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.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Buon Natale – Happy Christmas – Italian Christmas Music Selection 2011


This will be my last post until well into the New Year as for the next few weeks  I will be busy devoting myself to celebrating the Christmas and New Year holidays with family and friends as I imagine will most of you who visit ‘News From Italy’.
I decided that while I am away I will do the same as last year and leave you with a selection of Italian Christmas music to listen to. Hopefully there will be something among my selection to every ones taste. I look forward to returning in 2012  towards the end of January and continuing to share our little piece of Italy with you all.
Along with my husband David I wish each and every one of you
Buon Natale – Happy Christmas 

My first choice this year is a beautiful rendition of one of Italy’s favourite Christmas songs ‘From Starry Skies Descending’,

Natale - Christmas - Tu scendi dalle stelle

Uploaded by lorpre87 on Nov 29, 2008
Next something from a popular Italian singer

Irene Grandi - Buon Natale a tutto il Mondo
Uploaded by cristallodicarbonio on Dec 24, 2008
The title certainly says it all  Merry Christmas to all the World
Italian Lyrics to Buon Natale A Tutto Il Mondo
odore di castagne per le strade
Fa freddo e il vento va dicendo nei camini
almeno questa notte
dimentichiamo il male
Buon natale a tutto il mondo
che stanotte veglierà
Buon natale
sotto la neve
ogni casa risplenderà
Se a te nessuno
stanotte vicino sarà
da te la mia voce verrà
Buon natale a tutto il mondo
Buon natale con tutto il cuore
Se a te nessuno
stanotte vicino sarà
da te la mia voce verrà
Buon natale a tutto il mondo
Buon natale con tutto il cuore
Buon natale a tutto il mondo

English Lyrics to Merry Christmas To All The World
smell of chestnuts in the streets
It's cold and the wind is saying in the fireplaces
at least this night
forget the bad
Merry Christmas to all the world
it will watch tonight
Merry Christmas
under the snow
each house will shine
If any of you
tonight will be near
you will be my voice
Merry Christmas to all the world
Merry Christmas with all my heart
If any of you
tonight will be near
you will be my voice
Merry Christmas to all the world
Merry Christmas with all my heart
Merry Christmas to all the world

A short and sweet catchy little song from Nat King Cole.
Uploaded by dany200786 on Dec 5, 2008
Now for something from Michéal  Casteldo  an Italian born Canadian who has just released a new album Extravergine from which I have chosen one song to share with you. For details of the album and where to purchase visit his Official Website
Extravergine: A Mediterranean Christmas

Micheal Castaldo - E Nato il Bambino Gesu - What Child is This? From the Extravergine CD.

Uploaded by livecell on Dec 6, 2011
My fifth and sixth choices are from an American  pianist  John Tesh  who although not singing in Italian , just performing some of my favourite Christmas carols, the accompanying films are made in Italy, in one of my favourite regions the Amalfi coast.

Silent Night • John Tesh Christmas in Positano, Italy

Uploaded by TheJohnTeshRadioShow on Dec 1, 2009
Uploaded by TheJohnTeshRadioShow on Dec 2, 2009
There are lots more like this that I would have liked to have shared but I do not want to make the post too long, so here is the link to a list of more  John Tesh Christmas Videos in case you are interested.
My final choice is from a selection of six Christmas song videos  of a children's choir Canzoni di Natale posted by YouTube user Marchetti47, clicking on either link will take you to the rest of the videos. as I have just embedded the first one here.  Lots of familiar tunes which I think you will find you can enjoy without translations.

Natale - canzoni natalizie Italiane - Parte 1°

Uploaded by marchetti47 on Nov 27, 2009
Last year I shared the following songs and the link will take you to the post if you would like to listen to any of them. Italian Christmas Music Selection 2010
Corale Canepa - Astro del Ciel - Silent Night
Natale - Christmas - Tu scendi dalle stelle – You come down from the stars
Irene Grandi – Bianco Natale – White Christmas
White Christmas Jazz 2010 (Gianni Gandi & Orjana)
Andrea Bocelli - Andrea Bocelli & David Foster: My Christmas (2009) - Gloria in Excelsis Deo
Natale 2010 - Christmas - O Mio Signore - Cliff Richard

free Vintage bird clip art Robin
The  graphics are courtesy of  The Graphics Fairy and all the music was found by conducting a search on YouTube.
I hope you found something to your taste here and I look forward to catching up with you all in 2012.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Our Persimmon Tree



As some of you will already know we have our very own Persimmon tree just outside the kitchen which provides shade on our terrace during the summer. During the summer the fruit is hard and looks very similar to a large green apple, not good when they drop off as part of the natural process, narrowly missing those seeking shade by sitting under the tree! The fruit gradually softens and changes colour from pale orange through to an almost tomato red orange colour. The redder they are the softer they are and you need to pick them and eat them at this stage as they do not seem to store for long. The done thing is to pick and enjoy for pranzo, lunch or cena, supper straight from the tree. Despite losing what seemed like hundreds during the ripening process it is still covered in what are now Orange Balls, just like Christmas Decorations.  The art is in picking them before they drop on the terrace or a passing person if you are unlucky, by now a rather messy process. We have had some near misses but no direct strikes yet!

As you drive around the area you see lots of these trees now bare of leaves adding a Christmas feel to the landscape.

We know our neighbours enjoy the fruit and eat them regularly at this time of the year but wonder how many of those free Christmas Decorations are left on the trees as like us Italians generally find they are a fruit which is of very acquired taste, not something everyone enjoys by any means. Meanwhile the birds enjoy the fruit and we appreciate its attractiveness!

Parts of this post may seem familiar to readers who have been with me for over a year, but I have written about the Persimmon again as I really wanted to share an amazing recipe for using this fruit with you all.

Last year we asked for ideas of how to use our surplus Persimmon fruits and this is what was suggested to us by Heiko from Path to Self Sufficiency


 I will reproduce the recipe here but if you want to read the original post on Heiko’s blog  Path to Self Sufficiency from 2007 you can do so here

It really is very easy - 1 kg of persimmon, peeled and chopped, add 350g brown sugar, 250 ml white wine vinegar, 2 tsp of dried ginger and 2 bay leaves. Bring to the boil and simmer for 45-60 minutes until cooked to a pulp that is thick and jam-like. Pot up in hot jars, seal and store.

You may also know this fruit as kaki or sharon fruit, but whatever you call it, if you can get hold of some do try this recipe sometime. It works and really does taste like Mango Chutney!

Another recent post about Persimmon this time from a blog I enjoy reading about Life in Japan Life in Kawagoe

Persimmon Photos.


Early summer green and hard, looking like apples.

Below is how the fruit changes colour during the late summer.

November shows the Persimmon tree in all its Autumn glory.

By mid November the leaves are dropping

Finally our very own Christmas Persimmon Tree

Copyright All rights reserved by LindyLouMac Photo Collection

The photos are all my own except the chutney picture which is courtesy of Heiko but I will admit that some of them are from last year including this magnificent Christmas Persimmon Tree. This year we have removed lots to make our Persimmon Mango Chutney.

If you are interested in viewing more  of my Persimmon photos there are plenty in the Flickr albums Persimmon Year  and Persimmon 2011

Have a lovely weekend end everyone, the last one before Christmas, so hope you are by now well organised!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Italy in Books Reading Challenge December 2011

The Blue Demon by David Hewson

The Blue Demon (Nic Costa, #8)

  • Paperback: 391 pages
  • Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Fiction
  • Publisher: February 5th 2010 by Macmillan
  • Source: Obtained in a Charity bookshop in the UK especially for the Italy in Books Challenge
  • First Sentence : The garden of the Quirinale felt like a suntrap as the man in the silver armour strode down the shingle path.
  • My Opinion: The fact that it was set in places I am familiar with added to the interest considerably.


    The December post for the list of books that the other people taking part are reading this month has already been posted. December Reviews

    This is my last entry as the challenge reaches a successful conclusion for me, I have read and reviewed a book for every month of the year. I would like to take the opportunity to thank Brighton Blogger of Book After Book for hosting what has been a fun challenge to participate in.

    I doubt I would ever have considered reading this title had it not been for the Italy in Books Reading Challenge for 2011. Thrillers and mysteries are a genre I do not read a great deal of although I have a few authors of this genre I enjoy. In fact I usually only read this genre if it is one my husband has read and recommends to me. This was the case with this one and also to be honest I was hunting around our bookshelves for something set in Italy for the final book of the challenge. So although this title would maybe not be my first choice I did find it a good read and the fact that it was set in places I am familiar with added to the interest considerably.

    With mainly Italian characters, lots of references to Italian history, art and culture, use of Italian and familiar places how could I fail to enjoy this novel. Having visited some of the Etruscan tombs in this region it was fascinating to read a novel weaved around the legacy of the lost race of the Etruscans. The storyline is complex with many twists and turns and will keep you guessing right to the very end.

    The story commences with the kidnapping of a government minister and his driver murdered, just days before an important conference with leaders of the G8 in Rome. When a ritual murder takes place, performed it seems by someone dressed as The Blue Demon from Etruscan history. It is then that Detective Nic Costa suspects that a twenty year old case where a mysterious group committed a series of crimes in the style of the infamous Blue Demon of Etruscan history was never really solved. The group has reformed and are planning attacks on Rome with devastating consequences. Old Etruscan myths, conspiracy and murders old and new are all part of the investigation.

    Well worth reading if you are not only a lover of all things Italian but enjoy a good mystery.

    For those of you interested in learning more about the historical background, I have included a couple of links to get you started.

    The Tomb of The Blue Demons The Blue Demons in the Etruscan Underworld.

    Author Profile

    David Hewson

    DAVID HEWSON was born in Yorkshire in 1953 and left school at the age of seventeen to work as a cub reporter on one of the smallest evening newspapers in the country in Scarborough. Eight years later I was a staff reporter on The Times in London, covering news, business and latterly working as arts correspondent. I worked on the launch of the Independent and was a weekly columnist for the Sunday Times for a decade before giving up journalism entirely in 2005 to focus on writing fiction.

    He has written sixteen novels, as well as several travel books. Until 2005 he was a weekly columnist for the Sunday Times until becoming a full-time author. David lives in Kent but visits Italy frequently. All 11 of his Italian books are now in development as TV movies.

    Sources of information used in this post :-

    Goodreads Author Profile Author's Official Website David Hewson - Blog


    I also post these ‘Italy in Books’ reviews on my other blog.
    LindyLouMac's Book Reviews

  • Saturday, December 10, 2011

    Saturday Snapshots – Our Kiwi Harvest


    Early December is the time we have our last harvest of the year the Kiwi’s. Those of you that have been reading my ‘Our Garden’ posts since the Spring will have seen photos of the Kiwi vines as the season progressed and they gradually grew to become these impressive looking fruits.

    We picked them this year a few days ago and my other half reckons there are about 50 kilos of kiwi’s for us to enjoy over the winter. In fact they will be kept in our cool dark cellar and last us right through until early summer.  We eat the majority of them fresh, although a little kiwi jam always goes down well with my sister and family.


    These photos can also be viewed individually in My Flickr Album Our Kiwi Harvest 2011

    I have also linked up these photos today with Saturday Snapshot by Alyce at At Home With Books. Do call by if you are interested in viewing more snapshots or to add your own.

    Have a lovely weekend everyone.

    Thursday, December 8, 2011

    Festa Immacolata Concezione - Feast of the Immaculate Conception – Dicembre 8.


    The Immaculate Conception by Murillo, 1660, Museo del Prado, Spain.

    Today is a Public holiday here in Italy in celebration of this event.

    The Feast of the Immaculate Conception celebrates belief in the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. It is celebrated every year on 8 December in a number of countries including Italy where the date is a Public holiday.

    I do not know much about the celebrations as I am not Catholic but assume that the church has special services. There is a widespread misunderstanding of the term ‘immaculate conception’ as many believe it refers to Mary's conception of Jesus, that the date of this celebration occurs only seventeen days before Christmas should make the error obvious! Annunciation of the Lord or the Incarnation of Christ, as it is also known is celebrated on 25 March, exactly nine months before Christmas Day. It was at the Annunciation, when the Blessed Virgin Mary humbly accepted the honour bestowed on her by God and announced by the angel Gabriel, that the conception of Christ took place.

    The Feast of the Immaculate Conception, goes back to the seventh century, when churches in the East began celebrating the Feast of the Conception of Saint Anne. In other words, this feast celebrates the conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the womb of Saint Anne; and nine months later, on September 8, we celebrate the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

    It is sunny and 10C (at 9.30am) so I think we will be working in the garden today, tidying up ready for the winter.

    Tuesday, December 6, 2011

    San Nicola - Saint Nicholas Day – Dicembre 6

    Over the last few days my 2010 post for San Nicola has been appearing in the side bar as a Popular Post.  So I have decided to repost today an updated version as it seems Saint Nicholas is always of interest at this time of the year and lots of you will not have read it before.

    Today is the Saints Day for Nicholas, December 6th not only a special day for all the Nicholas’s and Nicola’s in Italy where Saints Days are celebrated by the namesakes, but also today for many other children in Italy this day is seen as the beginning of the Christmas festivities when they receive a present from San Nicola.

    This day is celebrated in many different parts of the world, several countries within Europe including Italy, as the day when one of the most popular saints in history died in AD 354.  There are many stories circulating about his life, but true or not there is certainly no doubt that this is the Saint that inspired the much loved character Father Christmas or Babbo Natale as he is known in Italy.
    Saint Nicholas (270–6 December 346) was born into a wealthy Greek family and at a young age he devoted his life both to God and to assisting those in need. He grew up in a Greek speaking colony of the Roman Empire

    Myra, now part of Turkey, where he became a Bishop of the city. When he died his bones were placed in the cathedral of Myra  which became a popular pilgrimage destination until 1087 when the Turks conquered the city and sailors from Bari rescued the remains and took them to rest in their own city.

    He was well known for his generosity and acts of kindness towards others, especially children, according to Wikipedia he is the patron saint to a long list of different groups of people around the world. Children, sailors, fishermen, merchants, broadcasters, the falsely accused, prostitutes, repentant thieves, pharmacists,archers and pawnbrokers, what an interesting and varied selection!
    The major celebrations in Italy for St. Nicholas (San Nicola) take place in

    Bari, Puglia where he is believed to be buried and is the patron of the city. Similar celebrations and traditions are observed in Sassari, on the island of Sardinia where he is also a patron saint of the city. One of the traditions carried out here is the distribution of gifts to young brides to be whose parents cannot afford to help them. This stems from the legend that Saint Nicholas once helped a man by providing dowries for his three daughters, so they could find husbands, rather than being sold into prostitution.  In Trieste, St. Nicholas (San Nicolò) is celebrated with gifts given to children on the morning of 6 December and with a fair called  Fiera di San Nicolo  during the first weeks of December.

    There has been an interesting development since Saint Nicholas Day 2009 as it has been proposed that his bones are returned to Turkey.
    On 28 December 2009, the Turkish Government announced that it would be formally requesting the return of San Nicola’s bones to Turkey from the Italian government. Turkish authorities have cited the fact that Saint Nicolas himself wanted to be buried at his birthplace. They also state that his remains were illegally removed from Turkey.  Apparently the town of Demre where the ancient town of

    Myra, once was has plans to build a museum which once constructed will exhibit relics of ancient civilisations. There is no schedule for these plans yet as far as my research found out, but the Turkish minister stated last year ‘that once built they would naturally ask for the remains of Babbo Natale to be returned from Italy’.

    While checking my facts for this updated post yesterday, I was unable to find any more recent references to this happening yet, unless someone reading this knows different?

    Buon San Nicola

    Italian Male Variations of Nicholas: Niccolò, Nico, Nicola, Nicolò, Nicolas  
    Italian Female Variations of Nicola:
    Nicoletta, Nicla, Nicole, Nicolina

    I researched the facts quoted in this post with thanks to Wikipedia

    Christmas window in Marta December 2010.

    Copyright All rights reserved by LindyLouMac Photo Collection

    Other graphics courtesy of Google images and The Graphics Fairy

    Saturday, December 3, 2011

    Saturday Snapshots – A November Walk to Marta



    When my sister was here recently to help us with the Olive Harvest we had beautiful weather with glorious blue skies and mild temperatures. Once the harvest was completed and we had free time before our appointment at the Olive Mill, we took some time out to walk from our house into Marta. Of course my camera went with us and today I am sharing with you the photos I took along the way.

    Incidentally the new header photo was taken on this November walk. I thought it was about time I updated the look of the blog and the new template, which I hope you like, seems to make changing the banner photo a less demanding exercise, so hopefully I will be able to update it more often.

    We have something new on the horizons around the lake, even with my telescopic lens I have been unable to get them very close as they are so far away! Can you spot them in any of these photos, yes I am sure you can? We are going to have to go out hunting and get some closer shots, as apparently this is just the start!

    That’s it we arrived, have a lovely weekend everyone.

    These photos were all taken on November 16th 2011 and can be viewed in larger sizes in My Flickr album Marta Scenes November 2011

    Copyright All rights reserved by LindyLouMac Photo Collection