Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


Why Cannara? The answer to that question could be summed up in one word. Ernesto.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Daily Affirmation - Apologies to Stuart Smalley

Over four weeks into our trip here, and entering the home stretch. We head to Rome in three days and then back to the U.S. the following day. What a journey it's been.

As the final days whiz by, here are some random musings and images from the past couple of days . . .

Friday, March 18, 2011


I can remember the first time I visited Assisi nearly twenty years ago. My father was driving a rental car with Suzy, my mother and me and we had been planning to visit the basilica of St. Francis to see the famous frescos by Giotto that depict the life of the saint. As we arrived in town, despite there being a perfectly good parking lot below the basilica, my father insisted on getting closer to the basilica, ignoring the "pedestrian only" and "restricted access" signs and driving into the enormous piazza right in front of the church. I had no idea how athletic my mother really was until that moment, as she was able to fold herself in half and literally hide herself underneath the passenger seat as we parked our van in front of a sign that read "reserved parking." I'm sure the pope didn't mind that we parked there that day.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Happy Returns

We're back home in Cannara after an overnight in Florence to pick up our twin sons. Today will be a short post. We have a house full of 16. With a group this size there's not a lot of time to think or write.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


Ok, so I lied. When I wrote previously that Cannara was our home, I lied. Today we came home. To Florence.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

The Day the Earth Didn't Stand Still

I have a very vivid mental image from one of my trips to Italy, a sort of motion picture or clip that replays itself in my mind, one that is etched deeply in the recesses of my mind but which can erupt to the surface when triggered by the right stimulus. It is a memory that is the result of an instantaneous, violent twist of fate. When I close my eyes, I can see it in detail as real as the instant in which it transpired.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Dimora Novecento - Pescara

Abruzzo holds a special place in my heart. Shortly after we first opened Bella Italia we received an invitation from the Italian Ministry of Foreign Trade to be part of a delegation to visit Abruzzo and meet key producers in the confectionary industry. The five day visit,

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Guess our First Stop When We Reached Cannara

Within an hour or arriving at our villa in Cannara our first stop was for a bite to eat and a splash of wine with our good friend Simone at his restaurant in Bevagna - le Delizie del Borgo.


Every now and then during our travels in Italy we come across something so completely unexpected and so completely eyeopening that it makes us step back, shake our heads and just say, "wow," and think how lucky we were for coming across it. Our visit to Fabriano was just such an occasion.

Back in the Saddle

Sorry for the piccola pausa. We arrived at our villa in Umbria in the early evening on Tuesday but were tied up in meetings in Rome and Terni all day yesterday and unable to post. Shortly I will upload a post that was written last weekend in the town of Fabriano in Le Marche. I also have a review of our wonderful hotel/B&B in Pescara (Abruzzo). And I am finishing up a piece on our visit to our friend Rita in the earthquake ravaged city of l'Aquila.

Then we'll be up to date, with future postings covering our adventures at our home base in Umbria. Sunday our children and other family members begin to arrive. It's sure to be a blast!

Ci vediamo!
Bill and Suzy

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Promised Land

I am not sure if the Abruzzo town of Penne is named after the pasta or if it figures in any way into the origin of the noodle. For me, Penne is important for one reason only. It is home to Brioni Roman Style S.p.A., makers of the world's best men's clothing. At least in my opinion. And James Bond's.

Monday, March 7, 2011


Brioni is one of the finest tailors in the world. Since I first discovered their fashions a number of years ago, I have absolutely loved every pair of pants that drape and flow like a Roman toga, every distinctive dress shirt, every perfectly tailored jacket, hand stitched in the most elegant and finest fabrics that I have owned.

Unfortunately, Brioni is not cheap.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Ascoli Piceno

When we began planning our trip to Italy some months ago, we toyed with the idea of spending a little time visiting Le Marche and Abruzzo, two regions sort of between where we were starting and where we were going. They had the added bonus of being regions that we had visited before, briefly, and had want to return to.

Saturday, March 5, 2011


Day 3 of our loosey-goosey tour. Day 19 overall.

This is called foreshadowing.

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Friday, March 4, 2011

You Say Potato

I say "yum." A baked potato in parmigiano fonduta with truffle. At our restaurant for dinner tonight in Le Marche. Absolutely incredible, most edible and definitely unforgettable.

See Food

As we leave behind northern Italy for the center, the vast, melancholy plains of the Veneto for the fecund ones of Emilia Romagna, we continue south along the coast, reaching into Le Marche, our destination for the next couple of days.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Ravenna Party

As we left Venice yesterday, a fierce wind had picked up, bringing cold temperatures and gray skies. But as we drove south from the Veneto into Emilia Romagna, the cold turned frigid and the stinging rain turned to snow. After two weeks on the road, our streak of good fortune in dodging the bad weather had run out and we were driving into the belly of the beast.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Coffee in Venice

Before leaving Venice today for our drive to Ravenna, we indulged ourselves with a special treat. We made a  pilgrimage of sorts to the Caffe del Doge, the flagship coffee house of our favorite brand of coffee in its Venetian home, just off the Grand Canal near the Rialto bridge.


At lunch today our waiter forced us to finish with fritelle, the fried beignet filled with cream that is a typical Venetian Carnevale treat. "Coming to Carnevale in Venice without eating the fritelle is like a going to Rome and a notta seeing the Pope." Here's to you Benedict.

Images of Carnevale

In costume at Harry's Bar

Words cannot accurately describe Carnevale, and so at the going rate of one thousand words per (even after giving effect to the weakness in the Dollar) I should be able to meet my daily quota quite nicely.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


Coming to Carnevale in Venice is definitely a bucket list item. And if it never made it onto your bucket list, it should.