A barista serves coffee at a cafe in Naples, Italy. The Italian city's long-standing tradition of buying a cup for a less-fortunate stranger is now spreading across Europe.
Credit Christopher Furlong / Getty Images
Tough economic times and growing poverty in much of Europe are reviving a humble tradition that began some one-hundred years ago in the Italian city of Naples. It's called caffè sospeso — "suspended coffee": A customer pays in advance for a person who cannot afford a cup of coffee.
This isn't finished. But it will be. Two residential towers, dense with trees, will have their official opening later this year in downtown Milan, Italy, near the Porta Garibaldi railroad station. (The image is not a photograph, but an architect's rendering. The towers are built and the trees are going in right now.) I love this. I think these towers are gorgeous. Milan is a very polluted town; these trees will cleanse the air, pumping out oxygen and greening the cityscape.
Originally published on Thu April 18, 2013 9:54 am
A young baker at the Roscioli bakery in Rome prepares bread.
Credit Amy Guttman for NPR
Processed food packed with salt, fat and sugar has been making incursions into the traditional diets of countries around the world. Even Italy isn't immune to the reach of junk food. But hard economic times are spurring Italians to rediscover home cooking, and especially bread making.
In 2012, an Italian chocolatier presented Benedict XVI, now pope emeritus, with a 6.5-foot-tall chocolate Easter egg weighing some 550 pounds.
Credit L'Osservatore Romano / AP
In Italy, there are no Easter egg hunts, no marshmallow Peeps and definitely no jelly beans.
Instead, there are chocolate eggs — massive, elaborately decorated, beautifully wrapped chocolate Easter eggs that now fill shop windows across the country. The sweet treats are considered Italians' food gift of choice at this time of year. And each one comes with a surprise tucked inside.
"You want something that really gives a big effect," says Rome-based food writer Elizabeth Minchilli.
Originally published on Thu March 28, 2013 5:47 pm
Pope Francis washes the feet of a prisoner at the Casal Del Marmo Youth Detention Centre during the mass of the Lord's Supper on Thursday in Rome.
Credit L'Osservatore Romano / Getty Images
During a Holy Thursday ritual, Pope Francis continued to break the traditions at the Vatican.
Pope Francis washed and kissed the feet of 12 young people at a youth prison. Among them were two women and two Muslims. The act was a break with tradition. As The Guardian reports, all modern popes have partaken in the ritual by washing the feet of fellow priests at either St Peter's or the Basilica of St John in Lateran.