Making Balsamic Vinegar [Video]

Driving about the Italian countryside acre after acre of ripening grapes now meets the eye. Here in Abruzzo, most go into the making of the regions fine wines: particularly Montepulciano, Cerasuolo, and Trebbiano.

But in the Emilia-Romagna region, at least some grapes go into making Traditional Balsamic Vinegar, the region’s Black Gold! So-called because of its high cost and great taste.  Continue reading

Italy’s Mud Volcanoes

Mud volcanoes, or mud domes, are pseudo volcanoes, as they do not produce lava and are not necessarily driven by magmatic activity. They are found in most parts of the world including Europe, Asia, and the Americas. Various types and causes exist, and some are even artificial.

These volcanoes form when hot water deep below the earth’s surface mixes with mineral deposits. This mixture eventually erupts, resulting in mud volcanoes, of which there are 6 main types, including salse. Salse mud volcanoes are water-dominated pools containing methane gas seeps.  Continue reading

Italy’s Land of Narnia

We have great fun asking kids, “Did I ever tell you about the day we went to Narnia?” Wide-eyed astonishment is quickly followed by, “You can’t fool me that easily!” But it’s true! We lunched in the little Umbrian town of Narni, whose cobblestoned streets and ancient arched gateways seem to just call out, “Come explore me!”

Narni dates clear back to 600 BC, when it was known as Nequinum. Until that is, the Romans conquered it and renamed it Narnia! Which for some reason became shortened to Narni through the years.  Continue reading

Take a Holiday and Save Abruzzo’s Rare Bear [Video]

All parts of the world, including Italy, have their share of endangered species. And Italy’s list is, in fact, growing. From snails and insects to the beautiful, noble, and critically endangered Sicilian Fir Tree. As well as the Aeolian Wall Lizard, found only on a few Italian islands. And one which hits a little closer to home for us: Italy’s Marsican Brown Bear here in Abruzzo.

But why is this Abruzzo bear so rare, and why should we save it? It’s one of the rarest creatures on Earth, and unique among bear species.  Continue reading

Our Abruzzo Mountains

What beautiful mountains we see from our town! Found in the Maiella National Park and only an hour’s drive away!  Known as the wildest and most inaccessible area of Italy’s Central Appenine, its 740 km² (286 miles²) were a haven for hermits, abbeys and retreats, and dotted with quaint old towns and dry-stone huts.

As possibly one of the best preserved appenine ecosystems, the Maiella Park abounds in wildlife: the golden eagle, the rare otter, the pine marten, the red fox, the European badger, and the wild cat. As well as bear and wolves! It is, in fact, believed that the park contains one of highest wolf population densities in Italy, if not the world!  Continue reading

Rome, the Eternal City

With tourist season upon us, wouldn’t you like to know a bit more about Rome the Eternal City? Just for when you’re lucky enough to find yourself over here in the boot?!!

Rome is known as the Eternal City and as Caput Mundi, Latin meaning capital of the world. Which seems to stem from the fact that Romans have longed viewed (even back in ancient history) their city as the world’s capital. And during the Roman Empire, Rome was in fact the world’s capital. It has been Italy’s capital since 1871.  Continue reading

Italy’s Medieval Festivals [Video]

There’s a feeling of magic in the air! Italy’s Medieval fest season is upon us, like a fairy tale come alive!  Knights, damsels, and court jesters. Feasting, with music and drummers. Medieval games, horse races, and parades with flags and torches. And it’s easy to imagine yourself the velvet clad Lord, or Lady in silk, off to dine with the king in his castle!

So if perchance you find yourself in Italy, join in the magic by choosing a festival to attend! Or stay for the whole season, which lasts mostly from April through October. Mayhap you’ll decide to attend them all!  Continue reading