Wednesday, February 24, 2016


The legend of Pompeii has been told countless times, but it’s still gripping. The ancient city, along with Herculaneum and other nearby towns, was buried under ash (20 feet of it in some places) when Mount Vesuvius erupted.
Pompeii was a favorite vacation destination for Romans. The ruins of Pompeii, preserved under mountains of ash, have been a tourist destination and archeological treasure trove for almost 300 years. Most chilling are the bodies frozen in place. Along with them, the room-size frescoes, jewelry, and even wine bottles, have provided historians with an unmatchable look at quotidian life in ancient Rome.
An exhibition at the Melbourne Museum in 2009 created a 3D theater installation that featured an animated look at how the eruption happened, over the course of 48 hours. Called A Day in Pompeii, it bypasses Hollywood CGI exaggeration and provides a fact-based visual interpretation of the famous city’s fate.

Friday, February 5, 2016


The director Roberto Rossellini fell in love with the Amalfi Coast in the mid 1940s. “Those who live on the Coast are mad, they’re drunk on sunshine,” he often said, “but they possess the strength of imagination.” And his enthusiasm spread to the Hollywood stars of the era, who flocked to the area, bringing the region into the collective consciousness.
This land has also been declared a Unesco World Heritage Site. And while it’s highly unlikely that one of the reasons for this decision was Salvatore De Riso’s famous “la Delizia al limone” dessert, it very well could have been. This irresistible dish, an authentic culinary manifesto of the region, is the stuff that legends are made of: created in 1989, by a then-very-young Sal, (who is today the 2010/2011Italian Pastry Champion according to the Accademia Maestri Pasticceri Italiani) it is still his most requested dish – along with the pear and ricotta tart.
A stop at his pastry shop in Minori is practically obligatory.
Well, imagine a small, snowy dome – evoking the shape of a delicate breast -- topped with a dollop of ribbed cream and then, a thinly sliced strip of lemon rind. The dome is made from a special Pan di Spagna, or GĂ©noise cake, which literally melts on your tongue with a pleasing sour hint from the ground almonds in the batter. The spoon encounters no resistance at entry, the centre of this delicate cake encompasses a white lemon cream filling, so intense that it will make your eyes close automatically.