ISR comprises of a diverse and multinational family with members from all over the world. Faces of ISR is a series through which we show off and celebrate this diversity while also learning more about our members’ rich cultural backgrounds. This week we take you to Italy with Selene Bruni, from the partnerships committee and Margherita Chiusano, the head of the HR committee here at ISR. We talked to them about food, holidays and much more to get an exclusive look at Italy from their perspectives.
With holiday season coming in strong, we wanted to know what their favourite holiday was. Selene said that she likes Easter the best as she celebrated it often over a BBQ at the countryside with friends while spending a relaxed day just drinking and chatting away. Margherita, on the other hand, prefers Christmas which she says is the most important celebration in catholic Italy.
"In the place where I am from, Torino, the whole city lights up during Christmas through an art exhibition called 'Luci D’Artista' which means Artist’s lights. We celebrate on Christmas Eve’s at dinner with one side of the family, on Christmas Day at lunch with the other side and at dinner with some close family friends."
While on the subject of Italy, we obviously had to talk about food as well so we asked them what their favourite Italian food is. Both Selene and Margherita seem to have a deep love for the food. Here is what Selene had to say when we asked her to pick her favourite dish
"There are way too many... Now that it's winter time I'd say Pizzoccheri della Valtellina (if you are about to google it, yes, the look may not be the most appealing but it's the perfect comfort food during cold nights). "
Margherita chose risotto which she said is typical in the North of Italy. According to her, the risotto with saffron in Milan is a must-try!
For those of us who might plan to go on a vacation or trip to Italy after the pandemic is through, we asked for some places they as locals think should be visited in Italy. Both Selene and Margherita have confirmed that there is something for everyone in Italy. It is a country where the landscape can differ vastly depending on which part you are at. Selene says that you could visit Bologna to be ravished by food and recommends Alberobello or Matera for architecture. Margherita adds to this with:
"In the inland I certainly recommend doing a road-trip the country-side in Tuscany where there are a lot of farm-houses known as 'agriturismo' in which you can stay. Lastly, in the North the mountains of the Dolomiti, such as Val Gardena and Alta Badia, are a real hiking and skiing paradise."
Just from their description alone, Italy sounds stunning!
Finally, we asked Selene and Margherita if there were any misconceptions about Italy that they see people have that they would like to clear out. Margherita said that people often make out Italian cuisine to be complicated when Italian food is more about its simplicity and quality. Also, they do not eat pizzas as often as one would assume. It is a very special dish reserved typically for gatherings or night outs. Followed by this, Selene addressed the Hollywood stereotype of Italians being associated with the mafia.
"Something I find annoying is the portrayal of Italians in Hollywood movies: it's often related to the mafia and with a very marked accent. If you are introducing yourself to an Italian, please avoid showing off your lexicon like that."
That is very good advice to keep in mind, to have respect for other cultures and see it for what it is other than just its stereotypical portrayals. We thank both Selene and Margherita for their time and giving us a short glimpse into Italy and its assortment of beauty!