Fresh in Abruzzo – Colledimezzo Days

When I first moved here a couple of months ago I felt a little lost. Everyone welcomed me with open arms, but I felt like a fish out of water. I was no longer working, so my days had no structure. It took a little while, but now I’m comfortable. I’m still a source of amusement for the locals because of my mispronunciation of many Italian words, but they know I’m trying.
Since Abruzzo became part of the red zone last week, I’m getting even more familiar with how the world turns in Colledimezzo.
On Tuesday lunch came from the porchetta/rotisserie chicken food truck. On Thursday I went to the piazza and made a purchase from the vegetable man who passes through twice a week. Yesterday I heard what I thought was the butcher’s van (they all make a great deal of noise as they drive through), and left the house quickly to make my purchase. I found I’d chased down the fish van instead…quandary, I didn’t know what any of the fish (other than mussels and shrimp) were, so I chose a couple of nice looking specimens which were called cipal. After a little googling, we discovered they were grey mullet, which apparently are particularly good when fished from the Adriatic. Of course they were whole and still had their innards. It’s been a long time since I gutted fish, but I’m up for it. Incredibly fresh and so cheap!
This morning, at the recommendation of our good friend Nino, my husband arose early and braved the rain to meet the cheese van in the piazza. He comes at 7:30. It was definitely worth it. The price was unbeatable and, you can see from the photo, fantastic cheese. Can’t wait to try it.
I’m getting in the swing of things now and I’m pretty sure I’m going to enjoy spending the rest of my days in Colledimezzo.
Just need this awful pandemic to end so I can see my daughter again.

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.

24 Days to go!

Spring

Yes I’m counting. My stomach is in knots. Can’t wait to see the lovely new kitchen and start buying furniture for our new home in the small sleepy village in Abruzzo.

The Folks of Abruzzo

Villa-Santa-Maria-5Four weeks today, yes I’m still counting. I get weekly emails from my amazing contractors in Abruzzo, showing me the progress of my kitchen, my lovely staircase, and of course my new gas boiler. This may be oh so boring to some folks, but these emails keep me going through the long winter days at work.

I can’t believe how friendly the village folks from Colledimezzo are. I now have an English-speaking contact there. A wonderful gentleman who lives close to our new home. It may be our new home, but the old stone building is probably hundreds of years old. Some things are worth waiting for, and this is one of them. I can’t wait to become “one of the folks of Abruzzo”

Autumn in Abruzzo

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Can’t wait to spend my first Autumn in Abruzzo. It looks spectacular.

Dinner, Drinks and Quiet Conversation

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At the end of our whirlwind trip to Abruzzo we stayed in Vasto. A beautiful town overlooking the shimmering Adriatic. We arrived mid afternoon after viewing homes in Celezna and San Buono.

Vasto is a beautiful old town, perched on top of a hill and we certainly felt like we’d saved the best until last. Joanna was exhausted from driving, we’d had a mishap that morning and ended up on a road that was virtually impassable…thanks to the useless EVERLOST. When we arrived in Vasto, we dumped our bags in a beautiful town home we rented for the night. Rezidenza Ambling was gorgeous. Check it out at http://www.amblingh.it.com.

We really needed a glass of wine or two, but most of the restaurants with an ocean view were closed for the afternoon and didn’t open again until dinner time. We found somewhere in the town and ordered wine and a sample of local meats and cheeses. I think we were still there after it closed, and the staff were stocking up the shelves for the evening, but no one seemed to care.

We spend the rest of the day Italian style and siesta’s for a couple of hours before setting out again to enjoy our last night in Abruzzo. Vasto in the evening is gorgeous. Lots of restaurants gushing with ambiance, quiet conversations, good food and excellent wine and a view of the Adriatic to die for.

I’m not entirely sure what made me decide to look at Abruzzo for a retirement home. Was it the receptionist in the Marriott Grand Flora in Rome in 2015. She told us proudly it was where she was from, and that the people there were so nice. I’d done research too, but I’d also researched Puglia, Tuscany and Lombardy. Something drew me to Abruzzo and I’m glad it did. We found the sort of realtor I didn’t think existed. Honest, helpful and nice to be with. We met friendly people, and every where we looked, we were surrounded by beauty.

Atessa and Colledimezzo

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Atessa was perched on the top of the hill, quaint, beautiful and ancient. We weren’t too exhausted to appreciate its beauty. Our “Never lost” (ever lost as I call it because its USELESS) couldn’t find our hotel. Kept telling us we were there, even though we couldn’t see it. Joanna parked and I jumped out of the car and walked up a small one-way street (all the streets were small) to see what I could see. Sure enough, the Hotel Al Duca was only a few steps away. I went inside to the small immaculate reception and tried to get directions from a very pleasant young lady who spoke no English. Her 8-year-old son did, but he was too shy to talk to me. Someone else appeared and in broken English/Italian we managed to communicate. She came with me to the car, and jumped into the passenger seat, from which she guided a very tired Joanna through the narrow one way streets so she could park outside the hotel.

After dumping our cases we went to explore the little town. We’d  been sitting in a car all day and needed to stretch our legs. We weren’t disappointed with what we found. There was a live concert in a beautiful area that opened up to the mountains. The cobbled streets were lined with beautiful shops and a scattering of lovely restaurants and bars. Well dressed Italians strolled by, they sure know how to live. Every so often the stone buildings parted and gave us exquisite views of the mountains. It was getting late so we headed back to the hotel for dinner. A liter of house wine, fresh delicious salad and two individual pizzas. I thought they had the price wrong when I saw the bill. It was 12 Euro for two people. I smiled and thought how much my husband would enjoy eating here….he likes cheap, especially when it’s delicious.

I lay in my comfortable bed, and enjoyed the music from the live concert, which floated in through my open window. The next morning I woke up to the sound of church bells. The second day of our adventure was about to begin. After a banquet called breakfast, which was included in the price at Al Duca, we set off for Colledimezzo.

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We parked just outside the village (which is pedestrian only) marvelled at the view then wandered up to a lovely little piazza overlooking the mountains. The village has one bar “Emy Bar” where we ordered Cappuccino’s The locals both amused us and were amused by us…more in my next blog!