Page 151. " The great celebrations of Easter "
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Greek Easter Eggs
Creative Commons AttributionGreek Easter Eggs - Credit: Phi Beta Kappa, Flickr
Easter is the most important religious festival in Greece.   The lamb, as symbol of Christ, is central to tradition, and charcoal-roasted lamb is the main dish on Easter Sunday.  

Greeks paint Easter eggs red to symbolise the blood of Christ.  The eggs are then used in a game, where players compete to crack each other's eggs.  The breaking of an egg symbolises the breaking open of Christ's tomb.

On Good Friday, flags in Greece are lowered to half mast, and a symbolic coffin is borne through the streets.

Greek Easter Traditions and Recipes

Page 156. " Down in the harbours the men of the Acqui Division disembarked apologetically "
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General Antonio Gandin
Public DomainGeneral Antonio Gandin
Cephallonia was invaded by the 33 Mountain Infantry Division Acqui of the Italian army on 30 April 1941.   The Division was led by General Antonio Gandin, and numbered some 12,000 men.   The occupation lasted for two and half years, and was mostly peaceable.   Compulsory Italian lessons and a new currency were the only sources of real dispute between the invading force and the local inhabitants.  

Page 158. " I felt envious of our soldiers in Yugoslavia who had changed sides and joined the Garibaldi Division "
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The Garibaldi Brigade was formed by Italians living abroad in reaction to Mussolini's fascism.   A communist organisation, it fought against regular Italian troops in the Spanish Civil War, with particular success at the Battle of Guadalajara.   During World War II, the brigade allied with Tito's partisans in Yugoslavia.

Interview with Garibaldi Brigade Partisans

Garibaldi Brigade

Page 161. " My first experience of La Scala was hearing the Anvil Chorus "
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La Scala
Creative Commons AttributionLa Scala - Credit: Bernt Rostad, Flickr

Teattro alla Scala is the world-famous opera house in Milan.  

The Anvil Chorus comes from Il Trovatore by Verdi.   Known as the gypsy chorus (Coro di zingari) in Italian, it comes at the beginning of Act II, when the gypsies strike their anvils at dawn in celebration of women in wine.

Listen on Spotify: The Anvil Chorus

Page 172. " I wanted to play Hummel and Conforto and Giuliani "
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Johann Nepomuk Hummel (1778-1837) was born in Bratislava and was instructed in music by Mozart.  

Nicola Conforto (1718-1793) was born in Naples, but worked mostly in Madrid on operas for the Spanish Court.  

Mauro Giuliani (1781-1829) was a virtuoso guitarist who lived mainly in Vienna and played in the first performance of Beethoven's sixth Symphony.