Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Looking for a restaurant? Try this one: L’Angolo d’Abruzzo, in Carsoli, 0863.997429.

Chef Valerio Centofanti is concurring in San Sebastian (Spain) as lo Mejor de la gastronomia, an international award for recipes using oil as a main ingredient, not as a dressing.

And send us your feedback, if you happen to eat there.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

I love maritozzi. And this summer, because I went to Pescara, I managed to go back in the temple of maritozzi con la panna, sweet bread-rolls with raisins, filled with whipped cream. And I am talking here of Cremeria Bresciana.
If you have half-an-hour to spare, walk from central station to the sea, and just before piazza Salotto, take the last alley right, turn right again so that you end up on the parallel street of Corso Umberto, and there you are. They also have a covered terrace in the back, nice fot not-too-cold rainy days. Or just hot days, although the airco is on in summer.

Since you are there anyway, I would then walk further on Corso Umberto, until you hit the beach, because just there you'll see one of the nicest modern fountains I know in italy. Now, as you might have noticed, Italy is full of white marmer and travertin fountains, isn't it? But this is a modern one, called La Nave - the Ship, made by the scupltor Cascella and really worth the extra walk.

Then you can go to the beach, or walk back to the station. And if you choose for the latter, the moment you are about to cross the road after Piazza Salotto, turn right instead until you hit Caffé Venezia. This is my last discovery of the summer as the ideal place for an aperitivo. Just order your favourite Martini, Mimosa, Bellini, or, if you belong to the non-alcohol drinking sort, one of their delicious aperitivi analcolici made of fruit juices. And ask for the savoury accompaniments to it.

You can just skip your lunch, after it. Which is just as well, because I do not have yet a great address to lunch around the corner, but I will do my best to find one next time I am in Pescara.

Now, if I really need to get personal at this point, I will tell you what else I do there. I go have a look at the marvellous tiles and bathroom shop next to Caffé Venezia, under the porches. Because estetically responsible views are one of the points that distinguis the human sort from the beastly. Then I would go into a shopping splurge in the shops on the way back to the station (you should always firts eat good thing and then go buy new clothes, so you won't get discouraged from eating something nice because you just got this great pair od trousers, which are almost perfect, if you just manage to lose a couple kilos. No, lady, great clothes never distracted me from great food.) What helps is that I was there just in the midst of the summer sales.
And then, I would reward myself for not spending all my money in clothes with a loooooong stop at the Feltrinelli bookstore. Just to discover I had enough points on my fidelity-card to get one book free, and I had to decide fast, because it never happened me before, and they were about to close for the afternoon and I got in the end this very intersting, scary, informative Opus Dei work.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Dance on the beach! One of the misteres of life is: why Italians like so much group-dances? Just these formal, boring, social-control freaks, can get all loose and shake their bellies in swimmers en plein air on the beach, without a thought on what people may think of them.

In the picture you see the regular program of dances on the beach at our favourite hotel. Kids love it, grandma's too (you have no idea, all these old ladies of the Seniors' holidays organized by the social services of their village, elderly housewifes from the countryland, the whole bunch of them shaking their thing like teen-agers at a disco.

But woe, if the animation organizes a dancing evening of oldies goldies tangos, mazurkas etc. They stick at their chairs and don't dare to move a step. god forbid, what would the neigbour think of them?

I guess the great thing of group dances is that all you are required to do is to follow the directions of the dance-leaders. You are not accountable for your ability, or non-ability, to actually dance. It is a group thing, you do a little bit tongue-in-cheek, sort of "don't take me seriously, I am usually not like this" thing.

All the responsability is away, all the fun stays. You know what I mean: just the usual group feeling, for good and for bad.

Credits picture: Roberta

Thursday, July 31, 2008

You love Italian design? Here something new from Abruzzo. Creakit is a brand new company founded by two architects and their first product are these lovely baby-shoes everybody (even I) can make by itself with the kit they sell. Roberta is a passionate DIY creature, and at a certain point her husband suggested she put her professional experience into creating a DIY-kit for the shoes she made for their baby-girl Sveva.

Here my favourites models (you can tell I have two boys):

You might have guessed by now that this sort of green is my favourite colour (I am considering doing my new kitchen in a slightly darker hue of this).

Everything comes in a box that you can later use to pack your gift in, decorated with the provided ribbon. what absolutely astonished me was how complete this kit is. The English/Italian tutorial is clear and the step-by-step instructions make it easy to follow, even if you are not such a great DIY-er. What absolutely knocked me off my socks was the needle-holder (an idea of Roberto, you need men for this sort of technicalities) a tiny plastic strip. No disappearing needles in the cushions of the couch (I don't know why, I am not a couch-person, but this kit evokes a cosy afternoon on the couch with a cup of tea under reach, until the shoes are made).

The whole story in Italian and English can be found on, and if you fall in love with them, you can buy them online at Etsy:

The funny thing is that in Italy the kit is sold in design shops. So you can find it also in the new venue of my favourite Alessi-dealer: Katia at Archimedia, in Giulianova, at the Via Thaon di Revel in the center.

Because that's how it goes, design-freaks always manage to find each other.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Water has many faces. So you will find everywhere the so called mascheroni di fontana, fountains in the shape of a face.

Sometimes you don't even need to bother to build such a mask. You just need to look carefully.

Credits picture: Antonio Di Maggio
Iconicelle (which means as much as small, lovely icons) are en expression of simple popular faith. You see them all over the place in old Italian towns, and sometimes I wonder if there are also modern versions of it.

They are holy images and symbols placed in all places visited by many people: usually at crossroads, under arches. The idea used to be that people, on their way to work, could say a small silent prayer or cross themselves to invoke protection for their businesses and journeys.

Here a few of them, all pictures were made by Antonio Di Maggio.

This Madonna, not very visible from behind the protecting grate, is in Ofena:

These fresco's were partially deleted when the house was renovated. Pity. They can be found in Ofena, in via dell'Ospedale.

In via dell'Ospedale, a bit higher, they also placed this votive lamp. No wonder, as being there a hospital people needed some moral support when walking that street.

Not only Ofena has lots of iconicelle. Here a couple from Fontecchio. As the name of this village already suggests, In Fontecchio they had a beatiful Fountain, and this Madonna is placed just above the washing basin. The stone ornament on the right side is a details of the decorative fountain.

Another iconicella in Fontecchio is this one:

Most of this images are quite worn out because of age, traffic fumes, weather, light. This is inherent to their function of road altars.

Other were saved and protected in museums, which is all very well for the art works, but pity for the passers-by.

Still other were placed in cripts, as this one:

But many more can be found in the "institutional" places: churches, abbeys, monasteries, cemeteries. God knows if we lack any of these in Abruzzo.

Still in need of spiritual inspiration? Come and see by yourelf.

One misty, moisty morning,
when cloudy was the weather...

that was May last year, when I went to Abruzzo with photographer Antonio Di Maggio and his wife and my good friend Daniela Tasca. The weather was back then as awful as you will see in the next posts and pictures, but there is this stubborn, shy grace in the mountain landscape rounf Ofena in the mist: just as a toddler who refuses to give a kiss to the visiting aunty, and grumps, all closed in itself.

Which reminds me also of that sort of stubborn shyness many elderly locals have towards all that's foreign coming into their village.

Anyway, I am getting ready to go in just more than a couple of weeks. My 6-year old son will precede, he is going for the first time abroad without us (just his grandma), and as any good, neurotic Italian mom i am having nightmars of him being abducted. Definitely, this short separation will do all of us good: he will be the big boy, my mom will enjoy him exclusively for a couple of days, his little brother will be only child for a while, I will have to get used at the idea that there is no harm to me and my family in this big, wide world.

Enjoy this view of the road to the mountain and Forca di Penne, taken from the small green bedroom.