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, May 30, 2010

Sunday Song - Memory

Posted in Loving Memory of a very dear friend who recently lost his battle against cancer.
Taken from us too soon, September 18th 1956 - May 26th 2010

Courtesy of wandawilcox


Lani Misalucha was born in the Philippines in 1969. 
Biographical details
More Sunday Songs can be found by visiting 5 Minutes Just for Me

Buono Domenica Tutti

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Five Seconds of Fame


Trevi Fountain Roma

Uploaded to Flickr.com on February 2, 2010
by LindyLouMac Photo Collection

A photo that I actually took five years ago of the Trevi fountain in Roma has been published, along with hundreds of others, in the latest edition of the online guide to Roma produced by  Schmap Guides


The photo was used with my prior permission and following Flickr guidelines links back to the original if you click on the photo. I also get credited, hence my five seconds of fame.

My Trevi Fountain Photo click on the link in blue to see my photo on Flickr or cut and paste the link below if clicking on that does not work either.


Five seconds of fame may be not much but I am still chuffed.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Sunday Song - Eros Ramazzotti

This weeks choice is especially for a Blogging friend of mine from France, who happened to mention to me sometime ago that Eros Ramozziti is one of her all time favourite Italian singers.

Courtesy of forzeEros1
I recently came across this video of him performing  'Simply the Best' with Tina Turner which I thought might be  an appropriate choice for Leesa and the rest of you to enjoy.
This is a link to Leesa's great site.  News From France 
More Sunday Songs can be found by visiting 5 Minutes Just for Me

Buono Domenica Tutti

Friday, May 21, 2010

Friday Foto - Emotional Moment





The Procession
Festa della Madonna del Monte
May 14th 2010

As part of this male dominated procession the priest blesses the youngest participant. I was unable to take a photo of the priest actually holding the baby aloft but I took this photograph immediately afterwards and if you look carefully you can see the emotion in the Father's face.

More photos here on the Blog post of the same name Festa della Madonna del Monte or at Flickr

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Superstrada Extension

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For those of you who don't already know the first house we purchased in Italy was south-west of Vetralla immersed in the countryside. We always knew that it was not going to be that far from the intended extension of the Orte- Viterbo superstrada, read about it here in Italian which will one day go all the way to Civitavecchia and thus join up with the coastal motorway to Roma.

For many years the superstrada just stopped on the junction with the Vetralla to Tuscania road. We hoped that one day the road would be extended thereby giving us easier access to the coast and Roma and take the heavy traffic off the current busy Vetralla to Tarquinia road.

However, what we did not bank on was that the route was changed without our knowledge. As for some reason in Italy it appears it was on our responsibility to view changes in proposals at the commune and notice the superstrada was now to be within half a kilometre of our property and part of it possibly even closer!

We discovered this change in the route only after having already put the house in the market, it always having been our intention to stay there for a maximum of five years before finding another project to keep us busy. Knowing that houses can take much longer to sell in Italy we decided to allow ourselves plenty of time and put it up for sale in the summer of 2008 four years after purchasing.  We had initial interest in the property far quicker than we expected, however the proposed purchaser did not like what he discovered, neither did we. For awhile we were full of doom and gloom as if we did not sell before the roadworks commenced, it was unlikely we would sell until it was all completed. Upheaval like that tends to put buyers off, not surprisingly.

We were extremely fortunate in that it was an attractive and well maintained property with enough land surrounding it, that people looking for easy access to Roma or Viterbo were still interested in viewing the house.  Luckily for us by November 2008 we had found a buyer who was not unduly concerned by the road improvements and in January 2009 we completed on the deal. It was actually a great relief to us to sell and move out as by then work had already started even if only in a minor way.

David was on business in the area recently and took these photos to show me. As you can see the work is now well under way. I think the enormous bridge that was being lowered into place, will be visible from the house, the lights on it most certainly will be!

The stretch of superstrada now under construction is around 9km, starting from the junction of the Tuscania road which has been sitting unfinished for many years while the route was decided and funds found. There are a lot of Etruscan sites in the area and we believe this is one of the reasons the route was altered slightly.

Although not a motorway with a speed limit of 90kph it is still a substantial sized construction of two lanes in each direction with an overall width of just under 19 metres, quite a swathe through the country side. This section to the next intersection at Cinelli is one of the most complex to be built in the whole Orte to Civitavecchia route. In fact it will consist of five bridges, seven overpasses and the junction itself with four entry and exit ramps.

The junction itself would have been quite a structure to live so close too, especially as one was not expecting to do so. We are not against this road and never have been otherwise would not have contemplated buying the house in the first place. It is a necessary evil of twenty first century life and part of the infrastructure urgently required if Viterbo is ever able to support the planned airport.


Monday, May 17, 2010

Festa della Madonna del Monte - 14 Maggio 2010


The Festa in celebration of the Madonna of the Mount is held in Marta annually on May 14th. Also known locally as the Barabbata or Broom Festa. The streets are decorated with broom and during the festivities broom petals are scattered, often by young women onto the good looking young men in the procession which is strictly males only!

This spectacular spring festival has taken place in Marta for centuries. It consists of noisy and colourful processions that take place throughout the day, composed of local males that work the land and the lake professionally.  Farmers, fisherman and all the associated professions, bakers, cheese-makers, wine producers etc. Many different local organisations and businesses participate with floats that parade through the streets displaying their offerings from the land and the lake. 

Throughout the day various celebrations and masses take place in thanksgiving for the produce that the land and lake has provided over the last year. When the floats eventually arrive at the little church of the Madonna del Monte a special rite of thanksgiving takes place, which involves, entering and exiting the church three times.

I will give you an outline of the programme which started at 4.30am, yes really. I confess to never having been up early enough to witness this event but I know of those who have done so.

4.30am: Sunrise is greeted with fireworks, drums, church bells and a parade with a choir that starts in Via Laterza and proceeds around the centro storico.

6.00 am: At the shrine of Our Lady of the Mount, holy mass is  celebrated.

9.00 am: Parade of the Marta town  band who will accompany the procession.

9.30 am:  The parade of floats, led by locals on horseback, through the town and onwards uphill to the church of the Madonna del Monte.

11.30 am: On arrival at the church a holy mass is conducted. After the religious ceremony the rite of passing in and out of the church three times takes place.

17.00 pm: At the sound of more drums, there is a parade of horses and riders and others involved in the ceremonies to a local location for the consumption of traditional refreshments.

19.30 pm :Piazza Umberto I: A live lottery/Bingo game takes place, for prize money this year of EUR 1050.00

22.30 pm: Fireworks by the lakeside

We participated in the Festa from just before 9am which meant that we were able to find a little parking space for the Smart car just outside the main centre having arrived before the road into Marta was closed. This is a big local event for which people arrive from all over the Viterbo region including at least six coaches I counted this year!

As we were there early I was able to walk along the lakeside before the procession started and watch the last minute preparations for the parade, which is always interesting as one gets a real close up view of the floats.

At this point the rain was still holding off and it was drizzling during the first part of the parade. As you will see from my photographs it did start to rain harder  during the procession but luckily the heaviest rain held off, at least until they had passed by our viewpoint in the main square. I think though that by the time the mass was over there must have been some very wet participants.

After the parade had passed us I must admit we dived for cover and a much needed cafe and cappuccino in the little bar we frequent. Chatting to the locals we learnt that this is the first time it has rained on May 14th since 1981, twenty- nine years ago!

It continued to rain all weekend, so although we went out for a Pizza with friends on Friday evening there were no fireworks to watch afterwards, which had been the plan.  It was just too wet, so they were sensibly postponed, we hear they may have been rescheduled for next weekend, when hopefully the weather will have settled down.




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As a point of interest for those of you that know our little holiday house, bear in mind that if you ever stay there at this time of the year, you are going to be disturbed. The first procession of the day at 4.30am passes right outside and there is no hope of not being woken by the drums!

As usual I took far too many photographs for me to share them all with you here, so if you are interested in seeing more, click on the link.    http://www.flickr.com/photos/mctumble/sets/72157623941658229/

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Marta Lakeside All Change Update Number Two - Festa della Madonna del Monte minus one day!



If you have read my previous posts on this subject you will understand the significance of this one. If not a quick catch up can be made by checking out the two previous posts on the subject. Marta lakeside all change and Update Number One.

Unfortunately the unusual amount of rain we have had over the past couple of weeks has meant that there was no way the work to the lakeside area was ever going to be completed for May 14th. Never mind they had a jolly good try and were still working when I took these photographs on Thursday morning.




While these workmen had no hope of making any useful contribution to the Festa, like parking places, the rest of the town was a hive of industry in preparation for the big day on Friday.  The traditional broom and flags were appearing everywhere, whilst the locals were keeping a close eye on the weather forecast, which was not good.





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As always if you are interested in looking at more photos of the preparations they can be viewed by clicking on the blue link.


Friday, May 14, 2010

Friday Foto Solution - Clathrus ruber, a fungus, in the stinkhorn mushroom family



Having set my friends and family 'googling' for me this morning I set off to attend Marta's Festa della Madonna del Monte which is held on the 14th of May every year, details photos and links to follow.

Anne from the blog  Anne in Oxfordshire and Leesa from News From France  both came up trumps with loads of information on my mystery fungus. Thanks to these experts in Google Searches I present  Clathrus ruber, a fungus, in the stinkhorn mushroom family.


Apparently these stinkhorns can be as good as their name and smell of rotting meat, luckily these did not do so but they were somewhat slimy. I also found it intriguing how they shrivel away and disappear completely. There one day and gone the next, which is why I think the other half did not believe me when I described the first one I found to him. It was no longer there!

It is all the wet weather we have had this spring that has caused this and possibly all sorts of other interesting fungus to pop up where one might not normally expect to see them.

I must keep a look out for more interesting specimens, if it ever stops raining long enough for me to go and investigate.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clathrus_ruber  More can be learnt at Wikipedia.

http://www.google.com/images?hl=en&q=red%20fungus%20mushroom&um=1&ie=UTF-8&source=og&sa=N&tab=wi   Lots of images.

I am now going to get ready to go out again down to Marta for more celebrations. There is supposed to be a Firework display later this evening but the weather does not look very hopeful at the moment.

Emily from Discovering Flowers thanks to you as well for successfully solving the mystery.

If you have five minutes to spare do take a look at the other blogs mentioned, three very different views of life in Oxfordshire, Paris and Sicily.

Friday Foto - What is this?





Whilst gardening recently I came across a couple of these, most peculiar!  Any ideas what it is please? A fungus of some description maybe but what is it called, does anyone know. I have been unable to find out any information from books or the internet.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Rain, Rain Go Away

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This was the scene outside this morning just after 8am when we were experiencing yet another torrential rain storm. We have been experiencing storms like this all week and they are set to last at least until Sunday looking at the forecasts.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Carta d'Identita

Residency Certificates and Carta di Identita are subjects I have covered recently here and part two here.
In fact it was just a month ago today that we last spent a morning at the Anagrafe Office in Viterbo with reference to obtaining our residency certificate. At the time we were issued with two photocopies of this certificate, one is to use in case we need proof of our residency at any time in the next few weeks!   This is because the official stamped and signed document will not be ready for us to collect until July.
The second copy we were told to take to another office in the commune sometime soon, as it was all we needed to get our identity cards renewed, just hand it over and they will be issued we were told.
Well, we decided to leave it a few weeks as we had endured enough trailing around various offices and waiting in queues to last us for awhile.
This morning on the spur of the moment we decided to go to Viterbo and set the process in motion for the replacement, updating of our Carta d'Identita, which we were convinced was going to take more than one trip to the comune.
I had been doubtful about the previous office's confidence in saying that we would not need any further paperwork. In Italy it always seems that people give you the answers they think you want to hear, even if they may not always be exactly right!  So with this in mind this morning we even remembered to take some passport size photographs with us, the only thing we did not take with us were our passports.
Presenting ourselves at the office soon after 10am when it opened we were lucky to find only four people ahead of us, our wait was no more than twenty minutes.  Our turn came and we presented our documents and three photos each, luckily we had enough, as had been expecting it to be two. At first he wanted to see our passports, so there we were cursing we had not got them with us, oh well we had been expecting this to take more than one trip to Viterbo so were resigning ourselves to returning next week.
Suddenly he found us on his computer and changed his mind, it was fine he would issue them today!  Ten minutes later having signed our signatures five times each we walked out of the comune offices with brand new identity cards valid for ten years.
Another job done and dusted as they say!

To brighten up this post I am including a collage of fields full of Poppies near Vetralla taken a few days ago.


Monday, May 10, 2010

Tuscania in celebration

On Friday and over the weekend the local town of Tuscania held its annual 'Tuscania si mostra' which I think translates something like Tuscania herself in exhibition. Anyway it is a Fiera/Fair that was originally an agricultural event but sadly these days it is far from that.

In essence it mainly consists of a very large market spread throughout the centro storico (old historic centre) and also spilling out on to the roads immediately outside the old town walls.
The stalls were of a very diverse nature local and national Italian produce and various artisans such as artists, jewellery makers,woodworkers and glassblowers. Antique dealers, plant salesmen along side all the shoes, clothes, linen and household items that one finds at every market in Italy.  We also saw a procession along the streets of some of the actors and actresses from the Tuscania theatre.


For the first time I have been able to share the photographs with you in the form of a mosaic which I have spent all morning working out how to do. As most of you who read this will know I am far from technically minded.
If you want to see them in normal format you can do so here at My Flickr account.

After a week of unsettled weather with rather a lot of rain it made a pleasant change to be able to go out and have a late afternoon passeggiata, as you can see from the photos a lot of other people also had the same idea.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Sunday Song - Festa della Mamma


Today here in Italy and some other countries around the world it is 'Festa della Mamma'.  This however is not the case in the UK so as I am an English mother with English daughters I consider that 'Mothering Sunday' is always the fourth Sunday in Lent and the date when I celebrate along with my mother and my mother-in-law.

Greetings however to those of you who are celebrating with your families today. 

Mothers' Day Cake.jpg

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

In Italy 'Festa della Mamma is held on the second Sunday in May and I believe it is a fairly new celebration first celebrated in the city of Assisi in 1957. I have also been told and seen examples of the cards and poems that the children prepare for their Mothers in school to present to them today.

If you take a look at this chart at Wikipedia you can see the different dates all over the world used to celebrate Mothers Day.

In honour of 'Festa della Mamma' I have chosen Josh Groban singing 'Per Te' as my Italian Sunday Song this week  which I hope you will enjoy.

Courtesy of vincedc55

Find out more about Josh Groban by visiting his official website.
http://www.joshgroban.com or Wikepidia- Josh Groban where you will find lots of information.

Joshua Winslow Groban, Born February 27th 1981 in Los Angeles, California.


More links to Sunday Songs in the blogsphere can be found by visiting

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Five Favourite Italian Words


A few days ago I was invited to participate in a multi-blog event on the Italian language which originated over at Italofile, my invite came from Bill and Carol an American couple who have come to Italy for a year to experience living in the  birthplace of their grandparents. They arrived in March and as they are also living in the Viterbo region, we hope to meet up in due course. Meanwhile I am enjoying reading about their adventures, many of which are so similar to our own experiences, over at Our Year In Italy


Favorite Italian Words: The Sequel  (Sorry about the different spellings, but this is an American link)

It has proved very difficult for me to choose five favourite words, cinque parole preferite as although I may not actually speak it very well, I do love the often melodic sounds of the Italian language. There are so many words that I find delightful so this is very much a random five that came to me when I sat down to write. I found that thinking about it too much just meant I was changing my mind every five minutes, which led me to keep saying Boh! Which therefore although being far from melodic had better be my first choice.

1. Boh!

image courtsey of gocce-di-memoria.blogspot.com

Strictly speaking I am not even sure that technically we can call this a word as it does not appear in any of my collection of Italian dictionaries, but one hears people using it all the time and I did manage to track it down online at Wikipedia.

Spoken with expression and gestures 'Boh' implies so much more than the also useful phrase 'Non lo so' 'I don't know' that it tends to replace. In fact I do find myself tending to use this word in English as well these days, which annoys my elder daughter intensely!

 2. Upupa

Image courtesy of my own photo collection LindyLouMac Photo Collection

This is the Italian word for one of my favourite birds, in English we know it as the Hoopoe.  I like the Italian word more as for a start I think it sounds more like the noise they make and secondly is a word I find easier to pronounce in Italian than English. We were lucky enough to have an Upupa nesting in the gardens of both properties we have lived in here in Italy.

3. Bella

Image courtesy of my own photo collection LindyLouMac Photo Collection

Beauty,Beautiful or even Sweetheart we all have our favourite ways of using this word. Personally I find a lot of beauty around me in Nature, like this Bella cactus flower I photographed recently at Mong Kok Flower Market in Hong Kong.

My younger daughter and I often start a telephone conversation with each other with 'Ciao Bella' It just sounds soft and somehow welcoming. We would I am sure never start a conversation with 'Hello Beautiful' though!  It somehow just does  not have the same ring to it. Beware though 'belladonna' does not mean as you might think 'beautiful woman' but 'deadly nightshade' 

 4.  Quindi

Quindi...Multa - so a fine!

Courtesy of mummarred @ Flickr.com

Is such a useful and great sounding little word that can be used in a variety of ways because it means not only therefore or so, its most common usages, but also for then, accordingly, from there, hence, thence, there at, there from, there upon, thus and wherefore.

I find it often pops up in my conversations when I need time to think (what is that word in Italian, help)replacing a mumble or um with quindi can often help one out of a tight spot. Sometimes by then the person I am speaking to has probably finished the sentence for me anyway!

I think the photo I have chosen for quindi is rather apt.


5. Zappa

Painting by Jean-François Millet

Zappa seemed an appropriate word for my fifth choice to day as it means Hoe an implement we are using in the garden rather a lot at the moment. With all the rain we have had recently the weeds seem to be growing in our Orto as we watch. Once again this is a word which I think sounds so much more appropriate in Italian, I like the sound and zapping the weeds is exactly what one is trying to do isn't it?  Hoeing the weeds in Italy I become a Zappatore!


So those are my five favourite words for today, I would be able to come up with a completely different list if asked to participate again I expect. Anyway I enjoyed playing along and will now link back to the originator Italofile and leave a comment.

Now I just need to tag the two bloggers I have decided to ask to play along, coincidentally they are both young Australian women who have happened to fall in love with an Italian. One of them I knew before the world of blogging encroached on my life and the other one I have as yet only met virtually via blogging, they both write interesting posts which I enjoy reading. I hope you will find a few minutes to go and take a look for yourselves if you have not yet come across these blogs.

Cathy at Chocolate Brick and Leanne at From Australia to Italy over to you.  Instructions on linking up etc with the originator of this post can be found at the original link.

Favorite Italian Words: The Sequel

Friday, May 7, 2010

Friday Foto - San Pellegrino in Fiore


I thought the colour of this member of the daisy family that I captured at the San Pellegrino in Fiore last Sunday was so fabulous that I decided straight away it would be this week's Friday Foto.


Wednesday, May 5, 2010

San Pellegrino in Fiore




San Pellegrino in Fiori is an Annual Show which takes place in the the narrow streets of the medieval quarter of Viterbo. Local businesses mainly of a floral nature, although some shop keepers and B and B proprietors do participate, decorate the squares, streets and stairways with floral displays.

It has been noticeable in recent years that the recession has taken its toll and that displays are not as lavish as they used to be, however it is still worth visiting as a lot of work goes into the event.  It is not just a flower display but a chance to purchase plants, local produce and the work of local artists and other artisans.

We visited this year on Sunday afternoon not a particularly pleasant day weather wise but it did not rain while we strolled around the centro storico and despite the dullness I managed to take what I felt were some reasonable photos, certainly enough to find a selection to share with you here.

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We also caught a display of flag throwing which took place in the Piazza del Plebiscito which was rather impressive. It is difficult to convey the skill required in these photographs. I have also included the video I shot,only marching as by the time I remembered the video facility they had finished throwing.  I am still very new to this action filming, as the camera was new not long before our trip to China!





If you are interested in seeing more photos which besides flowers, plants and flag throwing will show you some of the medieval quarter of Viterbo they can be found here. San Pellegrino in Fiore

Clicking on this link below will take you to an article, in Italian and a video of last years fiore.