The Colors of Spring in Abruzzo

Enormous Yucca, curious chickens and a view to die for.

I took a long leisurely walk this afternoon and ended up at the top of town. I’ve been taking photos here since we first found the village in 2017, but every time I walk, something new catches my eye. Small villages in Abruzzo are rugged, beautiful, charming and quirky.

Happy Tuesday everyone.

Colledimezzo – A village in Southern Italy

I’ve been allowing myself to get a little stressed lately. Why? Who knows! Maybe Covid? Anyway today I took a step back, relaxed and remembered where I was and why I was here.
I opened my eyes and was relieved that I had no aches and pains, or other side effects from my Moderna booster jab. I spent a leisurely morning pottering around the house like an old girl…I’m allowed, almost sixty five now.
I showered and made myself presentable for our lunch at La Collinetta, a weekly event, and one I enjoy. It was a glorious sunny day, the picture above was taken this afternoon. After lunch and laughter with four of our best friends, we returned home. On the way to our house we were stopped in the piazza by one of the villagers. He gave us a bottle of home made Limoncello. The good people of Colledimezzo are so lovely and always willing to share their home made goods with pride.
My dear husband, who had a fair amount of wine with lunch, settled down in front of the television, but I decided to go for a walk. The sunshine and bright blue sky beckoned and I couldn’t resist. I walked for a couple of miles and ended up back in the piazza, outside the bar. It would have been rude not to pop in and have an Aperol Spritz!
I passed a half hour or so with Mirella while enjoying my spritz, along with some potato chips, and then down the stone steps home. When I opened the door my husband looked startled…yes, he was snoozing.
“You’ve been gone fifteen minutes already?” he said. I’d actually been gone for an hour. Bless him!

Time to settle down now. Relaxed by the Spritz, and the warmth of our house, I can enjoy my Saturday evening.
Buonasera everyone and stay safe.

Italian Friendliness and Creativity!

Photo by Sandra Thompson

I read a newspaper on line called “The Local, Italy” and one of the articles today made me smile. After making a couple of changes to reference Colledimezzo, I’m sharing it with you. It sums up what makes life in Italy so special.

The ten positives you’ll notice when moving to Italy from the US (or the UK)

The beauty
The way you can “stumble upon” beauty anywhere. The gorgeous architecture in churches and other buildings as well as small points of beauty such as the way someone has arranged their garden flowers.

The patience
The patience of the people with my poor Italian, the way they apologize because they don’t speak English! (Not necessary to apologize — this is Italy!).

The church bells
The sound of the church bells ringing, randomly as well as gloriously at 12 noon in the piazza.

The kindness
I asked the pharmacist how to contact the physiotherapist that lives in the village. When she couldn’t reach him by phone, she ran across the street and knocked on the door of his grandmother’s house to see if she knew where he was.

The friendliness
The way at holiday time, everyone greets each other with Buon Natale or Buon Anno.

The openness
The way you can meet people in a restaurant and become friends for life.

The history
No need to explain, it is overwhelming. The tiny village pf Colledimezzo (my home) brags of castles, palazzos and enough WWII stories to keep you enthralled all night.

The seasons
Here in Italy every season unfolds with such beauty and is distinct and wondrous.

The people
The old men sitting in cafes talking endlessly and watching the world go by. And the way every single Italian has an opinion on most things, and loves to share it.

The security
The feeling that I am safe and never alone. People are always willing to help.

The creativity
The creativity used to make everything work… somehow.

Calabria – A nice surprise

Tropea, what a beautiful seaside town. Not at all like I expected.

Sad start to our four day break when I heard my daughter’s dog Fendi, had to be put to sleep. She was fourteen years old, and suffering with renal failure, it was the kindest thing to do. She had her favorite meal of steak, and then was put to sleep peacefully in the arms of my daughter. Yes, I’m still shedding tears over it, loved that pup. Can’t believe I won’t see her again. Wish I’d been there to hug her one last time.

Pictures of Tropea, Calabria. I don’t think I need to say much about it. Beautiful, unspoiled, great food, friendly helpful people. The rock sticking out of the sea in the background of the first picture is Strombli, an active volcano. Everything about Tropea makes it a fantastic vacation spot. We’ll be back again next year.

More photos and experiences to follow. Our next trip? Returning to Rome in September if this crazy Delta variant doesn’t prevent it. What a mess this last couple of years has been.

Thanks for stopping by everyone, and stay safe, we’re not out of the woods yet!

And for my Next Trip

Revisiting the Amalfi Coast was wonderful. Just as fresh and pretty as the first time. I’m sure I’ll enjoy it equally as much if I go back again. The walks, the views, the food!!

I’m so lucky to live in Italy! My next trip is going to be a fresh experience. We’re driving to Tropea, Calabria, right on the toe of the boot. I’ve never been that far south before and can’t wait…only a month to go!

Above is a picture taken while walking one of the beautiful paths between Minori and Ravello.
Below is an image of Tropea, can’t wait to explore.

Chasing the Meat Van

Colledimezzo is lucky enough to be visited by a butcher’s van, a rotisserie porchetta/chicken van, veggie van and fish van on different days each week. They all sell fresh local produce. I certainly won’t go hungry here, but I do need to become familiar with where they stop and also their individual jingle which sounds when they enter the village.
Today I decided to try the butcher. It wasn’t quite as easy as I hoped. He drove past me several times. Each time I’d wave for him to stop, and he’d wave back and smile.
No I’m not being friendly, I want you to stop.
The locals, who gather in the piazza to talk, found my antics very amusing, and watched with interest.
Finally Marella, the wonderful girl who runs the local bar, called him and he returned to the piazza. Meat purchased, game over, lesson learned! I’ll be shopping like a local soon.
Also had a great walk today. Walked way down towards the lake and then climbed the steep road back up to the village. My apple watch recorded almost 7 miles…maybe I’ve earned a glass of wine or two.

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.

New Home – New Life – Retirement

Well here I am! Been talking about it and planning it for three years, but never really thought it would happen!
I’m RETIRED!
In my head I thought I’d leave the US in a blaze of glory. I’d planned on hosting a leaving party at my local bar for a few close friends, but COVID came along and stopped that!
The two wonderful folks I supported at Western Union, hosted a small, safe, socially distancing party, which was absolutely wonderful. I was able to say goodbye to a few close friends who’d made a difference in my life. I had to fight back the tears as they said lovely things about me…were they really talking about me? I almost stood up and said STOP, I’ve changed my mind…I’m staying, but here I am, thousands of miles away in Southern Italy.
I miss my daughter, and I miss my friends, but I know they understand I needed a quieter, more relaxed life. I’m very lucky to be able to follow my dreams.
More stories to come.

This Crazy Little thing called Retirement (Part 5) Atessa.

 

 

I’d booked a hotel in a town close by, not knowing the route would take us through Colledimezzo.
colledimezzo, municipio (1)

Jo drove slowly on the winding road through the village, past Piazza Vizioli and around the tight hairpin that took the road in another direction as it climbed the hillside. It was narrow and lined with houses and little shops, then in the blink of an eye, we were back in the countryside again.
The beautiful walled town of Atessa was another twenty minutes drive. atessa-chieti-abruzzo-italy-old-town-hill-landscape-italian-97764032
When we got there, we couldn’t work out how to maneuver our way through the narrow streets, to the hotel so Jo found a place to park and I ran to the hotel to get help. No one spoke English, but I managed to make the staff understand what I needed. A young lady who worked as a waitress, came back to the car with me and jumped into the passenger seat. While I walked back to Al Duca (the hotel), she directed Joanna through the narrow streets and showed her where to park. It was with great relief that Jo turned off the engine. She’d driven clear across Italy and had enough driving for one day. We took our cases into the lovely old hotel and then went for a walk. We were tired and stiff from sitting in the car all day.
Atessa was an unexpected delight, adorned with lights, it looked like something from a fairytale. UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_3994A band played in the piazza. Through every gap in the buildings you glimpsed a view of the rolling hills of Abruzzo. We sat outside a lovely little restaurant and had a pre-dinner drink before returning to the hotel. After delicious home made pizza, salad, and a carafe of wine, we went to bed, happy to have made it across Italy to Abruzzo!

The window in my room looked across ancient rooftops, and I left it open, allowing the evening breeze to blow the curtains. The band still played outside, and every fifteen minutes, the church bells chimed. It was the music of Italy and it made me feel welcome.

Vasto and Fossacesia

Trabocchi Coast
Vasto

Life doesn’t get much better than this. The Chieti coastline.

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