Entries from Palmabella's Passions tagged with 'Italian Travel'

Just Hanging Out in Ascoli

On our third day in Ascoli, we had another relaxing day. We walked around town, and did some shopping and sight-seeking. We had a hearty lunch (polenta with lamb ragu for Brad, and pasta with guanciale for me). We checked...

Around Ascoli

On Monday morning we said a final good-bye to Federico, and then his generous grandparents, and drove from Pescara to Ascoli Piceno. Ascoli was as charming as we remembered, and we had a relaxing day wandering around town, a long...

Walking Tour of Lecce

On Friday morning, Martina's parents took us on a whirlwind walking tour of Lecce. You can see SO many gorgeous buildings. We just got a taste of all there would be to see on a longer visit. What a treat!...

Gorgeous B&B in Lecce: Mantatelure

The night we spent in Lecce, we were guests of Martina's parents, Beatrice and Wanya, in a gorgeous little 5 Start Boutique B&B called Mantatelure. It is a restored 15th century residence, where every detail has been thought of for...

An Evening in Lecce

From Brindisi, it was only another 20 minutes to Lecce, where we met Martina's mom, Beatrice, at the entrance to town. She gave us a tour of her beautiful spa, and then dropped us off at a gorgeous B&B (more...

To The Beach

On Wednesday morning, Lea and Massimo took us to some of the nearby beaches, just down the coast from Pescara. We started at Francavilla al Mare, where we walked out on the pier seeing the views back to Pescara, and...

Dinner with Romolo and Daniela

On Tuesday, Brad and I went to central Pescara in the morning, did some grocery shopping, and that evening were invited to dinner at the beautiful home of good friends of the Spedicatos, Romolo and Daniela. Daniela is an excellent...

Sulmona and Confetti

Sulmona is a very lovely small city in Abruzzo, famous for the candy coated almonds you see at weddings. There is also a palio in the main piazza in July, in case you would like a smaller version of Sienna,...

Truffle Hunting and Sulmona

We headed to a wooded area in the Abruzzo countryside and stopped at a friend of Massimo's home. We weren't sure why, but soon were introduced to about 20 truffle hnting dogs he raises. Lara was chosen for our...

Monday's Mountain Adventure

Abruzzo is a beautiful region. Pescara is a large and fairly modern city on the sea, but less than an hour away from the mountains with gorgeous views, hill towns and rolling green hills. On Monday, Federico's parents took us...

Caffe Pedrocchi

Not to be missed in Padova is the beautiful and historic Caffe Pedrocchi. Designed by architect Giuseppe Jappelli in 1831, this central landmark is still a meeting place for locals, students and tourists. The building is beautiful, the coffee,...

Italian Dogs

I always seem to take photos of dogs on our travels to Italy! Here are a few from our recent trip: These puppies were gathered in Piazza Santo Stefano, in Bologna, during aperitivo time. This sweet boxer stays with mom...

Padova: Day 2

It was our last full day in Italy. It began with a beautiful sunrise view from our hotel room. After breakfast, we walked to the opposite end of town to visit the Basilica di San Antonio. We arrived well before...

Padova: Day 1

After leaving Le Marche, we headed to Padova for our last two nights. We had a glass of wine and tramezzini for lunch, then did a little exploring, as it was our first time in this wonderful city. We saw...

Day Trip to Loreto

One of our favorite days in Le Marche, we took off after breakfast, and headed to the coast. Our first stop was Ancona, and it's cathedral on the hill, overlooking the large port city. The arches on the front...

Our FAVORITE Hotel: Hotel Porta San Mamolo

In re-living our recent Italy trip, I can't move on from Bologna to our next destination of Le Marche without some RAVING about our favorite hotel. Staying at Hotel Porta San Mamolo in Bologna is as close to "going home...

Palmabella's Italy Good-bye Dinner 2012

On our last evening in Bologna, we have dinner at one of the first restaurants I came to love in the neighborhood of the apartment where I stayed to study Italian. As you know, each area of Italy has different...

Drinks in Piazza Santo Stefano

On our last night in Bologna, after visiting the churches we gathered for drinks in a favorite meeting place: the lovely Piazza Santo Stefano. The young and old, with their dogs and kids in tow, seem to love this...

Beautiful San Luca

This was my third visit to the Basilica of San Luca, high on a hill overlooking Bologna. It's grandeur always amazes me. What an amazing piece of architecture. Our tummies were full from our lunch at La Buca, so...

Sunday Pranzo

We enjoyed our annual trek to Trattoria La Buca in Zibello for a Sunday lunch. We began with platters of culatello and owner, Chef Miriam sent us some special ham and salami from her cellar. Enrique was very happy with...

Good Luck

Did you know it is good luck to see a bride in Italy. We were very lucky to see TWO in one morning in Dozza! What fun! Our group were also pretty happy in Dozza, and we had a nice...

Last Day

Here are a group of children celebrating their last day of school. It is our last day in Italy. Some are happy, some are not. It has been a WONDERFUL Journey! I have lots more photos and stories to tell....

Loreto

On our last full day in Le Marche, we decided to drive down the coast along the Riveria di Conero to Loreto. The Cathedral there is one of the most spectacular churches I have ever seen. It was a wonderful...

Amazing Views, Amazing Day!

We spent the day with our Le Marche map and GPS driving from beautiful vista to gorgeous view, from hill towns to the valleys between, and loving every minute! The weather was perfect, and there was every shade of green...

Monday in Pergola

Monday morning, we enjoyed breakfast with Jan and Ken. It is fun to overlap with other Slow Travelers. We began with some strawberries from Giulia's garden, delicious breads and cake, jams, cheese, tomatoes and juices. Rain in the forecast, but...

Day of the Republic

After a wonderful "Giulia Breakfast", we headed to our favorite town of Mondavio. I love it just as much as I did last fall. I always forget that June 2 is an Italian holiday, until I see all the gorgeous...

A Fabulous Group!

It has been an amazing week in many ways! Tonight is our last night in Bologna with our Palmabella's Italy guests (from left) Enrique, Frank, Anne and Diane. What a delightful group of friends. We had so much fun sharing...

Basta! Terremoto!

We felt the 5.8 earthquake during our visit to the Parmigiano Casificio in Reggio-Emilia this morning. We were in the room where the parmigiani are dipped in salted water. The huge flat troughs of water were still. Then, they sloshed...

Busy in Bologna!

We've had a couple of busy days in Bologna. We've been cooking with Rafaella and Francesca, had a market tour, a day trip to Dozza, walks around town, and a hot Saturday night in Bologna! There's been wonderful food, LOTS...

Benvenuto a Bologna

Let the Games Begin! We welcomed our guests to Bologna with some prosecco at Hotel Porta San Mamolo. It was such fun to get to know Diane and Frank from New Jersey, and Anne and Enrique from Texas! This is...

Wednesday: Venice to Bologna

After breakfast, we headed to the train station on our last vaparetto ride. This was our first train trip with big luggage since 2001! It went well, and we had a nice young boy's help at the Bologna station who...

Tuesday Highlights

Another wonderful day in Venice! After breakfast we hopped on a vaparetto to P. Roma, another to Fondemente Nuova, and yet another to Burano. It was great to have a sunny day after yesterday's rain! We wandered for a little...

A Rainy Monday

It seems like every visit to Venice involves at least one rainy day, and I translate that to SHOPPING. If we must "Make hay while the sun shines", why not "Make purchases while the rain pours?" It is lovely to...

Our Last Evening at Fontana del Papa

Our last evening at Fontana del Papa was filled with LOTS of laughter, food and wine, as we said good-byes to our new friends. Cacio e Pepe was a hit for dinner! There were big smiles all around: The Ladies...

Il Pellicano

While in Italy, I was reading La Bella Lingua, by Dianne Hales. In it, the author mentions what she calls, "the MOST romantic resort in Italy". It was only an hour's drive, so we decided to check it out and...

An Amazing Story!

Assuntina Antonacci is the owner of Fontana del Papa, and she is also a published author of an amazing book: Check it out at: Cook Italy This book tells the story of the long struggle and sacrifices she and her...

A Day Trip to Roma

Let me begin by describing my limited experience with Italian trains. We are very spoiled to always have a car when we travel to Italy. Given the amount of luggage we usually have, it makes sense, and Brad LOVES to...

Dinner in Tolfa

Fontana del Papa is just 3.5 km from the tiny town of Tolfa, high on a hill. We ventured out to dinner, beginning with a glass of wine in the piazza. At this point in our trip, we were so...

Lake Bolsena

September 27, 2011 We had a great night's sleep, and it was a beautiful day! Breakfast included juice, yogurt, and a gorgeous apple tart, but I was quite happy with three of these: We were headed to Lake Bolsena. We...

Arriving at Fontana del Papa

We drove a LONG way, got lost once and had to backtrack, but, finally, around 7 p.m., we approached the gates at Fontana del Papa. The house itself is beautiful, all of stone, surrounded by lots of land with gorgeous...

The Furlo Gorge

After lunch in Urbino, we took a drive along the beautiful Furlo Gorge. The original tunnel was excavated by hand through the limestone by the Romans as early as 76 A.D.; an amazing feat of engineering! It runs near...

Sunday in Urbino

Sunday morning, and our last whole day in Le Marche!. Not long enough! We wanted to go back and see the inside of the Palazzo Ducale in Urbino, so that was our first stop of the day. This palace...

Judith Visits Le Marche

Our friend, Judith, has been wonderful about visiting us when we are in Italy. She has traveled to Bologna for a visit, Bevagna to cook for our Palmabella's Italy group, has taken a train to see me in Rome,...

Dinner at Valle Nuova

September 23, 2011 On Friday night we had a special treat: DInner at Giulia's! We had some pre-dinner wine on the terrace, and then sat down to dinner with two other guests, Pru and her husband from Michigan, who we...

Smiling Pastries

On Friday, we visited the town of Urbania. We browsed a few shops on the two main streets, then stopped for a coffee at Caffe del Teatro. We didn't want to spoil our lunch with a pastry, but these...

Senigallia and Mondavio

We headed to the coastal town of Senigallia for their market day. It was a busy place with a very large market. Finding parking was a challenge, but we were able to get a spot not too far from...

Giulia's Locanda della Valle Nouva

Here is a short tour our our charming surroundings: We spent many hours here, drinking coffee or wine, chatting with Giulia, chatting with other guests, reading or playing with the kittens. The breakfast/dining room is cheerful and inviting: The lounge...

Driving North to Locanda della Valle Nuova

We were a little sad to leave Ascoli, and we know we will return, but excited to see more of northern Le Marche, and visit Giulia at Valle Nuova. We looked at the empty piazza and church on a beautiful...

Sheep and Last Night in Ascoli

We were headed to the beach. We decided to take the scenic route instead of the highway, as were were only going 25 km to San Benedetto del Tronto. Shortly outside of Ascoli, I felt like I had entered biblical...

Borgo Storico Seghetti Panichi

On Monday morning we visited the beautiful property (scouting for future Palmabella's Italy groups) Borgo Storco Seghetti Panichi. This is a beautiful property, about 15 minutes outside of Ascoli in the small village of Castel di Lama. This is...

Antique Market

After an afternoon nap, we wandered through the antique market stalls that were set up in both piazze, and also did a little shopping, as all the shops in town were open. I did add a Furla purse to my...

Sunday Market in San Ginesio

Sunday, September 18, 2011 We drove to the pretty hilltop town of San Ginesio for market day. Curvy road through hills and valleys brought gorgeous scenery along the way. We've become pretty good at circling the wall of a town...

Anniversary Dinner at La Locandiera

We decided to celebrate our 11th anniversary Saturday night (just a day late) with dinner at La Locandiera. I had called from home for a reservation, and we were warmly greeted by the owner as, "Palma di California". There...

Hill Towns and Lunch

My day, as is usual on our first morning in Italy, began early. No coffee in our hotel until 7:30, so I went for a walk. I was in the nearly empty piazza by 6:30, watching vendors setting up for...

Arriving in Ascoli Piceno

September 16, 2001: We arrived in Ascoli in the late afternoon. We checked into our lovely room at Residenza 100 Torre. The friendly staff showed us to our room where everything was done in shades of white and cream with...

Home and Jetlagged

Another 26 hour day of travel, but we are home and safe! Luckily, I always forget this part. Actually, if someone gave me two tickets to Italy, I'd go back this week! We had a 4:30 wake-up (Rome time) on...

5 Days Off

Yesterday was a LONG travel day where we passed through 4 regions (Le Marche, Umbria, Toscana and Lazio) with a stop for lunch in Arezzo. We are ar the beautiful Fontana del Papa outside of Roma. Internet is non-existing...

Last Day in Le Marche

We had a lovely Sunday, and I'm too tired to blog! After breakfast, on yet another beautiful, sunny day, we returned to Urbino to see the Palazzo Ducale. It is amazing, and I especially found the "basement" level interesting. Huge...

All is Well at Valle Nuova

We've had four lovely, relaxing days so far with Giulia and her family at Valle Nuova. The weather is perfect, the sky is blue, the hills are green with a few trees beginning to look like autumn, and the...

Northern Le Marche

We've been exploring lots of little hill towns and the valleys between them. Yesterday, we went back to the coast to Senegalia for market day and a great lunch. Then we visited a couple hill towns in the afternoon...

On to Urbino

We left Ascoli around 9, and stopped at a Casificio Piandelmedico in Jesi to buy an assortment of wonderful cheeses. By 12:40 we arrived at Locanda Valle Nuova and were warmly greeted by Giulia. Got settled in, and went...

Tuesday: San Benedetto del Tronto

After breakfast, we headed to the beach town of San Benedetto del Tronto, about 30 minutes west of Ascoli. On the way, we stopped along the road where a "shepherd boy" with a cane, was tending his sheep!!!. NOT...

Monday in Macerata

Monday morning, a few sprinkles, then sun and big puffy white clouds. We visited a property we were scouting for our Palmabella's Italy Tours, then headed to Macerata. This is a sweet walled town with several impressive buildings and...

Sunday in San Ginesio

Our morning excursion began after breakfast when we headed to Amandola, Sargnano and San Ginesio. Brad drives right through these little tiny hill towns with our gigantic station wagon, and often encounters steep hills, and small arched openings. Some...

We Should be Landing

We are scheduled to arrive in Rome TODAY at 12:30. I will try to blog something by Sunday. Ciao for now!...

6 More Sleeps!

and I will be in Ascoli Piceno!...

In Just One Month...

We will leave to explore a new (to us) region of Italy!...

Lugano

We spent a few hours of our last day in Lugano, Switzerland. We crossed Lake Como on the ferry to Mennagio, and from there it was less than an hour to Lake Lugano. We found parking, then walked around...

Villa Monastero

Monday morning, the sun was shining, so our morning walk was to see the gardens at Villa Monastero, just down the road from our hotel. I LOVE gardens in Italy, and this one was a real treat. Everywhere you looked...

Sunday Evening in Varenna

After an afternoon nap, we went back to our favorite spot in the little cove. I just can't seem to get enough of this place. It is so beautiful, and also a great spot for poeple watching! It was...

Sunday Morning in Varenna

June 5, 2011 We awoke to a final shower, then sunshine and the clarity that comes after a summer rainfall. After breakfast and an early morning walk, we returned to our room where I painted, and Brad read his book....

Dinner at Quatro Passs

June 4, 2011 After our busy day in Bellagio and Menaggio, we had a couple hours of relaxing time at our hotel before getting ready for dinner. Shortly before 8:00 we strolled over to the evening's restaurant, Quatro Pass. We...

Mennagio

On our last visit to Lake Come, we didn't have time to go across the lake from Varenna to Menaggio, so we decided to take the ferry from Bellagio to Menaggio before going back. We were pleasantly surprised to find...

Bellagio

We boarded the ferry to Bellagio, seeing lovely little Varenna from the boat. In about 15 minutes, we arrived in Bellagio. The sky was overcast and the weather was cool, but it was perfect for some shopping! We met up...

Villa Cipressi

We agreed to meet up with Jan and Les for the 10:30 ferry to Bellagio, but of course I was up and ready early, and Brad and I were done with breakfast before 8:00 a.m., so we took a walk...

Bologna to Varenna

On June 3, after breakfast, Jan, Les, Brad and I left Bologna after getting all the luggage for four people into our rental car. Our first stop was Verona for lunch, a little shopping, and a nickel tour of the...

Palmabella's Italy Day 10: Good-bye Dinner

Our final dinner was at yet another of my favorite Bologna spots: Antica Osteria Romagnola. I ate there twice last year, and knew our guests would enjoy the fabulous food! First we were served an array of antipasti. The...

Palmabella's Italy Day 10: Santo Stefano

It was the last full day of our tour. June 2 is a holiday in Italy (Day of the Republic). The city was dressed up for the occasion! My friends Ida and Debbie came to Bologna to spend our last...

Palmabella's Italy Day 8: Part 2: Ferrari Museum

Our bus continued to Maranello, a small town outside of Modena, to the Ferrari Museum. It turned out to be a "Magic Kingdom" for Brad. We entered the museum, and first you see a shop with every possible item...

Palmabella's Italy Day 8: Part 1: San Luca

There are several churches in Italy that just bring you a different, awe-inspiring feeling when you visit. There is a serenity, a strong vibe of peace or joy or even melancholy sometimes. The Santuario della Madonna di San Luca...

Palmabella's Italy Day 7: Part 2: Melarancio and Biagi

After our free time in Ravenna, we gathered for lunch at Melarancio. This is not only a beautiful upstairs dining room, but all the food is interesting and delicious! Here was our lunch... Full and happy we headed back to...

Palmabella's Italy Day 7: Part 1: Ravenna

We boarded our bus with Marcello and headed to Ravenna for a look at the amazing mosaics. We began at San Vitale, soaking up some of the scenes in the gorgeous church: Next we went into the Mausoleum of Galla...

Palmabella's Italy Day 6: La Buca and Outlet Shopping

What makes women smile? Outlet malls! On our way to Sunday pranzo in Zibello, we stopped for a couple of hours at the Fidenza Outlets for some great shopping. Lots of bags came back aboard our bus! Then we headed...

Palmabella's Italy Day 5: Saturday in Bologna

We had a free morning and early afternoon for everyone to shop, go to the big weekend mercato, visit museums on their own, or relax. Brad and I took off right after breakfast for the market! Within an hour,...

Palmabella's Italy Day 4: A Delicious Evening

After our busy morning and early afternoon in Modena, we took a break, then met for drinks at 6:30 at Gamberini. While Gamberini is "just a bakery", they have some of the most amazing appetizers I have seen in...

Palmabella's Italy Day 4: Acetai di Giorgio

Last year while in Bologna for my language study, my instructor, Andrea, took me to visit a Balsamic tasting at Acetai di Giorgio. It was all in Italian with Giorgio, the dad, explaining how they have made balsamico for...

Palmabella's Italy Day 4: Part 1

Our group had to be ready EARLY this morning, as the cows wait for no man! Of course I am referring to the PARMIGIANO COWS! By 7:15 we were on a bus to a casificio (dairy) where Parmigiano-Reggiano is...

Thursday, Day 3 Palmabella's Italy: Part 2: Dozza

After our wine tasting, we returned to our bus for the short drive to the charming little town of Dozza (between Bologna and Imola). The surrounding countryside is beautiful. Here is Marcello, of Bluone, stopping the bus driver to show...

Thursday, Day 3 Palmabella's Italy: Part 1

Thursday morning after breakfast, we gathered in Piazza Maggiore at 10 a.m. to take the hour and a half "Red Bus" tour of Bologna. It is a great way to get an overview of the city, as well as...

Wednesday, Day 2 Palmabella's Italy 2011

Wednesday morning, we gathered after breakfast for a tour of the market area of Bologna. This is a favorite area of mine! The produce is beautiful, the pasta is perfect, and the cheeses and meats are to die for. We...

Tuesday: The Official Start of Palmabella's Italy 2011

Tuesday finally arrived, after over a year of planning, it was Day 1 of our Palmabella's Italy Bologna Adventure. 4 of our guests were already in Bologna and rested. The other four were arriving after a few days in Florence....

Monday in Bologna

Monday morning, Nancy and Barbara, two more of our guests, arrived. They both decided on naps after their long travels. Brad and I took off to do some errands and a little shopping. I found two great tops, and we...

Sunday in Bologna

Sunday was an easy day. We enjoyed the delicious breakfast at Porta San Mamolo: After breakfast we returned our rental car to the Bologna airport, and came back to hang out at Piazza Santo Stefano. In my opinion, this is...

Grape Hops Day 7: Friday Walks and Food

Friday morning! How could the week have gone so quickly? I saw so much of Venice I never knew existed! I had coffee at the corner cafe and picked up some fresh burrata that had just been flown in from...

Grape Hops Day 6: Thursday

Thursday morning, we set out for a walk to San Pietro di Castello. This is an island which forms part of the Castello sestiere, and is joined to the rest of Venice by two bridges. The church has stood...

Seafood Lunch and A GTG

After our tour of the Rialto Fish Market with Lolo, we walked a little bit with Nan who told us about rowing and showed us some lovely spots in the neighborhood. Soon, we were at Lolo's wonderful restaurant, Al Fontego...

Grape Hops Day 5: Rialto Fish Market Tour

I have been to the Rialto Market on previous trips to Venice, but today, we had the pleasure of meeting Lolo, President of the Rialto Fish Market Association, and owner of a wonderful seafood restaurant, Al Fontego dei Pescatori. He...

Grape Hops Day 4: Valpolicella

We left bright and early (after my coffee at the corner bar), for a walk to Ferrovia, the Venice train station. We boarded the train for Verona, where we were met by our guide and driver for the day. We...

Grape Hops: Hanging Out

It is an art form to be able to hang out in a caffe, bar, campo or piazza. Brad and I have mastered this, and do it several times a day. There's the "AFTER the morning coffee coffee", the "I'm...

Grape Hops Day 3:On the Lagoon

It was a perfectly clear, blue sky day! After coffee at my corner bar, we set off for our lagoon adventure on a small boat, with our guide Andrea 2 and expert sailor, Signore Ungaro. Andrea grew up on...

Grape Hops Day 2: A Rainy Sunday

Shannon and Kim were very flexible with our schedule, accomodating everyone's needs. Since the forecast showed a day of rain, Sunday morning was a perfect museum day. I decided to opt out of the history and culture, as I have...

Welcome Day of Grape Hops! 5-14-11

After a couple cups of coffee, we moved all of our luggage out of the "pre-tour" apartment into our new home for the next week. I only made one trip down those gazillion steps, and volunteered to pick up...

Good News and Bad News

With any luck, by the time you read this, I should be just about landing in Venezia! The bad news: I only have my i-Pad with me this week, and I will also have limited wifi access. So my posts...

Favorite Towns in Italy

Recently, Valerie, at 2 Baci in a Pinon Tree, did a blog about her "Five Favorite Towns in Italy". Brad and I have discussed this many times, but I am fickle! I love so many, it is very hard...

Where Have I Been in Italy?

After our last trip, Brad and I were discussing what new parts of Italy we want to explore next. We somehow ended up writing a list of Italian cities and small towns we have visited. We decided the criteria for...

Counting Down

I leave in three weeks!...

80 Days!

...

49 Reasons to Return to Bologna

I'll be returning to Bologna in May for three weeks of language study. Jerry will be visiting me for part of my stay. Here is a preview of why I love Bologna! Make a Smilebox slideshow...

Tuesday: Last Full Day in Rome

Maureen joined Brad and I after coffee for some shopping, and walking through another section of central Rome. We began at Piazza del Popolo, and walked down the pretty Via Margutta as shops were opening. We continued down Via...

Monday in Rome

Monday morning, after breakfast, we strolled through the Campo dei Fiori. I am always a sucker for those flowers, and the beautiful produce! Next, we made a stop at my favorite Rome church, Santa Maria della Pace. This is the...

A Quiet Sunday in Rome

After breakfast, Brad and I wandered off for a walk. First we headed to the big nearby bookstore, where we each bought a new pair of reading glasses, and I got a cookbook and book of "Agritourismo in Italia"....

Umbria to Rome...TWICE!

We said reluctant goodbyes to Michael, and Lena (our delightful coffee/breakfast friend), and loaded the van with the first group to go to Rome. Dianne and Gary had a flight from FCO to London for a few days, so...

Day in Orvieto

We arrived in Orvieto a little after 10, and "set up camp" at the cafe in the piazza. This would be our gather place. After coffee or diet cokes (it was HOT), we visited the gorgeous duomo. As many...

The Drive to Orvieto

Our drive to Orvieto was about an hour, with a coffee/breakfast stop included. There were sunflowers at every turn of the road, and the scenery was stunning. I absolutely fell in love with a couple of tiny towns along the...

Spoleto

Maureen and I have been the first ones up every morning. She is another early riser, AND a coffee drinker, so Brad, Maureen and I went in to Bevagna at 7:30 for a couple of coffee drinks of choice....

Deruta

We had a grand day in Deruta! We began with a tour behind the scenes of a wonderful ceramiche maker, Giulio Gialetti. The brothers, Antonio and Carlo showed us every step of the process. They actually supply my very...

Bacco Felice

Tuesday night we had such a fun dinner at Bacco Felice in Foligno. We walked into a graffiti covered restaurant and were seated by the Sicilian owner and chef, Salvatore. Then we met Bacco, the black lab, who was...

Beautiful Bevagna

On Tuesday, we returned to Bevagna for a morning tour with Maura. We began at the beautiful church of San Silvestro on the main piazza. This simple church has a number of steps up to the alter with three...

Bello Spello

Judith and I had coffee at a Bevagna cafe a little after 7am, before she left to go back home. After our guest's breakfast, we headed to the beautiful town of Spello, my favorite spot! I can just see myself...

Cortona on the 4th of July

After breakfast, we set off for Cortona. It was market day, so Brad dropped us off at Piazzele Garibaldi, and we shopped our way to the Piazza and through the market. We saw our friends at the porchetta truck....

Bella Umbria

I've been away from the laptop since Monday, but I'm back on wifi at Genius Loci so, I can catch up on some blogging! We picked up our rental car, the "Monster van" in Rome on Monday morning. It is...

Rome's Longest Walk

I awoke at 6 after a wonderful night's sleep. It was a gorgeous, quiet Sunday morning. I was in search of coffee and didn't want to wait until the hotel breakfast at 7:30, so I left Brad to sleep...

We're Off to Roma

We're packed and ready to go! Here we are in our Palmabella's Italy shirts. We each have six to wear during our first group tour in Umbria. We even have our own logo! Our guests might see this often....

Wake up and Smell the Coffee...in ROME

One of my favorite moments is tasting that FIRST CUP of Italian coffee, usually a caffe latte, when we land in Italy! So many caffes, so little time! But I do have some favorites. I'm sure we'll be spending some...

Comfortable Walking Shoes for Italy

There is a thread on Slow Talk about "Ugly but Comfortable Walking Shoes". It cracks me up every time I read it. People have a wide variety of needs, and work very hard to find the "perfect" comfortable shoes to...

Palmabella's Italy Itinerary '09: Part 1

Our first Palmabella's Italy Group in Umbria is July 1-10! Everything is planned and ready! June 25: drive to San Diego after work for 6:30 AM flight tomorrow. dinner with Shannon June 26: SAN-ORD, ORD-FCO I plan to sleep on...

Italian Dogs

When I was single, I used to notice that while single men were not flocking to my door, most children and dogs liked me. They more than liked me, they loved me! I was like a kid-dog magnet. I have...

Shoes from Italy

I rarely buy shoes in Italy. It is hard for me to find truly comfy shoes, but the shoes in Italy are so stylish and beautiful! This year, along with the drop dead gorgeous killer heels, I saw lots and...

Mediterranean Summer

This is one of the books I thoroughly enjoyed reading while we were in Italy. Brad also loved it. Chef-author, David Shalleck writes about leaving his paid job at Campton Place in San Francisco, as a saute cook, his...

Finestre

Don't you love italian windows? Here I am in our room at Diana's: I love the shutters! Here is an original window, that is in Diana's new kitchen: I started this on Diana's terrace, and finished it when we got...

What Can You Bring Back for 14 Euro?

Italy travelers return to the U.S. with leather jackets, handbags, shawls, artwork, ceramics, jewelry, wine, and olive oil. I have brought home all of those. But what can you buy for under 14 Euro? TREASURES from the grocery store!!! For...

Italian Treasure

I am slowly blogging our trip in chronological order. For those of you following the story, just click on September in the Archives on the sidebar, and the most recent posts are on top. Today, let's start with shopping! The...

Leaving Bologna

We spent a couple of hours at the cafe, thanking the staff who had come to recognize us, and grabbed the largest latte glass whenever I walked in the door. We had the car loaded with luggage, and were...

Last night in Bologna: La Capriata

We met Fiona and Steve at 7:30 at the Scotch Bar for a drink before we walked to dinner at La Capriata. First we were served a small, unusual "caprese" salad with orange, fig and mozzarella. I ordered “Fantasia...

Lunch at Scaccomatto

When we were tired and hungry after our morning walk, so we headed to an area we had never seen before: Porta San Vitale. This seems to be a predominately Indian/Pakistani neighborhood, with Indian restaurants and residents. We discovered a...

A Sunday Morning Walk and San Stefano

We had lots of slow Sunday morning time in the café this morning. I had my usual THREE café lattes (doubles) and a wonderful pastry. We decided to go for a long walk on this clear, but chilly morning. Bologna...

Judith in Bologna and "Mezza Notte"

We enjoyed our coffee and pastry at our café, with darling children playing while their parents had coffee. We went back to the market, and I bought two huge hunks of parmigiano, then had more coffee while we waited for...

Ravenna and a Rat!

We early risers started our day at Duca di Amalfi, my favorite café around the corner. Since we had established early that the hotel's coffee sucked, this became our new early morning hangout. By the second day they knew I...

Gelato for Lunch

Our lunch was Giani’s gelato. How do you choose? A decision was reached! Then we walked and we walked, stopping at a grocery store, where I bought some food items to take home. I also found some black flats, and...

The Market in Bologna

We were up early for our first full day in Bologna. After our disappointing hotel breakfast (BAD cold coffee), we headed to one of our favorite spots in Bologna…the market area! There are streets of produce stands, meat, fish and...

To Bologna

We had a wonderful last breakfast! Then we loaded the car, and said our sad good-byes to Diana, Mimi and Max. It has been such a wonderful week in Piemonte. We left around 9:30 for our 3-hour drive to Bologna....

Last Night in Piemonte

After our afternoon adventures, we stopped briefly at the B&B to change for dinner. We were back in town by six, and split up from Fiona and Steve to take a walk. We spent the next two hours enjoying...

Fontanile

Brad’s foot was a little better today, and after a fabulous "Anniversary Breakfast", complete with prosecco, we had another lazy morning at home, and a nap. At around 3:00, we took a ride to the adorable town of Fontanile. A...

Buon Anniversario

Oggi e nostro ottavo anniversario. (otto anni) La finalmente giorno en Piemonte. Un giorno di no blogging!...

Anniversary Dinner at I Caffi

We celebrated our 8th anniversary a day early at a very special dinner at I Caffi in Acqui Terme. We were a day early for our actual anniversary, but excited to try this very special restaurant. I Caffi is...

Grinzano Cavour

After a relaxing Monday morning, we took a drive to Brad's favorite hill town in the area, Grinzano Cavour. The Enoteca Regionale is in a beautiful castle, with stunning views and lots of local wines and products for sale....

Breakfast 5: Monday

Please don't look at this one if you are hungry! A brie-like cheese, melty and wrapped in prosciutto and sage: Fritatta for the boys with gorgonzola, marcapone, and chives. Phyllo dough, fried, with ricotta and lemon zest:...

Sunday's Sunset Picnic

Is it possible to have TOO MUCH good food in Italy? Yes! No one really wanted a big dinner, or even pizza, so we decided to put on our sweats, or jammies and Diana's big luscious robes, and have a...

Our Day in Asti

It is the week before the palio in Asti, and the weekend of their sagra, and festivities leading up to the race. There were 47 food booths from local small towns, serving their Piemontese special dishes. We sampled rustico,...

Sunday: Breakfast 4

Pictures are better than words. Let's just say, breakfast couldn't be better! Warm, fresh homemade grain bread: Semi staggiato robiola with carmelized apples and hazelnuts...YUM! And finally, a blueberry and raspberry jam tart....

Pro Loco in Acqui

We had a lovely relaxing day on Friday. After breakfast we hung out at the B&B for some much needed down time. The skies were beautiful after the morning shower. Everything here is sensual. Ripe luscious peaches, cheeses, clouds, linens,...

Breakfast 3

This lovely meal kept us full all day. No need for lunch, and an antipasti plate for dinner with wine was just right!...

Dinner at Fausto's

We enjoyed a dinner at Fausto's on our last trip, so we wanted Fiona and Steve to experience the same restaurant. Fausto is a charming guy. The dining room is brick with modern touches on the paint splattered walls....

Alba and Dogliani

We arrived in Alba just before noon, and had 30 minutes of power shopping before the shops closed. I manged to hightail it straight to Luisa Spagnoli for a top, hit a couple food/wine shops for some crema di tartufo,...

Breakfast 2

Breakfast: a favorite meal When at the Baur's! A gorgeous fresh plum tart: Salami and Piemontese formaggio: Pretty enough to eat! For the slow scoopers who have lavender left over...try some with lime zest on fresh fruit! I who never...

Dinner at Il Giardino

We enjoyed a wonderful dinner at Il Giardino! Antipasti (I am only blogging about food Brad or I ate with an occasional exception): Brad had the fiori di zucchini fritti and I had the most wonderful fagottini di gorgonzola (paper...

Piemonte Wine Towns

Thursday we visited three sweet towns in the beautiful wine region of Piemonte. Shannon, I took this photo for you (and Brad took video of the Gaja winery which is NEVER open, but was...) Our first stop was Barbaresco. Next...

First Breakfast

OMG! Figasms on our first day. There are no words... Cheese tart: Not pictured: freshly squeezed orange juice, homemade apricot preserves, and 3 lattes! Buon Appetito!...

Our First Evening at Baur's B&B

How do I start to describe the feeling of "coming home" to our room here? Of course, we were excited to see Diana and Max (and Micha when he returns tomorrow evening), but everything about being here at the Baur's...

Lerici to Acqui Terme

Yesterday, we happily left Liguria, excited to arrive in Piemonte. We arrived in Acqui at 11:30, and after a coffee and nickel tour of acqui's central district, we dropped our bags off at Diana's and chatted for a while, then...

Cinque Terra

I was, for once, the pessimist in the group. My instinct was to NOT go with the group to Cinque Terra, but to take a bus to lovely Tellaro (town next door to Lerici). or have a nice beach day...

Genoa

After our wonderful morning in Chiavari, we headed on to Genoa for lunch. Genoa is a large city, so I entered the address of a Harmont and Blaine (Brad's favorite shirts) store into the GPS, and before we knew it,...

Chiavari and my Corzetti Stamp

Another 6:30 morning, and after a shower, lots of coffee, and breakfast, we walked down to the ferry, ready for a day in Cinque Terra. We were told they were not making the trip today due to wind and sea...

Portofino

I did my usual early coffee/journal thing at 6:30, and by 10, all of us were ready to leave for our drive to Portofino. There were some clouds and sprinkles when we first arrived, so we headed up to the...

Portovenere

After only three and a half hours of sleep, I was downstairs for coffee and breakfast at 6:30. They changed our room to one with a stand-up shower, and we also ended up with a large terrace. I journaled and...

Lerici

After breakfast on a rainy morning, we left Varenna, heading to Liguria. The sun was out by 10AM, and we arrived at the Doria Park Hotel at 1:00, checked in, and headed into the piazza for a pizza lunch. Afterwards,...

Last Evening in Varenna

We returned to Varenna at 4pm, stopped for a coke, and went back to our room for a nap. We met Fiona and Steve for a drink at a Russian bar, but left soon, as there was a tantruming child...

Gardens at Villa Melzi

Fiona and Steve took the ferry back, and Brad and I stayed in Bellagio to walk through the gardens at Villa Melzi. The weather was warm and slightly overcast. We walked down the flower-filled lakeside promenade about a half mile...

Bellagio

Brad and I were up at 7, we had breakfast, coffee, and some internet time to secure the shipping of the laptop! We took the 10:25 ferry to Bellagio, and we split off from Fiona and Steve to do...

Rainy Wednesday Afternoon

Wednesday afternoon when we returned to Varenna, Brad and I revived ourselves at our hotel's bar. I needed a double latte macchiato and the driver needed a glass of wine. With every drink order, you get a cute little tray...

Good News, Como and Cernobbio

On Wednesday, I actually slept 6 hours (until 7:30), showered, and met Fiona and Steve for breakfast at 8:00. Brad joined us shortly. it was a grey, rainy morning, but still beautiful on the lake. After breakfast, I called Schiphol...

Sunset in Varenna

Varenna looks like a fairy tale village. The houses are brightly colored, and the views are charming. After a nap, Brad and I sat at what was to become our favorite Varenna spot for a glass of wine and watched...

Villa Balbianello

We met Fiona and Steve at the ferry and took the 10:25 ferry to Lenno. It was market day, but we decided to walk to the villa first and then browse the market stalls on our way back. The villa...

Varenna for Breakfast

My first morning in Varenna, I watched the sunrise from my balcony, while I patiently waited for coffee at 7:30. I had a quiet cup (or 3) on this quiet terrace while Brad slept in. Breakfast was a nice assortment...

We're Off!

We left Palm Desert, picked up Fiona and Steve and were off to LAX for our different flights to Milano. I'm at the curb at KLM with our 2 checked bags and 2 large carry-ons (I never take anything but...

12 Things I Will Do in Italy:

1. Visit Villa Balbianello 2. Find time to paint, and take lots of photos of places/things to paint when we return! 3. Soak up some Ligurian sunshine. 4. Drink wine in Piemonte 5. Have some bonding time with Max 6....

Waking up in Italy

One of the simple pleasures (and there are SO many...) of being in Italy, is just waking up in the morning! Even in my pre-caffinated state we call "stunnato" in my mother's dialect, I love early morning. The light, the...

Italy September '08 Itinerary

The countdown has begun! We will spend three full weeks in Italy in September, and I can't wait! Here is our itinerary: We fly from LAX to AMS, then a short flight to MXP, where we will meet our friends,...

Missing Italy Again

We got a lovely surprise delivered: sunflowers from Gail and John, as an appreciation for our kitchen help in Montisi. The card read, "Thought you might be missing these." I AM!!! Last July we were in Umbria looking at...

Shopping in Italy

I was somewhat behaved the first week in Rome. I mostly bought cheese and honey, but we are not counting food purchases here. Ok, I splurged at the Furla store with a gold purse and a new wallet to match....

Italy Top 10

I'm stealing Jerry's idea of a top 10 list from our recent trip to Italy. 1. Dinner at Agata and Romeo in Rome...exquisite! 2. THE POPPIES! Oh my goodness, I love Italy in May. The first time we visited Tuscany...

Firenze

It was tearfully time to say good-by to the villa and our friends at the end of a wonderful week. We were off to Florence for a "last day in Italy" before our early flight home in the morning. We...

Painting with Liz...and at Home

One of the things I was most excited about during our week in Montisi, was the watercolor painting class with Liz. Elizabeth Cochrane is an accomplished artist using both watercolor and oils. We visited her studio last summer when we...

Friday Night's Dinner with Brad

I had planned another big dinner (our finale) for the folks at the villa. I had 5 pounds of tortellini (ready for a brown butter sage sauce from the sage all over the garden), sauted rampini with pancetta and...

Orvieto

Friday was our day trip to Orvieto for some ceramic shopping. Sandi, Holly, Marcia and JoAnn met us at the Duomo at 10:00, and we all had coffee and a pastry at a cafe. While brad parked the car,...

Dinner with Jerry and Paul

Jerry and Paul invited us to go to dinner with them at Conte Matto in Trequanda on Wednesday night. After our nice afternoon in San Gimignano, and a nap, it was a wonderful way to spend the evening. Here you...

Montisi Party Part 2: Dinner, Amici, and Dolci

Guests arrived around 7:00. Here are Gail and Dina laughing at the wine station. Everyone enjoyed the appetizers, and at 8:30, dinner was served. The Salsiccia con fungi (sausage and mushrooms) is an easy do-ahead entree. Grill sausages. Saute mushrooms...

Montisi Party Day: Part 1 Antipasti

It was Thursday, and party day, so this cook was up at 5:30. I owed Jerry and Paul a "breakfast in bed" from a lot of past teasing about not cooking Jerry a proper breakfast on the morning of...

Party Prep and San Gimignano

Wednesday was party prep for Thursday's festa. I was very energetic by 6 AM on Wednesday morning, getting as much done as possible, so we could leave at noon for a little day trip/shopping excursion to San Gimignano. Here was...

Dinner at Latte di Luna

In my excitement to blog about our Tuesday dinner, (trying to go somewhat chronologically through the week in Montisi) I completely forgot to write about Monday night. The Slow Trav gang, Jerry and Paul, Sandi, Gail and John, and Brad...

Our Tuesday Montisi Dinner

Though a couple of people munched on some pecorino with their afternoon wine, we advised everyone to "come hungry" for dinner. MENU: Salad with figs marinated in balsamic and honey, red onion, gorgonzola and balsamic dressing, garnished with a warm...

Lunch for the Ballooners and Artists

Tuesday, we decided to prepare a hearty lunch for the returning ballooners, and those who had stayed at the villa for Liz's watercolor painting class (more on that tomorrow). I made a ton of a meat ragu when in...

The Ballooners!

We were up at 5:30 to give the ballooners a proper send off! Brad went along to video Jerry, Paul, Sandi and the others going up on their adventure. I began my cooking preparations for our lunch, and that night's...

Pecorino, Pecorino

Brad and I left Pino's tour and scooted off to nearby Pienza for some Pecorino shopping and lunch. After our shopping errands, of two wheels of different ages of pecorino, and a couple jars of my favorite lemon honey,...

Copper Crafting

For me, the highlight of our tour with Pino was our visit to the famous Montepulciano Mazzetti Copper Shop and near-by workshop, where we watched master Cesare Mazzetti work with the same tools his father and grandfather used to...

Pino's Tour

Monday morning at 9 AM, we left for a tour of the area with our tour guide, Pino, and his son, Marco, for a tour of the area. Pino is delightful, as well as knowledgeable, and gave us all...

Wine in the Garden and Dinner at Roberto's

I must say, the group cleans up well for dinner! We gathered for wine in the garden (more on the garden and the villa later...) before dinner. Who are these two handsome guys? Brad and Holly's husband, Rick! (Sandi's wonderful...

Cantine Aperto

Sunday afternoon, many wineries throughout Italy were open for the once a year Cantine Aperte. You can visit wineries that would ordinarily need an appointment, or not be open at all for visitors. I had a sip of their...

Sharing a Favorite Spot

On Sunday morning, our first full day in Montisi, after coffee at the bar, we wandered off with Jerry and Paul to show them one of our favorite nearby spots, the Locanda dell' Amorosa. We spent a lovely week...

Poppy Heaven

There is so much beauty in Italy, I can cry thinking about it...the art, the architecture, the duomos and tiny chapels, the green valleys, stone houses, cypress lined roads, the seascapes, the arches, the hill towns and vineyards, the...

Doppio con Latte

This tiny coffee bar, just steps from the villa was my refuge all week in Montisi. My daily schedule was to be up by 6AM, put away any remaining dishes that had dried overnight, make coffee for the guests...

Benvenuto a Montisi

Can it really be only 10 days ago we arrived in Montisi? I'll try to catch up! We left the Rome apartment knowing we would be back in our lovely neighborhood again another time. Massimo's driver loaded up all our...

Rome Moments

We are leaving Rome this morning, and I won't have wifi in Montisi, but I will take lots of photos and post when I can! In the meantime, here are a few "Rome Moments": Born to be Wild: No, he...

A VERY Special Evening in Rome

Thursday night, we got dressed up and had a "post birthday dinner" for Brad. I chose another of Gina's recommended restaurants for a special night out, and indeed it was! We took a taxi across town to Agata and...

The "Unofficial Angels and Demons Tour"

On Thursday, we arrived at Piazza del Popolo at 9 AM in time for a cup of coffee before we met Tony da Roma, and our group for our tour, following the story in Dan Brown's Angels and Demons.We...

Vinando

After our rain drenched food shopping trip to Testacchio, we took a nap, then ventured out for dinner at Vinando (another Gina recommendation). OMG! There is a huge menu of "small plates" to taste along with an enormous wine list....

Formaggio

WARNING: This post may cause extreme hunger! Yesterday we had a rainy trip by taxi to the Testacchio market. The rain was on and off, but we found some great little shops where I bought a few ingredients for my...

Dinner at Myosotis

Continuing on our "Stella restuarant tour of Roma" brought us to dinner last night at Myosotis, near the Piazza della Rotunda (Pantheon neighborhood). It is a pretty restaurant with a "nuovo Roman menu". We were served bruschetta with the owner's...

Rain Rain Rain

Tuesday, it rained...and rained, "gatti e cani", pretty much all day and night. Let me catch you up on the situation with my luggage, since it has been DAYS since I've mentioned it. We arrived at FCO on Saturday afternoon,...

Slow Travel GTG Roma: May 19, 2008

A few Slow Travelers met at our apartment for a drink and appetizers at 6 on Monday evening. Here are Sherry (Mimi), and Shelagh (SJ). Tony (da Roma) and Flaminia entertained us with stories of Rome. We enjoyed getting acquainted...

Wine for Dinner?

Sunday evening we went to Cul de Sac for wine and a snack. We weren't too hungry after our huge lunch, and this is our favorite wine bar in Rome. We discovered this in 2001, and it was actually...

Mangiamo Bene

We have been eating out way through Gina's list of restaurants. Don't ever go to Rome without it! For lunch on Sunday, we had our main meal of the day at Checco e Carettiere in Trastevere. We shared an order...

Trastevere

Today was a lazy Sunday! After our morning coffee routine, we walked across the Ponte Sisto to Trastevere. There had been a brief morning shower, but the sun was out with big puffy clouds in a beautiful blue sky....

Che Bella Roma

Ciao from Rome! We arrived after long but on-time flights. Three of our four bags arrived, but not my BIG one with almost all my clothes. Thank God the cooking stuff is here. I have a change of clothes, capris,...

We're Off to Italia

I am very excited to get on our way, but in reality, though we will leave our house at 9:45 this morning...Italy is eighteen hours away! We leave Palm Springs and fly to SFO. (Farther west than when we started)...

A Different Way to Travel to Italy

Last night Brad and I sat outside and talked about how our Italy travel has changed in the past few years. Yes, we have SLOWED DOWN, thanks to our membership in the Slow Travel community and the philosophy of staying...

Packing Light...WHY?

There always seems to be a thread on Slow Talk about "packing light". Some are able to pack for weeks in one carry-on bag. Others wash out clothes every night and wear them again. Jerry just blogged about why he...

When in Rome...

I WILL eat gelato at Giolitti and San Crispino, and try new flavors I have never ordered before. I WILL eat fried artichokes in the Jewish ghetto. I WILL do coffee taste tests at Tazza D'Oro and St. Eustachio....

Villa d'Este, Tivoli

When I think of Rome, I also think of a lovely day trip to the beautiful Villa d'Este. Grab a beverage of choice, and enjoy a few minutes in this SPECTACULAR setting. When we were last there, we saw a...

Cooking in Montisi

Cooking for Gail's Great Escapes for a week in Montisi will be a new and exciting experience. There will be 16 people sharing a villa for a week, and I am in charge of preparing a few dinners and a...

Italian Breakfasts

My typical breakfast at home consists of several large mugs of coffee. I have very little interest in food in the morning...UNLESS I am in Italy! Breakfast in Italy can be anything from 2-3 lattes, to a full meal! Last...

Coffee and Planning

Come have a cup of cappucino with me. You'll never guess what I'm CONSTANTLY thinking about: Here's a hint! Right! Italy in 21 days. Three weeks from now I will be in Rome for a week, and then off to...

An Ugly American

Looking back through my photos of Rome reminded me of a story that made us both cringe and laugh during that trip to Italy. It was two weeks after 9/11 when we were in Rome. Soldiers with machine guns were...

Rome in a Month!

One month from today, we will be in Rome! Our last visit to Rome (my second and Brad's first) was in 2001 for our first anniversary. In looking back on some of those photos, two things are obvious: We...

Our Exciting News

So much excitement going on! Come check out our brand new website! Yes, we've decided to try finding a way to share our love for Italy with others! Come and see what we've been planning. www.PalmabellasItaly.com The next time I...

Plans for Rome

Yesterday, I mentioned our trip to Italy in May. With the Savannah Gathering coming up NEXT WEEK, I am so excited, I need a distraction. Italy always works for that!. It is obvious that I am a planner (for travel,...

Dreaming of Italy... Soon!

51 days away, and I am dreaming of Italy! I long to see road signs like this: And hill towns like this: And eat bread like this: Soon! I have begun the Italy countdown!...

Missing Italy Part 2: Sauce in the Freezer

This is the hard part to write about (talk about, think about). (If you didn't already read "Missing Italy Part 1: Some Background", please start there.) For 35 years, I guess I have been trying in different ways to...

Missing Italy Part 1: A Little Background

I grew up in an "Italian village"...in California. Let me explain. My mom was the youngest girl of ten siblings, five sisters, and five brothers. The older siblings were all born in Italy. Mom was born in New York....

The LONG Way Home

We were up at 5:30, and in the car (with no coffee) by 6:25. The first problem was that the electronic gate in the parking area of Villa Barone would NOT open. No staff came to work until 7:00. We...

Our Last Night in Italy

We crammed everything in our luggage and prayed we will not be over 70 lbs for each big bag! They were full and heavy! We asked the front desk for help with our luggage, and a big brawney Italian man...

Umbria Morning

How's THIS for the first thing you see when you open your eyes? We had a relkaxing morning on the terrace of Genius Loci, visiting with Mary Jane and Fulvio before they returned to Vetralla, and enjoying Michael's warm...

Umbria Slow Travel GTG

Where to start? This was the MOST fantastic opportunity to meet so many wonderful Slow Travel friends from Italy and the U.S.! We arrived at the lovely Villa Rosy, outside Assisi to meet our hosts and hostesses, Janet, Alan, and...

The Essence of Umbria: Genius Loci

We stopped in Radda for gelato and a quick wifi fix, then drove back toward Umbria, excited about today's Slow Travel GTG. We passed now familiar Bevagna, and in three Kilometers, turned into the driveway of Genius Loci, our country...

Chianti Mornings

Roosters crowing. Stone houses on hilltops. Cyprus-lined driveways. Vineyards and olive groves. Hundreds of white roads to explore. Tiny hamlets. It is SO beautiful! It is quiet. It is peaceful. It is already warm at 7:00 a.m.. Here is our...

The Comforts of Home?

I need all the exercise I can get. Forget about my swollen, fat feet. Forget about my blister. It's the stairs that I am not used to. I am also used to coffee within 5 minutes of waking, and also...

Radda

We slept in, and had breakfast at 9:30. Then we were off to Radda for a lovely morning of walking around town, coffee at a caffe, and an internet stop. I bought a pretty white and gold shawl and some...

Greve

After our delicious and relaxing two hour lunch, we drove to Greve, where Brad spent from 3:30 to 5:00 sampling six wines and a grappa at Le Cantine. I spent part of this time in the caffe next door...

Ristoro di Lamole

By 1:00 we were ready for lunch, so we set out for the nearby hamlet of Lamole, climbing the lush Chianti hills to Ristorante Lamole. It was a wonderful choice, thanks to Diva, and other Slow Travel reviews. I ordered...

Villa Le Barone

After only five hours of sleep, as we went to bed very late last night, we had coffee, breakfast, and our bags were brought down to the car. Villa Marsili really has been a gem of a hotel. The spacious...

Monday in Cortona

After our drive through the sunflowers, we returned to Cortona for some shopping. I’ve been pretty well-behaved over the weekend. I bought green sandals and an unusual pendant from Alessandra at Il Girasole. The design is made of petals, leaves...

I Girasoli

We went to breakfast after waking, well-rested, a little after 7:00. I then had my large pot of coffee and milk in the garden. Brad and I set out for the white roads, just outside town, where we have been...

A Lazy Sunday in Cortona

We had just what we needed…a lazy Sunday in Cortona. I slept until 7, threw on clothes, and went down for coffee in the garden with a book. It may sound like we've been going nonstop, but I have read...

Cortona

We really enjoyed our week in the Umbrian countryside. Our little yellow house was quiet and private. The scenery was spectacular, and we loved the hilltowns, especially Montefalco. I think we are both ready to be back in a town...

Orvieto

Today, on our last full day in Umbria, we decided to revisit Orvieto. We really enjoyed a brief visit there in 2003, but wanted to explore the town with more time to wander. On our way, we drove by another...

Citta di Castello with Judith

We got another early start for our visit to meet Judith in Citta di Castello. It was about an hour drive where we passed by Foligno, Spello, Assisi, then north through new territory for us. We were parked and in...

Girasole, Todi, Dinner with Barb and Art

I was up at 6, had coffee, showered, and we were on our way by 8 for another Umbrian adventure. We dropped of Brad’s laundry shortly after 8 in Montefalco, then headed to Marsciano, and up the hill to San...

Trevi, Spello and Coccoroni

It was a little cooler this morning during my usual 6 a.m. coffee hour on the terrace. We left at 9:00 for Trevi, and arrived just as it began to sprinkle. We ducked into a bar, and waited out the...

Monday in Montefalco and All That Jazz

Another early morning with coffee by 6:30, and a wonderful breeze to read on our terrace. Mauro brought bread (it is piling up…now there are three loaves) at 7:45, though we are not big breakfast eaters, so we will save...

Sunday in Assisi

I was up at 6 and on the terrace with a pot of coffee at 6:10… DEFINITELY an advantage of a vacation rental! I enjoyed the golden morning light and sounds of roosters. At 7:40, Mauro brought a loaf of...

Bevagna and Le Case Gialle

By 1:00, we were starving, so we drove to Bevagna in search of lunch. We arrived at Occtavio at 1:45, their last customers for pranzo. Brad ordered gnocchi Sagrantino, and I had a delicious picchiatelli with guanciale and pecorino. After...

Ciao Montalcino...Benvenuto a Umbria

We packed, had coffee with Bill and Ida, and I caught up my blog with yesterday’s photos. We left a little after Ida and Bill, and set off for Umbria, passing beautiful scenery along the way. We drove past Perugia,...

Cena a Poggio Antico

We shared an antipasto plate of proscuitto, soprasotta, and culatello di Zibello. My primi was pici in a white lamb ragu. Brad had a wonderful porcini risotto. We both had grilled lamb chops in a delicious Brunello reduction sauce. We...

Birthdays and Poggio Antico

We returned to Montalcino and took a lovely 2 hour nap before getting ready for dinner. We met Ida and Bill downstairs and exchanged birthday gifts. Ida gave me a gold purse charm for my bracelet and a lovely bronze...

Castello Banfi and Saint Antimo

I was downstairs by 6:30 after a great night’s sleep. I had a pot of coffee before Ida came down and we headed ro my caffe for another couple of lattes and a stroll through town. We relaxed, and read...

Montisi

Our final stop on the drive was the tiny town of Montisi. This was quite a pleasant surprise. Montisi is a compact town wrapped around a central castello. Only 5 K from Pienza, it has not yet been dicovered by...

Montalcino and Lunch in Pienza

Another picture postcard day in the Val d' orcia! After coffee, Brad and I took a walk through the various contradas of Montalcino. Some of those streets are pretty steep, but we enjoyed the quiet, pretty residential neighborhoods, some with...

Lunch with Jane, Ken and Casey in Buonconvento

We left Montalcino for our short drive to meet Jane, Ken and Casey in Buonconvento. They greeted us a few minutes before noon at the designated bar across from the train station. We hugged like old friends, though it was...

Morning in Montalcino

I woke at 5:30 to a pink sunrise out our window, and the sound of roosters crowing. By 6:00, I decided to go out for a walk. The streets were deserted, and I enjoyed a stroll around town... even before...

Montalcino: Grappolo Blu

We arrived in Montalcino, checked into Albergo Il Giglio, and got all our luggage up to the second floor without an elevator. Our room has a fabulous view from our window. We parked ourselves at Caffe Fiaschetteria Italiana and relaxed...

Firenze to San Gimignano to Montalcino

We packed, loaded the car and left Florence about 11 a.m.. We spent about three hours in San Gimignano. The first order of business, was stashing our luggage, as we had one large piece that didn’t fit in the packed...

Dinner at Osteria Chingale Bianco

We walked to the Oltrarno from our hotel near San Lorenzo, and found the restaurant busy with wonderful scents coming from within. We began our “Last Night in Firenze Dinner” with strozzapretti for me, and spagettini with a delicious pesto...

Pisa and Florence

July 2, 2007 We had a lazy morning, beginning at 8 a.m. when we picked up a few gifts at the San Lorenzo Market, stopped at the Internet spot, and lingered over a couple of lattes. We got our car,...

Firenze Shopping

Ok, I was BAD, but then we knew I would do a little damage in Florence. Here are my scrapbook, 2 Furla purses, some beads, jewelry, a watch, placecards and a shawl. NOT pictured are 8 Christmas gifts which must...

A Relaxing Sunday

Sunday, July 1 I got up at 7, caffeinated, and we spent an hour at the Internet spot across from our hotel. Then we had another latte and a cornetto at the corner caffe, and I read while Brad went...

A Taxi Ride to Remember

I had a fabulous day of shopping in Firenze, which I will blog about later. The point of THIS story, is that , unfortunately, I arrived in Florence with a blister on my bunion. After walking and shopping from 8...

Ciao from Firenze!

We had long , easy flights with lots of sleep on the planes. We arrived in Firenze on Friday afternoon, after driving from Rome. Our Hotel Burchianti is charming and our room has a lovely frescoed ceiling full of fat...

Italian Linens: Pretty as a Peach!

Last summer on a daytrip to Cortona, I visited "Il Girasole", a lovely shop owned by Slow Travel friend, Alessandra Federici. http://www.il-girasole.com/ There were several delightful things that happened that day. The first was getting acquainted with Alex, and...

Serendipity: Gail's Great Escapes

There are so many little crossroads in life! I joined Slow Travel. I went to some GTG's. We hosted a GTG. Gail H. knew Kaydee was my "Mystery Guest". Gail had some FF miles, and PM'd me with a last...

Italian Dreams

January SUCKS! I don't know exactly why I hate January so much every year, but I do. I count days for it to be over. It is one-twelfth of my life, but, evey year it seems to have the same...