The Right Way | Valentina Cirasola | Interior Designer


A couple of days ago, Joanne Mathis interviewed me on her BlogTalkRadio show for a talk on the “Taste of Italy” as the launch for my 2013 three trips packages to Italy based on my three books. The trips are in the making in conjunction with various establishments in Italy. Soon, I will be ready to take registrations.

Some parts of the radio talk were really funny, as most of the time happens when talking about Italy, a country, which thrives with free-spirit people and lives on not so many rules. During my next radio talk in October, with Joanne Mathis again, I will highlight some of the things and customs not very proper for foreigners and other useful tips for travelers to Italy.
We were really laughing on the show and having a good time on what Italians consider the “right way”.

• In Italy the woman walks on the right side of the man and inside of the sidewalk near the building and not near the street. It’s an old custom to protect the woman from dangers, still used today.

• To drive in Italy one must think and act like a racecar driver. Accidents are fatal on freeways, where speed limit is not respected much, but are rare in the cities, because our cities were built in the Middle Ages, therefore streets are truly small, often have only one or two lanes, but one must know how to get disentangled to avoid causing a huge traffic jam. Driving through an intersection, one must give the right away, meaning must yield to cars coming from the right, unless otherwise noted by street signals.

• At a dinner party, the man of the house always sits at one of the head table and the wife on the opposite head table. The wife changes her seat to the right of the men of the house when there are special guests. In this case, usually the male special guest sits at the opposite head table across from the man of the house and his wife on his right. In the Middle Age, the women’s place was set at the right of the men as a form of respect and to receive morsels of food the man cut for her and presented on the tip of a knife. Women did not cut their own food. Mind you this was when tableware did not exist yet.

• In Italy we stir coffee to the right, clockwise.

• Woman sleeping with man: she usually sleeps towards the wall and not towards the entry door to the room, often her place falls on the right side of her man.
• When a woman is in the bus, metro, or in a taxi with a man, the man gets off first to help the woman getting off, just in case her heels get caught in something, or some absent-minded person pushes her out.

• When we greet people, we kiss on both cheeks, starting with the right cheek, so it is my right cheek to your right cheek and then left to left.

Italy is a very modern country and women are also living a very modern, hectic life as everywhere in the world, but certain things have remained untouched. The respect toward women and wanting to protect them is very high.

If you like to listen to my radio talk and laugh with us, it will take only 40 minutes of your time. Enjoy it:


Copyright © 2012 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved


Valentina Cirasola will host three trips a year to Italy based on her three books with the intention of showing Italy with the eyes of a designer born in those parts and let people experience the ”wheel of emotions” in the non-commercial Italy beaten down by massive tourism. Valentina will guide the tours through art, architecture, food, shopping and special adventures organized for people who want to live it up! Valentina’s third book is in the printing process. ©RED-A Voyage Into Colors will be soon on Amazon with her others two books:




No Globalization For Me | Valentina Cirasola | Interior Designer


(Photos above and below Altamura bajers:

Last week, at the Italian Cultural Institute of San Francisco, I concluded the series of events dedicated to the celebration of “October Month Of Italian Style” Second year. Last event made in symbiosis with Italian filmmaker Nico Cirasola, my homonymous and not related, was aiming at shining the light on the southern Italian region of Puglia, where both Nico and myself were born and bringing to America our roots, culture and food.
As a self-proclaimed ambassador of my land of Puglia, I centered my talk on the reasons why being an interior designer I didn’t write a design book first, instead I turned to writing two books on food and cooking.


The reason is simple, I explained. I had the feeling when I arrived in USA that not many people in America knew about Puglia as much as they knew about Rome, Florence, Venice and Cinque Terre or Tuscany. That is understandable, tourists always have limited time during traveling, thus they select well-known spots to fill their trips and satisfy their knowledge. However, it irritated me every time I had to explain where Puglia is located and it seemed that if I had come from Mars it would have not made any difference.


Italy is made of 22 regions and everyone has contributed to the history and the making of the republic of Italy. My talk continued with flashes of history, architecture, traditional costume and new habits. It ended with the presentation of my books and the benefits of the southern Italian cuisine, so much appreciated in the world without the world even knowing it. In fact most of the Italian cuisine abroad is based on the southern cooking with our olive oil, the “green gold” of our land, as we call it.
My talk was about amusing and informing my audience and as the ambassador the only thing I wanted to do was to encourage people to plan a trip to Puglia and experience my roots and my culture.
That’s why I felt a mission toward my country region to write two cookbooks before a design book.

Nico Cirasola showed his docu-film entitled “Focaccia Blues” with English subtitle.
Nico’s documentary is a hilarious recount of how a small bread bake house in the small town of Altamura was able to induce McDonald, the American fast food giant, to close its doors after only a couple of years of operation. The only McDonald in the world that has closed business!


The small town of Altamura in Puglia is renowned for its tasty, succulent focaccia and bread. For its inhabitants was almost an offense to their traditional food. Of course at first McDonald drew attention to its joint, it was a new food in town, it was yellow, red and big and it was American! Kids flocked to the big M, attracted by the games and French fries in a paper basket. After watching American scenes on T.V. or at the movie theatres, the big Mac now was a reality in their life too. The adult population of Altamura was willing to try it, but with a reservation. In their minds the aroma of fresh-baked focaccia next-door at Digesu’s bread bake house was unsurpassable. After a few times of trying McDonald’s food, people just decided to abandon it.

The filmmaker Nico Cirasola, who is an interesting and fun person, did not intend to criticize the fast food giant, but to tell a story “a cuor leggero” lightly and heartfelt on how simple food won a silent battle against processed food. The filmmaker’s dry view of the flat land of Puglia mixed with the dry local humor resulted perfect to describe the simplicity of people who have drawn for centuries from the land the resources of their healthy cooking and diet.
As the N.Y Times reported when McDonald closed:
“McDonald’s didn’t get beat by a baker. McDonald’s got beat by a culture.”
And that to me is the essence of what I am expressing here. My southern Italian food is excellent, simple, healthy, once you get used to it, it is difficult to stray away.
My Puglia style of cooking keeps people young, energetic and spunky, with that comes all the positive energy you need.
Focaccia eats hamburger, Puglia food versus processed food wins 10 to 0.

I have embraced globalization even before the word was coined. I have learned to accept other cultures and to be part of the moving world. However, traditions need to stay alive and when it comes to my identifying origins, I know who I am and what I can give to the globalized world. I prefer to keep myself Italian and Pugliese in my cooking and in my style.

The evening in Puglia with Cirasola & Cirasola and Focaccia Blues Film at the San Francisco Italian Cultural Institute concluded as I said earlier the 2011 events of “October Month Of Italian Style”.
Next year events will be bigger and better and will mark year number three.

If you ever need to know more about a trip to Puglia, or even how to decorate in Puglia style (it will be the subject of next article), I shall be here prompt and ready to tell you all about it, just leave your name in the box below. Ciao,


Copyright © 2011 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved


Valentina Cirasola is an Italian Interior Designer with a passion for kitchens and cooking. She operates in the USA and Europe. She loves to remodel homes and loves to turn unattractive spaces into castles, but especially loves to design kitchens and wine grottos, outdoor kitchens and outdoor rooms, great rooms and entertainment rooms. She is the author of two Italian regional cuisine books available on Amazon 

Robert Taitano, a friend and business associate of says:
“Valentina – an International Professional Interior Designer is now giving you an opportunity to redesign your palate”.



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