Travel and Traditions
The Travels & Traditions is a series of half-hour programs in which award-winning journalist Burt Wolf travels to cities around the world telling the stories of local traditions that have influenced us all. In many locations, he also shows how foreign traditions have influenced the city he is visiting. He reveals the relationship of marriage and food and the history of gaming. And, of course, he examines society and culture through eating.
Our first nationwide Thanksgiving in the United States took place at the end of the Revolutionary War when George Washington called for a Thanksgiving Day on Thursday, November 26th, 1789. But it was only a one-time event. Join Burt Wolf and discover why it took until 1941 for Thanksgiving to be a federal holiday, how the bald eagle won out over the turkey as our national bird, and what stuffing our founding fathers preferred.
_______________________________________________________________________Venice, Italy (December 15)
Venice sits just off the northeast coast of Italy at the top of the Adriatic Sea. It is the only city in the world that was built entirely on water. It consists of over a hundred islands connected by bridges and canals.During the 5th century, Attila the Hun, a generally annoying individual, and his Mongol hordes were moving down the east coast of Italy destroying everyone and everything they encountered. Some of the people who were in Attila’s direct line of march decided that it might be a good idea to get out of town and so they migrated across the lagoon to a group of islands. Their bet was that Attila was having such a great time sacking and looting and burning and taking slaves that he’d never bother to follow them across the water. And you know what, they were right.
Florence, Italy (December 22)
This is the second program in a series in which I team-up with Steve Perillo to travel around Italy. Steve’s grandfather started a company that eventually became the largest organization taking American tourists to Italy. And this program is about the city of Florence. And to make it truly challenging we brought along my youngest son.Steve thinks the two things that every tourist to Florence wants to see are the Cathedral which is called the Duomo, the name comes from Domus Dei, which is Latin for the House of God. They also want to see the Baptistery, and I agree.No ancient building in Rome could have spanned the immense distance envisioned for this structure. Nor could any architect working in the early 1400s, until Brunelleschi figured out how to do it.
What's Cooking In Rome (December 29)
This is the third program in a series in which I travel around Italy with Steve Perillo. Steve is the third generation to run a company called Perillo Tours, which specializes in bringing American tourists to Italy. This part of our tour started in Rome, then went on to Assisi the home of St. Francis and the town where Giotto's paintings began the Italian Renaissance, and then to Siena with its magnificent cathedral.One way to understand Rome is to think of it as a city made up of layers. Most historians like to date the beginning of “Ancient Roman” as the eighth century before the birth of Christ. They see that as the earliest layer, a layer that is made up of the ruins and restorations of ancient Rome. Stuff that’s been in the neighborhood for over two thousand years.
Assisi & Siena, Italy (January 5 2014)
This is the fourth program in a series in which I travel around Italy with Steve Perillo. Steve is the third generation to run a company called Perillo Tours, which specializes in bringing American tourists to Italy. We started by visiting Assisi, which was the birthplace of St. Francis, then we moved on to Siena which was the birthplace of Italian Renaissance painting.Assisi was built on a hill that has been inhabited for about 4,000 years. Umbrian tribes were in residence when the Romans arrived in 89 B.C. They say that the stones that were used to build Assisi have absorbed the prayers of the millions of pilgrims that have come here over the centuries. And now the stones radiate a sense of peace and quiet that has a spiritual effect on visitors.
Lucerne, Switzerland (January 12)
In July of 2011, along with my wife and youngest son, I moved from New York City to Lucerne, Switzerland. It was precisely 100 years earlier that my grandmother had moved from Europe to the United States. And since she had come by ship, I thought I should return by ship. The accommodations were somewhat different but after all, it’s the thought that counts. More and more of my work was based in Europe, and we thought it would be easier to live in the center of Europe for a few years than the center of Manhattan. We were producing the Travels & Traditions series, which deals with history, culture and gastronomy. And most of the cities we covered were in Europe. I was hosting a group of river cruises to help raise funds for the PBS stations.All the ships sailed on the great rivers of Europe. In addition, we were beginning to develop a series called ARTCOPS, designed to help recover missing works of art. And once again, much of the work was in Europe.
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