mercoledì 23 dicembre 2009

I've just found this article about Bologna.
Nice to read it.
Merry Christmas.

domenica 20 dicembre 2009

Ok, this year sounds to be a white christmas.
Cold, snow, ice...everthing looks right, at least outside my home.
Yesterday I had a walk.
Trees were covered by snow, the hills around white and the air clean.
The old town looks so great.
In front of he basilica of San Petronio there is the Santa Wood: there were the reindeer too, and it was so cold they really didn't look out of place here.
It was nice, children were playing with snow, and almost everybody was happy.
Even the God Nettuno was less serious than usual!
And then, when I was freezed enought, I came back home for lunch...well it was 6pm, but it wasn't already time for dinner.

mercoledì 9 dicembre 2009

I love travel, even when it is just a trip around the corner. This weekend I visited a small area of central Italy I never have seen before. It is a mountain area, between Umbria, Marche and Abruzzo Regions. First I found foggy weather, so It was not so nice drive through this "milky" atmosphere. But, when I approached the mountain pass everything changed. Over there sun was shining and I could see how I was sourrended by the beauty. The valley was filled by fog, the tops of the montains were covered by the snow and the air was so pure that I couldn't stop breathing.
I saw small villages, most oh them with this gorgeous houses made of stones. I could not even imagine how hard could be living there only 40 years ago, and I can imagine how nice could be spend some days in some of those places now! Hope i'll visit again this mountains, maybe this springtime.

martedì 1 dicembre 2009

This september I had a trip in Sicilia. I spent most of the time in the Barocco area. Noto, Modica, ragusa and Scicli. Simply marvellous. What I saw sometimes was simply close to perfection.
The colour of the stone, the ability of the architect and the stonemasons, the whole atmosphere of the old towns. Often the palaces where closed and abandoned but still so charming.
In the first picture i was sitting on the staircase in front of the cathedral of Noto (yes that little one is me). The second one is a view of Ragusa Ibla. Unfortunately the weather wasn't what I expected from Sicilia! It was often raining, quite cold (to be summer) and windy. This was a pity as I wanted to have more beach days than the ones I had. Anyway i'm looking forward to see all the island.

OK Vicki, this is for You!

martedì 17 novembre 2009

So long time since I wrote here...
I decided to start from the end: saturday I went to Ferrara.
First I visited ad exhibition about Giovanni Boldini (the exhibition). He was a painter born in Ferrara on 1842 and died in Paris on 1931 (about Boldini).
I really enjoyed both Boldini and the tour of Ferrara: "Ferrara, which grew up around a ford over the River Po, became an intellectual and artistic centre that attracted the greatest minds of the Italian Renaissance in the 15th and 16th centuries. Here, Piero della Francesca, Jacopo Bellini and Andrea Mantegna decorated the palaces of the House of Este. The humanist concept of the 'ideal city' came to life here in the neighbourhoods built from 1492 onwards by Biagio Rossetti according to the new principles of perspective. The completion of this project marked the birth of modern town planning and influenced its subsequent development." (from UNESCO)

lunedì 15 giugno 2009

Last week we celebrate my brother's birthday. He and his wife came for a dinner. As I know him...better than He think...the menu was with what we call something close to perfection: bistecca alla fiorentina (Florence' style Steak) and oh so good Sagrantino (a delicious red wine from Umbria Region). The steaks as you can see were as they must be: more than 4 cm thick, with T-bone, big enought to say: ok after this I can't afford other meal, thanks! The wine I bought from a producer iI haven't tasted has been a risk, but it was perfect. I only had to open the bottle about 3 hours before as the wine was from 2004.

Changin topic this weekend I visited some friends that have a mobile home in a camping on the mountains near Parma. Nice place, between the whoods, not as hot as here in town where summer has already arrived.
On sunday we move to La Spezia, and from the harbour we took the boat to Portovenere, the southern door to the Cinque Terre. It was sunday and it is summer, so it was a little too crowded for my taste, but It has been a nice trip. We just wlak trought the village, its narrow streets, the church over the sea, and the other one, both beautiful. The castle on the top of the village, the shops, the flavour of basilic and sea...what can I say more: I can only post a picture of the sea You can find here. And, of course, you can see me...but you can't see as sad I was as I didn't take with me my swimsuit!

domenica 7 giugno 2009

It was...well some days after my birthday. So I went to that shop I knew. The girl looked at me, and asked me if she could help me. Yes, darlin', I want that...
I signed a cheque and gave it to her. Actually, it was so easy.
It was not as easy to reach the fourth floor (no elevator in the building) with the main part. But I got it.
And now one of may dream came true: I have an Arco in my home, not only a lamp, a piece of history of Italian Design.

sabato 9 maggio 2009

We had a short vacation in the Montefeltro, that is between Marche and Emilia-Romagna regions. We start from the small village of Verucchio near Rimini. This is a picture from the castle. We only had a short would have deserved more time, here there is one of the most important museum for Etruschi period in north Italy.
Then we moved to Marche, first to Pietrarubbia, no more than some old houses and the remains of a castle on the top of a hill. From here we arrived at Sassocorvaro where I found a B&B on internet. The first impression wasn't good...a little too messy for my taste. The rooms were on the first floor of a very old rural home. Rooms were nice and clean, and the owner (from Switzerland!) kind. The most beauiful thing was the landscape from the windows. One of the thingh I find more Impressive of Montefeltro is the landscape. If You remember the paintings of Italian Masters of Rinascimento, the sweet endless series of green hills, the slow rivers running trought the valleys, the clean air...The village, nothing special, with its ancient Rocca, lies on a hill, over a lake where we find a funny restaurant with a great pizza and ery kind waiters and waitress. The second day we had a trip to Urbania. When You arrive there you think that life in Rinascimento could be really nice...if you where the Conte! It is a nice and little village, made with red bricks. This time is not on the top of a hill, but on a little rock surrounded by the river. I felt the relax of living here. People were sitting in the bars, chatting throught the streets, everybody kind and different from the cities. The town has a nice Palazzo Ducale with a perfect courty yard and a castle facade over the river. The picture I post is the "back" of the village, from the minor bridge. Near this town there is the former hunting villa of the Duca, what we call a Casino, here the Baglio Ducale. They are still restoring, as during the centuries it became first a coventry, then a millitar "hangar" and then it was left with no cure at all since some years ago when, after a quite big earthquake, they start restoring. We finish the day visiting Urbino (llllove) where we thought to visit the exibition conceirning Raffaello. We had to give it up: too crowded! We just walk in this little beautiful town (I post a picture of the gorgeous Palazzo Ducale I took some years ago this time it was impossible even to think to visit it), had a refresh stop in a Bar, and then return to the B&B. The last day when I open the window I saw 3 rainbows in the valley, so the morning started in the right way. We left quite early and drove to the last stop of our trip: San Leo. The village and the castle, and 2 wonderful churches: the Duomo rise directly from the stone...something amazing. The last picture I post here I took from the path to the castle. The castle does desserve a visit only for the landscape you can admire from the terraces, inside is almost empty. Here died Cagliostro in the 18th century, people still bring flowers in his prison.

domenica 19 aprile 2009

I spent Easter in Umbria. I had some short trips and I took some pictures...of course. On monday some wine producers were open so I took the chance to visit two of them. One is one of the biggest in the area (Montefalco, you can see one of the midle-aged door in the picture) and famous in Italy. It was a nice visit, I could talk a lot with people there, even with the owner (but I thought it was the wine expert). And I had a surprise when the very competent girl at the reception told: "Well...I know You...". After some time, and some glasses of wonderful wine She reminded: "You are friend of..." and then I remembered her. It was funny, We started talking about other friends We had and when we met...and other people there stared us...
In the afternoon after a usual BIG lunch we pay a visit to a little farm closer to home. Also their wine was good and we bought some bottles for my cellar.

domenica 29 marzo 2009

I love plants. Almost all. From weeds to orchids, from oaks to poplars. And if I had to tell what I love more...well probably I love succulent the most.
Their shapes, colors, even their thorns.
The flowers of cactus are often more then "only" flowers, they are more like a metaphor.
I can even read a kind of ransom in their blooming, year after year. I can imagine the flower as a shout in the desert. If you keep yor ear close to it you can, sometimes, feel the whisper.

martedì 24 marzo 2009

I read this post on French Essence.
I'd like to show where olive trees I wrote about grow.
Here You are the small village where the family of my friend live. As You can see is a kind of Castle (a Rocca) just up to a hill surrounded by olive trees, wood and fields.
It is located in Umbria at the heart of Italy.
The climate is right for olive trees, not too cold in winter and not too hot in summer (sometimes in August it was so cold we had to light up the fireplace) and for humans too! I must confess I'd like to live there...maybe one day.
So far I only act as a tourist and as a farm worker too!

domenica 22 marzo 2009

Yesterday was the first day of springtime...but it was quite cold. I had a walk downtown...only few hours before coming back home, turning on the radiators e finish my book (after eating too mutch of my chocolate cake).
Bologna is an old town, it was already village in the VIIIth century BC, here was born the first European University, in the middle age it was one of he most important, and biggest, town in Europe.
Yesterday in a courtyard of an old palace I saw some remains of one of the first wall made by christal chalk (as you can see in the picture). It was build just out of one of the romain street that surrounded the village.

sabato 14 marzo 2009

Well...spring is coming...but today doesn't really looks like!
Daffodils are flowering right now, I took this picture two years ago...

venerdì 13 marzo 2009

My very small kitchen, full of southern light, with double row of cabinet (cieling 3 meters high).

giovedì 12 marzo 2009