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!

 

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The Road to Colledimezzo

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My daughter Joanna and I met in the Marriott between Rome and Fiumicino. Both excited for the trip ahead. We had a fabulous meal and a little too much to drink, but we were on a new adventure, a house buying adventure and I think a celebration was in order. The following morning we picked up our rental car, a cute little Fiat Cabriolet. Yes its small! We had to load my suitcase in through the roof, but we managed it. Then off we went. This photo was taken outside a restaurant we stopped off at on the way. It was our first experience in rural Italy. Not a tourist in sight and no one spoke English. The restaurant was full of arm waving groups of Italian families enjoying a Sunday meal together. Wine was flowing and they were blissfully loud. Our meal was simple, delicious and very cheap.

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It set us up for our journey ahead. Pretty soon we were in an idyllic setting, completely surrounded by trees. It was beautiful. We didn’t know at the time, but we’d entered the Lazio, Molise & Abruzzo National Park. It was gorgeous. Photo may be a bit fuzzy, but it was taken from the car window as we passed by. It was Sunday so groups of folks took shade under the trees, enjoying walks, picnics, playing games and drinking wine. Roadside stalls were set up selling local produce. It was exactly the type of area I was looking for, but it was still a long way from Colledimezzo. We drove on narrow winding roads where there was barely space for two cars to pass. Wild horses roamed freely. We passed through tiny villages with cobbled streets. I could have taken more photos, but I was hypnotized by the scenery.

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For a while I thought we’d never reach the top of the mountain range, but we did, and we began to descend. Joanna did an incredible job of driving. I was exhausted and I was the passenger. By the time we reached Colledimezzo we were weary, but there it was, perched on a hillside. Beautiful and inviting. We drove through the village, but didn’t stop. Instead, we headed to Atessa where we were spending the night. Exploring Colledimezzo would have to wait until morning. We were in the Chieti province of Abruzzo. Would we find our perfect vacation/retirement home? Only time would tell.

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The Last Adventure

“Ahh Thompason”

I love the Italian folk. I’d been trying to reserve a room in the Colledimezzo area so I could meet with my realtor and view some properties. Not many hotels, or B&B’s in rural Abruzzo. I’m sure everyone knows each other in those small towns and villages. Finally, after no luck with bookings, I called a hotel in Atessa.

“I’m looking for two rooms on August…..”

“Ahhh Thompason”

News travels fast. “We ave the rooms, no problem”

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And so I’m all set. Flights booked, hotels booked, property viewings booked. I’m hoping that by the end of August I’ll be well on the way to buying my retirement home in Abruzzo. Our last adventure.