Showing posts with label mamma. Show all posts
Showing posts with label mamma. Show all posts

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

A Cottage in the Country

I've been having a great summer and am so sad to see it coming to an end. I am extremely grateful for the time my mother and I have been able to spend together. She will be leaving next week and I will miss her dearly but I am already looking forward to my next trip to the States this winter.


We spent the first half of august in southern Italy with family and friends and everyone was so happy to see her as it was over two years since she had been back in Italy. 


We had a big family dinner but unfortunately not everyone could be present.  We have a huge family in Brindisi.  It was nice to see everyone again.  Even though I live in Italy I don't get to see them all very often because I live further away so it was a treat for me as well to see everyone. 


The last week of vacation we did something different and rented a villa in Umbria close to Assisi through an agency called Emma Villas. They rent luxurious private villas all throughout Italy but are mainly based out of Tuscany and Umbria. 


There are hundreds of villas to choose from. All of the villas have private pools and offer all kinds of services and amenities that suit your needs. It was a dream come true for me as this cottage pretty much sums up my dream home... 


Some of the pictures here I took myself but others are from the website since they did such a wonderful job capturing the beauty of the property. 


Since there were originally 6 of us (we ended up being 4 since two of our guests couldn't make it) plus our pup, we decided on a 4 bed 4 bath 3 story villa. The property was entirely enclosed which was perfect for the the dog who could roam around freely and I wouldn't have to worry about him running onto busy streets.





I absolutely fell in love with the home and it was such a peaceful and relaxing week that I needed to take my mind off of things and just recharge my batteries. 


This was where we had dinner most nights and I loved waking up early and just taking in the beautiful surrounding scenery with my morning coffee.  It was so peaceful.


There were olive and fruit trees all throughout the property which were illuminated at night. 


Here are some more pictures of the cottage of my dreams... swoon...


The pool was located at a lower level with respect to the cottage and was surrounded by secular old olive groves. 




The villa had everything we needed including a barbecue which we used almost every night. Mom was the one who knew how to start the fire! Neither Mr. Amore or I had ever used one before (I know...) and she was seriously a pro! 


Everything was amazing! One night we made grilled fish, calamari and prawns on the grill and they were outstanding!


The house we stayed in was filled with beautiful artwork.  Each room had a special piece that you could tell was original and probably pretty expensive. 




One of the paintings really stood out to me for some reason and there is quite a story we found out about the woman in the painting below. 


I found out that the lady is mother to the owner of the cottage. Her name is Madame Suzanne and she was from Auvergne, France. I found out that she was a talented decorator and lover of antiques, gourmet food and an excellent swimmer. She was mother to three boys and unfortunately died in a tragic car accident in Italy, most likely in Umbria in 1964, 10 years after this painting was made and was probably in her early forties. Her three boys were all very young when they lost their mother. 


Here is a picture of her with one of her sons. I don't know why this particular painting stood out to me so much.  She seemed like a very sweet and loving lady as well as beautiful indeed. May she rest in peace. 

While we were in Umbria we visited Assisi which I've visited before but my mother was never there and really wanted to visit the Basilica of St. Francis. 


It is astoundingly beautiful inside and I'm not going to lie I got pretty emotional.  It touches me to see so many people praying together and when you're in a place like this you can't help but pray for more peace in our world. 

Assisi is a medieval town and it shows through its architecture. 


We stopped at a cute little restaurant before heading back home and had some great food. 


Umbria is famous for it's prosciutto and wild boar so many of the typical entrees include these ingredients.  


Above is a typical Umbrian first course dish of egg pasta or pappardelle with a ragu sauce made with sausage and wild boar meat. Below are two different types of flat bread pizza one with squash blossoms and one with prosciutto.  


I think I'm going to end this post here with my favorite things...you know, food :-) 

Now that august is coming to an end, I'm looking forward to all things fall and am glad to be getting back into the routine of things. 

Hope all is well with you dear friends. 

xoxo, 

Silvana


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Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Summer Vibes - My Favorite Vacation Spots in Italy

I am SO excited about summer vacation approaching! I'm really looking forward to visiting some new places this summer.  My mother will be here for the month of August and this year I wanted to go somewhere different from our usual vacation spots. I'm sure I've mentioned this before but if not my mother is from the Puglia Region specifically from the town of Brindisi which is basically located at the heel of the "boot"...I know, I'm so geographically technical LOL...

So our vacation spots are usually down south that way my Mom can get to visit all of her family and relatives in the short time she's here. This year we want to switch things up a bit. I would love to take a cruise over to the Greek Islands.  I still have yet to go to Greece and every year I say I'm going to but I never do so hopefully this year I'll get a chance to.

So in case any of you are interested in visiting Italy any time soon, I've picked out some of my favorite summer vacations spots you can consider that are not your usual touristy places like Rome, Naples or Milan but that are really worth a visit.

Porto Cesareo 

Porto Cesareo is located in the province of Lecce on the coast of the Ionian Sea and is famous for its long beaches and sandy bottoms that remain low for many meters.  Since it is located in the gulf area, it really has a Caribbean type vibe and is just a spectacular vacation spot...by far my favorite in Southern Italy. It's relatively close to Brindisi, where my family is from so it's where we usually go on the weekends when the weather is nice. The best time to visit is between May and July and in September. In August it is PACKED with people so be prepared to book early because waiting 'til the last minute is not that great of an idea if your planning on visiting Porto Cesareo in August.  
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There are many places to stay in Porto Cesareo but if I had to recommend a Resort I would definitely suggest Le Dune Suite Hotel . It is located right on the beach and it is a relatively new hotel with a beautiful Spa and private beaches for their guests. It also has 3 restaurants within the hotel.

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Santa Caterina al Bagno


There are so many beautiful places to visit if you are in that area. Just a few kilometres away is a small town called Santa Caterina al Bagno which is a lovely beach town with lots of shops to visit. While there really aren't that many sandy beaches here as it is more of a reefy area it is still a sight to see and great for snorkeling and fishing.

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Porto Selvaggio

There is also a very secluded "secret" beach... which is not so secret anymore... called Porto Selvaggio which is also in the same area as Porto Cesareo and Santa Caterina al Bagno.  It is a natural reserve and can only be reached by taking a long ass hike which kind of sucks because if you are going there to take a swim it's probably like 100° outside and you're most likely trucking along a beach umbrella, bag, toys, etc. etc. and you probably will be really uncomfortable. This is a picture of the hike from Santa Caterina al Bagno to Porto Selvaggio:

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But once you get there.....YOU'RE IN PARADISE...

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The places I've listed above are all pretty close to each other and it is by far my favorite place to be in the summer and I highly recommend it to anyone.  The entire Puglia region is breathtakingly beautiful but this spot here takes the cake in my opinion.

Moving up to central Italy my second favorite place to visit is ....yes...Tuscany. The colors, the wine, the people, the FOOD... to die for.  Obviously you are already aware of the more famous Tuscan cities which are Florence, Pisa and Livorno and I love visiting them all. The people in Tuscany are the sweetest, very generous and friendly and I have seriously considered moving there because it is one of the most beautiful regions in Italy. Mr. Amore and I frequently visit Tuscany on long weekends because it's not that far and we have found that one of our favorite places to stay is:

Montepulciano

Montepulciano is located in the Province of Sienna and it is a medieval town situated of a limestone cliff about 40 miles from Sienna. Montepulciano is known world wine for its wine and you can be certain that whenever we go there we stock up on our vino rosso!

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We buy our Red rigorously at the Cantina Contucci located in the heart of the town. It is a family owned winery and the owners are the nicest people. The Contucci family has been producing wine since the Renaissance period! We're talking 1700's so they know what they're doing! 

It's a tiny little hole in the wall when you see it from the street


But then you walk it and it's like...BAM...

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When we visit Montepulciano we always stay at Villa Poggiano.  It's a very cozy hotel with great service and offers lots of activities including a cooking class as well as hiking and backpacking tours. 

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The Alps - South Tyrol

Moving further up the peninsula...(I feel like a weather hostess)...another AMAZING place to visit in the summer are the Alps in Trentino Alto Aldige specifically the South Tyrol area.   We stay in a small town called Ahrntal which is very close to the Austrian border. It's funny the first time I went there I was surprised as the people living there speak a German dialect that is typical of the area and many don't even speak Italian. 
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We love visiting each year and I always leave feeling so refreshed and relaxed. We get lots of exercise when we go here as it is a place where you do lots of bike riding and hiking. So if you're into sports and wellness this is the place to visit.

It has a very "Sound of Music" vibe. It's gorgeous in the summer as well as winter.

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It's definitely not as hot in the summer as it is in the south and the air is so pure and clean from pollution and smog. We hit all the trails whenever we go and get a great workout. Here are the maps we use which are available at the location.  This particular mountain is called Speikboden





Whenever we go we stay at the Schwarzenstein Resort & Wellness Center.  This is an all inclusive resort with a premium Spa area that has 10 different saunas that are included in the price and that you can use whenever you want. This place is truly good for the soul. 

So those are the places that I have very much enjoyed and I wanted to share them with you because they are not your usual touristy cities.  This is more of an insiders perspective to some beautiful Italian places to visit that aren't that well known to tourists but that are definitely worth the visit if you get a chance. 

Hope you are having a great week! 

xoxo

Silvana

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Home Sweet Home... Part 1

Hello dear friends! I've been home now for a week and I'm so happy to be here. I've been visiting with my mom and sister and been doing way too much shopping than I should be doing but I really don't care.  I'm happy to be back in the home I grew up in and every time I come back it's as if I never left. This is going to be a quick post but I wanted to blog about what I've been up to so far. 

When I got to the airport in Rome I was not expecting to see this....


 There was an INCREDIBLY long line for check in and since they were so backed up they eventually had me skip the whole line.  I was there two hours before take off but apparently it wasn't enough... Thank God they did because it was a very close call. I made it through security and all the check points on time and was able to make it running through the Rome Fiumicino airport. Security has become so strict since last time I came to the States it's crazy but I'm glad it's that way because you hear so many terrible things these days and I am just glad that I got here safely. So if you're traveling overseas my advice is to make sure you get to the airport at least 2 hours before your flight.


I made it eventually... It was a very smooth flight. It's about a 9 hour flight from Rome to New York.  I flew with Alitalia.  The food was ok...I mean let's be honest...airplane food always pretty much sucks but I've had worse so it wasn't too bad. The flight was packed. I watched some good movies. I can never sleep on a plane so I usually just watch movies or read. 

We landed on time and made it through customs pretty quickly.  I brought one big suitcase which was half full because I always end up buying a bunch of stuff and bringing it over...I never have enough room in my luggage... But I don't even want to think about that right now to be honest.

I landed in JFK and my mamma was there waiting for me. 


I was tired but I wanted to stay awake as long as I could to get used to the time difference. I landed at 2:00pm and stayed awake until about 8:30.  We drove back to PA and on the way home we stopped to visit my sister. I just couldn't wait to see her. She was very vocal as soon as she saw me and I knew she was just as happy to see me as I was seeing her. 


I didn't take any pictures with her the day I arrived.  This picture was taken the next day. She's such a cutie pie...she melts my heart whenever I see her. 

I had Mexican food the first day I was here...day number two was Japanese... 


Uhhh...love it! Cannot get enough of it! 

Then my mother insisted on taking me to an Italian place....womp womp... That was a bad idea. I guess I'm just so used to the real Italian food that this to me was just really bad... and we paid an arm and a leg for it!


Maybe it was just the place we went to I don't know but I've had much better seafood linguini... I'll just leave it at that...

Can't complain about the drinks though! This strawberry lime margarita was humongous and so yummy!


Other than that I've been shopping, shopping, and shopping some more.  I am loving all of the Halloween decorations that are already out. I am seriously ready for fall. I want to take all the pumpkins back with me but that is not possible unfortunately :-( I HAVE NO ROOM!!


 I'm so frustrated I can't take many things back with me.. I guess I'll just have to DIY some pumpkins when I get home.


I love it!! Halloween is a holiday that I truly miss so much in Italy.  It's just so much fun. 

My mom and I have been spending some much needed quality time together and it's nice be here with her.  I know she feels more secure with me being here for her and my sister and that makes me happy. 

 
We've been smothering her with TLC and it feels good...even though she looks rather annoyed about it in this picture I know she likes it LOL. 


Next stop is Florida to visit my Dad! 

Be back soon...

xoxo

Silvana