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.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Our Garden in June and July - Il Nostro Giardino in Giugno e Luglio

July 13th 2012
It has been an exceptionally hot and dry summer in Italy this year, what a year of extremes it has been in fact!  We have virtually given up on our orto (vegetable garden) this summer as despite copious watering it is a disaster. Yes I hear some of you saying how can you be watering when there is a drought order and hosepipe ban in place. No problem we are fortunate enough to have our own well and this is how we have managed to keep some colour in our garden. The plants that have survived are mainly ones that can do without huge amounts of water, any water loving or cooler weather plants that were ok at the beginning of June have long since given up the fight for survival. The plants that are now providing us with colour are almost without exception our container ones.

I have shared a few photos individually but I have also included slideshows for those who have the time and the inclination to view. Transporting you to our garden in Italy for just a few minutes is the aim as always, which I hope to have achieved again today. 

As you can see from the above photos we have enjoyed a good selection of fruit this summer.
Bears Breeches
Persian Acacia
Some  of our June Colour was provided by Geraniums, Bears Breeches and the Persian Acacia and Magnolia Trees.

                                            Our July colour is thanks to our pots!
Finally a favourite photo of mine from this month is this Purple Hibiscus that I am also posting for a meme on my photography blog today.  LindyLouMac's World in Photos

Slideshow of Our Garden in June

The second slideshow is much shorter as the drought has meant there has not been much variety or change in the plants since last month, apart from growth, so if you are short of time this is the one to watch!
Slideshow of Our Garden in July

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

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Fiat 500 Commercial - Immigrants - Italy to USA

Italian Advertising Series Number Eight - Fiat 500

It has been ages since I last featured a commercial here for two reasons, firstly I have had so much else to share with you and secondly I suppose nothing interesting has caught my eye!

Well this one I found on YouTube certainly attracted my attention big time. I love everything about it, the cars, the location, which I know some of you will recognise and the advert itself.
Absolutely brilliant. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do and that you are able to view, remember if you have problems, you can visit  YouTube via my link and view there.

My earlier posts on Italian Advertising can be viewed by clicking on the following links.
Italian Advertising Series Number One - Telecom Italia

Italian Advertising Series Number Two - Mini Countryman

Italian Advertising Series Number Three - Nespresso

Italian Advertising Series Number Four - Nespresso

Italian Advertising Series Number Five - Lavazza

Italian Advertising Series Number Six - Coca Cola

Italian Advertising Series Number Seven - Fastweb

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Sagra della Sbroscia

On June 30th and July1st the Sagra della Sbroscia was celebrated for the first time in Marta. It was held at the Borgo del Pescatori.  This also gives me an opportunity to share with you some recent photos of the area  after the changes it underwent earlier this year when the old trees were removed. In case you have not seen these in earlier posts the links are Fishermans-beach-spiaggia-del-pescatore.  and  Friday Photos - As It Was.

To get back to the Sagra, it was another typical Italian food event of which we have quite a few in this region.  I have been unable to actually find a translation for Sbroscia but it is a local dish particular to the shores of the Lago di Bolsena. It is a kind of fish soup and according to tradition, the soup always used to be prepared with water from the lake itself.  I have no idea if the tradition was upheld for this Sagra and I did not ask!
All I managed to find out was that the Marta recipe was is made from good fresh fish, tomatoes, mint, potatoes and bread.

I also found this recipe online at Info - Bolsena - it


  • 1 Tench
  • 4 Perch
  • 1 Pike
  • 1 Anguilla
  • ½ Onion
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ Garlic
  • 1 Pepper
  • Mint
  • Tomatoes
  • 2 kg of potatoes
  • Salt
  • Twenty slices of stale bread
Preparation :
Provide the cleaning of fish, in an earthenware pot, fry mint, chopped garlic and onion before adding 2 tablespoons of oil.
Peel the potatoes and cut into cubes.
Chop the tomatoes and add them to the mixture with the fish.
Add about l, 5 l of water (preferably lake , as is traditional), salt and continue cooking in a covered container for 30 m.
Spread the slices of bread into the bowls and cover with the soup, add the remaining oil.

The Menu
For the 12 Euro Menu as well as our bowl of Sbroscia we were also given a selection of  fried lake fish, Latterino, Perch and Anguilla (Eel).  The dish that the Sbroscia was served in was also ours to take home.

We had a great time, it was a well supported event as my photos show and I certainly hope it will go on to be another annual event in Marta.

 It was certainly a pleasant way to spend a summer evening and we got bring these bowls home!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Villa Lante, Bagnaia, Viterbo

The Villa Lante is somewhere we always enjoy visiting so when friends from the UK were here recently and expressed an interest, we were delighted to oblige. Of course it also meant I was able to take lots of photos in anticipation of this blog post.  

The Villa Lante consists of two nearly identical houses, Gambara and Montalto plus gardens that impress with water displays of fountains, cascades and sculptures. It is one of Italy's most famous mannerist style gardens, perfect in design with lots of detail.  Recently featured in a BBC programme with Monty Don - Italian GardensThe Villa Lante impressed him with its geometry and symmetry dating back to the 16th century.  Owned by the Cardinal Gambara in the late 16th century the garden was so stunning it had a dramatic effect on visitors. In fact Pope Gregory XIII was so amazed that he stopped the Cardinal Gambara's allowance because his garden was so lavish!
The two houses, gardens and the surrounding wooded parkland cover an area of twenty two hectares.
I will let my photos do the rest and the websites I have listed below are well worth visiting if you would like to learn more about the history of the Villa Lante
This is a photo I took in 2006 as when writing the post I discovered I did not have a recent photo of the two villas.
Interior Decoration of a ceiling

Remember clicking on the individual photos will enlarge them.
If you have enjoyed these photos I offer you the opportunity to view my entire album of photos in addition to the ones shared here in a slideshow format or as I know some of you prefer to do visit the album on Flickr.com  Villa Lante, Bagnaia, Viterbo.

Villa Lante - Slideshow

Location Map
How to Reach Villa Lante Bagnaia (4 Km from Viterbo):  Leave by car from Viterbo, Porta Fiorentia and take the road to Bagnaia. From the Piazza XX Settembre it is a short walk uphill along Via Jacopo Barozzi to the entrance of Villa Lante.  To park your car you should use the car park located under the bridge just after the railway, not far from the centre.
Information about opening hours and visits to Villa Lante:  The park entrance is free but there is a small admission charge to the gardens and fountains. Open every day except Monday. However, for confirmation and information tel.0761-288008 (ticket Villa Lante).

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Birds in Our Garden - Uccelli nel Nostro Giardino

Common Cuckoo
Golden Oriole

House Sparrow
European Magpie
I had been hoping to get some more photos of the birds that frequent our garden before writing this post, but it is not going to happen so I decided to go ahead anyway. I can always post more photos at a later date if I get lucky, which somehow I doubt they never stay still long enough or they hide from us.

Our Garden is frequented by many different species of birds, which we mainly appreciate, except for the far too many sparrows that seem to think our roof is the best local hotel! They seem to be with us all year but the first of our annual visitors is the maybe not so welcome Cuckoo. I do not like the way they prey on the nests of other birds but I do like to hear him every Spring. For one thing it means Spring is here and for the other a superstitious saying that I learnt from an elderly gentleman in the uk many years ago, is that you must hear a cuckoo to ensure you will live to see another Spring! 

The chorus especially earlier in the summer often started with the Nightingale in the middle of the night, no surprise how this little bird got his name! We have never managed to see either the Nightingale or the Golden Oriole but we know they are present as they have distinctive songs. The Golden Oriole we have caught flashes of colour as he flies through the walnut tree.

Another visitor that we do actually see around the garden fairly frequently is the Green Woodpecker, I have not got any good photos of him this year, the photo included was taken last year. 

Green Woodpecker  - Our Garden Spring 2011
Our Swallow Family - July 2011
The Swallows are annual visitors as they have a nest they return to in our cantina every year, it is always lovely to see them.

The Hoopoe ( Upupa Epops) is I think my favourite visitor of the season, maybe because I get to see him fairly often in the garden. Although rarely does he give me the chance to capture a photo as good as this one!

Taken June 27th 2012

The idea for this post came from blogging friends in France who write Chez Charnizay when they posted about the birds visiting their garden here.

The little photos at the beginning of the post are courtesy of Wikipedia but the others are my own.

If you are interested in checking out the bird songs this is an excellent place to do so. Bird Songs From Europe.

I know the title of this post is Birds In Our Garden but I could not resist sharing these photos of a man who lives in Marta with his pet crow! I took these on June 28th 2012, he rescued this bird and is taming it.