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If food is your first love, this one might be for you, and for those of you in the “I don’t really care what you ate for lunch” camp, just skip over it and FORGIVE ME, please..  No surprise, we had a few stand-out meals along the strada.  One was pictured in an earlier post on Positano.  Until I ate a lemon from the Amalfi coast, I didn’t really understand that kind of flavor!  Some unfortunately we ate before we thought to take a photo of (sorry…it happens).  But here are a few of the notable ones for those of you who asked…

Panna cotta at Di Cecco in Asissi










This caramel drizzle was so dark I thought it was chocolate and almost sent it back.  So glad I didn’t!

Pasta with lemon creme and scampi in Anacapri.










Simple, lemony and the texture of that fresh pasta…perfection.








If you ever find yourself in Sorrento EAT HERE at Inn Bufalito.  Slow, local, seasonal food at its finest.  Thank you Lonely Planet.  Fresh focaccia, pecorino romano, water buffalo sausage and peperoni, artichoke hearts, garlicky greens and a slice of ricotta salata with arugula.  Really, we could have stopped there but no…

Fusilli con zucca e salsiccia at Inn Bufalito

Pacchero al ragu di Bufalo.



















Yup, meat of the water buffalo, the one that gave us the really good mozzarella, slowly cooked in tomato sauce with a little slab of ricotta salata.  Sooooooo good!

The strangest food place yet...










OK, just wanted to see if you were still paying attention.  No we didn’t try it! This is in Rome, who ever would have guessed?

After our religious article shopping excursion and a delicious porketta panino on the thinnest rosemary flecked focaccia, we (Lou Andy and I) went to the park and surrounding areas of the Villa Bourgese.  There was a sculpture instillation on the via Magnolia by Mexican artist Rivelino;  beautiful and moving called Nuestros Silencios (Our Silences).  Seeing this contemporary work in this ancient place is unforgettable.  A couple days later and it would have been gone!

A brief comment I found from the artist:  The show is continuously moving through Europe to keep transmitting its powerful social message: the need for freedom of expression; that is, being able to express yourself about that which is difficult, that you can’t or don’t wish to talk about. “Though speaking won’t do, or is never enough if the other one is not willing to listen, understand and respond,” underlines sculptor Rivelino.

Part of the instalation 'Nuestros Silencios'.

Well, as travel days go, this one was the kind of experience I have heard and read about and now I can say that I have experienced it as well.  I won’t bore you with the details but it was a version of Planes, trains and me the cranky sister, Italian style.  When we made it back to Rome we needed a shower, a full body massage and a nice hot cup of tea.  Since there was no masseuse available we settled for the comfort of our wonderful cousins and the other two.  Nothing a good nights sleep didn’t cure.  Lou’s husband Andrew (Roo to his adoring nieces and nephews) arrived after missing a connecting flight so we went home, re-organized our suitcases and let Andrew rest a bit.   The next day (Sat. Oct 16th) we went into Rome and my co-horts indulged me in a little search for Ex Votos in the religious article stores in the neighborhoods around the Vatican.  As it turns out this was the weekend that 6 new saints were to be canonized, a big deal and something that happens infrequently so the faithful were out in droves to stock up on newly minted medals, holy cards, statuettes, placques, rosaries, key rings and my personal favorite…fridge magnet/bottle openers with images of their saintos di giorno!  It was like a Catholic Disneyland!  These are the times when I am thankful to have been raised in a Catholic family, a religion which preaches that we should not worship icons.  One of the newbies happened to be the very first Australian saint Mary MacKillop, needless to say, Lou was all over that one.  The photo shows on of the fallen giving thanks and praise…miracles happen every day they say.  I did find one Ex Voto…cool but molto caro!

Sister Mary Louise giving a nod to Sister Mary MacKillop.

Italian Ex Voto Breastplate Image

Saturday night after we got back from Positano we went down to the Marina Grande, which is actually the smaller one where the fisherman come and go from.  Marina piccolo is where the large boats and cruise ships come in…but I digress.  This is a huge event in this town and is not to be missed if you are here.    It was the 25th anniversary and the whole town was out.  We had (for 5Euros each), a glass of wine and a plate of frittura del mare.  Seafood so fresh with the lightest dusting of batter, quickly fried and piled high on a plate.  Calamari, scampi and tiny fish which I think were fresh sardines, it was spectacular.  There was lots of other food, cakes, live music, (did you know that italian fisherman sang sea shanty’s?) and even fireworks.   One of the coolest things I saw was in the little church, why I was shocked to find the good stuff in Italy in a church I’m not sure, BUT, on either side of one of the side altars were these huge framed cases (about 4’x8′) filled with Italian Milagros, or Ex Votos!  If I could have taken a photo for you I would have, however, Catholic guilt and an overwhelming fear of being stricken by lightening prevailed.  They are much larger than the little Mexican milagros, somewhere in the 6″ to 8″ range, and I saw less variety.  They were predominantly hearts, swaddled babies, a few hands and an assortment of torso’s, breastplates, an occasional arm or leg, and a few heads in profile.  They were all on a backing of plush red velvet to heighten the drama.  It was really striking.  I have a few of these that Ted found online for me some years ago and I just love them.  Catholics have the best kitsch, hands down!  Anyhow,  we wandered the marina and took it all in then trudged up the hill to our beds having had a day that we will remember for years.  And may I just add, mi piace pesce!

Me and Lou. Saturday we took the boat from Sorrento to Positano.  It was a beautiful day in a beautiful place where we had a wonderful meal, wine and conversation topped off by the spectacular view and quite a few laughs.  One of our classmates joined us, she is from the Toronto area and we have been having a great time.  The restaurant seating was actually across the street from the actual restaurant along the sidewalk and up against the railing overlooking the sea!  It was a perfect day.  The boat back to Sorrento took us much closer to the coastline than on the way there and I am thankful for digital photography because really, who could afford enough film to capture it.  I have taken WAY too many photos but it is hard to stop.  Every time you think you are done you see something more beautiful.  When I went to upload my pics to flickr it told me I have exceeded my monthly limit!  All this beauty is almost overstimulating!

Sorrento Lingue garden view.

Sorrento Lingue, Mount Vesuvius view from classroom window.

Tomorrow is our last day of language classes and then we will have a few days of sightseeing.  My bathing suit has disappeared from the clothes line, hopefully someone grabbed it accidentally and it will re-appear or I will be swimming in Positano in my underwear.  I realise that none of you will have he least bit of sympathy for my plight, just rest assured, there will be NO pictures if I do!  A couple more shots from out the windows at Sorrento Lingue…

The Amalfi coast is breathtaking, the climate is temperate, there are flowering plants, trees and vines growing out of everything and nothing (stone walls, rock cliffs practically thin air!).  We went to Naples today, about 8 of us, with Nunzia one of my teachers who lives there.  She took us around on foot to the historic sites and to her favourite pizza place.  Then we walked some more ending up at the Bay where some of us returned to Sorrento by boat.  Naples has a much different feel than Rome, it seems more spread out and spacious, also dirtier in places from trash and car exhaust.  I was really struck by the amount of graffiti, some of which was very cool.  Like most great cities, there is too much to see in an afternoon but we had a beautiful day!

Graffiti in Naples

More Graffiti in Naples

The Cloister at Santa Chiara, Naples

Castle on The Bay, Naples

Here anyone can take a picture and capture a scene as good as you will see on any postcard.  It really is amazing…

Mia sorrella out in front of the school.

Ruins of an old Mill, downtown Sorrento

Marina near the school, Sorrento

Another Marina in Sorrento

Adriana and Walter D'Ilario on their balcony overlooking the Adriatic, where we had a beautiful lunch today.

It has been a fast four days here in Roseto degli Abruzzo, the birthplace of our nonni and home to cousins who redefine the word hospitality.  We have been fed and schlepped around and fed some more and we are feeling the love.  Check out my sister’s blog Ten Weeks in Italy for some great shots of the meals!  We are packed and ready to continue south west to Sorrento, our final week of school starts early Monday morning.  This sketch was from Orsan Michele in Florence, a detail from a heavy carved wooden lectern. I was attracted to the look of contentment, similar to what I am feeling now.  I am attaching some photos of the cousins too!

Anna and her pet turtle Gwendolina

Here is how the shops in Norcia, who all sell pork and truffle products distinguish themselves…

Norcia, Umbria

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Wild boar piglet, chingalini?

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January 2022