Olives and Friends

Have you ever seen Olive Oil look this good? I certainly haven’t! This olive oil was freshly pressed by our friends Nino and Vittoria and given to me as a gift this evening.
“This is not for cooking. It is to enjoy with a little salt and crusty bread.”
My husband could live on bread and olive oil, and I’m sure this will be the best he’s ever tasted. I’ll let you know.
I’ve lived in Colledimezzo for almost two months and I never cease to be amazed by the kindness and generosity of my neighbors. In the short time we’ve been here we’ve made so many friends. Perfect place to live, perfect place to retire. I miss my daughter of course, can’t wait until she’s able to visit.

Food Glorious Food



Since retiring I’ve not had to worry about setting an alarm to wake me up, but today, I did! Dean Martin, singing “Amore” caressed my ears at 7:00 am. Using an alarm to rise and shine at 7:00 am makes me chuckle. When I still worked I woke up naturally at 6:00 am, even at weekends. Life changes as you get older.
The early start was because we had a volunteering date to help clear away trash from the shores of Lake Bomba. Meet up time was 8:30 (which translates to around 9:00 am Italian time). For around three hours in beautiful surroundings, we filled black plastic bags with bottles, cans and paper. Can’t understand why everyone can’t clean their mess up after them, but it is what it is.
All the walking made us very hungry and our delicious meal at L’onfrio pizzaria in Villa Santa Maria was well appreciated. Pasta, lamb and panna cotta! I ate too much, drank to much, and when I got home, I closed my eyes and slept for thirty minutes or so. All in all, it was a perfect Saturday!

A Colledimezzo Afternoon

I’ve mastered the crazy French robot called Cookeo and it has become one of my favorite things in the kitchen! Salmon steaks were cooked to perfection in 3 minutes.
After lunch we sat in the piazza with friends, enjoying an Aperol Spritz outside while the weather still allows. Intended to be there 30 minutes, an hour tops…turned into quite a long afternoon. So much fun to improve my Italian language conversing with the local folks. Pio brought us a couple of slices of pizza each, fresh from his oven, dessert from Stefano as he placed bunches of the sweetest grapes I’ve ever eaten on our table, straight from his vine. Vincenzo gave us eggs collected from his hens.
I’ve never in my life been surrounded by such kind, generous, caring folks. Coledimezzo afternoons are such a pleasure.

Flour on my TOE!

This morning I did the second rise on my ciabatta bread. I haven’t made it before so I was a little nervous. I started the sponge (biga) yesterday, and continued with the bread today. With the bread rising, and lunch cooking, I stood on the balcony and enjoyed a few minutes between showers. Not sure what made me look at my feet, but when I did I smiled, one of my toes was white with flour. The words “flour on my toe” stuck with me all day. The ciabatta bread was delicious, we had it for lunch with veal and curried vegetables.
I enjoyed a very quick walk this afternoon, but didn’t want to go too far, the showers persisted.
What else happened today? My crown popped out of my mouth taking most of the tooth with it. Luckily my friend told me about a good dentist she visits in Lanciano. A dentist that speaks very good English, which at this point is necessary. Stay tuned to find out what happens.
Happy Sunday everyone! (Buona Domenica)

Retirement Riches

No I’m not talking about money! I’m talking about getting a full eight hours sleep, not having heartburn caused by stress anymore. I’m talking about having the time to enjoy hobbies that had fallen by the wayside. All of these things make me feel rich.
I woke up this morning at 8:00 am. That is AMAZING! After a leisurely coffee, I showered and then popped up to the pharmacy for some new masks…yes unfortunately COVID numbers are rising so I want to make sure I have an adequate supply. I stopped by the village shop for a couple of things I needed, and then back home in time to get ready for lunch with our good friends at a wonderful local restaurant. The food is so good here!
Came home and baked, it was raining outside, baking seemed like a good thing to do. Shared my baked goods with our Italian friends, which made me nervous because their cooking is so excellent. They invited me to stay for a cocktail and some good conversation.
Perfect day! Now I’m relaxing and doing whatever I like.
Priceless!

My Visitor

I always keep a section of my back door open. It is nice to see folks passing by. Yesterday, someone stopped outside, but all I could see was the top of their head. They lingered so I opened the door to find an elderly, very petite lady standing there. She had a lot to say.
I admired the gold locket around her neck and her eyes filled with tears as she told me (in Italian, but I think I understood most of it), that it was given to her by her husband who was no longer alive.
She admired my kitchen, and was fascinated with my large digital photo frame on the wall, which she thought was a television.
I think she invited me to go with her to her home, but wasn’t sure. We talked as best we could for ten minutes or so, and then she continued her journey down the steps. I watched her and wondered how old she was. I think the hills and steps and winding alleyways of Colledimezzo keep folks fit. I hope it works for me too.
Maybe next time she stops by my Italian will be better.
I’m working on it.

Colledimezzo by Night!

The village is beautiful by day or by night. I wish these photographs could tell me about it’s history. Folks who have lived here their whole lives are eager to share their stories and have so much to tell. My mastery of the Italian language isn’t good enough to take it all in yet, but I’m learning. Soon I’ll be able to talk to the people who’s stories have been passed down through generations. As my Italian improves I will share their stories with you!

My Red SMEG

When I started furnishing our home in Italy I wanted it to be different than the houses we’d called home in the UK and the US. Completely different! I also didn’t want to fill a 200 year old building with antiques. I wanted it to be quirky and fun. My daughter designed the kitchen and called me about fridges from the SMEG shop.
“Do they have a red one?” I asked.
I swear I heard her smile down the phone as she replied, “as a matter of fact they do, and that is the one I would have chosen myself.”
Three years later this house is now my home. The fridge is the first thing folks see when they walk into the kitchen and it always makes them smile.

The Villages of Italy

“Buy a house in an Italian village for $1”
We read it in the newspapers, we see it on the television, but not many people pursue it. Not many people understand what these villages and houses look like, or appreciate their history. We certainly paid much more than $1 for our Italian home, and still spent a great deal after purchasing, but we weren’t looking for a project. Not easy overseeing something in Italy while living and working in the US
Now I’m retired I walk around our little Italian village daily. The contrast between houses is amazing. The photos above display two beautiful homes, but in between them, a deserted shell just begging for attention.
The huge house next to ours has been empty since the sixties. Such a shame, the architecture is amazing.
I don’t think there are any $1 homes in Colledimezzo, but when you see buildings in other villages advertised, remember, they are surrounded by history and love, and begging to be restored so they can stand proud again.

Sleepy Little Village

I’m trying to take life slowly. Forcing myself to not rush to get chores done. I have all the time in the world, but it’s quite an adjustment.
This morning I didn’t open my eyes until after seven, and then laid in bed until the clock chimed 7:15. A good time to rise.
My brain reminded me of my morning stretch routine, so I obeyed. Then upstairs to make a Cappuccino in the temperamental Smeg coffee maker. Came out perfectly. I sat on the kitchen deck and enjoyed my morning coffee. The sleepy little village had not yet come to life. No cars, no people, just the sunrise, the hillside and me.
What next?
A trip to San Vito on the coast, a pleasant walk and lunch in one of the local seafood restaurants.
It’s a hard life!!!

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