Nothing had changed. The routine was the same: pick up rental car, make our way out of Rome’s busy Leonardo Da Vinci airport and take the A12 highway north. It was the same pattern that we had followed countless times
On arriving in Calabria for the first time, one most likely arrives with preconceived notions of a brutal and harsh reality probably formed by the millions of exiles that left in the past to find work or escape organized crime.
We ripped through the coastal towns of Abruzzo and Molise, on a mission to arrive before nightfall. We knew that driving in the dark with unlit winding roads and sheer perpendicular drops would not be the best way to travel along
As we slowly lumbered up the hill, our car laden with too many suitcases, through the thick shadows of the night, we discerned the Castello Chiola sitting atop the highest peak of Loreto Aprutino. For sure the views from the
Abruzzo is not to be trifled with. It is indeed mighty (“forte e gentile”) as its majestic mountains looming above the gentle valleys testify. Their cold grey crevices still hold, I imagine, the blood of many battles, but their peaks
We arrive at Oleggio Castello with looming rain greying the sky and a matinal chill penetrating the air. We wonder out loud after catching sight of the imposing Castello Dal Pozzo if my husband took a wrong turn and crossed
As we merge onto the A12 toward Genova, my thoughts speed along with the speeding car, but unlike the car, to no end. Now, my mind travels of its own accord to the bobbing fleet of ships ready to sail,
The footbridge is an arduous perpendicular climb. It feels never ending. But then approaching the halfway point you look up and there, seemingly suspended above the clouds, lies a fairytale village perched on a tufaceous stone cleft at 443 meters
It’s a long turbulent flight. I see my friend in the seat diagonally in front of me popping a pill. I think it’s the Ativan she told me she had stashed in her purse for any possible anxiety disorders she
On close inspection, a small farming village seemingly abandoned and forlorn on a distant hilltop, is a cluster of red tiled-roof houses and farming sheds strung together by footpaths that meander about and lead one to the edge of the
It’s September of last year. We board our van/bus “Vito” and leave behind the vigor and verve of Naples. Through the tangle of cars coiling around the tight weave of roads I glance back and catch a last glimpse of
The Cappuccino is sacrosanct----- above and beyond criticism, change, or interference! And yet, like with pizza and sauce Bolognese, we have persisted in attempting to alter its inviolable nature. As it began to cross borders, this wonderful morning drink became
As Easter approaches, and with Napoli on my mind as of late, I’m reminded of the heavenly traditional desserts from this part of Italy: Sfogliatelle, babà al rum, graffe, sospiri. These pastries are always abundant throughout the year, moreover, the
Bella Napoli. It’s chaotic, it’s extreme, it’s overpowering! It is a city that is edgy, daring, reckless. Naples’ gritty image keeps visitors away. But get past this, because la bella Napoli is worth getting to know. Not for nothing was
” I am presently moved by sun-drenched Parthenopea, my thanks are for you, Ischia, to whom a fair wind has brought me rejoicing with dear friends from soiled productive cities. How well you correct our injured eyes, how gently
Capri's charm and bewitchery is legendary; the combination of its world-renowned beauty and its sensualism has brought people to its shores from the earliest of times. And no wonder! This little island offers the perfect concoction of all that is
Finding comfortable accommodations with wonderful amenities is always great luck for the weary traveller or the adventure bound explorer. When these come with stunning views and an extremely hospitable family running the show, well you’ve won the “perfect vacation” jackpot!
High atop the Amalfi coast sits one of the most beautiful and unique perches from which to see the wondrous view below. Ravello, a small and exquisitely charming mountain town has throughout the centuries enraptured and seduced countless visitors, inspiring
I am still relishing the lightly crisped homemade gnocchi in that delectable stracchino sauce sprinkled with sweet corn niblets and thinly shaved truffle resting on top.
In fact, this morning I am burning ----"Ardo" in Italian,---- (although the name is a
Not all journeys are physical; at times we find ourselves travelling within ourselves, discovering, slowly, realities hitherto unknown. It is that metaphysical pilgrimage that perhaps, even if taken only once in our lifetime, leaves us irrevocably changed.
Not by coincidence, I
The cuisine of Sicily is unique and exceptionally varied, and no wonder; it is the culinary reflection of all that Sicily is----a land closely linked to historical events dating back to the Ancient Greeks, and cultural and religious influences of
I think that for my whole life, at least from the time that I started losing myself in books, I looked for a place that existed in my imagination; a place of well-defined shapes but blurred colours and indistinct shadows;
It’s Sunday morning. An early breakfast of a brioche and a cappuccino at the bar facing the Duomo, and we’re off by taxi to the Stazione Centrale, Milano’s inner city train station.
One last look over my shoulder as we
The shortest follies are the best, according to Pierre Charron. I would have to agree with him. Last year in December I took a short trip to Bologna with my son, and I am still reveling in the delightful memories
Summer is over. The last of the blooms in the garden are languishing, and fading in colour; still, the sky, a dull grey, fails to quell the fiery reds, musty browns and ochres of the trees. This concert of colours
I normally drink my cappuccino in the morning, at breakfast, without thinking about it. In between sips I am calculating how much I owe the gardener this month, or trying to organize my day, step by step.
This morning instead,
If you are lucky enough to be driving south along the the Tyrrhenian coast, at sundown, you will witness a spectacle like no other: the Mediterranean sun descending above the sea becomes an orange red,---- much the same as the
Years ago when I first visited Tropea with my father I could not have anticipated my dad's reaction as we approached this gem of a town along the southern Tyrrhenian coast of Calabria!
It was to be a little sightseeing
As a teenager, many years ago, I had visited Pizzo with my father. Then, to my greatest delight, I had found a small town with a main piazza that by sundown had transformed itself into a hip and happening place
photo by Bruno Spagnolo
Somewhere you’ve never truly been is to the Calabria I know. It is the Calabria that persists without regard for the omnipresent fist of the ‘Ndragheta; it is the Calabria that picks itself up after each devastating
If I’m late with my blog post, I have good reason; as varied and off the wall as these excuses are, they are the “honest-to-god” truth! I wish, in fact, I had had such solid justification for my late assignments
The Rustici Leccesi or Salentini are the finger-lickin'-good snack/appetizers found everywhere in Salento, from bars to restaurant takeaways. The first stop for a day at the beach or picnic is to buy some tasty rustici for the kids in tow,
We are driving from Gallipoli, across to the east coast of Salento, and to the easternmost town of Italy, Otranto.
The landscape, its farms and stone walls, is a kaleidoscope of intense colours; the red earth and blue sky, the
I remember climbing on the backrest of an old settee in order to look out of our third floor window at Piazza dell’Unità to see the other children already on their way to the Sala Cinematografica Cola Di Rienzo (today,
It's almost Carnevale. Tuesday, February 17, to be exact, will mark the last day before the Lenten season begins.
In Italy, like in many other places around the world it is a time of frivolity,, fun and fantasy. The Carnival
The post Christmas break in Florida was what I thought I needed: lots of sun, the hot, sticky kind; plenty of rest, the unending, monotonous kind; and blue skies to gaze up to as I tear my eyes away from
I’ve experienced many changes these past few years; six to be exact. In fact, my head is reeling with change, unable to get itself back on straight on my shoulders.
I’ve, in some ways, become used to it, so much so,
It was not to be. The sun refused to come out, and the sky persisted with a constant vexatious drizzle; not enough to make one stay indoors, however.
Certainly not enough to take away the euphoria at discovering a new vibrant
Francis Ford Coppola had been coming here since he was 21. He first came in search of his grandfather’s roots: to know the place from where Agostino had emigrated. He found here in Bernalda, and in these parts, “the real
The Cuisine of Basilicata reflects the region itself, and its people. It is steeped in tradition; it is the product of a rugged, mountainous land, and it is of a genuingly simple but earthy nature. Its many types of durum
A stay at this masseria hotel is in itself a delightful holiday, but venture out for day trips and this becomes a unique and memorable vacation through "undiscovered' Italy.
This four star hotel, Torre Fiore, has just 13 suites, but what
A short distance from Matera, in the vast Basilicata landscape of rugged gullies, lies Pisticci. It is surrounded by a mantle of white clay earth, devoid of trees and grass, an open-air geological museum that has inspired writers and poets
Staying in one of the Sassi’s cave hotels has become one of tourism's most exotic new experiences, allowing the traveller seeking new thrills, to lodge, at least temporarily, as a troglodyte, or "cave dweller". Only thing is, the caves are
The selection panel of independent experts responsible for assessing the Italian cities competing to be European Capital of Culture in 2019 has recommended that Matera should be awarded the title. The other five cities short-listed after the initial pre-selection round
What a truly delectable find Al Buon Gustaio is: a little shop chock full of specialty food items from the region. From the typical oven roasted black olives to olive paté; from specialty pastas to fried sweet peppers (peperoni cruschi),
The Sassi of Matera, I read in the guide book, were developed by its inhabitants over the centuries in a manner that is now called "Spontaneous Architecture". It seems to conform to the natural environment, and yet in the mess
The silence is interminable. Its echo, heavy and primordial, resounds throughout the valley. There is an absence of time and space here, in this “anthill” city, in this forgotten tombstone of another society. I stand mesmerized, on the parapet above