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 14, 2013

News From Italy Blog Dedication

The best part of the last ten years has been spent with my husband  David living a dream life in Northern Lazio, Italy. Sadly his recent death has meant the end of this adventure. We were a close couple and I do not want to live full time alone in Italy. It is too early yet to say how much time I will spend in Italy every year but sadly I feel it will not be enough to warrant continuing with my blog 'News From Italy'

Thankyou for all the wonderful support I have had from all around the world.

I am dedicating 'News From Italy' to this wonderful man, who was a very special husband, father, brother, son, uncle and friend to all who knew him.

David Stewart McFall July 27th 1950 - May 24th 2013

Monday, April 8, 2013

Moving On A New Chapter

Last year in readiness for the next chapter in our life adventure we put the house on the market to sell. Since moving to Italy we have done up and sold two properties which has kept us very busy and also been great fun. We had decided though that in the future we would like to be able to do more travelling including spending sometime every year in the UK. With the olive grove and various fruit trees in the large garden which was almost a full time commitment this was just not going to be possible. It was time therefore to move to a more manageable property and hopefully the next one will be in the centre of Marta so that we do not have to get in the car every time we need to do something. Even a trip to the rubbish bins entails getting in the car if you live in rural Italy.

In November we set off for the UK planning to spend a few months renovating a property we had purchased in Wales. We were very excited as prior to our departure we had accepted an offer on the house here with plans for completion at the end of March 2013. This fitted in perfectly with our intention of being back in Italy by the end of February to sort everything out for the sale. However as the saying goes, the best laid plans!

Life started to go horribly wrong for us when just a few weeks after arriving in Wales my husband was admitted to hospital. What we had thought was a severe bout of gastric sickness turned out to be much more serious, involving three months in hospital and major surgery. Thanks to the extreme kindness of friends and family in Italy and the UK we were able to push ahead with the sale of the Italian house and it was all completed just before Easter.

My husband also came out of hospital on the same day so we can at least start planning the next Italian and other adventures. Although we are going to need to be patient with regards to our return to Italy in search of the next property to purchase as we need to get him fit first. We have a long road to recovery ahead of us after all he has been through.

Many of you followed the renovation project here on the blog but just in case you didn't and would like to see some of the work we did I have included links back to the various posts.

Renovation Project photos can also be viewed at Flickr if you are interested in seeing more photos of the work as it progressed.

We are not going to be back in Italy yet awhile so I am not going to be writing any more posts about our life in Lazio until we do return for the next chapter of our Italian adventure. I cannot write about day to day life when I am not there to experience it sadly, although maybe I will be able to share other news from the region from time to time.

I will continue to share photos and posts from friends on my FB News From Italy page and if you would like to keep in touch with our life adventures you can do so via my other blogs. LindyLouMac's World in Photos  and Travel Tales  Also of course if you enjoy books I would love to welcome you to LindyLouMac's Book Reviews.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Buona Pasqua - Happy Easter - 2013

In celebration of  Easter I would like to wish all my family, friends and followers an enjoyable and peaceful time. We will not be with our daughters but we will be thinking of them, one daughter on holiday in India, the other in Salisbury.  Good news, though is that my husband is at last home from hospital, yesterday just in time for Easter. We may not be in Italy as we had hoped to be for Easter but at least we are together again. It has been a long three months as apart from a gap of two weeks he was in hospital the entire time. We came to spend some time in Wales last winter, which is where my sister and brother-in-law live. The plan was to work on the renovation of a little town house we have purchased in the beautiful town of Tywyn on the Welsh coast and the edge of the Snowdonia National Park. Those of you that follow lindyloumacsworldinphotos will have seen photographs. It is a beautiful place to for my husband to spend his convalescence until he is fit enough for us to return to Italy for the next chapter in our life adventure.

To each and everyone of you reading this post. 

                                               BUONA PASQUA

The video of  Easter images is set to  Povia singing 'Vorrei avere il becco' which translates literally as 'I wish I had the beak'  the original version can be found on YouTube.  Link to YouTube Video of Povia performing this song.

                        Easter Greetings set to Music -  Auguri di Buona Pasqua.

                                                  Uploaded by  on Feb 15, 2008

For those of you that have not been reading News From Italy for very long, I have posted about Easter in previous years, including some beautiful music and videos. I am including links to some of my previous posts, with a brief explanation of the information you will find if you visit them.

Giovedi Santo - Maundy Thursday
On this morning this the Pope carries out a mass known as 'Mass of the Chrism', in St Peter's Basilica. The chrism is a mixture of balsam and olive oil that is used in some of the sacraments after it has been blessed.  I am not a member of the Roman Catholic Church but of the Church of England, but this post I hope does explain a little of what happens in the few days prior to Easter Sunday in the Roman Catholic church

Venerdi Santo - Good Friday
Good Friday is not a Bank Holiday here in Italy as it is very much considered a day of mourning. The Roman Catholic Church treats Good Friday as a fast day, normally in the one main meal only fish is eaten.
This post also includes a video showing one of the many Venerdi Santo Processions that take place in the evening.  We have witnessed a number now in various towns and I find they are very emotional occasions.

Sunday Song - Easter Sunday - Domenica di Pasqua
Amedeo Minghi, an Italian singer songwriter with his beautiful rendition of ‘Gerusalemme’  'Jerusalem' a piece commissioned by the Vatican on the occasion of the 'Jubilee 2000'.

Buona Pasqua - Happy Easter 
Last year I posted a general update of the Easter festivities saying that our thoughts were with all our family, friends both real and virtual where ever they were in the world for a Buona Pasqua – Happy Easter.

Enjoy your Easter Break may it be peaceful and happy.

NB: Those of you that have been following News From Italy for more than a year may recognise material in this post from last year. Forgive me but the internet connection in the beach house we are renting while my husband's convalescing is dreadful much worse than an connection we have ever had in Italy! This means posting is not easy, slow connections are just not made for blogging.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

La Festa della Donna – International Women’s Day - March 8th 2013

Italy takes part in International Women’s Day, La Festa della Donna when women of all ages celebrate this special day dedicated to them with celebratory dinners or just get together with other female friends and are often presented with bunches of bright yellow Mimosa, the recognised symbol of the day here.

If you happen to be in Italy on March 8th and you are a women you may just get presented with a bunch of Mimosa. 

International Women’s Day is recognised and celebrated in many countries around the world and the focus of the celebrations ranges from general celebration of respect, appreciation and love towards women to a celebration for women's economic, political and social achievements. Although originally a Socialist political event, the day grew in the culture of many countries, primarily in Eastern Europe. In many regions, the day has lost its political flavour, and become simply an occasion for men to express their love for women in a way somewhat similar to a mixture of Mother's Day and St Valentine's Day. In other regions, however, the original political and human rights theme designated by the United Nations runs strong, and political and social awareness of the struggles of women worldwide are brought out and examined in a hopeful manner.

In 2011 March 8th marked the centenary of one of the events that is thought to have been the birth of International Women’s Day. When in March 1911 more than one million women and men attended rallies in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland campaigning for women’s rights to work, vote, be trained, to hold public office and end discrimination.

Every year the United Nations choose a different worldwide theme for Women’s Day and many events take place not just today but throughout March, marking the economic, political and social achievements of women. Their theme for March 8th 2013 is "The Gender Agenda: Gaining Momentum"   

Many other organisations develop their own themes that are more relevant to their local contexts. For example, the European Parliament's 2013 theme is "How women weather the economic crisis . The theme of this year’s International Women’s Day by the United Nations  is “Women and Men United to End Violence against Women and Girls.” The theme was chosen to draw attention to the Secretary-General’s wider “UNiTE to End Violence Against Women” campaign which runs through 2015, the target date for achieving the Millennium Development Goals.

On this day Festa della Donna International Women’s Day, let us give thanks to all those women who came before us and helped to grant us the freedom we all have in modern society.
Women are powerful these days and can help to to effect change and make a difference in other women’s lives around the world where they do not have the same freedoms that we enjoy.

If you are interested in finding out more about the history just click on any of the links that I used in my research.
International Women's Day,   International Women's Day 2013,   European Parliament Theme 2013
Some of the information quoted here is from my own earlier posts such as La Festa della Donna 2011 and the rest including the banner is quoted from the website for International Women’s Day.

We have many Mimosa trees in the locality and the photos used in the post are ones I took myself last year in the locality of our home in Marta.

The photos are Copyright All rights reserved by LindyLouMac Photo Collection

Thankyou for all your messages of support concerning David and his health problems. He has now been back in hospital for a second stretch of a month and waiting for his operation when he is fit enough, hopefully not much longer now.

Monday, February 18, 2013

San Remo 2013 - Festival della Canzone Italiana

The final of the 63rd edition of the Festival was held yesterday evening and was broadcast live on Italian television as it is a very popular event with the Italians, a vast majority of whom seem to love music in some form or other.  The festival lasted for five days and this year the viewing figures were the highest since 2001 with an average nightly audience of more than eleven million viewers. Maybe viewers were looking to get away from the election campaign? The average share of the viewing audience never fell below 42% and on the closing night 66.6%.

Yesterday evening Marco Mengoni became the winner of  the Festival della Canzone Italiana San Remo 2013.

Marco Mengoni was born on Christmas Day in 1988 and rose to fame as a singer in 2009 after winning the third season of the Italian edition of the show 'The X Factor'. The following year he came third in the San Remo music festival and this year he won with L'Essenziale (The Essential). He has been selected to represent Italy in the 2013 Eurovision Song Contest in Malmo in May.

Marco Mengoni - L'essenziale

My post for last year can be read here San Remo Festival 2012 and for lots more information on the Festival I recommend a visit to the San Remo Festival Website. 

With thanks also to the following sites for information used in this post Wikipedia - Festival di San Remo 2013,  ANSA News - San Remo   YouTube

You may have noticed that my recent posts have all been musical. My apologies for bias towards this subject  but at the moment with my husband still in hospital I have not had much time to be more imaginative with my posts. I also find music very soothing at this time, so please bear with me if you are not interested in my musical posts, until I can spend more time here blogging about our life in Italy.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Musical Moment - Momento Musicale - Friar Alessandro - The Voice of Assisi

I mainly share the written word and photos on News From Italy but three years ago in February 2010 I started sharing music with a Sunday Song post which appeared on a regular and then gradually a more irregular basis.  It has been surprisingly successful and I was recently asked why it has only appeared three times over the last year.

In response I am again reviving the posting of Italian Music, as the majority of readers seem keen on me doing so, (with apologies to S who always skips the music posts and to D whose internet connection is not good enough for her to listen to them).  Musical Moment - Momento Musicale will therefore appear from time to time throughout the year, probably when I come across an artist I particularly like, or is popular in Italy.

Once such artist that I heard on the radio in Italy for the first time last Spring singing Panicus Angelicus is Friar Alessandro who has the most amazing voice. I hope you will enjoy his singing as much as I do. 

Friar Alessandro, is a Franciscan friar and a tenor singer of religious music and the first religious brother to gain an exclusive record contract with a major record label. He was born Alessandro Brustenghi in Assisi, Italy in 1978.  Alessandro started in playing music when he was just 9 wanting to becoming a percussionist. At 14 he started learning piano and organ. He also sung in choirs, but never as a lead singer. At 21, he joined the Franciscan order and sang in the order at the Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli at Assisi, Italy where he worked as a joiner-carpenter. 
The friars first noticed his beautiful tenor voice, when he had to pass a vocal exam to enter the ministry. Some of his recordings were introduced to Mike Hedges (producer to U2, Dido, The Cure, Manic Street Preachers amongst others) who after hearing his voice offered to produce his album in the legendary Abbey Road Studios in London, that would include sacred music, both traditional and contemporary.
To record the album he had to take a plane to London, the first time ever that he had travelled by air. Also true to his pledge of poverty, Alessandro refused to receive any monetary compensation for the sale of the album, proceeds go to the Order of Friars Minor as a registered charity to assist Franciscan charity activities in different parts of the world. 

His debut album is called Voice from Assisi and was was released on 15 October 2012.  Relax and enjoy the tracks I have shared. 

Friar Alessandro - Panis Angelicus - The Voice from Assisi

Friar Alessandro - Fratello Sole, Sorella Luna (Brother Sun, Sister Moon)
                                        Friar Alessandro - Make Me A Channel Of Your Peace

With thanks to the following sites for Biographical details and videos.

I hope you enjoyed the first Momento Musicale of 2012, do let me know.  Have a lovely weekend everyone where ever you may be and however you are spending it. Thankyou for all the messages of support, David and I are both doing fine, just so pleased to be together again after thirty days apart! David has a long road to recovery ahead, but slowly and surely he is determined to get there. 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Costa Concordia Disaster One Year Later - Costa Concordia Disastro Un Anno Dopo

I am today reposting a beautiful song that was released last March in the wake of the Costa Concordia disaster. Costa Concordia Tribute The Costa Concordia partially sank after hitting rocks, then running aground off the coast of the small Italian island, Isola del Giglio, not far from the mainland. Over four thousand people had to be evacuated and sadly there were inevitably deaths and injuries. 
Justine Pelmelay a singer from the Netherlands and Antonella Tonna an Italian pianist got together after both surviving the tragedy. The pianist Antonella was working on board the cruise liner and the singer Justine was with her partner on a vacation. The song recalls those moments when it felt like ‘Time Stood Still’ and I think it is a moving tribute. It was decided that all proceeds from the song went to the residents of the Isola del Giglio who went out of their way that night to offer shelter to the survivors of the disaster.

Il Tempo Si é Fermato - Justine Pelmelay with Antonello Tonna ( Costa Concordia )

Ma-ni strette dentro una speranza
Mani che sussurrano, una preghiera nella danza
La Luna che
illuminava i nostri "perchè"
Ma-ni, tese dentro un abbraccio
Mani che rimangono ferme ad aspettare un cenno
Il mare che
abbracciava i nostri "perchè"......."perchè"
Il tempo che scivolava via...
trascinandosi i sogni e le bugie.
Un segnale, fra pace e guerra,
fra chi scelte più non ha, fra chi le mani nell'acqua immergerà....
Con il mare stretto in un abbraccio,
dietro quel gigante che
ignorava ogni coraggio..
La vita in ogni cosa così si rispecchierà..
Il tempo che scivolava via...
trascinandosi i sogni e le bugie.
Un segnale, fra pace e guerra,
fra chi scelte più non ha, fra chi le mani nell'acqua immergerà....
Ma-ni che raccolgono un abbraccio
Ma-ni stanche e fredde per raccontare un naufragio
Il mare che per sempre ci parlerà non lo scorderà

Songwriters: Justine Pelmelay, Ronald van Driel, Marcel Schimscheimer
Italian Lyrics: Antonello Tonna
Studio: Highland studios Loosdrecht
Mix music: Hans Bedeker
Video and Voices: HD Soundstudio Jody Koewé

I have not included a translation, it is always difficult to translate songs and I think it sometimes spoils it. There are plenty of online translators available, if you have the desire to have the English words, but sadly they are also not always very accurate. My advice is just listen and imagine as ‘Time Stood Still’

On Sunday as the Anniversary of the Costa Concordia disaster approached, time stood still all over Italy. On the island of Giglio and the nearby mainland sirens were sounded and lanterns were released into the sky in memory of the thirty two people that lost their lives in the disaster.  As dawn broke the massive rock that tore the 70 metre/230 foot hole in in the ship and became embedded in the hull, was lowered back onto the reef with a memorial plaque attached to it. Relatives of those that died in the disaster were there to take part in the ceremony.

The 32 people, included two whose bodies were never found included 12 Germans, seven Italians, six French nationals, two Americans, two Peruvian crew members, one Hungarian, one Spaniard and an Indian. 
The Concordia remains on its side,  off the island of Giglio. Officials now say it may take until September to prepare the ship to be rolled upright and towed from the rocks to a port to be dismantled, an operation on this scale has never before been attempted. The cost is expected to now exceed 400 million euros. 

 Courtesy of euronewsit
For those interested the full story is well documented in the press and I have included a few links below.

Please see my explanation in the sidebar as to why it is quiet here on  News From Italy at the moment as regards posting.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Festa della Befana in Italia, Epifania 2013 - Festival of Befana and Epiphany in Italy

 La Befana vien di notte
                              con le scarpe tutte rotte
                               con le toppe alla sottana
                                  Viva, Viva La Befana! 
                          "  The Befana comes by night  
                            with broken shoes
                            with patches on the skirt 
                            Viva, Viva La Befana!  "
According to Italian tradition 'La Befana' is an old witch woman that flies in on her broom to visit children on the night between 5 and 6 January, before Epiphany, to fill the socks that are left hanging near a chimney or window. It is traditional also to leave this kind-hearted witch some refreshments, such as a tangerine, an anchovy, smoked herring or a pickled onion and of course a glass of red wine. If the children have been good they will find their stockings filled with tangerines, dried fruit, nuts, sweets and other small gifts. Naughty children will just receive a stocking full of coal!
The origins of  'La Befana' are thought to be related to old agricultural pagan traditions when the twelfth night after the winter solstice, celebrated the death and rebirth of nature, through the pagan figure of Mother Nature . The Romans believed that in these twelve nights, female figures were flying over the fields to bless future harvests. To guide them according to some was Diana , goddess of the moon related to the vegetation. The Church condemned  such beliefs, saying they were the result of satanic influence. These  stories have given rise to many stories which resulted in the Middle Ages in 'La Befana,'

According to a Christian version, one of many The Three Kings , directed to Bethlehem to bring gifts to baby Jesus, unable to find their way, ask directions of an elderly lady.  So somehow the leaving of sweets for children along the way in the hope that one of them was the Baby Jesus has linked these two events together.
I found this video on YouTube that tells the story for those of you that are able to watch, which I hope you will find interesting.
                                                    'La Befana's - Italian Christmas Story.
L' Epiphany, The Epiphany on January 6th, the twelfth day of Christmas is considered a solemn feast of obligation by the Catholic Church. The last day of the Christmas holidays and a public holiday in Italy to celebrate it will be back to school and work for everyone on January 7th.