Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Philadelphia Dreaming

In Philadelphia for a few days to see an old friend.  Lovely to be back in the U.S.  Just had a great Japanese lunch; miso soup, and California rolls. Brings back such memories. Food is such an interesting thing to assoiciate memory.  For me, all happy memories.

The weather here is mild, sunny. When I got to Donna's, this was waiting for me. Such a surprise from Gary and Luca telling me they would miss me. It was a very nice beginning to my trip.

We visited a place called Winterthur in Delaware. They were having an exhibit of clothes from the series Downton Abbey.  Winterthur

Here are my favorite dresses. The first one is a flapper dress worn by the character Rose. The detailing and the beading on these dresses are exquisite.  Really hard to see on the TV. We all agreed we would pay more attention to the clothes in the series in the future.

Front and back of a dress worn by Mary.
Fun to be a tourist in the US.  I have not spent much time traveling on the East coast, and I really notice the culture Americana.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Italian week end

Luciana, the woman who owns the purse and scarf store in town, called and asked if we wanted to go to a pool party on Saturday.  The party was not at her house but at the house of Elizabeth, a young woman who is in my English class.  She said, invite Nancy and Luther too.  So, I call Nancy and Luther and they ask, what time and where....right...It is the type of details that make living here interesting.  We finally sorted out that we could come whenever we want and swim, or come just for dinner and eat.  We decided to go half and half and arrived at about 6:00.

Elizabeth's country home is lovely.  She sold her city home to Nancy and Luther, hence one of the connections.  Her country home is like a resort. The pool was like an inifinity pool at a hotel.

The house sits back in the hills above Pierantonio.  A lovely, if isolated setting.  There were about 25 of us at the party.  An intersting mix of Italians and a sprinkiling of Americans.  The house has a restaurant-like outside grill.

The meat was cooked over a wood fireplace and was delicious.

It was so hot.  I don't know how the grill master stood it, except he kept jumping in the pool to cool off.  We were there for about 6 hours, and the time passed quickly.  I learned several new Italian expressions, some I even remember.

We had a fantastic lunch on Sunday up in the hills.  Even in 90 degree weather, life is good here.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Civitella Ranieri

We are so very fortunate that Civitella Ranieri is located about 10 minutes from our house. Civitella is a 15th century castle that is a workplace for international writers, composers, and visual artists. The artists who receive fellowships can stay for either 4 or 6 weeks. Their room, board, and air fare are all paid for. The fellowships begin in May and end in early November.  One of the lovely benefits for the community is that the artists present their work to the invited guests.  There is such a mixture of talent, nationality, age and gender.  The selection process is arduous and the people that come are particularly grateful to have unfettered time in this beautiful setting.

The night we went to the concert, there was a fantastic bass player, Jamaaladeen Tacuma, who played. He was fantastic.

To hear music in this setting is sublime.

The Stoic One, who always has an eye for a pretty girl, caught this one taking photos.

She looks like a face from a Renaissance painting.

If you are in our area, I definitely would recommend you to check out Civitella Raniei.
Civitella Ranieri

A friend sent this link to another article about Umbertide, Ceramiche Rometti and Civitella Ranieri. The good news is that Umbertide got mentioned in the NYTimes, the bad news is that we are declared a second-tier town not worth even a short visit.  Sigh...Here's the articleUmbertide

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Carta di Soggiorno

Great news! My sweet Gary, aka the Stoic One, is no longer a "clandestino" or illegal alien in Italy. He has waited for his documentation for over 6 months and now he finally has it.

Today he recieved his carta di soggiorno which gives him permission to live in Italy for 5 years without any other intereference from the Italian Bureaucracy or any other lower life forms. May all future obstacles  be banished from our lives.

I am so happy that he is now here permently with me.  I can't tell you.  We had the nicest celebration lunch at a little restaurant in the hills called Girasoli di Sant'Andrea. He had a wonderful steak and I had the best chicken dish I have had in Umbria.

Making it through the Italian bureaucracy is no small task. I am so proud of the two of us. We have hung tough together.  Hurray for us!

Friday, July 4, 2014

I Tamasotti, Verona and Romance

The Stoic One and I, and our two new very good friends John and Anna went for a few days to an agriturismo called  I Tamasotti. It is located in the hills outside of Verona, in an area that is called Verona Est.  There are Roman ruins, beautiful churches, olive trees and vineyards.

This agriturismo is an ideal place for romance. We saw several honeymooners who were quite enthralled with one another. Additionally, it is a delightful place to rekindle the romance of long term relationships, that recently might have encountered the irritations of modern life. For anyone missing a little romance in their lives, I recommend this agriturismo. Beautiful bedrooms with interesting decorations.

Romantic arbors for weddings, or renewal of vows.

The food was sublime and the setting in which we ate, was stunning.

Because it was summer, we were able to eat out of doors.

The family who run this agriturismo, run it as their home.  They are friendly, service oriented and very proud of their area that they think is unknown to most tourists.

This is Maria Luisa, the chef and designer, and her two children Alessandro and Giulia.  Giacomo, the husband was out working when we tooke this photo, but he is also very welcoming and informative. In every nook and corner of this agriturismo, there was another scene begging to be photographed.

I highly recommend this agriturismo! If you do go, please give Maria Luisa my best.

I Tamasotti

This area of Italy is really fun to explore. The Itaian white wine Soave, comes from this area.