too late, and she couldn’t find them and in the end decided to gift all the other children instead – candies for the good ones and coal for the naughty. Which are stuffed into stockings like these :

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So if you’re in Italy at any time during this week, you’ll probably see a lot of these, or something similar, around.

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Last night, Cart and I were at Piazza Navona to see the decorations as well as the carnival there. Usually there will be loads of things to see there – people selling the Befana toys, giant dougnuts and game kiosks.

Unfortunately, only half of the piazza was filled and it didn’t feel as festive as usual. Perhaps it was because of the very cold weather that we are experiencing currently, but whatever it was, it made me feel kind of sad because when I first arrived in Rome about 8 years ago, the Befana was a big deal, even more so than Christmas.

There was a parade near San Pietro this morning, which would have been interesting to see – with over a thousand costumed figures.

rinaz.net Befana Italy, Rome, Viva la befana

I had all the intention to see it, but then changed my mind when the temperature dropped down to 1 degree when I woke up this morning. Brr … too cold to go out on the scooter by myself.

So here is a compromise, someone else’s video of last year’s Viva La Befana!

Ok, no need to go to the one next year. I’ve already seen it 😛

Let’s eat at Ops!

Ops! is a restaurant that serves a variety of delectable vegan food. The way it functions is that you choose what you want to eat, and have it weighed and that’ll be how much you pay.

Cart and I have been here for at least 3 times already and this time round, we were here with our friends, Mdm Huang, Eu Chai, Sindy and Dario.

In this videoblog, I learnt that it’s kind of hard trying to take footage when all you you want to do is eat and chat so much with your friends.

OPS! Cucina Mediterranea Vegetariana a Roma
Via Bergamo 56, Roma 00198

Unforgettable anomaly for Via Noir at Rome, Italy

It didn’t seem too long ago that we did the Via Lux anomaly and now Via Noir has arrived and it was held in Rome!

This anomaly is especially memorable to me because it was held in my adopted home, conducted at nightfall (hence the “Noir“) and I was the lone scooter team going around the circumference of the playing area.

Thank you to all the organisers for your sacrifices! Thank you to all agents who came to fight for Rome! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

 

Ole Ole Temasya Season 2 is out!

If you remember, in February this year, Cart and I went to Viareggio to help out for a television travel series which for this episode, features the colourful and amazing, papier mache float parade which is said to be the biggest in Europe, and probably in the world!

rinaz.net Carnevale in Viareggio, Italy

At long last, the episode for Ole Ole Temasya is out and is ready for viewing online. Yay! Are you ready for it? You could watch it online here at this link.

Ole Ole Temasya Season 2 Viareggio, Italy

It’s funny to see myself next to the hosts Mas and Seri – they are so gregarious and I’m so shy. But it was an experience that I’d never forget and I feel blessed to have gone through all what I had behind the scenes.

Thank you so much for the amazing journey, Dzul, Remi and Jules 🙂

 

Let’s go to Outdoor Festival!

Outdoor Festival is a kind of street art exhibition that’s held during the month of October for this year. Apparently it has been going on for 7 seasons. But if it weren’t for the feed in Instagram, I think I wouldn’t even know that it existed.

Even though, many of the exhibitions I didn’t understand, I enjoyed myself and had a fantastic time there and am looking forward to the next one 🙂

Sidenote : If you’re in Singapore, don’t forget to tune in this Thursday to Suria at 8.30pm to watch Ole Ole Temasya! Yup, the episode in Italy is finally out!

A trip to Ostia Antica

If you were ever in Rome, I’d recommend you to visit Ostia Antica. This heritage site used to be the remains of an ancient Roman harbour city. So it’s nice to roam around and imagine what life was like back then.

You’d probably seen Ostia Antica in postcards, with these distinctive stone footpath. Careful though, after many years and steps, these stones are now rather smooth and slippery.

A group of friends and I went to Ostia Antica last Sunday, and here is a video blog!

Taking moving footage on Nexus 6P is quite challenging as it tends to turn out shaky. Luckily Youtube has a stabilising function … my neck did really strange things towards the end of the video though!

Day trip to Villalago

It’s been a while since I’ve done a videoblog, but I guess I’m a little inspired by the trip to Viareggio. Plus, I’ve got a spiffy new phone, which made me in the mood to try to experiment.

rinaz.net Villalago, Abruzzo, Aquila, Italy

Cart and I did a day trip to Villalago, which is a charming small town in Abruzzo. There is the lake Scanno nearby which is huge and beautiful and just breathtaking when you look at it with the surrounding mountains.

I didn’t want to leave.

Yes, it’s a long video at 20 minutes. You could watch it while having lunch or leave it in the background while washing the dishes. I could even do a mukbang in the future 😛

Experiencing a Carnevale in Viareggio

This is a very backdated post, but I didn’t know what to blog about today so finally I thought that I’d end my procrastination and share some pictures of my experience in a real life carnival.

As you know, in Italy, there is an event called Martedi Grasso which is kind of like a last chance for you to enjoy yourself before the start of 40 days of lent.

So you’d see a lots of children in costumes, throwing confetti around.  There would also be a carnival, and I was fortunate enough to experience one in the town of Viareggio.

You could read my experience there on the first day and the second day.

Which brings us to this post, the third day, Sunday. I woke up bright and early, excited to finally watch the carnival up close.

rinaz.net Carnevale in Viareggio, Italy

(Not sure if I should keep having bangs)

After having our breakfast, we went back to the cittadella, where the floats were created and stored, for a few last minute interviews – one of them, a Mr Luciano Tomeni with his creation called, “Naviga il mio profilo”.

rinaz.net Carnevale in Viareggio, Italy

I adore the name because it’s so witty as “naviga” means surf in Italian and the phrase “surf to my profile” works in this context.

From what I remember, the creator was inspired to create this float as he remembers a time when people had to physically go to places to see artworks and masterpieces. Nowadays though, everyone has become an armchair critic with social media.

rinaz.net Carnevale in Viareggio, Italy

After we were done with the interviews, it was nearly noon and we heard news of how there was going to be rain, and that there was a risk that the carnival might be cancelled. The skies was already quite cloudy and I felt a little bit of a drizzle. It’ll be so sad to travel all the way here without seeing the floats!

rinaz.net Carnevale in Viareggio, Italy

(Here are the hosts Mas and Seri)

Fortunately the organisers gave the green light and we headed to Viali a Mare, where at that point of time, the entire area was barricaded and there were so many people there, that the seats were starting to be fully occupied.

rinaz.net Carnevale in Viareggio, Italy

Aren’t all these floats amazing? I thought that the floats were as all as the hangars, but I realised that once out, the creators could affix more parts to make them even taller!

rinaz.net Carnevale in Viareggio, Italy

rinaz.net Carnevale in Viareggio, Italy

I love the colourful, festive and lively atmosphere. There were many people dancing around on the streets, on the floats, and cheers everywhere.

rinaz.net Carnevale in Viareggio, Italy

rinaz.net Carnevale in Viareggio, Italy

In front of each floats will be a group of performers dressed up with the same theme as the float. These dancers for example are dressed up in Italian 18th century outfit.

rinaz.net Carnevale in Viareggio, Italy

rinaz.net Carnevale in Viareggio, Italy

This group of performers were a little bit scary, with their bells and their whips. The men in the hoods came up to the audience even and smeared some coal on our faces.

rinaz.net Carnevale in Viareggio, Italy

rinaz.net Carnevale in Viareggio, Italy

rinaz.net Carnevale in Viareggio, Italy

All of floats has a back story – many of them politically themed.

rinaz.net Carnevale in Viareggio, Italy

rinaz.net Carnevale in Viareggio, Italy

rinaz.net Carnevale in Viareggio, Italy

But I think that something that I’ll never forget is how Zul, the producer managed to get us up, on top of this float! As you remember, we interviewed the creator the day before. Such a cheerful looking float!

rinaz.net Carnevale in Viareggio, Italy

I tried to take some shots from up there, but it wasn’t easy trying balance on a moving vehicle and to snap pictures at the same time. So I guess I just have to wait for the final video to be processed.

rinaz.net Carnevale in Viareggio, Italy

rinaz.net Carnevale in Viareggio, Italy

rinaz.net Carnevale in Viareggio, Italy

(Look at the teacher!)

rinaz.net Carnevale in Viareggio, Italy

rinaz.net Carnevale in Viareggio, Italy

(Trying to get a selfie but got photobombed by the producer)

rinaz.net Carnevale in Viareggio, Italy

(Second try, still another photobomb :P)

At length, we managed to get all the shots needed and I had a quick respite and joined Cart who was already sitting down at the grandstand, enjoying the view.

rinaz.net Carnevale in Viareggio, Italy

rinaz.net Carnevale in Viareggio, Italy

rinaz.net Carnevale in Viareggio, Italy

rinaz.net Carnevale in Viareggio, Italy

It was an amazing, wonderful, fun day – and such a feast for the eyes. I had such beautiful memories here and I was quite sad that I had to leave this place. I’d love to come back again.

If you’re ever in Italy during the ‘Martedi Grasso’ period, I highly recommend you to visit Viareggio. It might not be as grand as the one in Venice, but I think it’s getting there!

Definitely I’ll be looking forward to watch Ole Ole Temasya when it comes out in a couple of months 🙂