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.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Italy - European Cup Football 2012

I am not really a football fan but one cannot help but be swept along in the enthusiasm surrounding the European Cup Football here in Italy, when first last Sunday the Italians beat England! Yes I was supporting Italy and not England.

Last night was the Semi Final Italy v Germany and to my delight Italy won 2-1 and the German goal was only achieved at the last minute on penalties.

Sitting outside on a balmy evening watching the football surrounded by excited Italians was actually rather fun.  What will it be like on Sunday evening when Italy take on Spain in the final?

Marta - European Cup Football 2012

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Centro Botanico Moutan - Vitorchiano

In May when friends were staying with us we paid a return visit to the Centro Botanico Moutan,  Peony Farm. Those of you that were reading my posts this time last year, I hope you will not mind me posting again about the Peony Farm for the sake of my more recent followers.  I also believe these beauties and the place are worth sharing again.


The centre is open all year round for purchases, but if one wants to see the peonies in flower timing is of the essence to view this unique collection of Chinese Peonies at their best. Unfortunately we did not get it quite right this year, as by the time we paid our visit the majority of the peonies were past their best, but there were still enough in flower to make the trip worthwhile. Our friends certainly seemed to think so and the wife another keen photographer took loads of photos, someone after my own heart!

The centre was founded in 1993 and the name ‘moutan’ is a direct translation of the Chinese word for tree peony. The founders had for many years been passionate about peonies and decided to grow a themed garden, this desire grew as they studied the varieties and species available throughout Asia. Importing them to Europe and collecting them in one place whilst studying and promoting their cultivation has today led to this fifteen hectare estate cultivated almost entirely with peonies nestling at the foot of the Cimini mountains in the Viterbo region.
During April and May the estate is open for visitors to stroll amongst the peonies, over 100,000 thousand plants belonging to around 600 different varieties. It is a fantastic display and ones sense of vision and smell are literally bombarded, quite an experience.  
At prices ranging from Euros 30 to 90 for mature plants these often rare specimens belong to many different species, some of which cannot be found any where else in the world. I have a catalogue of the species but not being an expert on peonies I shall not attempt to try and label my photographs in case I get them wrong. I hope you will enjoy the selection I have chosen to share with you, they were all so stunningly beautiful. 

Slide Show of Our Visit to Centro Botanico Moutan

The centres own website is also well worth a visit and is available in English, French and Italian Official Website - Centro Botanico Moutan this is where I gleaned the information quoted in this post and you will also find a lot more detailed information.

It is well worth a visit if you are ever in the region during April/May and after touring the garden the cafe is a pleasant place to stop for refreshments.


More Peony photos can also be viewed in last years post or in My Flickr Albums entitled.
Peonies - Peonie - Centro Botanico Moutan - May 2011     Flickr Album - Centro Botanico Moutan 2011

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Our Garden in May - Il Nostro Giardino in Maggio

Thankyou for the comments on my latest header which was taken in our garden last month, it is also the first photo in this post. As so many of you seem to enjoy my garden posts, looking at the statistics I am surprised how many, I decided that I should not skip my monthly garden post which I was planning to do. Better late than never it seems and it will let you see what a wonderful month May was for the garden in Italy. I think one of the best, especially this year when it did look rather lovely, but then I am bias and I just love roses which take centre stage this month.

I will share some photos individually but I have also included a slideshow for those who have the time and the inclination to view. Transporting you to Italy for just a few minutes is the aim as always, which I hope to have achieved again today.

Cottage Garden Flowerbed
Irises and Snowball Tree
Rose climbing over the Kiwi Plants
Irises and White Roses
Philadelphus - Mock Orange
Old fashioned Climbing Rose
Orto - Vegetable Plot
More Climbing Roses
Kiwi Flowers

Slideshow of Our Garden in May.

Other photos from Our Garden can be found in my collection on Flickr.com Our Garden 2012

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Festa della Madonna del Monte, May 14th 2012


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 earlier part 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.

We participated this year in the Festa from just before 9am until lunchtime 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 coachloads of visitors.
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.
This year the weather did at least stay dry but it was cold in the extremely strong wind that blew all day, as you will see from some of the photos!  There are other activities throughout the day but it was just too cold for us by 1pm so we went to one of the local restaurants for lunch, many people had the same idea and it was lovely to see everywhere busy.

As catch up is the name of the game at the moment here on News From Italy, as much as I enjoy making collages of my photos to share here, they do take time that I do just do not have at present. I was pleasantly surprised at the amount of positive response I got to my slideshow in the last post, so have included one today. If you do not have time to view the slideshow which will take time due to the number of photos I took, just over two hundred, there is also a short video which I was able to put together within a few minutes thanks to a programme on the VAIO called Make A Movie! I have a lot to learn but for a first attempt I am fairly pleased.  Of course for those of you that just prefer to view the photos you can view the album entitled  Festa della Madonna del Monte 2012  on My Flickr.com account.

Slideshow - Festa della Madonna 2012

Short Video - Festa della Madonna 2012 by LindyLouMac


Friday, June 8, 2012

Castiglione del Lago, Umbria.

The final day of our weekend in Umbria we headed home to Northern Lazio via Castiglione del Lago on the shores of the Lago di Trasimeno, where we enjoyed a stroll around the town and a delicious lunch.

Earlier posts covering the weekend are  Foligno, Perugia  and  Assisi - Through My Camera Lens

Castiglione del Lago is on the southwest corner of the Lago di Trasimeno. Orvieto is 59 km to the south, Chiusi 21 km to the south west, Arezzo is 56 km to the north west, Cortona is 21 km to the north and Perugia is 47 km to the south east, placing it on an important historical route. The territory was always much in demand with Etruscans fighting the Romans, and later Tuscans against Perugians. 

The town grew, on land that was once an island and this is where the newest part of the town is, our walk however took us around the original and well preserved historical centre or centro storico.

A Slideshow of Images of Our Visit.
The first few photos were taken on the drive en route from Assisi to Castiglione del Lago.

I shared my photos of our visit in the form of a slideshow for this post as I have a lot of catching up to do and this was a very quick and easy option, which I hope you enjoyed. If however you would prefer to view as stills the full album can be viewed at Flickr.com 
Umbria Weekend Foligno April 2012 

If you would like to find out more about the region I suggest you start by visiting these links. Lago di Trasimeno - Wikipedia,  Trasimeno 2012,  Castiglione del Lago - Wikipedia  and Castiglione del Lago - Commune

This post is published on News From Italy and Travel Tales.

With this post today I am back with a fully functioning computer with hopefully all computer problems behind us! My old Sony Vaio was given a second replacement hard drive when the computer engineer discovered the laptop was corrupted yet again after he reloaded all the programmes. In the end it turned out to be a faulty ram storage card that had been causing the problems all the time, at least it was not a virus or security breach. Did you notice I wrote old Sony Vaio, well my husband has decided to take on the  renovated laptop to replace his little notebook which did not really meet his needs, as I discovered when I had to use it! I mentioned before that I did love the Vaio and found it great for blogging so I am now using a brand new and up to date Vaio that we purchased at a very reasonable price at Gatwick airport. You will recall that I was considering changing to a Mac, however I decided in the end after listening to advice that it was better to stay with the operating programme I know.

Thanks to those of you that sent me messages during my absence, your support of my blogs is much appreciated and the virtual friendships I have formed are one of the main reasons I am still blogging.

Have a lovely weekend wherever you are in the world and however you are spending it. I will be back soon with more News From Italy and I also post almost daily snippets on my Facebook Page.  News From Italy
Do join me there if you are on Facebook.