Between the 19th and 20th centuries in the island of Sardinia there were as many as 400 different traditional costumes. Nearly every village had its own typical outfit, which was worn with pride as this was part of people’s local heritage and also reflected people’s place in society. Although individual costumes varied greatly, they had certain features in common: women wore a veil, a shawl, long pleated skirts and embroidered blouses, whilst men wore a knit wool cap with a long tail, a close-fitted jacket and loose white trousers. Traditional Sardinian garb is extremely colourful and features elaborate embroidery. Embroidery is still a thriving craft that is evident in the beautiful traditional shawls boasting different flower patterns.
These days, Sardinian traditional clothes are worn during folk festivals and major religious holidays but you can admire them all year round in the many ethnographic museums.
Things you should know before you drive in Italy.
• Drive on the right side!
• Pay attention when overtaking, which will be on the left.
• When driving in Italy you need to carry a valid driving licence, proof of insurance and proof of ID.
• Do not drive in an area with a sign that says ZONA A TRAFFICO LIMITATO (ZTL) or AREA PEDONALE, limited traffic or pedestrian zones, you'll get a fine!
• When driving on Italian motorways (autostrade), you need to pay a fee. You must take a ticket ("biglietto") when you enter and pay when you exit. When you exit you must pay either by cash or card, DO NOT go into the Telepass lane.
Motorways in Italy are indicated by green signs. Italy's "autostrade" have a standard speed limit of 130 Km/h (81 mph) for cars. the further left you are the faster you should go.
• Filling the car at the petrol station is fairly simple, the pumps are often self service ("fai da te"). NOTE that since Italy has a PIN credit card system, you can only use your credit card if it has a PIN. If not you should use a debit card.
Don't forget! "Benzina" stands for unleaded petrol and "Gasolio" is diesel.
• Be confident, keep up with the traffic and stay alert!
Luxury silk scarves, foulards, ties; Lake Como is not only famous for its amazing landscapes and medieval villages, it is also well known for its silk.
Como produces 95% of Italian silk and big designers such as Armani, Valentino and Chanel rely on the expertise of its silk houses.
Como's silk tradition began in the fifteenth century when the Duke of Milan decided to plant Mulberry trees in the area obliging farmers to grow them even though they did not know how to. But he never imagined that this was the start of a timeless craft tradition. Two centuries later Como was already renown for its colourful silk products.
Silk is made by silkworms who feed exclusively on mulberry leaves and produce a very fine thread whilst they wrap themselves into it and form a cocoon. This thread is unwinded and strengthened then the silk is transformed into fabric, dyed and printed with unique designs.
Literature in Italy is often associated with different colours depending on the genre. The most striking example is that of the "Libri Gialli" or "Yellow Books". When, in 1929, the publishing house Mondadori started turning out mystery stories, the books had a striking yellow cover. Thereon, the term "Giallo" or "Yellow" became widely used to describe detective novels and later expanded to also mean thrillers and suspense literature.
Then we have the "romanzi neri" or "noir novels" a subcategory of the above, which is a darker story, usually more violent and sometimes narrated from the point of view of the killer.
The colour pink was linked to romantic novels and white was connected to science fiction when in 1952 Mondadori published its first science fiction series, Urania. Then we often have Brown for historical novels, green for the adventure genre and blue for travel books.