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.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Swallowtails in the Lucerne

No Swallowtail but there is another insect!

One recent afternoon I spent some time happily chasing Swallowtail Butterflies amongst the Lucerne in our garden trying to get some photos.

Wikipedia tells me that those of you that do not live in the UK, Australia, South Africa or New Zealand, will know this plant as Alfalfa  a perennial flowering plant in the pea family, cultivated as an important forage crop in the US, Canada, Argentina, France, Australia, the Middle East, South Africa, and many other countries.

I did not manage to get any really good close up shots as they did not stay still long enough for the time it takes me to get organised, therefore each photo seems to be missing a piece of butterfly! However I did manage to capture a series of photographs that I felt were worth sharing with you here today.

Do remember that you should be able to enlarge the photos just by clicking on them, or if this does not work you can do so via My Flickr.com album. Swallowtails in the Lucerne which contains the full set of photos.

This post today is instead of my end of the month Our Garden post as due to the drought conditions we have had this summer I have not taken as many photos as normal, certainly nothing showing much produce, a few fruit and nut close ups, plus some colourful flower macros, but no general views. When I looked back at last year's post I was surprised that we thought the garden was not doing well, except for the fruit! This year even the fruit has not been abundant, take a look at this old post if you are curious Our Garden in August 2011.  

If you really want to see a few photos from the garden this month please visit the following link on Flickr.com. Our Garden in August 2012

With cracks in the earth like this one, it is no surprise that nothing much is growing!

As I write this post we have just hit the three months without rain mark, then this afternoon the 26th of August we thought we were going to get a storm, but after just ten minutes of heavy rain the skies cleared and the sun is out again. Hardly enough to settle the dust!

Update: 30th of August - Our local weather forecast says this will be the last day of the intense heat of summer, with an unsettled weekend ahead. I am off to make the most of it and hunt some more butterflies, have a good weekend everyone.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Dragon Boat Marta First Festival 2012

This year for the first time in recent history a Dragon Boat Racing Competition was held in Marta during the Festa del Villano. The races were held on the Sunday and as we had been watching the Marta team training on the lake we thought it would be interesting to go along and watch. I am glad we did as it was fun and I hope it will become another annual event in Marta's social calender. 

The story of the return of Dragon Boat Racing to Marta after twenty years makes interesting reading on the Marta Dragon Website, it is in Italian but using Google Translate will give you the gist of the article. I have included here just one page translated by Google, not me, so forgive the grammatical errors, just to explain the return of this sport to Marta.  

... One Sunday in the summer of 2011, the village of Marta, on the shores of Lake Bolsena, was shaken by the distant sound of drums and rhythmic ... He was a familiar sound, known ... It evokes memories ... For twenty years he did not feel ... In the 'air we breathe lakeside intense curiosity ... Who recalls the memory ...
Turning his gaze out to sea you can see a strange craft approaching ... It has the elongated shape, especially the head and tail of DRAGO ... Twenty intrepid rowers, while the drum, allowing it to push the plane ... The breeze brings happiness in the country, those who remember are overwhelmed with emotion ... And 'resurrected the Dragon of Martha ... Back to the Dragon Boat on Lake Bolsena ... Comes the crew of the "DRAGON MARTA" ...
The "DRAGON MARTA" comes from 'idea and the dream of a group of youths in the country, to resume the discipline of the Dragon Boat Martha and stopped twenty years ago, ready and willing to point out the history and business of the crews of the previous small medieval village, "Tomao" and "Amalasunta", legendary successes, regional, national and global, which testifies to the participation and success in the Championship Final of the World Dragon Boat Hono Kong in 1991.
To date the crew, male and female, is made both to young talent that the old guards, combining the strength and enthusiasm of youth and 'experience during the past battles, a mix to optimize efforts and work of the group.
After a 'summer of intense training and demonstration outputs, the group comes out, he enrolled as a group of sports' Cultural Association "Marta without borders" in order to concentrate forces in the country of Marta, you pass to' FIDB (Federation Italian Dragon Boat) and participates in the first competitive event, the two days of the Roman "1st Rome International Dragon Boat Festival", now getting the 3 rd place in the race of 2000 meters.
2012 promises a year of intense competitive activity for the crew "Marta Dragon" as evidenced by the schedule of 'FIDB and the return of Marta in the country for the month of July event at the national level for the discipline of the Dragon Boat. ..  For more information check out the website: Marta Dragon Website,
There is also a connection with Breast Cancer Survivors.


History of Dragon Boat Racing:

Dragon Boat Racing is a popular sport all over the world, the boat is 12.66 meters long and 1.06 meters wide with its head and tail in the shape of a dragon. These boats are driven by 20 athletes to the rhythm from the drummer, who use paddles with a length of 1.05 m and 1.30 ft wide, while the helmsman at the stern of the boat takes the direction with an oar about 3 meters long. 
The origins of the sport date back 2000 years ago when according to legend, the Chinese poet and statesman Qu Yuan threw himself 'in the river Mi-Lo a desperate act to protest against the harassment of which he was subjected his people by the government at that time.  Fishermen went on boats to search for the body of Qu Yuan forcefully slamming the waters with the oars to drive away the fish. This gave birth to  a tradition that remembers that day and is celebrated all over the East on the fifth day of the fifth moon. Since then it has grown with the forming many different federations all over the world.    

The best way in my opinion to view the photos of the event is as a video/slideshow so I have included two in the post. The first is my own and the second one is a friends, if however you are unable to view them the individual photos can be viewed in my album on Flickr.com entitled  Dragon Boat Racing    
                                                 Marta Dragon Boats - LindyLouMac

Published on YouTube by .

For more information about the world of Italian and International Dragon Boat Racing I have included some links you may find useful and of interest.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Festa del Villano 2012 a Marta

Another weekend of simple but enjoyable entertainment that the Italians do so well. On the 14th and 15th of July Marta celebrated the twelfth Festa del Villano, the workers of the land, with food, gastronomic stands and music. There was also a market along the lake promenade and on the Sunday for the first time this year, Dragon Boat Racing, which I will feature in my next post.

This event is organised by the festival committee of the major Marta festa of the Madonna del Monte that is held on May 14th every year and has been featured on News From Italy in the past. If you missed the post this year it can be found here or My Flickr Album.

On these two days it was possible to enjoy lunch or supper in the open air 
The food was the highlight of the evening and was wholesome peasant fare of Bruschette miste, pasta, beans with pork fat rinds, pork steaks and chips with to finish for a dessert some Cannaiola (a local sweet red dessert wine) and ciambelline (a sort of biscuit). This was maybe not ones idea of a fine dining supper but it was certainly tasty and the evening was good fun.

The funds raised from this event are used to help maintain the church of Our Lady Madonna del Monte that overlooks the town and has been the destination of pilgrims for many years.

There are more photos, including market ones which I have not included here, to be seen from the event in the album on Flickr.com. Festa del Villano - July 2012

I am enjoying experimenting with making videos here is the one I have put together for the Festa del Villano this year.

                                                            Festa del Villano 2012

All the photos used here are my own work Copyright All rights reserved by LindyLouMac Photo Collection

Monday, August 20, 2012

Forest Fires - Incendi di Boschi

It was very hot over the weekend maybe even the hottest of the summer season as our thermometer in the shade in the garden reached 42C on Sunday afternoon with the minimum temperature overnight on Saturday night not having dropped below 25C. With these temperatures and the exceedingly dry conditions it was no real surprise to see yet another fire burning locally yesterday afternoon. These photos were taken from our terrace of the fire, the helicopter dropping the water and going down to the luckily nearby Lago di Bolsena to collect the water with which to do so.

Sadly fires like this one have been a common site around the region and in fact all over Italy this summer.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Friday 17th - Venerdì il 17 - Per un po 'sfortunata - Unlucky for some

I mentioned in my post yesterday, about repeating posts. As I have written about this subject before, this post is almost as it appeared on News From Italy back in February as we had a Friday the 17th then as well!

Today in Italy is the equivalent of Friday the 13th in other parts of the world, unlucky if you are superstitious. Here in Italy the number 17 has the same unlucky significance that other places such as the UK and USA give to the number 13. To keep bad luck away some people carry a little golden horn as a charm or use the phrase “tocca ferro” “touching metal,” (preferably iron) the equivalent of our “touching wood”.

In fact the number 13 is considered lucky in Italy apart from one time when it is considered unlucky, which is to have thirteen persons at the meal table, but I remember this superstition from the UK also. This superstition goes back to the Last Supper of Jesus and the Apostles.

The number 17 is associated with bad luck in Italy because the Roman Numerals XVII are an anagram of the Latin word VIXI – ‘I Was Alive’ note the past tense! It can be used in the sense of saying “My life is over”

A Friday the 17th occurring in November, turns the whole month into the month of the deceased and is considered particularly unlucky. As November 2nd is memorial day for the dead in Italy.

I am not very observant in that I have never noticed if the Italians miss out the number 17 when numbering houses and flats, but I do know that Alitalia does not have a seat number 17 on its aircraft.

I will take special care today then and Tocca Ferro.

Have a good weekend everyone and if you are in Italy take special care today.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Hazelnuts - Nocciole

Photo taken in Our Garden in Italy on August 14th 2012
                                     The first of our Hazelnuts - Nocciole are starting to drop. 

I do not often duplicate posts here and on my photography blog, lindyloumacsworldinphotos but today I have decided to do so. Firstly because I was rather pleased with this photo and secondly as I am looking for more followers to encourage me to keep the photography blog going. I would really like to do so as it gives me the opportunity to share a lot more of the world around me than I am able to do so here on News From Italy. Also as the summer season draws to a close, once I have caught up with sharing our recent activities I do not intend to be posting so often here. At least that is the plan unless I feel something is worthwhile sharing and I have not mentioned it in previous years. Maybe just a link and a photo to the previous post on News From Italy and My Facebook Page will suffice, if it is repeat news, as I really do not feel it is a benefit to me or my followers to keep repeating the same events again and again. I hope to spend more time on my photography which is why I am urging my lovely followers here to please come and share the experience with me. Your support as always will be very much appreciated.

I hope to see you there. lindyloumacsworldinphotos

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Buon Ferragosto - Musical Moment - Momento Musicale

The Bank Holiday on August 15th is typically Italian although it is celebrated in a number of other European countries, but not in the UK.  Many Italians take long holidays around this date, celebrating the actual day with lavish long lunches and given the heat at this time of the year often seaside, lakeside or in the refreshing mountain air.

The Catholic Church celebrate this day as one of Holy Obligation which commemorates the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, the actual elevation of her soul into Heaven.
The word Ferragosto derives from the Latin phrase feriae Augusti (Augustus' rest), a feast that was started by the emperor Octavian Augustus in 18 BC  to celebrate the harvest and the end of the main farm work. During the festivities, throughout the empire were organized races with horses donkeys and mules, were free from work and decked with flowers. These ancient traditions are still alive  in some parts of Italy today, virtually unchanged in form and participation such as the Palio di Siena held in Siena on August 16 every year.

All over Italy tonight there will be musical entertainment, plus in some places Fireworks to celebrate Ferragosto, so what sort of music will they be listening to. A lot of it will be English language pop music, but here is a varied selection of the tribute to Ferragosto videos that I found on YouTube. 

Some Reggae to start with.
Courtesy of sabrina3309    Laid Back - Sunshine Reggae
This next video sums up summer beautifully.
 Courtesy of marinellaforever
A blast from the past, this artist is still very popular here in Italy. 
Courtesy of STAGE58
My final choice is another oldie that sums up summer nights in the city for me 'Luna di Citta d' Agosto'  'The Moon in the City in August sung by Lorenzo Jovanotti.

Courtesy of surbino

Please note that some of you may be restricted from watching these videos via the blog and you may have to visit YouTube to do so successfully.

I hope you are all having a good week and to those of you that are celebrating here in Italy Buon Ferragosto, more information about the significance of this holiday can be found by visiting, Ferragosto – Wikipedia.

Please note that much of this post appeared in Buon Ferragosto 2010 but I am sure those of you that have been reading News From Italy for that long will not mind me sharing the information and music with you again.    

We will be celebrating today with Our Wonderful Neighbours, some of you will already know how kind they are to us, treating us like members of their extended family.

Buon Ferragosto

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Notte Bianca 2012 a Marta

As I mentioned in yesterdays post about La Notte di San Lorenzo  last night we attended the 3rd edition of the Marta Notte Bianca, we also went to the previous ones and I wrote about them in earlier posts.  If you follow the links back you can read a little more about these events.

Prima Notte Bianca a Marta        Notte Bianca Marta 2011

There is not actually anything new I can say about Notte Bianca Nights, that I or others have not written about before, but I can share here with you a selection of photos taken by myself and a video taken by   last night of the many things for sale and people generally enjoying themselves.

Let the photos and video speak for themselves.

                                          Notte Bianca 2012 a Marta

                                          Published on 11Aug 2012 by 

I took forty four photos last night and have not shared all of them here with you, if you are interested in viewing the full album you will find them in My Flickr album entitled Notte Bianca 2012 a Marta 

What A Great Notte Bianca a Marta
Copy of official  event poster.
The photographs are all my own  Copyright All rights reserved by LindyLouMac Photo Collection