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

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

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

The Giant, Odor-Free Minimalist Travel Towel

Peshtemals

Do you have a problem with smelly towels? I always did, but no more! Here in Italy, especially during the rainy season, towels take a long time to dry. So unless washed after each use, they turn sour-smelling, and so unpleasant to use!

But how can we wash them daily when it rains? Like many Italians, we don’t own a clothes dryer. So I’d long hoped for a solution.  Continue reading