Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Visions of sugarplums danced in their heads...

Friday, November 21, 2014

Vernazza is well on its way to full recovery from the 2011 floods.  You can keep abreast of its progress and donate to help restoration efforts at savevernazza.com or on FB facebook.com/SaveVernazza

Friday, August 29, 2014

Beautiful Ruins Book Review

I ran across this book at the library.  It was on a special shelf labeled "Bucket List Books."  I was wary.  But the cover was absolutely stunning.  I also pick my wine by the label.  I googled it on Kirkus and it had a starred review.  So I gave it a shot.  

Go ahead and read it.

It is a lush story of old Liguria mixed with vintage and new Hollywood.  You may laugh out loud as I did when you read the Scientology jokes.

It's a great mix of old, new, exotic and, if you live in Southern California, local.  It's sweet and heartbreaking and I bet you can relate to at least one character. 

And if you don't like it, the cover alone -- stunning Manarola in the Cinque Terre -- will be lovely to look at on your night stand.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Summer Bounty

This picture, while not so appetizing, shows our first summer bounty of pesto from the prolific basil plants that love our sun and lack of rain.  I've found freezing in ice cube trays and transferring to zip lock bags for the freezer retains freshness.  And, it's so messy to make in the blender that I'd rather do it in a huge batch and only clean once!  

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Pizza School

Sixty hours of training (40 in class, 20 in restaurant) to learn the art of making pizza in Napoli.  1500 euro plus more for a translator.

Maybe not a smart career choice with the long hours and modest pay but the course sounds fascinating!  I'm guessing not a lot of women taking this class...

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Stolen Gauguin Shows up in Sicilian Kitchen

Wow, this is a good one.  A stolen Gauguin worth between 10-30 million euros is found in a Sicilian kitchen of a retired autoworker...where it's hung for decades!  He bought the work for $100, supposedly fair and square, at an Italian State Railway auction in the mid '70s.  He also has a Bonnard from the same sale.  Obviously this guy has an eye for art.  The man's son had it appraised and the appraiser contacted the Carabinieri...oops!  Looks like a law suit will commence regarding who gets this beauty.

Friday, April 4, 2014

The most beautiful villages in Italy

You, too, may have stumbled across this article on buzzfeed recommending 15 must-see Italian villages.  It must have been hard to whittle it down to 15.

The Italian government has taken a much more in-depth stab at this list.  The Il Borghi piu d'Italia web site is slow to load (maybe a reminder to slow down?) but it's worth the wait.

The recommended villages are broken out into an interactive map - the north, centre and south, including Sicily.

There's also a hard copy book but it's in Italian. Even more reason to slow down and brush up on your language skills. At the bottom of the web site you can sign up for the newsletter, too. 

Even for devout Italophiles, there's bound to be some new towns for you to visit.

Vernazza, rebuilt after the 2011 mudslide, made the cut on both lists

Monday, February 17, 2014

Florence's Mayor Now Italian Prime Minister

At only 39 years old, Matteo Renzi has just become Italy's next Prime Minster, ousting Enrico Letta due to essentially poor job performance regarding Italy's beleaguered economy.  Can this non-elected outsider stop Italy's 12.7% unemployment rate?