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Posts Tagged ‘Guardia Sanframondi’

A lot of planning went into this trip/adventure/experience in Italy in order to make it  happen at a reasonable price and to accomodate two people traveling together but returning separately.

For one thing, we flew in and out of Rome which is not convenient to Guardia Sanframondi.  That neccessitatated each of us spending the night in Rome before we left for the USA for morning flights.  Also since Joel would be arriving in Rome at night, he would have to stay a night before taking a train in the morning to Campania to join me.

Peter left Guardia early on a Monday morning for Rome. He wanted to be able to spend the day there and meet up with Christina, our friend we met last year who manages a  B&B there.  Pasquale, who can arrange almost anything, got Peter a driver to take him to Rome right to the hotel, which I had booked right near the train station.  After he checked into the hotel I think he did have a few minutes of anxiety; it’s hard to be in a place where you don’t speak the language although in Rome that’s not such an issue BUT Peter didn’t also have a telephone there. Somehow he talked a bartender in the cccccc hotel into allowing him to make a phone call to me.  Without a smart phone or iPad he couldn’t check himself in early and didn’t remember his flight time or number.  I calmed him down and assured him I would get all this information to Christina through WhatsApp and she would relate it to him.  Really technology overseas can be your savior! samsung-galaxy-s6.

He spent the day roaming around Rome; the 9AD7035D-DE1F-46EC-BB2F-AF608C30D08F

And he found his way to the Luxe-Adventure-Traveler-Rome-Italy-Trevi-Fountain-1

He even discovered Rome’s own underground metro system which I might add he was a little disappointed in because they only have 3 lines AND the cars and stations are not very clean or pretty – Graffiti everywhere!!! IMG_5146

Later on he met up with Christina and they had tea and dinner while they waited for Joel to arrive.  Joel was due to land around 8:30pm and expected to join Peter around 9:30.  And when he did he was starving!  OK so they’ll all eat another dinner!  Look at cute these two guys are in Roma….  IMG-20180514-WA0003-2.jpg

I had them booked at the Hotel Marsala, Peter said his room was fine, Joel said his room smelled like dirty socks.  The next morning Peter took off to the airport and Joel headed to the Termini to find the train that would take him to Telese where he would be picked up and brought to Guardia.

ARRIVEDERCI ROMA

FAST FORWARD: All good things come to end eventually and the time had come for Joel and I to take our leave of Guardia Sanframondi.  It was sad, there were tears, we gave away any remaining food and we headed north to Rome, where we would spend the night and leave for the airport the next morning. 

With the pedal to the metal we made as good time as we could because we had to get the car returned by 1pm.  At least I didn’t have to encounter Andreas, the ass who was at the counter when I rented the car a month earlier.  Finally after more hairpin turns in the parking garage, we reached the 5th floor where two guys began poring over the car – finally I said, “It’s perfetto”! And we were off to the Hotel Marsala which was within walking distance but not by car which is exactly what can happen in Rome or Florence.  You can see your destination however to get there by taxi 🚕 (you remember the multiple suitcases), well we went this way, that way, and around and finally we arrived.  I was so hot and tired, I couldn’t imagine taking a room such as I imposed on Joel and Peter (single bed, shared bathroom in the hall)! So I upgraded us to a private bath and WiFi.  My room was glorious.  

I just wanted to rest because we had an evening planned for us by Jessica, one of my daughter, Chiara’s college dorm mates! Jessica moved to Italy shortly after college graduation to work in the travel industry. She married an Italian and they live in a very toney neighborhood in Rome with their adorable little girl, Beatrice.

Well Jessica outdid herself and arranged for a fabulous 2 hour golf cart tour of Rome for Joel and I.  She knew I would have  a really difficult time hobbling around with my boot and cane.  It was so much fun and our driver/private tour guide was exactly what you would expect – very good looking, tall, lean and very Italian! 

We zipped around central Rome, stopped at Church, Joel wanted to see, saw the Colliseum and learned that originally it had been totally covered in marble ( I’m not surprised after having seen marble in every house and store and bar in Guardia). The marble was stripped off to build the Basilica and the Papal Palace.  Of course we went to Trevi Fountain where Joel tossed the obligatory 3 coins in the fountain. He had received explicit instructions from our new Guardia friend, Michael on how to throw coins the night before.  I’m pretty sure he got the correct arm over the appropriate shoulder considering both he and Mike discussed this over many glasses of Luigi’s excellent wine and topped off with Limoncello.

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“Take it from me Joel, it works”.

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Mom to Joel: “Hey that’s a lot of Limoncello you’re chugging there”

 

 

Now if they work he will fall in love, get married and return to Rome….MMmmmm

To be continued…

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Everybody knows that Robert De Niro is a great Oscar-winning actor and he doesn’t like DT, BUT did you know that his great-grandparents emigrated to the United States from the town of Ferrazzano in the region of Molise?  Yes, Molise, same region that my grandfather was from, and where I visited twice this past May.

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As you approach Mirrabello in Molise, you can’t help but notice an imposing village in the distance high up on a mountain.  That would be Ferrazzano.

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So when Joel and I went to Molise, we also went to see this pretty town.  We didn’t realize it would be so windy up there, boy did it howl! Tina Di Giglio, a friend we made in Molise last year, led us up there.  We were to follow her, lol, who knew it was going to be a motocross race!  Tina, like every other Italian driver races to wherever they are going at breakneck speed.  We stopped in some parking area with a great view, but not before she led us through a street (I use that term loosely because it was an alley), so narrow,I pulled the side mirror in!

The almost 360 degree panorama was breathtaking. My photos don’t do justice. Joel walked down to another level, but the cobble stones and the stairs were too much for me and my boot.

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From our perch, we could look out and see Campobasso which I believe is like the county seat of that province of Molise.

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i saw this gate and doorway, thought it was interesting, so…

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If you ever thought recycling in the United States was a pain, you just haven’t experienced Guardia Sanframondi’s system.  It is so complex and confusing that every month you can pick up a calendar at the Municipal and every night you take the garbage out and hang it on a hook that is attached somewhere on your building or a wall in your driveway.  IMG-20180503-WA0000.jpg

And the garbage bags have faces 🤓😳🤢!!

Jumping back to Florence for a moment, while on the hunt for the perfect birthday gift for myself on the Ponte Vecchio (naturally), we came across a very Italian street entertainment;  A Punch and Judy puppet show!

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It was such a treat to see the little kids sitting down and watching in awe as the hustle and bustle of the Ponte Vecchio area surrounded them.

As much as I loved being in Guardia and Italy in general, there were two disturbing national and cultural issues;  Way too many people in Italy smoke! Really, I was shocked by the prevalence of smokers everywhere.

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AND the diesel automobiles 🚗  🚙 hold your nose! Sometimes in traffic we would be caught in the midst of a bunch of diesel powered vehicles.

,VINO and OIL, well that’s what the sign said… I’ve already told you about this place The Forresta Cooperative where both the olive oil and the wine are local  and in great supply!  Remember I said the wine was in huge silver tanks, there for your own pumping so to speak.  Seeing is believing…

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And the olive oils

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😋

Ciao for now!

To be continued…

 

 

 

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I didn’t take enough photos when I was there, I didn’t take enough notes thinking  I would remember a lot more! But not everything becomes a story and not everything was of enough interest to translate into a blog post.

BUT, there are snippets here and there that deserve a mention or at least a look see;

Something that you see all over Italy are beautiful fountains, not all of them like the magnificent Trevi Fountain.  I saw a woman washing her hands in fountain such as the one below in Florence one evening.  This lovely antiquity is on the main road in Guardia Sanframondi, set just off the sidewalk and available for all, so egalitarian!  A cool sip of water on a hot summer day, a splash of water on warm face, a quick wash y of your hands, sticky from dripping gelato!

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You’ve heard me speak of the new old town built around the medieval town.  Here’s a glimpse of Peter leaning up against the stairwell to the apartment that we stayed in last year and this year.  He loves the location, so central to everything – well that and it had two wide screen TVs!

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So sweet, so luscious, delicious and bountiful!  Spring in Guardia means being surrounded by beautiful fruits and vegetables growing and are there for the picking!

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”Mom, how come none of these places serve like a breakfast sandwich”?  It does seem like there are two universal Italian breakfasts;  many years ago when I was in Italy but much farther north, ( Tuscany, Emilio Romagna, Lombardy, Veneto), I had a delicious breakfast every day of frutta, formaggio, Parma, pane, sort of a deconstructed breakfast sandwich.  However here in Guardia, a cream or chocolate brioche and coffee was the daily offering.  Mom to the rescue ( I need my driver to be happy).

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We never did find out what it was with Amalfi and lemons!  They were  everywhere so we stopped on the side of the road ad bought two. Unfortunately we never got to taste them before it was time to head back to the U.S.A. I hope Cindy and Steve enjoyed them.

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Then there was the day, I asked Raffaele to take me to the town of San Lorenzillo where there is a master ceramist, he introduced me to last year. Most people think of Cerreto Sannita as the ceramic city, and in fact it’s town center is home to many shops featuring elaborately ornate and intricately detailed ceramics.

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Not So Ornate – However Almost Every Piece Is In This Palette

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I Wish I Had Taken The Time To Focus And Enlarge This Picture Because These Statues Are Exquisite

I found another postcard from Guardia…..

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Name That Saint!

 

Raffaele arranged for a couple of us to go to the top of the castle, I think I wrote about that little adventure earlier, ( https://pbenjay.wordpress.com/2018/06/07/the-sights-and-sounds-of-guardia). When we were walking around the roof top  and looking over the parapet, I spied this.   Do you think a bird or the wind carried the seed to the top of this wall where it took root and blossomed?

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Rising From A Rock

To be continued…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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GUARDIA SANFRAMONDI

The official name is Guardia Sanframondi, in the Province of Benevento in the region known as Campania.  Probably Campania is best known for the city of Naples and the glorious Amalfie Coast.  However Campania is a large region spanning from the western coast of Italy up into the mountains in its northeast corner.  And it is up into the mountains where the medieval town of Guardia Sanframondi is located.

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View of the original medieval village as you approach the town.

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A Slightly Different View

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One Of Many Beautiful Passageways In The Medieval Village

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Close Up of the Castle

AND THE VIEW…..

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Feast Your Eyes

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See The “New Old” Town Built Around The Walls Of The Medieval Village -see left of photo

I am basically featuring the medieval village because this is where many Americans and Canadians have bought and are buying up these stone houses within the walls of the village. They have renovated, restored, repainted and refreshed many, many properties.  I believe there are about 100 “foreigners” owning property in Guardia at this time.  Life is beautiful here.  Most purchasers do not relocate permanently, they come 2-3 times a year and spend several weeks or a couple of months.  I also met several expats who are now full time residents. Interesting!!?? Stay tuned.

Ciao for now!

To be continued…

 

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My sojourn in Italy has been full of lazy mornings of sipping coffee and afternoons of grocery shopping and along the way there have been some adventures and misadventures.

The GPS in this car has been a nightmare from the beginning and so it continues.  Last week when I went to Molise I swear we were routed through a vineyard.  This time Joel and I found ourselves in two really bad jams with the directions.  One mistake was as we were cruising along he pointed a particularly pretty village set high up,on a mountain to the right and just beyond that I noticed an old red Volkswagon bug. Said, “you don’t see many of them any more”.  Thirty minutes later Joel says I think we’re going in a ⭕️ that village looks familiar. Naturally I said, “oh so many of them look alike”.  And then 10 feet down the road I spied the red VW. Oh for God’s sake, we hate this British bitch.  F409E9BE-8DF7-4D1D-960B-F5570AB6B714.jpeg

As if that incident were not bad enough, we also found ourselves being routed or re-routed over some tractor trail. It was full of ruts, holes, mud, puddles, rocks and often severely lopsided. Of course that was ridiculous.  What kind of directionS take you through someone’s farmland? I’ll tell you what kind, the stupid kind.

The trip from Guardia to Molise is approximately 58 minutes, it took us about 2 hours.  Here’s one of the reasons why:

To be continued…

 

 

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After spending all that money in the supermarket, I was ready to live out yet another fantasy of my trip;  And that was to invite some new friends over for drinks and to got to dinner with them.  We made plans with Steve and Cindy to join us for apps and qfor drin and the we would go to Alchime, a very hip restaurant in town that Peter refers to as the night club.  He knows he can get a decent martini there!

We thought we were going to hear some jazz but unfortunately someone in the group was ill.  The word either got out that there was no music or even though we’re New Yorkers and often eat after 9:00, apparently we were still early for the Italian crowd, because it was just us four and another couple we were introduced to, Raoul and Anna. And we all ordered the same thing WHICH Imwas informed is JUST not the thing Italians order out because it’s what they eat at home.  Well really?! It was delicious, I believe I was a tagliatelle con sugo e polpetti. Tutto squisto!

Cindy had had Gin Gibson at our place and I don’t know if she switched to vodka, but she and Peter were loving them those onions! There was discussion up at the  bar with the young female bartender and Peter because he returned with his Gibson in a martini glass AND that’s the way he likes to drink his martinis and Gibsons period!

795F3DE3-C6B1-4C7D-992B-95FAB3FA589F.jpegGuardia is a small town and everyone is so friendly.  The influx of foreigners (many Americans) has not negatively impacted the town;  Some new businesses have opened which cater to the new arrivals and their tastes, I believe Alchime is one and certainly a welcome addition.  3BED1D58-535A-4FFF-ADC2-207EE6FCA763

Speaking of Guardia….

To be continued…

 

 

 

 

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It ’s Sunday evening after a harrowing day and we have reached our final destination.  We are welcomed with open arms by Pasquale, our landlord and local entrepreneur and his lovely mama, Anna.  It’s good to be back again.

After a few more pleasant exchanges, we made our way home to the apartment where we would be staying for a week or so.  I sent Peter out to a restaurant across the street for some pizza and to see if he could find a martini ( yeah good luck).   A little unpacking to settle in and find one’s toothbrush while Peter locates an English speaking channel.

The apartment is not why I came to Italy it’s why Peter came. It is modernly finished and furnished; two flat screen TVs( essential one in BR) centrally located, microwave oven, lovely bathroom, you get the picture!

WEEK One:

MONDAY: Well I told Peter the tourist-eating- out-every-meal was basically over and now we were “living” here so we better go to the grocery store.  We are near the Deco Supermarket, our next destination.  “Just a few things”, I say, “ the essentials,” which came to $94 € later and now the store manager loves me.  Probably no one else has spent that much money at one time in his store in who knows when, PLUS the cane and boot,

I’m excited to cook something that night but there may be an issue with the gas. Or it may be something lost in translation but I’m afraid to start cooking pasta and have the gas run out in the middle and I’m not getting the reassurance I need to hear from Pasquale who says he can check tomorrow. SOOoooo Peter goes to Pasquale’s bar to buy a chicken for dinner and I decide to make a fancy insalata.  My idea did not go over so well.

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Radicchio, fennel red onion and oranges just didn’t make it as salad for him.  We did have a good laugh though when we figured out that we were renting a place that should have gas but maybe didn’t from Pasquale so in order to eat, we buy a chicken from him.  Works out really well for him!

TUESDAY: When we stay at the apartment, we can go to the bar in the morning if we wish, and have grande caffe Americano, one nero and one con latte calde and our choice of a brioche. This sort of uinversal breakfast pastry varies in form and name and filling. In Florence they were smaller and referred to as a cornetto, in the U.S.A. I’ve heard them called croissants, at Orso’s it’s a bioche with cream or marmaletta or ciocolatta, or a fruit tart. We sit outside, sip our coffee, Peter reads The NY Times because his wonderful wife got a month’s subscription on her kindle for him! We spent about two hours soaking up sunshine in the garden.

WEDNESDAY: As we sat having our usual morning coffee, we were introduced to Steve and Cindy, a couple from Arizona who moved to Guardia in January permanently.  Of course that opens up a conversation of a million questions and answers.  As it turned out we were going to see a house for sale that was just doors down from them.  Unfortunately when you say a few doors down from someone in Guardia you could be talking about a 45 degree angle of uneven stones.  They came along with us to preview the house which had a most spectacular view!

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The crane to the left is there because they are working on the building that was a former convent.  This view was from the terrace!! LOVE it. But you can’t live outside even if you plan only to come in the spring or fall. The kitchen had been modernized  and had a fireplace which was probably the only source of heat. That was the only room on the first floor, maybe two steps up the staircase, there was a bathroom branched off.  BIG problem there – the stairs wind a bit upwards and are marble.  How would I ever get down in the middle of the night?  One level up was a big bedroom and then another level up there was two smaller bedrooms which could be opened to make one large. Well that’s too too many stairs and made of marble, not to mention I was pretty sure there was a leak in the roof and some water damage in the walls. No sale today.

THURSDAY: We wake up to a gray day and I notice a message on WhatsApp from Pasquale.  It’s in Italian but I think it says we should move the car because we may be over the hour – that’s my rough translation.  I send Peter down to move the car to the bottom of the staircase and I will get myself down.  As I descend, it starts to rain, I don’tsee the car! I keep going down, it’s raining harder, no car, I’m at the bottom and it is a downpour and still the car is where it was parked.  I am screaming curses as I hobble with cane to the car and get in soaked to the skin, wondering how and why the car had not been started and backed up before I got down the stairs?  Don’t bother, there is no sane answer.  For a moment we discuss the message about moving the car and we are going to head to the bar BUT it has started to hail! YES, it is May and it is hailing, big marble size pellets.

Not only was the car being drummed with ice marbles, the street was also flooding. We were parked probably closer to the more level upper end but below us it just went gushing past.

All good things come to an end, even hail,storms, so we headed down to the bar to assure Pasquale that the windows were shut! However, it’s Giovedi and apparently almost every place in Guardia is closed.  No one told us.  One little cafe up the road was open so we stopped in for a slice of pizza and a delightful arancini which is a rice ball stuffed with some sauce and peas and mozzarella.

 To be continued…

 

 

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