Welcome Everyone.

Welcome to News From Italy, my blog about our Italian Adventure. Although this blog has now ceased publication I will be continuing to blog and I am sincerely hoping that my many followers here will move with me to Travel Tales blog to follow my next adventures wherever they may take me. The links to my other blogs are:-

I look forward to keeping in touch with you via them, thanks once again for all the support you have given 'News From Italy' over the years.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Top Ten Posts from the Bloggers in Italy


Courtesy of Fiera del Vino Official Website


This week I have been honoured again with a lovely compliment by the following Blog.

italytutto – the blog about the blogs and bloggers in italy for my recent post Montefiascone - Fiera del Vino 2010

This blog does a fantastic job of keeping track of bloggers in Italy

top 10 posts from the bloggers in Italy

The choice of the posts from the bloggers in Italy this week (in alphabetical order):

  1. 3 in Giro: Shopping for school supplies, Italian style
    Full service beats self-service
  2. Bleeding Espresso: Gita Italiana 2010
    All the guest bloggers who take us around Italy (sorry, couldn’t choose only one!)
  3. Dim Sum, Bagels and Crawfish: Trunk produce
    Where to buy the best fresh produce
  4. Expatriate in Rapallo: No bad dogs
    Rewarding acts of bravery and courage by dogs
  5. Flavors of Abruzzo: Mrs Clean where are you?
    Italians have the cleanest homes in Europe
  6. Life in Abruzzo:  The beauty of rain
    Where to watch the passing beauty of rain in Abruzzo
  7. Livorno Daily Photo: Porticoes
    How the Via Grande in Livorno has changed since the destruction of WWII
  8. News from Italy: Montefiascone – Fiera del Vina 2010
    Buy yourself a pouch and a glass to take around the cantinas
  9. Over a Tuscan Stove: Summer food fest – tomatoes the Italian way
    Dozens of ways on how to use tomatoes
  10. Students in Rome: Tu vuo’ fa’ l’americano
    The song that has been dominating Italy’s pop music scene this summer

This excellent blog is maintained by a freelance writer with wide experience who first statred writing this blog at the beginning of 2009 to keep track of all her favourite bloggers in Italy.

At the beginning of 2010, she made a lifestyle choice and gave up full-time corporate life to spend more time at her home in Lunigiana in Northern Tuscany, she now divides her time between Italy and the UK.

I enjoy reading this feature on a regular basis and through italytutto have discovered lots of great blogs on Italy which I hope some of you will now maybe discover for yourselves.

The last time News From Italy was featured earlier this month can be found here.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Sunday Song - Gianni Morandi


As promised on the Sunday song post for Buon Ferragosto I am featuring each artist individually over the next few weeks. Last week it was the turn of Sergio Cammariere

Today it is the turn of Gianni Morandi

 Courtesy of Wikipedia


Gianni Morandi  was born on December 11, 1944 in the Tuscan- Emilian Apennines in the tiny village of  Monghidoro   He has been part of the Italian pop scene since 1962 with varying degrees of popularity over the five decades he has been performing. After a slump in his career during the 1970's he has regained his popularity in the last twenty years and has produced thirty eight albums.  He won the San Remo Festival in 1987, placed second in 1995 and third in 2000.

Tomorrow afternoon August 30th from 3pm until midnight Gianni is performing with many other stars in a fund raising concert in Roma at Casale del Treja - Mazzano - Roma for a paediatric hospital in Chiulo, Angola. Maybe just maybe somebody reading this is going to be attending, do let us know how it went if you do.  I am including the link for anyone that may be interested in this free entry fund raising concert Paroledilulu.


    Courtesy of Mistersiria

Some of my readers are learning Italian and have asked me before if the words for particular songs are available. I have already discovered  myself in the last few years that listening to Italian songs helps with learning the language so I thought this was maybe a good idea. I was delighted then to discover this week that along with the video Mistersiria  has included the words, therefore I am reproducing them for you below. Do let me know what you think of this new feature, not that I can promise to always be able to include a transcript. If you think it is a good idea I will try to do so sometimes when I can find the words. My Italian is not up to doing this myself by just listening and writing it out, although it would be a good exercise, I do not want to get it wrong.

The Words in Italian

Gianni Morandi - Grazie a tutti

Ma chi l'avrebbe detto mai,
com'è volato il tempo,
la vita forse va cosi'
ti affianca e ti sorpassa
e tu che tiri dritto,
che sembra sempre di andar piano
e invece insegui la tua strada
e sei arrivato fino a qui,
ma chi l'avrebbe detto mai.
Grazie a tutti,
con il cuore, a tutti quanti,
a chi mi vuole bene,
a chi mi ha insegnato a guardare avanti
ed anche a chi mi ha fatto male,
mi e' servito per capire,
grazie a chi mi ha detto no,
ad un sorriso sconosciuto,
ad una donna, ad un amico
e a quella porta chiusa in faccia,
a chi non mi ha tradito quella volta.
E' una questione d' ironia,
se vuoi sdrammatizzare
e quando pensi di sapere
hai ancora da imparare,
se corri arrivi più veloce
ma forse perdi delle cose
e quando credi sia finita
un'occasione nuova avrai,
ma chi l'avrebbe detto mai.
Grazie a tutti,
con il cuore, a tutti quanti,
a chi mi vuole bene,
a chi mi ha insegnato ad andare avanti
ed anche a chi mi ha fatto male,
mi e' servito ad imparare,
grazie a chi mi ha detto no,
al sorriso di un bambino,
a una donna, alla mia sposa.
Grazie a tutti,
che date vita alla mia vita,
in questa favola infinita,
che mi ha insegnato a guardare avanti
anche se ferito al cuore,
mi e' servito per capire,
grazie a chi mi ha detto no,
alle sfide, alle salite
ed alle mani di mio padre
e a quella porta chiusa in faccia,
a chi non mi ha tradito quella volta,
per quanto ho dato e quanto ho avuto,
per quanto ho riso, pianto, sperato,
per ogni giorno che ho ricominciato,
per ogni istante regalato, voglio dire:
grazie a tutti!

If you enjoyed having the words in Italian included do please let me know.

Gianni Morandi official siteCourtesy Official Website.


More biographical and career information can be found about Gianni Morandi on both Wikipedia and on his Official Website it is from these sites and YouTube that I have found out all my information when researching this post


More Sunday Songs can be found by visiting 5 Minutes Just for Me

Buono Domenica Tutti

Friday, August 27, 2010

Friday Foto - August Moon


Photograph taken one evening earlier this week whilst we were having supper on the terrace.

I wish you all a relaxed and happy weekend.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Montefiascone - Fiera del Vino 2010


Italytuttotoptenpost BadgeTop Ten Posts From the Bloggers in Italy

The 52nd Fiera del Vino (Festival of Wine) was held in Montefiascone from 1 - 15 August 2010 and during that period there was a full calendar of entertainments and lots of cantinas open for wine tastings.

It is something of a tradition to buy yourself a pouch and a glass to take around the cantinas with you. For just three Euros you get an engraved wine glass and the pouch, a nice memento and it is easy to use when moving from cantina to cantina during the evening.



We attended on a total of three evenings this year, on the opening night with friends who live in Montefiascone and my cousin on her last evening with us, then again we met up with another friend during the second week, although that evening we made it no further than our favourite wine bar, Volo di Vino, then again on the final Friday. On all three evenings we saw various  musical entertainment and on the Friday even Belly Dancing! After sampling a number of different cantinas wine, our particular favourite wines this year were some of those produced by Cantina Stefanoni and  Cantina Leonardi.

Famous for the production of the very high quality and nationally and internationally recognized and appreciated wine “Est!Est!!Est!!!”,  Montefiascone is seen as a charming centre in the province of Viterbo.

An intriguing detail about Montefiascone lies in the interesting legend attached to the name of its local wine.

The legend suggests that the Abbot Giovanni Defuk was travelling towards Rome, accompanied on his journey by the most loyal of his servants, Martino, who was a  great lover of wine and viticulture.

Courtesy of Fiera del Vino Official Website

In fact, every time they passed a town or village Martino would recount the most important inns that served the best wines. Martino would then, as a signal to the patron, write on the door of those inns “Est!”.

After a few days the abbot arrived at Montefiascone and sent Martino to the most  important inn to taste the wine. The servant, who was amazed by the good taste of the local product, remained so pleased and ecstatic that this time, instead of just the usual signal, decided to write on the inn door “Est!!Est!!Est!!!” and so, according to the legend, comes the name of the wine of Montefiascone.

You can read more on the history of the wine fair here  

This selection of photos should give you a good idea of the atmosphere at this event and if you want to see the full album of 22 photos it can be viewed on Flickr in My Album entitled Montefiascone Fiera del Vino

As some of you know I have a passion for taking sunset photos, so just had to share the one that Nature provided on the first night of the wine festival.

Cantina Stefanoni

Piazza on Via Malatesta

Belly Dancer

Piazza Vittorio Emanuele

Piazza Vittorio Emanuele

Piazza on Via Malatesta

Cantina Azienda Agricola Bortolusso

Certainly a Wine Festival not to be missed.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Marta - Festa del Pescatore




Another summer weekend, another Festa to enjoy, this time the first weekend in August when my cousin S was staying with us it was Festa del Pescatore.  She certainly picked the right weekend with regards to having plenty to do as her first two evenings we had the Santa Marta celebrations  Santa Marta Festa and Santa Marta Firework Display then on her last evening the Montefiascone Wine Fiera started. I think she went home for a rest!

The venue this time was along side the lake in Marta in the park and as you can see from the flags was considered an international event. Table and chairs are set up under the trees along the lakeside, near the harbour and one of the local fish distribution companies provides the meals. For two consecutive evenings they cook a fish supper for anyone that cares to join the long queues that form. It is well worth the wait for the 10 Euro menu of local fish specialities.

This was actually a lot more appetising than it looks here!

Of course after the meal there was the musical entertainment and despite the fact it looks like the fans were the children, later on there were a lot of adults enjoying themselves on the dance floor.

I for once did not take many photos but if you want to see the full album it is on Flickr Marta - Festa del Pescatore

We certainly have found July and August very busy this year with all the various Festas and Sagras that we have participated in. With Ferragosto now over we have been able to find a little more time for just chilling out, which is precisely what we did over the weekend. It has really been too hot to want to do much else with temperatures up in the mid thirties once again so not much has been done in the way of the outside renovations, which will now have to wait for the cooler weather. Still it has been a perfect opportunity to catch up with our reading and spend many hours eating and drinking, as we joined  friends and neighbours for meals, culminating yesterday evening with Pizzas next door, made in their own forno. The one time I did not take my camera, we were given a close up demonstration of the whole process. We have been promised a repeat performance in the winter especially for me to take photos and write about.


I have just discovered that fellow Blogger Rowena has today given the thumbs up to the Viterbo region and in doing so kindly mentioned me. Do go and take a look to see what she has to say today about the region we are lucky enough to call home. 

Rubber Slippers in Italy

I have had a second mention today from A Book Blogging friend of mine, although that is not all she writes about, as you will see if you pay her a visit at over at,

Pam's Perspective

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Sunday Song - Sergio Cammariere


As I promised on last weeks Sunday Song post  Buon Ferragosto I am going to feature the three Italian male singers  individually over the next few weeks, starting today with Sergio Cammariere.


Image Courtesy of http://www.udine20.it/sergio-cammariere-11-marzo-a-gorizia/


Sergio Cammariere was born in Crotone, Italy in November 1960 and is now regarded as a talented singer pianist within the genre of jazz and pop. He takes his inspiration from Italian composers, Latin America and the music of both classical and contemporary musicians.  I have included a list of all his released music below, the first full length album 'Dalla Pace del Lontano' appeared in 2002. For more information on some of the music mentioned, just click on the blue links below the album artwork. It was in this year that his career really seems to have taken off and he won a number of prestigious awards.In 2003 he participated for the first time in the San Remo Song Festival  with 'Tutto quello che un uomo'  He comes third winning both the 'Critics Award' and the award for 'Best Musical Composition'.

2004 saw the release of his next album 'Sul Sentiero' a mixture of soul, Latin American rhythms and instrumental jazz. It is not until 2006 that his third album 'Il Pane, Il Vino e La Visione' is released another beautiful musical journey of love, the only language that needs no translation.  The next album he released in 2008 was called 'Cantautore Piccolino' and is a compilation album of songs chosen by his fans.

I decided to include last weeks choice again,' Estate' but with a different video, as I found it so relaxing.  It is after all the most appropriate for the time of year as it is still 'Summer' at least for those of us living in the northern hemisphere. My second choice is 'Sorella Mia' another one I personally found very summery.

I think it is very likely that I will be featuring Sergio Cammariere here again on Sunday Song in the future.


Estate (Summer) - Sergio Cammariere


Both of the YouTube videos featured here today are courtesy of marinellaforever

Sorella mia (My Sister) - Sergio Cammariere



Carovane 2009                               Cantautore piccolino     2008               Il pane, il vino e la visione 2006

Sul sentiero  2004                               Tutto quello che un uomo  2003    Dalla pace del mare lontano 2002


Tempo perduto                                      I ricordi e le persone                Kunstler - Cammariere & Stress Band


More biographical and career information can be found about Sergio Cammariere on both  Wikipedia and on his Official Website it is from these sites and YouTube that I have found out all my information when researching this post


More Sunday Songs can be found by visiting 5 Minutes Just for Me

Buono Domenica Tutti

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Marcus of Umbria - Book Review


Today I have something different to post about for a change a Book Review.  I am posting it here in addition to on my other blog LindyLouMac'sBookReviews as it is set in Italy. I thought therefore that some of you who do not already read my book reviews might well be interested. 

Maybe I can even tempt some of you into signing up as a follower of LindyLouMac'sBookReviews


I felt the title and the blurb were somewhat misleading as I was expecting more about Justine's relationship with the dog a female called Marcus, yes really and less about Italian culture. In fact I was unsure if I was even going to like the book as I am not a doggy person and would therefore have been happier had it been publicised as yet another Life in Italy story. As really that is what it is, dressed up as a doggy tale to maybe attract a different readership, no idea why though. It was no surprise to me to read a review where the reader was disappointed as there was too much culture and not enough about Justine's relationship with Marcus.

Despite not agreeing personally with the way the book has been marketed I did enjoy it especially as there was an awful lot I was able to empathise with as an expat in Italy myself.

Justine whilst on holiday in Italy starts a relationship with a local man, Emanuele, and barely knowing him decides to give up the New York lifestyle that she is already disillusioned with to live with him in Collelungo. His family the Crucianis accept her as one of the family, despite the fact that due to the culture shock she is experiencing she finds it very difficult and never truly feels she belongs. I don't think Emanuele ever really felt she did either, when you read that he had a key ring engraved with words from a Bob Dylan song as a gift for her. 'Justine, I love you but you're strange'

The relationship with Marcus comes about because one of the things that Justine found hard to cope with was the rural Italians behaviour towards their dogs. It is not usually that the dogs are treated cruelly it is just that they are not seen as pets, but as animals that have to earn their keep and certainly would not not allowed indoors. It has been like this for generations and is not something that Justine was likely to be able to change overnight.

Unable to adapt to Italian rural life and realising that she and Emanule, as much as they had been good friends to each other, it was never going to be a lifetime commitment.  With the relationship as good as over she makes plans to return to the USA along with Marcus. What a culture shock for her, the dog I mean, that must have been!

Can I recommend this well it really depends what you are expecting. If you are hoping that her relationship with Marcus will be thoroughly explored and that you might actually learn something from the lessons she learnt, you will I think be disappointed. I never did discover what that lesson was. That is No then but Yes if you want to read a story that despite, the title is focused on Justine's I think realistic portrayal of life in rural Umbria.


As a point of further interest Collelungo is a real place a very small village near the town of Todi in Umbria and I wonder how they feel about the possible publicity for them that this book might lead to.  I have no idea if names have been changed to preserve identities but with a population of less than 200 not sure this would work anyway.

Collelungo.JPGCollelungo courtesy of Wikipedia

I rarely include personal detail about people I mention on my blog as I feel it is an intrusion into their privacy. Maybe it is different if you write a book I wonder how the people concerned felt?  I do not think I have ever considered this aspect before when reading the many other living abroad tales from expats, but somehow this time I was thinking about my neighbours and how I hold back from writing about them in my blog.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Friday Foto - Water Hyacinth


A few weeks ago in fact at the Santa Marta celebrations I came across a lady in the market selling some interesting looking plants, that you do not plant in the soil but float in water. I was absolutely fascinated and was delighted when David agreed that we should give them a try.

They turned out to be Water Hyacinths and the first flower appeared yesterday so I just had to share it with you for this week's Friday Foto Feature. My cousin S will be delighted to see these photos as she was with me at the market the day I fell for the idea of plants floating in water, just like having a mini pond.

Water hyacinths are apparently one of the easiest to care for aquatic plants. They thrive in any fresh water and are so indestructible they are classified in some parts of the world as invasive weeds. It will be interesting to see if they reproduce as fast as some of the internet articles I have read say they will or if they survive an Italian winter. They will not survive low temperatures so I will have to find a way of nurturing them and keeping them warm with enough light indoors I think for the winter. For now we are just enjoying growing something different.





Image courtesy of Google images.   There is also some interesting information on these plants on the Wikipedia page for Water Hyacinths and I even found an interesting video on YouTube.

Courtesy of cattailremoval

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Santa Marta - Firework Display


In continuation of yesterdays post on  Santa Marta.  The celebrations started on the evening of the 28th of July with a Procession at night by the fisherman in their boats on the lake and a procession along the streets of Marta on the evening beforehand. The next day is considered a local holiday with everyone in a festive mood with a large market during the day and culminating with a magnificent Firework display at 11pm.

No market photos as have only very recently done a post on that very subject Marta Mercato just lots of firework photos to share today.  I enjoy fireworks so much more when the displays are on balmy summer evenings.

I think this one looks like a sky full of shooting stars.


 It is the reflection in the water that made this one special.


  Another beautiful reflection!






I am not a professional photographer and I still have an awful lot to learn, but hopefully these go a little way towards capturing the moment for you.

There are lots more photos of The Firework Display in My Flickr Album Santa Marta Firework Spectacular 29th July 2010

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Santa Marta - Festa to celebrate the Patron Saint of Marta.


The 29th of July is the Saints Day for Martha who was the sister of Mary and Lazarus of Bethany, a village about three kilometres from Jerusalem in the time of Jesus.  In honour of sharing a name with Santa Marta, the town of Marta celebrates in her honour. The celebrations start with a Procession at night by the fisherman in their boats on the lake and a procession along the streets of Marta on the evening beforehand. The next day is considered a local holiday with everyone in a festive mood with a large market during the day and culminating with a magnificent Firework display at 11pm.   Today I am sharing with you a few of my photos from the procession and a video taken by a contact of mine.

This event took place on the evening of my cousin's arrival to spend a long weekend with us, so we collected her from the airport and went directly to Trattoira da la Jolanda  for supper which is right on the lakeside. This is the restaurant you may have noticed in photos of posts on the Marta Lakeside Renovations recently. We knew that from here we would have excellent views both of the procession on the water and the one on the street as it moved along the front to the Fishermans port where the blessing takes place.

The procession commences its passage along the lakeside with a few fireworks.

The processions are taking place simultaneously which is why my photos jump from shore to lake and back again. We certainly had an excellent vantage point at Jolanda's

Santa Marta Procession: July 28th 2010

 webtony1 Festa della patrona Santa Marta a Marta prov. di Viterbo, a cura di Antonio Fontana Feast of the Patron Saint Martha, province of Viterbo, edited by Anthony Fontana. Please take five minutes to view this video as it gives I feel an excellent portrayal of the event and our beautiful town of Marta. I am grateful to Antonio for making this available to share.

There are also a few more photos in My Flickr Album  Santa Marta - 28th July 2010 and tomorrow I will post some Firework photos from the following evening.