Tag Archives: italia

Gratefully Grateful *25*

23 Sep

Despite the sadness of losing my children’s only great-grandfather this past week I can’t help but feel so grateful for the time we all had together. We have been so fortunate to know and spend time with this amazingly dynamic man who put family in the centre of his life.  His enthusiasm for everything from art to travel to the goings-on of his very large immediate family was contagious (as well as his famous giggle).  We’ll miss him dearly but have many lovely memories to remember him by.

Some images that made me smile despite the sad news this week:

IMG_9922The best reading corner in the house on a sunny day.  Also perfect or a sun-spot nap. 
IMG_9884Last days of summer hats and dresses.

IMG_9916
Trying to paint a kitchen with a large clumsy cat in the middle of it all actually makes it much more fun.  For me at least.IMG_7827

I run into Idyllic little scenes such as this every single day.  I love living in Italia.

Have a great week!

Gratefully Grateful
*1**2**3**4**5*,*6*,*7*,*8*, *9**10**11**12**13**14*,*15*,

*16*,*17*,*18*,*19*,*20*,*21*,*22*,*23*,*24*

Advertisements

Gratefully Grateful *24*

8 Sep

I’m going to be honest up front here and say that September is not my favourite month. After the summer holidays and being with my kids day in and day out I always find September and back-to-school such a lonely time of year.

I need to re-adjust to being solo for the most part of my days. I need to re-adjust to having an empty and hauntingly silent (and tidy) house. I need to re-adjust to having time for myself and doing groceries and errands without three chatty kids with me.

In the end I just plain miss my kids during the 10 months of school each year. I even offered to home-school them at a certain point but was politely told that it was never going to happen.

But I know in a few short weeks I’ll have my life more organised, lots of activities scheduled, projects lined up and my feet back firmly on the ground.

Anyone else out there feel the same way around this time of year?

Here are a few images from our summer vacation.  Even if we had record breaking bad weather it really was a great one.

IMG_8918Evidence that my daughter is a lover of stripes.  Just like her Mama.
*taken in Albissola Marina, Liguria*

IMG_8913So grateful that we can arrive at the Meditteranean in less than two hours.  My kids spent our days there body surfing in the warm water, eating gelato and foccacia and doing crosswords under the parasol with their Mama.

IMG_8231I will always and forever love geraniums.  Amen.IMG_8533Bikes in a charming courtyard in the centre of Milan.IMG_8259

Lovely memories of eating at this little wine bar at a local lake.  Their cheese plate served with champagne jelly is life changing.

Wishing you all a lovely week ahead.

Gratefully Grateful
*1**2**3**4**5*,*6*,*7*,*8*, *9**10**11**12**13**14*,*15*,

*16*,*17*,*18*,*19*,*20*,*21*,*22*,*23*

 

Family Travel in Italy

8 Aug

*Not long ago Inghams Italy Travel Site and Tours contacted me about sharing some of my experiences about living and traveling in Italy as a family. Inghams Italy compensated me for writing this post but all experiences, thoughts and ideas are my own.

Over the last 13 years my husband and I have lived  and raised our 3 children in Italy and done our fair share of exploring this beautiful country as a family. When considering travelling to Italy, one traditionally thinks of the wealth of historical sites, the breathtaking art and architecture, and one of the best loved cuisines, all within the stunning natural beauty  from the Alps to the Aegean – a perfect tourist destination.

But, one of the things I love most about Italy, is that it is a family centric culture.  Here, in Italy, family has the highest priority and this shows in how they treat travellers to their country, especially families.

Inevitably, you will encounter kind and generous people who will go out of their way to make your small travellers happy and comfortable.  Italians love the little ones and aren’t shy to show it – usually by squeezing cheeks and loudly proclaiming “che bel bambino!”.  No worries, your kids will get used to it and will most likely return home with an amazing sense of self-confidence.

Living in Italy has given us the inside scoop on the best places to visit, most comfortable accommodations, favourite places to eat out and just about anything else you would need to know about traveling through Italy in famiglia.

Food:  IMG_6382

 

Italy is world renown for its delectable cuisine and luckily it’s also one that most kids absolutely adore.  On just about any menu your kids will find something they’ll love to eat (and recognise).  Some favourites of local Italian kids are Pasta Rossa (pasta with tomato sauce), Riso Giallo (saffron risotto), Milanese con Patatine (breaded pork cutlet with french fries) and of course Pizza Margherita (pizza with tomato sauce and mozzarella).  And if you don’t see something your child likes on the menu don’t be afraid to ask – they are usually more than willing to whip up a simple pasta for the little ones.  My kid’s favourite thing to order in a restaurant is a variety or antipasto plates.  You can’t go wrong with sliced meats, cheeses, olives and fresh Italian bread.

Gelato:  

gelato2

Of course one of the main gastronomic attractions for kids in Italy (and adults actually) is the iconic Italian gelato.  Gelaterias are found on just about every street corner and are usually made with fresh, high quality ingredients.  A promised gelato will help kids get through the museum visits, the long hours of pavement pounding, the intense summer heat and the over exhaustion of traveling that can sometimes get too much for them.  Look for signs that say Gelato Artigianale for the highest quality and home-made ice cream.  And remember in the hot summer months it’s quite normal to visit a gelateria more than once a day!

Beaches:  

IMG_8876

When traveling with kids you can never go wrong with a beach visit.  And Italy boasts both a myriad of coastlines and beautiful lakes to choose from.  The world famous Costa Amalfitana (Unesco World Heritage Site), the Ligurian coast with it’s famous Cinque Terre villages, the Northern Lakes including Lago Como and Lago Maggiore and the pristine aquamarine waters of Sardinia will be appreciated by the whole family.

Italian beaches are very family friendly with chairs and umbrellas for rent, small beach playgrounds and restaurants just metres from the water’s edge. From here, parents can enjoy a plate of fresh Fritto Misto while watching the kids frolic in the warm waters.  Warning: since one has to pay for a space,  these beaches can end up being quite pricey but well worth it for a few days of relaxing family time.

Read on for more tips for traveling in Italy as a family…

Continue reading

Gratefully Grateful °2°

17 Jan

Is it Friday already?  Did this past week fly by for anyone else as well? The week was a blur of activities, appointments, organising the house, long chats with friends and even a shopping trip to check out the sales (which only happen twice a year in Italy…in January and July).  I love being busy and having lots to do but I’m looking forward to a nice quiet week-end with my family.   Our traditional Friday night ritual of curling up on the couch under a thick blanket with the fireplace burning and a big bowl of popcorn just might be my most favourite thing ever.  Add in a little Master Chef and I could stay there forever.

It’s week 2 of my Gratefully Gratefully series for 2014.  I love how doing this series makes me look for all the wonderful people, places and things I’m surrounded by.

I am grateful for…

DSC_0160…colourful washing lines on grey days.

IMG_2857-001…that I can wait in places like this while my daughter does her guitar class.IMG_8642…my kid’s love of Pasta Con Broccoli.IMG_3892…my daughters’ taste in shoes.

Anything that you’re particularly grateful for this week?

(Gratefully Grateful °1°)

Mangia Bevi Bici

11 Sep

IMG_6510

As a family we love biking.  And we love food.  So when we saw that some local businesses were organising a day of cycling with gastronomic stops along the way we were immediately on board.  Mangia Bevi Bici is an event that has been going on for three years and is slowly gaining popularity by many people living in our small region.

IMG_6531

The idea of the day is to do a 30km bike tour (or a shorter 18km version for the little ones) and make small stops in various towns and villages at local restaurants, community centres and gastronomic shops.

Along the way there are stops for antipasto, primo piatto, secondo piatto and dolce. The organisers mapped out a perfect tour along picturesque little streets and roads with just the right amount of cycling in between stops.  Usually at each stop there was a choice of several different dishes along with lots of wine and even grappa at the secondo piatto stop.  The tour included a surprise honey tasting stop as well as some gifts for the kids along the way (cycle hats and water bottles!).

Some of our favourite dishes of the day were the Pasta con Pesce di Lago (Pasta with Lake Fish), Gnocchi alla Zucca (Pumpkin Gnocchi), Lavarello alla Griglia con Arancio (Grilled Lake Fish with Orange) and of course the impressive cheese and salami plate at one of our favourite local farm.IMG_6516

I’ll be honest though, eating all that food and then having to hop on a bike was at times challenging.  I made the suggestion to the organisers that they might want to think about installing a nap-tent halfway through the tour next time.

IMG_6526

Even if the sky above was chasing us in between primo and secondo piatto we managed to avoid the storms for most of the day.

Even despite a few steep hills, some fallen off bike-chains and the odd flat tire it was a really wonderful way to spend a beginning-of-fall Sunday.   We’ve already started the countdown for next year.

(all photos were taken with iPhone)


25 Jan

1-IMG_5371

The other day I was frantically driving the kids from one activity to the next when all of a sudden I found myself alone and with a free hour before having to pick up the next child.  Usually I would spend the time doing the grocery shopping or some other errand but it was such a gorgeous day that I thought I’d go down to the lake and enjoy the views.

1-IMG_5376

This spot is literally 5 minutes from where I dropped my daughter off for her guitar lesson.  It was a bright sunny day and the mountains were clearly visible in the distance.  I sat there and soaked in the heat of the late afternoon sun and took in the stunning views.

1-IMG_5366I don’t know about any of you but sometimes I’m so busy with going about our daily routines and chores that I forget to stop and appreciate the beauty of the place I live in.  Sitting here on this little deserted beach looking out at the choppy lake and admiring the snow capped mountains gave me some peace of mind and let me re-connect after the chaos of taxiing from basketball lessons to theatre class and then rushing home to start dinner and finish homework.

1-IMG_5372

I know it’s not always easy to find these moments but when we do it usually has a lasting effect on our well-being and tolerance of getting through these busy days of ours.  Do you have a favorite place that you go to have a moment alone?

Buon week-end a tutti!

%d bloggers like this: