Saturday, December 7, 2013

For Curious People

 For Curious People

Traditions old and new, as well as superstitions, all mix together to create the culture of modern day Italy.  As we approach the New Year, I would like to share with you how Italians ring in this event.                                                                                                                                

Do Italians really wear red underpants on New Year’s Eve?                                                          It might surprise you to discover that Italian men and women do wear red underpants for good luck (Buona Fortuna). In order for this custom to be effective, the red underwear must be thrown out the following day. Especially in the south, throwing old things out the window symbolizes the acceptance of the New Year, insuring good luck.

What do you know about the Roman Emperor Nero (37-68AD)?

He is remembered for his perverse mind and his persecution of Christians. Nero, who killed his mother and two of his wives, became totally deranged in later life. When a fire ravaged Rome for six days, destroying 14 districts, Romans suspected that Nero had set this fire. According to a legend, Nero craved to become pregnant as he wanted to experience the feeling of giving birth. He threatened doctor after doctor until he found two who gave him a beverage containing a small live frog. After swallowing this potion, the frog would move in his belly thus giving him the sensation of having a baby. In the meantime the two doctors fled before the frog showed up in Nero’s stools. Nero, to mock those who laughed at him, paraded the frog through the streets of Rome on a chariot. When the parade reached the Tiber, the frog jumped into the river, hence the word (name) Laterano, from the Latin  “Latitans rana”(frog on the run).

Do you know where the term “Syphilis” comes from?

Girolamo Fracastoro (1478-1553), an Italian physician, poet, astronomer and geologist studied at the University of Padua, where he met the Polish astronomer Copernicus. His most famous work was the narrative poem “Syphilis Sive Morbo Gallico”(French disease), in which he talks about a young shepherd (Sifilio) who is infected with this sexually transmitted disease, now called syphilis. I should add that in 1494, the siege of Naples by the French troops and their aggregated 800 prostitutes caused an epidemic of this Syphilis.

Casanova and his anti conception method.        

Casanova (1725-1798), the legendary world’s greatest lover, conquered women with his charm and his love technique. e was a very intelligent manh He was a very intelligent man who was welcomed in the boardroom and in the bedroom. It is said that he slept with 130 women.                                                                                                                Casanova  is also known for having discovered the use of lemons as a contraceptive: a lemon was cut in half, squeezed, and the rind, devoid of pulp, was placed over the uterine opening like a cap. This has been confirmed by Australian scientists at the University of Melbourne.  Besides being a “playboy” he was a prolific writer as well.

Things that you never knew:


1) Every man produces 104 millions of spermatozoa a day, about 1200 per second.


 2) The brain reaches 90% of its size by age six, stops growing by age 18, and it weighs an    

      average of 1.5Kg. (3lbs), representing 2% of our body weight.


3) Parts of our body do regenerate: bones in 7 years, skin regenerates completely in 15-30 days, nails in 3-4 months. It varies from individual to individual and it is also influenced by the seasons.

4) There are 600 different shapes of pasta in Italy.

5) Did you know that in France you cannot use the word “Mademoiselle”? In fact the  French Government has abolished the word from its official protocols and replaced it with “Madame”. Anglo-Saxon countries use “Ms. ”instead of “Miss”. Germany uses “Frau” and not “Fraulein”, and in Italy Signorina” has been replaced by “Signora”.




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