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.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Sunday Song and Vacation Post

This will be my last posting at least from Italian soil for the next three weeks as tomorrow we depart on a very exciting adventure. We are off to Hong Kong to visit our eldest daughter and her boyfriend who have been living there since last July.
Hong Kong is somewhere we have always wanted to visit since my father often spoke with affection of his time there duriing his National Service.  Sadly he is now only with us in sprit, but I know he would be thrilled to know that his daughter and grandaughters have both followed in his footsteps and visited such an interesting city. Although obviously he would not recognise the place these days.
If it is at all possible I will post,maybe a photo or two at least, while I am away but if I don't manage it I will be back soon and hopefully Spring will have arrived here in Italy.

Meanwhile I leave you with a Sunday Song

"Per Tutte le Volte Che" ("For All the Times That"),

This is sung by Valerio Scanu the nineteen year old winner of this years SanRemo Festival.  
 A new face on the pop music scene here in Italy, Valerio came second in last year's edition of "Amici de Maria De Filippi" ("Friends of Maria De Filippi"), which is a talent show for budding entertainers.   It seems to be fairly successful in discovering new talent as the 2009 Sanremo winner, Marco Carta was the winner of the talent show the previous year. 
In fact this song was written by one of this year's current contestants a young singer songwriter called Pierdavide Carone.   The winner of this years Amici will not be known for another few weeks

Friday, February 26, 2010

Evolution of the Mini

When we were last in Viterbo we parked next to a very old but lovingly restored  Mini.   It struck me then how very small it was in its original incarnation and how much it has evolved to become the 21st Century Mini.

Uploaded on February 22, 2010
by LindyLouMac Photo Collection

Uploaded on February 22, 2010
by LindyLouMac Photo Collection

view photostreamUploaded on February 15, 2010
by hwayderr90

Seeing it certainly brought back some memories from the sixties!
I never had one myself but a boyfriend did, how about you?

Which do you prefer old or new? I think for me it has to be the old one but then I am a nostalgic when it comes to old cars. For instance I love the old Fait 500 as well, but that can be for another time!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Food for the Birds

The Persimmon tree has certainly proved very popular with the birds and since the beginning of this year they have enjoyed feasting on the remaining fruit .

I am hoping that the birdwatchers amongst my readers may be able to confirm identification, as we are still not sure if the visitor I have photographed is a member of the warbler family?     

Please let me know if you can identify this pretty little bird as pouring over our bird books we have been unable to come to a conclusion ourselves.                     

Although this was the only decent close up photo that I managed to capture this year we have had plenty of other visitors to the Persimmon, amongst them, Blue-tits, Coal-tits, Tree Creepers and Chiff-Chaffs.

Monday, February 22, 2010

The Weekend

Despite and because of the weather we enjoyed a very pleasant weekend.  This week the little sunshine we have had has seen the first of our Daffodils come into full bloom, which is always a cheerful sight.

Saturday was yet another strange day weather wise,  a real mixture of sun, wind, rain and hail! This winter as we all know has felt particularly long and more than ever it seems to be the major topic of conversation here in Italy. So you see it is not just the British that seem to be obsessed with discussing the weather.
Everyone you meet wants to talk about what an extraordinary winter it has been.
We spent the day mainly indoors, me doing various tasks, jobs, chores whatever, including dreaming up my Saturday/Sunday song feature. I think that the Laura Pausini video I posted is enchanting and certainly lifted my mood.  
Laura Pausini Sorella Terra

David meanwhile was working on the interior doors downstairs, they are now finished and really look superb. Here are the before and after photos for you to admire his handiwork.

We were certainly looking forward to going out on Saturday evening and meeting up with our friends Nick and Viv. If we needed an excuse, which we didn’t, it was to celebrate Viv completing successfully her TEFL (Teaching English As A Foreign Language) course. We met up with them in a Wine Bar in the centro storico of Montefiascone and then later went to one of our favourite local trattoria’s, Alvaro’s whose speciality is meat, which  is grilled on the open fire and tastes absolutely delicious.

Viv and I had lamb which we do tend to do when we go there as there are not many places around here where it is available and certainly not up to the standard of Alvaro’s! The men opted for pork and veal, the portions are always generous, well they seem so to us, so it is definitely the place to go locally when you want a meat fest!  Usually the restaurants around this region specialise in fish, not surprising as we are on the shores of  the Lago di Bolsena  and not that far from the sea, normally we choose fish when we go out to eat.  However sometimes it makes a change to eat meat out, especially cooked this way and the lamb is so delicious.

Yesterday in complete contrast to Saturday and the forecast for the early part of this week we had some sunshine as promised. It actually felt pleasantly warm for awhile out of the wind and we were able to sit outside with a cup of coffee mid morning and later for lunch. Not that we ate much after the feast the night before.
We had two lots of visitors first our neighbour Franco, of  Postbox Saga  fame came over with a gift for us. You will never guess,  half a lamb, our neighbours certainly look after us well.  He had told us earlier in the week that he was going to be culling some of his lambs and was concerned that we might find it upsetting, as it can all rather be in your face, no hiding things around here. It is a fact of life around here one minute those lambs are gamboling around in the field and then you see one hanging up! I know this might be distressing to some especially vegetarians but as I have stated here strongly already that I do like to eat lamb. So therefore I maintain that they would never have been born at all if humans were not carnivores. It all comes down to quality of life and humane killing in my opinion.

Our other visitors were Viv and Nick as Nick had kindly volunteered to come and help us with the pruning of the larger branches from the walnut tree outside our bedroom. He is much more agile than David and happy to clamber about up in trees, as some of you will remember from the Olive Harvest.

Anyway with his much appreciated help we made a good job of the pruning.

So that was our weekend, productive and relaxing.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Sunday Song

Courtesy of Pasquale1966 

It is not only in the UK that Susan Boyle has been successful.  On her first visit to Italy she has appeared at this years San Remo Festival  to resounding appreciation receiving a standing ovation for her performance.

Saturday Song

The title of this post is because yesterday I came across this fabulous video accompanying Laura Pausini singing Sorella Terra and I thought it might be a good idea to feature a selection of  music that is popular in Italy.
I will do this at the weekends when hopefully you will have time to watch, listen and enjoy.

Welcome then to the first in the series of what will I hope become a regular feature to appear here, on a Saturday or Sunday, or maybe both but not every weekend!

It was a good weekend for us and I intend to post about it tomorrow with some photographs.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Mudslide in Calabria


Yesterday morning there was another natural disaster, not on the scale of the earthquake in Haiti but no less devastating for those involved. A mudslide in the the village of Maierato in Calabria, Southern Italy. It left the village without any services, such as water, electricity etc and in the region of 2,000 inhabitants had to be evacuated.

This region is apparently prone to such landslips, but the amount of rain that has fallen over the last few months has made the area particularly susceptible.

The video I am posting is fromYou Tube and it shows just how terrifying it must have been to have viewed this from such close proximity. It is just like an avalanche but instead of snow in mud, truly horrendous.

My thoughts go out to all those effected by this disaster in which thankfully, as far as I have been able to ascertain no one was hurt, a miracle in itself

To my friends who live in Calabria, stay safe.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

St Valentines Day San Valentino

Valentine's Day
Courtesy of Wikepedia

According to my research the Saints Day for San Valentino used to be celebrated as an early Spring festival, where young people listened to music and read poetry in the open air. I have certainly never seen evidence of this going on these days. For one thing it is far too cold!

In Italy now just like the rest of the world Valentines Day is seen as another commercial opportunity. If advertising is to be believed the youngsters express love to their sweethearts with gifts ranging from jewellery and perfume to flowers, chocolates and cards.
One chocolate that is heavily promoted here at this time of the year is the Baci Perugina ( Baci translates as a kisses), this small chocolate covered hazelnut, contains a romantic quote inside its wrapper. If the advertising is to be believed very popular with young lovers.
An occasion to be celebrated by lovers, this evening the local restaurants will probably be full of young romantics.  They certainly were last year when we joined them, however this year we have nothing planned so will probably stay home. A burning log fire, a bottle of wine and each other, what more can we want.
Meanwhile my lovely husband  treats me as his Valentine every single day of his life. I know that he does so much more to take care of me than I  ever seem to do for him, but he knows I love him dearly.
After all
knots of love

Monday, February 8, 2010


It is the time of the year to get the pruning done and when the weather has been amenable we have got started. There is lots to do this year as pruning has been rather neglected for the last few years. Although we purchased the house this time last year, the garden was very low in our priorities. It was  somewhat more important to turn our building site into our home, the ground floor had not really been used as residential accommodation before. A year later the house is now a home, still some work to do on the interior but this year we will be able to spend more time working on the garden.  In fact tomorrow the 9th of February is the first anniversary of completing the purchase. Although it was another month before we were able to move in and even then we had to go outside to get upstairs!

I say we have started the pruning but I am honest enough to admit that it is David and Bruno that have been doing all the hard work.  I am just a willing helper, when it is not too cold and of course the official photographer!

David has had lots of impromptu lessons from Bruno which have been a great help. The first one was for the Kiwi’s, the first photo shows how it looked before, followed by a series of photos to show the process.

Early December Heavily Laden Kiwi Plants

January Tangled Kiwi Plants Awaiting Pruning.

Looking Somewhat Less Tangled

That Looks Better

The next pruning task was the Persimmmon, which if you follow this link you will see how it looked at Christmas. It now looks somewhat different as David and I did this together and have pruned it back very hard according to instructions. It was very thick and tangled before so it is strange to see it looking so denuded! I suppose it will grow back and look pretty again for next Christmas. Lets hope so anyway?

Thick and Tangled


Another tree in the garden that is looking completely denuded is a Willow, David was trimming it carefully when Bruno arrived and proceeded to give it a complete haircut!


He then taught David how to use the willow as ties around the garden. All the kiwi growth is now tied up with willow. Very ecological and proof that the old ways can still be the best.

We still have lots of fruit trees and the walnut trees to prune and these will be done gradually over the forthcoming weeks. The priority over the last few days has been to get the vines all pruned. We had a few at our previous house so thought we knew how they should be done. Almost completed when along comes Bruno to tell us that although they had been pruned correctly, that was not how they are done locally!

With around 57 vines it seems we may have to consider making some wine ourselves this year!

Friday, February 5, 2010

World Nutella Day

World Nutella Day  

For lots more interesting information do follow the link above which will take you to another Blog I follow Bleeding Espresso which is written by Michelle Fabio.

While I wanted to show my support to  World Nutella Day I am also wondering if I am alone in not liking 
Tartine et pot de Nutella.jpg
Please let me know what you think of Nutella?

Maybe it is a LOVE or HATE relationship like the famous product (well in the UK market it is) Marmite

I LOVE MARMITE! Maybe that just means I do not have an incredibly sweet tooth if I prefer this savoury spread in preference to NUTELLA.
                                   HAPPY NUTELLA DAY