Happy Ferragosto!

What better way to wind up the hottest part of summer than with a Ferragosto post, right?  Yet I can hear you asking, “Ferragosto? What in the world is it?” Well, it literally means August holidays. And it’s the day (on August 15) which officially celebrates the summer vacation from work. A holiday which traditionally started out as one week, but has in modern times evolved into an entire month off work! Sounds great? That’s because it is!

But many businesses and shops (except in touristy areas) also close down for a good portion of the month, which can make life a bit trying! And sadly, even government offices and even some hospitals run only skeletal crews! Continue reading

A Broken Leg in Italy

So, you’re on an Italian holiday, with a broken leg… That, at any rate would be a worst case scenario. Thankfully, when I broke my ankle (a few years ago) I wasn’t on holiday, but lived here!

But what should you expect, if by chance it should happen? Well, after recently helping an American friend navigate an Italian hospital (and he was on holiday), helped me see how differently it all works here. When it happened to me I wish I’d been more prepared. But I figured that I can at least give you an idea of what to expect!  Continue reading

Our Tiny Italian {Dream} House

We had long dreamed of owning our own home, which with our lack of regular income seemed like The Impossible Dream. But in planning our move to Abruzzo nearly 10 years ago, we learned that property values in these inland villages of the south are unbelievably low.

So low, in fact, that we were sure Mario’s coworker had to be exaggerating. Houses for only €20,000-35,000 — impossible!! But it turned out she was right! And we hadn’t looked at many when the realtor showed us this little place. And what can I say? 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

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

Italy’s Pinocchio Park [Video]

The delightful tale of Pinocchio is an Italian children’s classic still much loved today. And not just in Italy, but the world round! But just in case you still don’t know the story of Pinocchio let me tell you…

Pinocchio was a little boy made by a lonely old wood carver, named Geppetto. That’s right, Geppetto made his own little boy! For you see, Pinocchio started out as a little wooden marionette.  Continue reading

Village Gossip

Anything can happen in small towns. And it doesn’t even matter if it’s true, as long it makes good village gossip! Like the time they had my husband all but dead and buried. Or at best, critically ill.

Our daughter and family, who still lived here then, had gone out with some friends visiting from the north. A slice of pizza and peaceful stroll in the cool evening. Until one of the visitors started having chest pains. What to do? Why go to the guardia medica (urgent care), of course!  Continue reading