Rome

CIMG0276

In 2010 I went to Rome for the very first time. I’d been to Italy many times but never Rome. This was the view from my hotel, the Marriott Grand Flora, at the top of Via Veneto.
I was hooked as soon as my feet touched the ground. The smell, the chatter, the atmosphere.
I remember standing on the banks of the Tiber with Castel Sant’angelo behind me, looking across the bridge towards the city, gasping for breath. It was almost too much to take in. I couldn’t even lift my arms to take a photo. I glanced at my husband, who stood next to me, and saw he felt it too.

Rome isn’t just a trip, it’s an experience, its something you feel.

 

Advertisements

The Real Italy

DSC05474

I never get bored with Italy. Been visiting since I was a teenager. It’s beauty and history are captivating. The food, the wine, all the usual things make me love the country. However, until I visited Abruzzo, I realized I hadn’t seen the real Italy. It took only a short visit to remind me that local Italians make Italy what it is, and the folks of Abruzzo are the warmest, most helpful people I have ever met. While writing this blog my eyes fill with tears as I recall our recent visit and all we achieved with their help. We made more friends in two weeks than I’ve made in the last 20 years.

Colledimezzo is a tiny village in Abruzzo, less than 600 inhabitants. Of course everyone became familiar with us immediately. A mixed race couple with British accents. We stuck out like a sore thumb. Those locals immediately accepted us, helped us and made us feel like one of them.

It’ll be a few years before we can retire there, but the ground work is done. We have a second home there now, and lots of vacations to look forward to. Good things are worth waiting for!

Oh What a Week!

costadeitrabocchi-05-665x441

Last week was a very bad week at work! Barely slept, but I made up for it last night. Can’t remember when I last slept 10 hours. Things will get back on an even keel again soon and I’ll start to enjoy my job again.

Now I’m counting down the days because we’ll soon be on our way to Abruzzo. I understand the weather won’t be great in March, but we’ll be busy buying furniture and doing all we can to make our new house a home so we’ll barely notice. The wine and food at the end of the day will more that make up for it.

Can’t wait to see my husband’s face when he walks though the front door of his new Italian home for the very first time.

IMG_0759

Vasto – Abruzzo – Italy

UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_39b4

Amblingh Residence – Vasto – Abruzzo

Going over photos from my last visit to Italy, I found this! The view we enjoyed while we ate our last breakfast in Italy after our whirlwind house buying visit. This photo was taken from the breakfast room of the beautiful Amblingh Residence in the gorgeous sea-side town of Vasto. I’ve added it to my list of favorite places. It was the epitome of Italy. Beautiful beaches, restaurants with tables outside, high up on a cliff and overlooking the turquoise waters of the Adriatic. By day the gentle waves reflected golden sunlight. By night a bejeweled coastline.

Any doubts I had about spending our money on a retirement home in Abruzzo were dispelled as I ate delicious local breakfast breads, washed down with cappuccino and soaked in the view with a background of Italian conversation.

Check the link above to discover the best place to stay in Vasto. Can’t believe I want more people to discover this beautiful old town. Instinct tells me to keep it to myself, but it’s just too good not to share.

Colledimezzo – The Old Olive Mill

DAcVtRNWAAAFZVZ

We sat in the little piazza and enjoyed Colledimezzo as we watched the village wake up. The locals weren’t early risers, No one was in a hurry, and everyone chatted cheerfully as they went about their morning. We were visited by a friendly and very loving stray kitty. We watched a puppy playfully tug on a towel with its momma, some one had abandoned the dogs, and now the village was taking care of them. It was a good feeling.

I recognized Monia, our realtor before she even spoke. She was a petite feminine beautifully dressed young lady and approached us with a welcoming smile on her face. Her English was charming and we felt comfortable immediately. She led us through the old streets, down stone steps. No cars drive through the old town. It’s a beautiful old pedestrian area.

The first house we looked at was pretty, but I fear too small and the stairs too narrow for my six-foot two husband. My son-in-law is 6ft 6ins and would NEVER fit. The very nice lady who owned us was from Belgium and introduced us to her neighbors, who were British. They’d bought a house there themselves a year or so ago, same idea as us. Vacation home and then retirement home.

The next place we visited was a beautiful old apartment. It was huge, with massive old windows and frescos on the ceiling. I can only imagine the grand parties that were once held there. It wasn’t quite what we were looking for though.

The third house stole my heart. I was once an Olive Mill, but had been converted into a house on three floors. The top floor was a kitchen with a log fireplace, a huge terrace and a bathroom. The huge oak door was wonderful. The skylight and big french doors made it light and airy. The views were incredible. Down to the second floor. Three more bedrooms, an even bigger terrace and two bathrooms. Gorgeous stone walls, oak beams…was this house restored just for me. Ground floor! Oh my, just a quirky wonderful area with stone, gargoyles, nooks and crannies, a wood burning pizza oven, and the master bedroom with en suite. I spend such a long time walking up and down in this beautiful old place that I’m sure the seller thought I would never leave.

I truly don’t know who was more excited, my daughter, or myself….more to come.

Abruzzo and Retirement

UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_39b6UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_3989Abruzzo! It’s a hidden treasure. We drove through the Abruzzo, Lazio and Molise National Park to get to Colledimezzo a couple of weeks ago. The scenery was majestic and beautifully intimidating. Wild horses roamed the roadside. Signs told us to be on the look out for bears. It the scenic route from Rome to Colledimezzo, but one well worth taking. Gorgeous.

If our home purchase works out, we’ll be sandwiched between these beautiful mountains and the Adriatic. My son-in-law had said that his ambition was to buy a beach home and a mountain home. We may have checked both boxes with one purchase.

I daren’t be complacent, we have a few more hoops to jump through before we can call this home, but it certainly something to work for!

Currently we have our Italian tax codes, the Purchase Proposal is signed and the Italian Notary is checking the documents with the land records. Our house is listed as “under offer” and not being shown to anyone else.

Send good thoughts my way, I want to spend my remaining years in Italy!

Capri – Crazy Beautiful

DSC05014

My four days on the island of Capri are almost done. The whole island is gorgeous! Full of flowers, fascinating people and fantastic food. I’ll definitely be back one day. I’m very glad we stayed in Ana Capri. It’s less crazy, less expensive and the people are so nice and so much fun.

Ana Capri – Bettola del Re

DSC04888

When we were younger we couldn’t afford expensive hotels. It didn’t stop us from traveling, but sometimes we roughed it a little. Now we can afford better hotels, and enjoy them very much, but we also love the new classy B&B’s that are popping up. Bettola Del Re is one of the best.

It’s a very short walk from the beautiful little town of Ana Capri, which is full of shops and restaurants. Today we hiked down to the Grotto Azzura, then hiked into Capri, where we had a sumptuous seafood lunch. Ten beautiful miles we walked today.

The grounds of Bettola Del Re are perfect to while away the evening with a good book and a glass of local wine. The owners are friendly, welcoming and accommodating. Can’t fault the place in any way.

Now I’m exhausted and I think its time to sleep.

Buona Notte!

Secret Window

DSC04900

Walking the narrow winding streets on Ana Capri is a treat. This window captured my imagination.

Italy – Where my Heart is!

As I count down the days until I fly to Naples (9) I anticipate my first meal. Will it be the famous pizza or will it be seafood? One thing is certain, it will be SPECTACULAR!

Italy stole my heart over thirty years ago! Maybe this trip will show me that little retirement place I’ve been searching for! I know I’ll find it soon, its meant to be!

 

Previous Older Entries