Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Shameless Plug for the Business!

I am very pleased and excited to announce the re-launch of my web site, Bella Vita Italia, and the addition of new services.  Here all what we have to offer:
It's been a very fun and busy first 5 years and 
am looking forward to many more!

P.S. The web site was designed by the fabulous www.melissadesign.com.

Monday, September 28, 2009

A Little Liguria Down in Calabria...

Well sort of!  Cherrye at My Bella Vita interviewed me for her travel series blogs.  Here it is. Grazie mille Cherrye!

By the way, if you make it down to "the toe", Cherrye and her husband run a lovely B&B in Catanzaro.

Happy Monday to All!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Gratitude Friday: An Unexpected Gift

Lucy has a new best friend.  While taking the trash out with Lucy last Sunday, I met Simona and her mother.  She moved to Italy from Romania just two months ago. Her mother (who has been here a longer and speaks fluent Italian and some English) works two jobs so that her three children can live in a decent area and go to good schools.  

Simona was immediately smitten with Lucy and vice versa.  I told her if she wanted to pass by and visit Lucy she could.

Monday evening, the door bell rang and there she was.  She and Lucy had an hour long play date in the garden.  Both blonds were in heaven.

Tuesday at the same time arrived Simona.  This time I let her walk Lucy.  They returned an hour later exhausted and happy.

Ditto for Wednesday and Thursday.

Day after day, I learn more about this little girl from Romania.   Her Italian is very broken and she is very shy, but I can see in her eyes that her world has turned into opportunity in Italy.  I think she's going to be ok here.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Mystery Room

For 5 years now the room behind this door has been somewhat of a mystery (and a waste) in casa nostra.  We know it has been filled with our landlord's junk including her aunt's bedding from 40 years ago (gives you a good idea of its very useful contents huh?).  Well, yesterday our landlord showed up saying she wanted to clean it out and we could use it.  Of course, I stood there rather perplexed as this woman bulldozed passed me and open up the mystery door.

The stench of mold, dust and god knows what else was almost overwhelming.  And being one with allergies, I had to walk out after about 10 seconds.  Being that I obviously had no say on what was going on and that I had an appointment in La Spezia, I decided to let the landlord have her way and I took off (in hopes to return to something at least somewhat organized and less smelly).

Here's what I came back to:

Ok, it's "bruttina" (a little ugly), BUT it's another room.  Our stuff has been piled high in our little apartment for so long and almost jumped for joy and kissed my landlord at the opportunity of having somewhere to put stuff (I didn't kiss her though, promise).

Now the big question is can we make this "livable"?  

You've seen the "before" photos, let's see what magic Lui and I can whip up and maybe there will be a guest room in Casa Guerrera.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Eating Well in Puglia: Da Tuccino

If you are a fish lover like me, this restaurant should not be missed when visiting Puglia.  While it may not be anything fancy to look at, the range and quality of the dishes plus wonderful service makes this a very special place.  I was a bit glutunous here, because there was so much selection and so many good looking fish, I had to try a bit of everything!

First antipasto: a "Special Claire" oyster.  
I don't like oysters but this was delish!

Second antipasto: 
Mixed raw fruits of the sea...heaven!

Third antipasto: Raw Scorfano.  
This is a very boney fish and there was not one left when the surgeon, 
I mean, chef finished filleting it. Divine!

Main course: Fritto Misto.  
I know, sounds boring after all my exotic dishes, but they claimed to have the best around and me being very picky about fried food, decided to give it a try.  So lightly doe that there was basically no oil, just fabulous flavors!

Dessert: A very nice chocolate souffle.  
Probably prettier than it tasted, but I wasn't there for the sweets!

Da Tuccino is located on the shore at 
Polignano a Mare (itself worth a visit).
Via S. Caterina 69/F
70044 Polignano a Mare (BA)
Tel: 080 424 1560

Friday, September 18, 2009

Gratitude Friday: Lui

September 19, 2003

6 years ago tomorrow, I was standing in a thousand year old tower over looking the Mediterranean while Justin Timberlake's "Rock Your Body" played.  Gelato in one hand (long story), a cuba libra in the other and I remember seeing this really good looking boy.   I turned to my friend and said, " Oh we're not leaving anytime soon are we?"

That night changed my life forever, and I am so grateful to have someone so extraordinary in my life.


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Back from Vacation...

And ready to get blogging.  Puglia was amazing, just like I thought it would be.  No, even more. Too much to tell and not sure where to begin, so here are a few first thoughts:

1) The color of the land in Puglia surprised me: very red and it's contrast to the olive trees and blue skies was mesmerizing.

2) The sea is almost turquoise.  Unfortunately, it was a very windy week so we didn't get a chance to even take a dip in it, but one of many things to save for the next time.

3) I could eat raw fish day in and day out.

4) Alberobello is the "San Gimignano of Puglia": busloads of tourists and lots of stupid trinket shops but nonetheless pretty and interesting.

5) Bari is elegant, clean and has some great shopping...who knew?!

6) Le masserie sono bellissime!  Many of these fortified farmhouses have been transformed in gorgeous homes, hotels and B&B's (just like ours).

7) Ostuni is happening!  Great restaurants, bars, nightlife and one incredibly beautiful city to look at and explore.

8) Sicily has strong competition in the ricotta department.

9) Lecce has some of the prettiest buildings and streets in Italy.

10) One week was nowhere near enough.  We missed Cisternino, Gallipoli, the point of Salento, Trani, Matera and more.  Guess those are a good enough excuse to get back there and soon!

Friday, September 04, 2009

Gratitude Friday: Vacation

Can you guess where we're going???

Overdue and much needed. 
I am very grateful the day has finally arrived.  
Blogging re-begins mid-September.
A presto!

Wednesday, September 02, 2009


I love this month.  

The crowds are gone, but the sea is still 26 degrees C (about 78 degrees F) and the air is warm with little humidity. I can actually go down to the village for a caffè and find a seat.  I'm allowed to drive into Lerici without some "vigile" telling me I can't  (even if I do have a residence pass). There is SPACE between bodies on the beach.  La Spezia comes back alive and I can return to my weekly trip to the outdoor market.  

It's a wonderful thing!

And the best time to visit the Italian Riviera...