Welcome Everyone.

Welcome to News From Italy, my blog about our Italian Adventure. Although this blog has now ceased publication I will be continuing to blog and I am sincerely hoping that my many followers here will move with me to Travel Tales blog to follow my next adventures wherever they may take me. The links to my other blogs are:-

I look forward to keeping in touch with you via them, thanks once again for all the support you have given 'News From Italy' over the years.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Sunday Song – Halloween – Gianni Gandi - Autumn Leaves


HalloweenPhoto from Wikipedia

It is Halloween today but we personally do not celebrate. This stems from the fact that one of our daughters went to a Church of England  school where the beliefs of the particular headmistress of the era were against any form of Halloween celebrations at the school, during her time there. Therefore ‘trick and treating’ was not something our daughters grew up with.

Christian attitudes to Halloween are quite diverse with many seeing no negative significance to a day devoted to playing games and dressing up as ghosts, witches and devils once a year as those taking part are learning about death, mortality and ancient traditions.

Other Christians feel concerned about Halloween because they feel it celebrates paganism, the occult and other similar practices that are not in line with their beliefs.  Some consider Halloween to be completely incompatible with the Christian faith because of its origin as a pagan festival.

European traditions often mark the celebrations of Halloween,October 31st All Saints November 1st and All Souls' Day November 2nd as three different events.  In fact All Saints is a public holiday in Italy.

First then for Sunday Song this week for those that celebrate Halloween a suitably ghoulish video.


Courtesy of Torchwood001

Followed by something altogether different. 


Courtesy of mediterraneosproduct

                            Cover of CD published 2007                                                                                           Gianni Gandi@ Facebook



I have been unable to locate much biographical information about Gianni apart from the facts that he was born in Reggio di Calabria, Italy, now lives in Rome, Italy and is single.

He graduated from the University of Messina in Music in 1980. A composer, arranger and musician, playing both piano and guitar his music ranges from classical to jazz. He has produced scores for many television channels, radio and films, composed over 500 songs and released over thirty CD’s.

It is with the help of information from the following sites that I have researched and produced this post. Wikipedia – Halloween, Jazz Italia, Facebook, My Space - Gianni Gandi, You Tube,

More Sunday Songs can be found by visiting 5 Minutes Just for Me

Buono Domenica a Tutti

Friday, October 29, 2010

Jujube–Giuggiole - Italian Bloggers 1. – Friday Feature


Copyright All rights reserved by murien

In my Our Garden post for the month of September I included some pictures of this unusual, well to us it is, fruit known as Jujube in English and Giugguole in Italian.  There were quite a few comments and interest shown in the jujube fruit so I decided it deserved a post of its own, especially as Rowena a blogger in the province of Lecco Italy, had this to say, including a link to an article she wrote three years ago, which she thought some of you might be interested in.  Introducing you to other Bloggers in Italy was another idea I had for posting occasionally on Friday’s when I come across a post that I think might be of particular interest.

I was sure some of you would be interested in this article form the previous comments I have had, so for my first in a series of Italy Bloggers' on Friday Feature this week I would like to introduce you to Rowena...  and here is what she had to say along with her link to the relevant post on the jujube.

Rowena... said...

You have giuggiole (jujube)? What luck! Three years ago we went to the Festa della Giuggiole in Arquà Petrarca (Veneto) and had a lot of fun. I've wrote about the festa and some other pertinent info (they even had a jujube gelato stand - yum). Antonella Clerici even did a cooking experiment on her show. What fond memories, and 2010's festa should be happening around this time of year again. Here's the url of my post in case you or any or your readers might be interested:


Unfortunately I forgot to take a picture of one of our trees before it lost its leaves for this year but I found the photograph above on the Wikipedia - Jujube page for the fruit.

Jujube in our Garden last month.

The jujube certainly has an interesting flavour as it tastes a little bit like an apple but I understand how it is also known as a Chinese Date as there is definitely a hint of the flavour and sweetness that you get from a date as well.  Extensively cultivated in southern Asia, it seems likely it was introduced to south-eastern Europe many years ago. It is a small deciduous tree and grows around 5-10 metres in height, not very user friendly for harvesting as the branches are thorny. When I first saw these fruits I thought they were a different sort of olive as they are similar in size and the single hard stone is also like that of an olive!

The tree tolerates a wide range of temperatures and rainfall, though it requires hot summers and sufficient water for acceptable fruiting. Unlike most of the other species in the genus, it tolerates fairly cold winters, surviving temperatures down to about −15°C. This enables the jujube to grow in desert habitats, provided there is access to underground water through the summer. Virtually no temperature seems to be too high in summertime.

Apart from eating these unusual little fruits as snacks it seems they are used in Asia in traditional medicine, stress and sore throats are mentioned. Jujube juices and teas are also produced and in China even a wine, it seems that in Asia there is in fact a wide variety of uses. We did not produce many this year, only enough to enjoy as a little nibble for a few weeks.

Who knows what next year may see us doing with them, now I have discovered all this extra information, gelato anyone, thanks to Rowena's blog and Wikipedia.

I also discovered that The Oxford Diner’s Dictionary, Food and Drink from A to Z, of which a copy lives in my kitchen, has an entry for the Jujube which I felt worth reproducing here in full.

Although now little heard of, the jujube was common in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries as a fruit-flavoured gum or lozenge, often medicated to allay coughing. The first account of it in print comes in Peter Simmonds Dictionary of Trade Products (1858): ‘The term jujube is very generally applied by chemists and confectioners to a thickened mucilaginous lozenge’ However, this was merely a secondary application of the term, which originally denoted an edible berrylike fruit of a tree of the buckthorn family ( the word jujube is a corruption of its original Greek name zizyphon). The fruit, which has a red skin and sweet yellowish flesh, was perhaps used to flavour the lozenges which became know as jujubes; or alternatively the transfer of names may have been based on a similarity of shape.”

Well there you go, certainly until recently I had only ever know jujubes as a type of lozenge certainly not as a fruit I would be eating from my own garden in Italy!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Our Garden in October - Il Nostro Giardino in Ottobre


Italytuttotoptenpost Badge

Oct31: Top 10 posts from the bloggers in Italy

Where do the weeks go, I cannot believe it is time once again for me to share some of my favourite garden photos from the last month with you. As in previous months this is just a selection that I publish here, the full album can be viewed on Flickr if you are interested in the album Our Garden in October 2010.

The apples and grapes are now all harvested and within a few weeks the olives will also no longer be on the trees but oil in our cantina. Traditionally in this region the olive harvest begins on All Saints Day November 1st, of which more next week. However last year we picked our olives in two sessions, and the first batch was picked and pressed by October 31st. As it was our first year here the un pruned trees were exceptionally heavy with olives and we picked for four days at the very end of October and then again after some rain in November.  I will of course write about the olive harvest when the time comes within the next few weeks depending on the state of the olives and the weather. We have learnt since moving here last year that we really need to do things when we are told by the neighbours that the time is right, the phase of the moon is one of the most important factors with regard to everything that is done in the garden.

As already mentioned the main harvests this month have been Apples and Grapes Winemaking 1Winemaking 2

Autumn Daffodil – Sternbergia Lutea

Pampas Grass

Persimmon (completely different to last months photo )

Some of the olives are also ripening fast.

Grapes now all harvested.

A carpet of sweet chestnuts and apples( latter now gone to feed the neighbours pig).


Sweet Chestnuts previously posted here

We have now started picking the Persimmon, this was just one days crop, plenty more on the tree.

General view towards the house.

Finally just a few of my container plants.

More photos can be found in my Flickr album Our Garden in October 2010

This week as it happens to be Wednesday and these are outdoor photos I am participating again in Outdoor Wednesday.

Outdoor Wednesday button[5]Welcome to ‘News From Italy’ to the other participants, thankyou for calling by.


Monday, October 25, 2010

Wine Making A Continuation Plus Apples Again.


If you read my previous post Grape Harvest and Winemaking you will know that it came as something of a surprise to us to find ourselves making wine this Autumn.

On Friday morning the fifteenth of October, after the grape pulp had been fermenting for just over four days we went next door to our neighbours to continue our lesson in wine making, the Italian country way. It is actually an extremely straight forward and simple process, certainly for the white wine that we are making with no artificial additives what so ever.

The first two pictures show our barrels, with the fermentation now at the stage where the barrels were about to overflow it was time to drain the liquid off from the pulp and transfer it into our wine making demi johns. 

Just some our neighbours white wine fermenting in barrels.

Of which luckily there were loads still in our cellar, good job we did not clear out completely when we moved in!  First we had to get the wine home to our own Cantina, the room above our cellar, which B and A actually refer to as our ‘Tinaio’ which I cannot find in any of our Italian dictionaries. This word even confused Google Translate, although I know that is not actually difficult to do, providing no translation at all. Someone somewhere might be able to translate this for us, the word is obviously in local usage still as even our geometra used it when drawing up the plans for the house during renovation!  Anyway it is a very useful storage room where we store any produce in jars, fruit and vegetables are overwintered, plus we keep a freezer and a gas burner where we prepare large scale preparation of fruit and vegetables for bottling and jams etc. When we moved to Italy we had no idea that we would be going back in time a generation to a way of life that was normal to our parents and a novelty we soon abandoned when we first married in the early seventies!

Anyway I digress, to transfer the wine we used 20 litre sized plastic water carrier style containers and then transferred it again into the largest green glass demi johns from our cellar. We were shown and told how important it is to keep these bottles completely full, some top up liquid having been saved in smaller bottles just for this purpose. While this fermenting process is going on it is very important to cover but not seal the bottles, otherwise they will explode. We were told most specifically that the wine will be ready for sealing on St Martins Day, which I now know having checked the calendar is November 11th. We will be guided through that process and in the meantime kept an eye on to make sure we are topping up the liquid in the demi johns on a daily basis.  I assume that we will then be told to prepare for bottling.

Pulp left after draining.

The last three photos are back home in our ‘tinaio’ where we transferred the wine into our demi-johns.


After our wine making lesson for the day, we were joined by B and A to help us harvest the last of our apples, as in return for the grapes they have agreed to take some of our surplus apples. Apples,Apples,Apples This is good news as we hate seeing them go to waste and even better they have taken not just the last apples from the trees but also all the windfalls. Which along with any damaged apples will be fed to the pig that is already here being fattened up ready for January. What happens in January you may ask, why the Annual Pig Celebration Lunch Annual Pig Celebration Lunch of course!

Life is still lived very much by the seasons using produce that the land and their hard work provides for this kind Italian couple. Without a doubt they are not unusual here, there are very many families all over Italy that still live this type of life controlled by the rhythm of the seasons.

I have only posted a selection of photos from the Winemaking Process in these posts, if you are interested in viewing the full album at Flickr please visit, Grape Harvest 2010.


Sunday, October 24, 2010

Sunday Song - Canzone Dell'Amore Perduto - Fabrizio De Andrè


Photo courtesy of Google images.


Fabrizio De André (18 February 1940 - 11 January 1999) was an Italian singer and songwriter. In his works he often told stories of marginalized and rebellious people. In Italy he is considered a poet because of the quality of his lyrics.

Fabrizio De André is one of the cornerstones of Italian songwriters. Deeply influenced by the likes of Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen,  He sadly died of lung cancer at the age of 58 after a career spanning nearly forty years. One significant and dramatic event in his life took place in 1979 when he was kidnapped along with his then girlfriend, later second wife Dori Ghezzi and held captive for four months by Sardinian bandits until a ransom was paid. He later claimed he was able to empathise with his captors, but not their bosses. Kidnapping

It is interesting to see how his popularity lives on as no less than five albums have been released since his death.


I have chosen to feature Canzone Dell’Amore Perduto – Song of Love Lost as this weeks Sunday Song.

More biographical and career information can be found about Fabrizio De Andre on both Wikipedia and the Website dedicated to his memory it is from these sites and YouTube that I have found out all my information when researching this post.

With thanks this week also to PoliticalWarrior93 who introduced me to this artist just a few weeks ago in a comment she made after I used one of her videos from YouTube for my Fabrizio Moro post. Coincidence they are both called Fabrizio!

Courtesy of Iamgonnaloveu

Ricordi sbocciavan le viole
con le nostre parole
"Non ci lasceremo mai, mai e poi mai",
vorrei dirti ora le stesse cose
ma come fan presto, amore, ad appassire le rose
così per noi
l'amore che strappa i capelli è perduto ormai,
non resta che qualche svogliata carezza
e un po' di tenerezza.
E quando ti troverai in mano
quei fiori appassiti al sole
di un aprile ormai lontano,
li rimpiangerai
ma sarà la prima che incontri per strada
che tu coprirai d'oro per un bacio mai dato,
per un amore nuovo.
E sarà la prima che incontri per strada
che tu coprirai d'oro per un bacio mai dato,

per un amore nuovo.


More Sunday Songs can be found by visiting 5 Minutes Just for Me

Buono Domenica a Tutti

Friday, October 22, 2010

Nespresso - Italian Advertising Series No 3 – Friday Feature


I think this particular commercial is probably popular all over the world as I found it was available in many languages on YouTube, this particular version is in English with French sub titles and this is the one showing currently here in Italy. I think it is rather amusing, but then I have enjoyed the Nespresso series of adverts ever since the first one was made in 2006.

You probably find it rather odd that I am so interested in the adverts. I never was when I had to view them in England but somehow in Italy they are so much more interesting. I suspect this is mainly because they help me with my Italian language skills!

Also with this series I get to see George Clooney and I have always had a soft spot for him. The actor playing God is John Malkovich  another famous actor, there certainly does not seem to be a stigma to appearing in adverts. Or maybe the remuneration is just so good they cannot resist.

Courtesy of cattias

Since enjoying a Nespresso coffee made with these capsules, while staying with family in Hong Kong earlier this year and experiencing the fantastic array of flavours I have decided that I definitely would not mind having one at home!

Nespresso is the brand name of Nestle Nespresso. S.A. part of the giant Nestle Group of companies and is based in Switzerland. The system works with single serving capsules that contain ground coffee and are available in an array of flavours. The capsules are inserted into special coffee machines to brew the  espresso.

Nespresso  are convinced that by combining this coffee capsule with high technology coffee makers that they have mastered the art of making the perfect espresso. I must say I am not sure that professional Barista’s would agree with this.   It does seem to have taken on a certain cult culture though as once you have one of these machines and become a Nespresso capsule user you become a member of a unique club ‘The Nespresso Club’ which is dedicated to helping you experience what they refer to as the ultimate coffee.

The Nespresso Club brings together coffee connoisseurs and offers you a wide range of exclusive services all with the objective of making every cup of coffee an exceptional moment and of course this is how you purchase your capsules,online or by telephone. I believe this is currently the only way of doing so? The sixteen (at the moment) different varieties available contain the worlds finest ground Grand Cru coffees.

Now available all over the world, to see a full list click here.

The Nespresso Story...

Began 23 years ago with a simple but revolutionary idea - to create the perfect cup of Espresso coffee with exquisite crema, tantalising aroma and full-bodied taste - just like skilled baristas.

As the worldwide pioneer, Nespresso redefined the way coffee lovers around the world enjoy their Espresso coffee through a unique combination of premium quality Grand Cru coffees, smart coffee machines and exceptional customer services.

The company's story, however, is not just about one remarkable idea. Above all, it is the continuous quest for innovation and pursuit of excellence that drives Nespresso.



I am interested to hear what you have to say about this system. I know it will never replace the Italian bar experience for me personally but if I had the chance to have one at home I would not say no.

However there is a big BUT and that is that this system is not currently ecologically friendly! 

1.  While coffee is increasingly sold through fair trade markets, Nespresso apparently does not propose buying coffee from this  sector, unfortunately the concept of Nespresso does not allow the customer to purchase coffee from any source other than Nestlé.

2.  The aluminium waste produced.

Something to think about!

Research for photos text and all information with thanks to Wikipedia, YouTube, Google Images and the Nespresso Websites

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Top Ten Posts From The Bloggers in Italy – Learn about Winemaking, Mushrooms and Italy’s Water Footprint amongst other things!

This week I am delighted to have been honoured again with a lovely compliment by the following Blog.

italytutto – the blog about the blogs and bloggers in italy for my recent post  Grape Harvest and Winemaking

This blog does a fantastic job of keeping track of bloggers in Italy and I am sharing the list with you here, so if you are interested please go and have a browse around by just clicking on the links. I found them all interesting but the one that surprised me was the size of Italy's water footprint which Living in Rome featured for Blog Action Day on October 15th, which I have mentioned in the title as it is a fascinating read!  A quote from the post ‘Italy lags only a little behind the United States in the league table of world champion water guzzlers!’

  top ten posts from the bloggers in Italy


The choice of the posts from the bloggers in Italy this week (in alphabetical order):

Beautiful Liguria: Genoa street food style
Genoese fast food shops

Bell’ Avventure: Capricious Capri
What not to do on a trip to Capri

Casa Margherita: A rakes progress
The new versions might not look so good, but they don’t rust

Elizabeth Minchili in Rome: Fun with funghi
Mushrooms are good and plentiful this year in Rome

Italian Notebook: Angolo del Pescatore
Where the fisherman eat near Ravenna

Life in AbruzzoFrattoli’s dizzy gastro walking
Exploring, rambling and dining in Frattoli

Living in Rome: Italy’s water footprint on blog action day
A kilo of pasta has a water footprint of 1,900 litres of water

News from Italy: Grape harvest and wine making
Moving from grape juice to wine

Rome Every Day: From the Mexican artist Rivelino
Ten mute bronze busts and the theme of silence

Wandering Italy: Malgrate Castle
At the borgo italytutto calls home

This excellent blog is maintained by a freelance writer with wide experience who first started writing this blog at the beginning of 2009 to keep track of all her favourite bloggers in Italy.

At the beginning of 2010, she made a lifestyle choice and gave up full-time corporate life to spend more time at her home in Lunigiana in Northern Tuscany, she now divides her time between Italy and the UK.

I enjoy reading this feature on a regular basis and through italytutto have discovered lots of great blogs on Italy which I hope some of you will now maybe discover for yourselves.

News From Italy has had the honour of being featured a couple of times previously and the lists can be found here on August 4th 2010 and here on August 30th 2010.

Monday, October 18, 2010



Today has been designated a special day to bring together all the Think Pink posts that are appearing all over the blogsphere by an Italian Blog Mamma Felice  to help promote that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

www.nastrorosa.it Breast Cancer Awareness Month started

I posted my own Think Pink post ten days ago but to show my support to all these other wonderful bloggers I decided that I should participate today and publish here a list of some of the participating blogs. The full list to include Italian bloggers can be found here in the post Revolution in Pink Mamma Felice by clicking on the blue link.

I will not reproduce my post here again today, just this beautiful photo of my Favourite Pink Rose which I included in my original Think Pink post and a link back to the post which I hope you will be able to go and take a look at if if you have not already done so.

News From Italy - Think Pink

Here then is the list of participating bloggers that are taking part in todays Revolution in Pink for Breast Cancer Awareness

List kindly co-ordinated for us by Rosa of  www.bellavventura.blogspot.com

News From Italy - Think Pink

Anne from Oxfordshire

Ciao Amalfi

Bell'Avventura Tripping Through Life

My Bella Vita

On my way 2 work and Other Stuff

Maremma Guide


Modenus Blog

Aglio Olio e Peperoncino

Frutto della Passione

Bleeding Espresso


Thanks everyone for participating, for reading these listed posts and for any little bit you can do to help raise Breast Cancer Awareness.


Sunday, October 17, 2010

Sunday Song - Per Tutta La Vita - Noemi


Noemi was born Veronica Scopelliti on January 25, 1982 in Roma, Italy.  She first achieved fame last year by participating as a competitor in the Italian version of the television talent show X Factor. Despite not winning she signed a record contract with Sony and so far she has released four singles, an EP and her first album  Sulla mie pelle was released just over a year ago, achieving double platinum sales, that is over 125,000 copies sold by the spring of this year. A very high ranking achievement for first album sales.

Per Tutta La Vita – For All My Life was the third single released by Noemi in February 2010  and it was Number One in the Italian Single Charts for a total of three weeks during February and March.

It is often played on the radio here and this young artist seems to be gaining in popularity here in Italy.

More biographical and career information can be found about Noemi on both Wikipedia and her Official Website it is from these sites and YouTube that I have found out all my information when researching this post. On YouTube there are also some interviews conducted by the Radio station RDS which if you can understand Italian are interesting.


Courtesy of 261Ilaria

‘Per tutta la vita’

per tutta la vita
andare avanti
cercare i tuoi occhi
negli occhi degli altri
far finta di niente
far finta che oggi
sia un giorno normale

un anno che passa
un anno in salita
che senso di vuoto
che brutta ferita

delusa da te, da me,da quello che non ti ho dato.

per tutta la vita  cercare un appiglio
l’autunno che passa
ma forse sto meglio
trovarsi per caso
in un bar del centro e sentirsi speciale
ma l’amore è distratto
l’amore è confuso
tu non arrabbiarti, ma io non ti perdono
delusa da te, da me, da quello che non mi hai
dato… mai…

il cuore
anni luce fuori da me
sei colpa mia
la gelosia
infrange tutto e resta niente
le solite scuse
le solite storie
bugie, speranze
a volte l’amore
mi guardo allo specchio
mi trovo diversa
mi trovo migliore
un nuovo anno che passa
un nuovo anno in salita
che senso di vuoto
che brutta ferita
ferita da te, da me, da quello che non c’è stato

il cuore
anni luce fuori da me
sei colpa mia
la gelosia
infrange tutto e resta niente qui

per tutta la vita andare avanti
un anno in salita per me per te per me per te
per me

il cuore
anni luce fuori da me
sei colpa mia
la gelosia
infrange tutto e resta niente qui

Words courtesy of Air Dave. it



More Sunday Songs can be found by visiting 5 Minutes Just for Me

Buono Domenica a Tutti

Friday, October 15, 2010

Chestnuts – Castagna - Friday Fotos – Friday Feature


One of the things I actually enjoy about the cooler months is roasting chestnuts over an open fire.  We are lucky enough to live in an area of Italy where they grow prolifically and many of the local towns and villages hold chestnut festas.  One of our favourites is one of the smaller events which is held locally Zepponami Chestnut Festa 2009  towards the end of the month to which I hope we will be able to go to again this year.

Since moving to Lago di Bolsena last year we now have our own Sweet Chestnut tree in the garden, so we can roast them over our own open fire this winter.  Just like much of our other produce this season the chestnuts this year have produced copious quantities.

This sackful should keep us well supplied.

I have posted this last shot on the photography blog Beautiful World that I participate in today as well.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Grape Harvest and Winemaking


Italytuttotoptenpost BadgeOct 17th Top Ten Posts From the Bloggers in Italy

We have been busy with the grape harvest!  We happily make juice from our own grapes which makes a change at breakfast and we made enough last year to last us right through, not every day, but it is nice to be able to have a change some days  from the commercial fruit juices. We have been doing the same this year and in fact have fresh grape juice straight from the vines some mornings when D has felt particularly motivated.

So having decided not to make any wine ourselves, it was somewhat of a surprise to find ourselves doing so this weekend!

Our Wonderful Neighbours have many hectares of grapevines of differing varieties both at home and on land they own elsewhere. They make enough wine to last themselves and their immediate family members the year. This year has been a bumper harvest for not just grapes but fruit in general as you know from my Apple posts. This meant that the wine tank was full to capacity this weekend with the white wine grapes picked off the vines in their garden. We have forgotten the variety but will be writing about the process again so will report back with more with details.

First we were shown just how full the wine making trough was!

There was however one small problem there was nearly two rows of grapes still unpicked and there was rain forecast for Monday morning, which would ruin them.

Solution they decided that it was time that we learnt to make wine, I mean grape juice, what can you be thinking of! Now as veterans of home made wine making we were not that enthusiastic which is exactly why we had made grape juice. However having been taken under the wing of this kind Italian family since we moved here, we really had no choice but to comply willingly. The process is interesting and fun but we do have rather discerning palates when it comes to our wine drinking.  Sweet white wine is not too our taste so we are hoping that we can get this right. If it turns out as good as the wine we drink when we are entertained at their house we will be satisfied, we will just have to wait and see.

Summonsed on Sunday afternoon to pick the grapes and start the wine making process I remembered to take my camera with me. We picked an enormous amount of grapes from just these two rows, the photos show probably a third of the total!


Once picked they are pulped either with the electric machine above or as they used to be done as demonstrated below by David, no bare feet here!


Our two barrels awaiting the next stage of the wine making process.

Once they have fermented for a few days we will be given our lesson for the next stage.


Outdoor Wednesday button[5]Welcome to ‘News From Italy’ to the other participants, thankyou for calling by.