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Christmas food Christmas traditions Italy panettone

PANETTONE SEASON

on
November 30, 2017
Hooray! It’s Panettone season around here.
Actually, it’s the holiday season. In the US this means from Thanksgiving to New Year’s day. So I have about five weeks to indulge in my favorite treat: panettone, that traditional sweet and oh-so-delicious Italian Christmas bread. About the first of November the stores, even in my corner of Puget Sound in the Pacific Northwest, begin stacking up the colorful boxes in windows and shelves and I begin loading up the shopping cart.
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Italy Rome Sicily

STRANGERS ON A TRAIN

on
July 31, 2015

The Rome airport was in chaos because of a fire. Our one-hour flight to Catania in Sicily, where Glenn and I were to begin a two-week tour, was cancelled and we were unable to rebook by computer or in person. Our only alternative was to take the train, a ten-hour journey.

After fruitless efforts to book on-line, we headed to the crowded and pickpocket-ridden Stazione Termini to get tickets from an agent who could advise on schedules.
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Italy Ortigia Sicily Syracuse

ICE CREAM FOR BREAKFAST – Syracuse

on
June 30, 2015

Surely it is a breakfast suitable for the Greek gods who formerly inhabited this lovely part of Sicily: gelato in a fresh and soft brioche accompanied by ice coffee – cold, creamy, sweet and strong enough to keep me awake for at least 18 hours.

We sat outside a café on the waterfront near the Fountain of Arethusa along with the locals who were analyzing the latest political and soccer news. I was analyzing a guide to the part of Syracuse known as Ortigia.
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Etruscans Italy Lazio Vetralla

IN THE HEART OF ETRUSCAN COUNTRY

on
January 25, 2015
One of my favorite day trips from Rome is heading north into the dreamy scenery of Etruscan country, that area of northern Lazio and bits of Tuscany and Umbria where the Etruscans once roamed.
Our first stop one summer day was Vitorchiano a tiny town, set on a cliff between two ravines. It was originally a Roman fort and the inhabitants haven’t forgotten their history – they still regard themselves as Roman. We paused at a local market set up near a fountain to browse the irresistible selection of fruit. 
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Etruscans Italy Lazio Tuscania

THE CYCLE OF TIME – Tuscania

on
March 5, 2014

My friend and I drove to Tuscania through the countryside full of empty carved rock tombs, some so eroded that the steps leading to them now only reach empty sky – the heavens where perhaps Etruscan souls reside. But as we neared the town we could see that some of the tombs alongside the road were still in use, the hollowed area blocked off with doors hiding small cars or vats of wine.

The small city, in business since about the 8th century BC was founded by the Etruscans is interesting with its medieval and Renaissance buildings, although our visit would be focused on two churches now located about a mile from the walled old city.

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Christmas Christmas traditions Italy La Befana Nativity Scenes Rome

CHRISTMAS IN ROME

on
December 6, 2013

The Christmas season in Rome begins on December 1. We had the pleasure of participating in the start of the festivities in Piazza Navona and  the neighborhoods. The first event on our list was the annual United National Women’s Guild bazaar with shopping opportunities from the world over to fund projects in developing countries.

 

We paused at this shop on the way to Piazza Navona to inspect their treats:


Next stop was wonderful Piazza Navona where the traditional Christmas market was being set up.… Read more

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Country Hotel Italy Lazio Orvieto Umbria

COUNTRY PLEASURES

on
November 4, 2013

 
What better than a few days in the Italian countryside? Especially if they involve a castle, a swimming pool and time to visit small hill towns nearby in the warm sunshine.

 

A writer friend in Italy recommended the Castello di Santa Maria, located near the tiny village of San Michele in Teverina, at the north end of Lazio, the region surrounding Rome. The castle is part of the Charme & Relax network of (mostly) country homes and castles.
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Italy Lago di Orta Sacred Mountains

LAGO DI ORTA & OTHERWORLDLY HANDS

on
October 3, 2013

 

Mellow sunshine made the trees dressed in fall finery glow in the warmth of the day. We were off on a day trip from Milan through rolling forested hills to Orta San Giulio. The small town rests on the shore of Lago di Orta, one of the smallest of the lakes that decorate the northern part of Italy between the plain of the Po River and the Alps. This area has long been our romantic destination, both in actuality and in my mind.

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Deruta Italian Ceramics Italy Madonna del Bagno

YOU NEVER KNOW WHAT WILL HAPPEN

on
February 15, 2013


The Madonna delBagno is a small church nestled inconspicuously near the main road to Deruta. It is famous for painted ceramic tiles affixed to the walls by worshippers in thanks to the Virgin for rescue from near death.

In the 17thcentury, an itinerant merchant, one Cristoforo Merciaro, or Christopher the Peddler,  found a ceramic fragment on the ground. Fourteen years earlier, a Franciscan monk had placed the little piece, painted with a primitive image of the Madonna and Child, in an oak tree for safekeeping.

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Italy Venice

BE READY FOR GOOD FORTUNE

on
December 13, 2012
A Guest Post by fellow traveler, Janette Turner:

One summer I traveled to Italy with my husband’s business school and set out on a side trip to Venice. My companion was another wife amusing herself while her spouse was in class. As I sat in the back seat of a student’s rental car next to Barb, she revealed why all the other wives had gone off without us.
 

“Slow down!” said Barb every few minutes, even though the young driver was motoring in the right lane, letting cars pass.… Read more

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