martedì 30 agosto 2011


 It's a chance we made it up to Rocca di Calascio. I had met some time before 2 people from Calascio, where they grow bio-food and live in rock stones in one of the coldest places of Italy. Despite being quite southern, the region of Abruzzo is very mountaineous, so it happens to be as cold as the Alps. In fact, the Appennines reach in Abruzzo the highest peak, with Gran Sasso.

It was getting night when we went through the enormous tunnel under Gran Sasso, where it's also placed the biggest physics laboratory underground in Europe. Or is it in the world? That's how it always goes everywhere you go.. records and such. Well, Abruzzo has a good track of record: wild, rocky, land of emigration, old factories, and some sad stories of gas stored into mountains, earthquakes (the last one destroyed beloved L'Aquila in 2009).
 I'm not making you very curious to see Abruzzo eh? Well, don't get afraid, earthquakes happen just once in a while, and as most hidden places, Abruzzo has treasures which not many find. One of these is Calascio, especially for its Rocca, the castle which you saw in the first pic. From there you have this great view of the valley facing south, while L'Aquila is just a few km's on the right.
 Place of shepherds, emigrants and good hearted people (usually!), Abruzzo goes from one side to the other of the Appennines, from Chieti, Pescara, and all the beach, long, flat cities of the Adriatic, to the mountaineous, bear inhabited woods of the Marsica. If you like climbing, mountains and good air, this is the place for you.
L'Aquila is only about 1 hour away from Rome, making it very linked to the Capital. In the Parco del Gran Sasso, where Calascio is, took place also the big "farce" which followed the capture of Mussolini, who was imprisoned here on top of unreachable mountains, until the German 16th panzerdivision arrived from the sky.. useless to say, legends arose also about this, or whether Benito Mussolini is actually the father of conservative, mundane tv journalist Bruno Vespa, as stated by Mussolini's nephew (who has been in Parliament for quite a few years now, surprisingly enough..) .
Anyway, when you're up in Calascio, just think that that was the place where fantasy movie Ladyhawke was shot, but also parts of "The name of the rose". And if history, work, love or anything might be bothering you, please consider becoming a shepherd of the mountains of Parco del Gran Sasso, or a bio-farmer in Calascio, it might just be the life for you =)

venerdì 26 agosto 2011


 It's time to write about the region where I live, Marche. It's virtually unknown by most tourists, so I think that makes it even more special. This above is considered one of the most important Renaissance building in Italy, the Duke's Palace.
 In fact, Marche is quite unknown also by Italians, except for a few landmarks, like Urbino, where you can taste the original "crescia", a sort of piadina, something like an indian "naan", filled with vegetables, cheese or prosciutto... mmmmm
 Unfortunately we couldn't go around Urbino so much, because I really just wanted to stop there for a nice crescia in front of an unbeatable panorama, after a visit to a very weird town, near Urbino. Its name is Urbania (from latin "urbs", "town") where you can visit the "Church of the dead", naturally preserved mummies from 400 years ago. You can read more about it here.

giovedì 25 agosto 2011


 Despite being very north, Liguria enjoys a Mediterranean climate which makes it home to some of the best flowers in Italy.. ehm, in Europe!
  ..after dedicating a whole post to Venezia, I shouldn't probably write one about all of Liguria, the latter being a region, while Venezia is just one city of Veneto region. But anyway, who cares!
Liguria is an amazing place, really, a very thin land made of mountains, cliffs and lots of sea.

 Roman and medieval ruins get mixed up in Liguria, where a lot of people live in a very small space. The roads, buildings, highways across Liguria are some of the most amazing achievements in engineering in Italy, but somehow I still like to stick to the old stuff.
 A reason why to go to Liguria? Oh well, we went for a wedding, and the setting was just about perfect!
 Rocks and sea, rocks and sea. Liguria is just about enjoying both climbing and swimming.
 How can I write about Liguria without mentioning Genova, its capital?
The city of Cristoforo Colombo (the guy who went to America in 1492!), famous for its port, its music, and a long tradition of working class unions. Here below a dear friend of mine, on the right, playing along with a Rom musician in front of magnificent San Lorenzo Cathedral.. you'll have to google that up tho.
So now, forgive me for not putting any pesto sauce picture, but we were too busy eating it!

mercoledì 24 agosto 2011


 Ok, I'm not crazy about suggesting you what you already know: Venice is unique, impossible to miss, a real must for anybody.
 When you do go to Venice though, please consider it's very very very touristic, so you might want to visit it a bit off season, that is, not in December before Christmas, and especially not during summertime. Too hot and humid.

 Despite the rumors that claim Venice smells, I believe it doesn't smell at all. Obviously if you go in the middle of heat you can't expect to find it refreshing.. so again, don't go in july-august.

 When you go to Venice, please don't hang around only in Piazza San Marco, but explore as much as possible. One touristic thing you can do without feeling guilty though, is to send a postcard from Venezia, the one and only.