Category Archives: Italy

Beautiful Sabaudia in Italy

A few years back we decided to rent a house south from Rome. We wanted to enjoy new areas, if possible close to the Mediterranean Sea. I googled for rental houses. After finding houses which were either too expensive or not to our liking, I saw an interesting  house in SabaudiaWe had never heard of this city, but found it interesting as it was very close to the sea and the house offered everything we wanted to a reasonable price. 

We investigated a bit more. When we realized the sandy beach next to the town was 20 kilometers long we made our decision.

Sabaudia beach_3
After arriving at Fiumicino airport in Rome, we rented a car (once in Italy, the choice was of course an Alfa Romeo) and drove 90 kilometers south. The drive was a bit longer than we are used to, but it was worth it. The house, the garden, the town and the beach – they were all fabulous. 

talon takapiha

View from Monte Circeo_2.jpg

A little bit of the town history: The architects  Gino Cancellotti, Luigi Piccinato and Alfredo Scalpelli made the city plans and the work started in August 1933. 6000 people built the city and it was ready already after a year. 

The house had a small garden in the front and on the back.

talo-sabaudiassa

Even though we like to cook ourselves, sometimes it is great to go to a nearby restaurant. We tried fish, sea food, pasta and of course pizza. We fell in love with the pizza Diavola, which is quite spicy.

pizza-diavola_2

The beach was fantastic. Hot summer days and cool Mediterranean Sea is a perfect match.

We can warmly recommend to spend a week or two in Sabaudia.

Swimming in the Med

IH ja Välimeri.jpg

Beautiful countryside in Sicily: Floridia

We have been to Sicily, Italy, a few times. Sicily offers so much to see and enjoy. The island is beautiful.

Etna, the active stratovolcano on the east coast of Sicily, the yellow lemon fields, the green vineyards, the small but amazing beaches, the historical and old citys and fabulous small villages not to mention the beautiful countryside – they all create a fantastic scenery, which you will love.

Etna rises high next to Catania airport. Etna is tremendous.

ps. click the photos to view them in a larger size

Etna Sicily

The green vineyards seem to go on forever.

Sisilia viinitarha

Last time we rented a house in Floridia. It is found just 12 kilometers from the historical city of Syracuse. Syracuse lies next the to sea, the magnificient Mediterranean. The buildings in Syracuse are so fascinating, you can spend a whole day just admiring them.

Syracuse

The town center of Floridia is not as fascinating as the city of Syracuse. Here’s one photo we took when strolling in the town.

Floridia city_2

But there are many nice places in Floridia. We found a neat coffee shop and enjoyed a double espresso, a glass of cold water (it was 39 C!) and a delicious chocolate pastry. All this costs only a few euros. Amazing.

Coffee shop in Floridia

The owner of the rental house, in the beautiful countryside outside Floridia,  was Salvo. He was in our eyes as Sicilian as one can be. Short, friendly and skin as dark as a roasted coffee bean. The colour of his skin came from all the long hours under the hot Sicilian sun. Salvo worked outside most of the day. He also had a beautiful horse, which had won many prizes.

Salvo spoke Sicilian, which is not the same as my basic school Italian. I understood every fourth word he said, but we got along great.

Floridia house owner

The house we rented was great. It was bigger than we needed, but as it situated in a great area, next to Syracuse, and the price was fair, we decided to rent it.

Here’s a photo of the front of th house. As the day temperature was often almost 40 C, it was nice to have a place in the shadow. It was unusually hot for the month of June.

Entrance to Floridia house

There was a large patio on the roof, where you could dry your laundry or just admire the scenery. We admired the scenery. We had our binoculars with us and also a great camera.

In this photo you see the driveway to the house. You can also see all the way to the next small town, up on a hill.

View towards Solarino

We had a huge swimming pool in the backyard. This is how it looked seen from the roof 🙂

Floridia_swimming pool

More stories to come. Stay tuned 🙂

 

Pisa, Ferrari and Angels

We flew from Helsinki to Pisa, Italy. We love to fly with Finnair. Finnair offers direct flights to many interesting cities and quality before and during the flight.

Finnair flight has arrived at Pisa

Pisa is a historical city full of beautiful buildings, churches, old towers and is known for its leaning tower (the bell tower of the city’s cathedral).

ps. click on the photos to see them in a larger size

Pisa_the leaning tower and Ile

The leaning tower can be found at Piazza dei Miracoli. There are many street signs to help you find it.

Pisa_Piazza dei miracoli sign

In Pisa people take the bicycle, walk or move around with a scooter. You can come to Pisa with your car, but it is best to park it before you cross the bridges to the old town.

Pisa city

To avoid the rush hours, if you like to stroll around easily, come to the city early in the morning. We came down from our house in the Montemagno hills after nine o´clock and there were quite a lot of people by ten. The hot summer sun is also something to take into account. Remember a hat and the water bottle.

Hurmerinta goes Pisa

On the highway, on our way to Pisa, we saw one of our favourite cars – a red Ferrari. I snapped a quick photo when it passed us.

I told my husband “Hit the pedal – I want another photo of that Ferrari“. My husband looked at me and said calmly “Our Italian Alfa Romeo is a really nice car, but don’t ask for something impossible“. 😉

Ferrari goes Pisa

We parked our car before the bridges to the old town. Walking along the river Arno is nice.

Pisa_River Arno

Pisa_city_1

At the Piazza dei Miracoli, you find the Fountain of Angels (La Fontana dei putti).

Pisa_fountain of angels

There is so much history and beauty at the Piazza dei Miracoli. You will be amazed.

Pisa_city_piazza dei miracoli

Before leaving Pisa, we sat down and enjoyed a glass of cold water and a double espresso. There are plenty of cafeterias and coffee shops to choose from.

Pisa_coffee shop

We walked along the river Arno, on our way back to our car.  It was beautiful, calm, silent and amazing.

Pisa_Johanna Hurmerinta

Pisa_city_6

I can warmly recommend a day or two in Pisa. You will love it.

Pisa_university

Italy: Ardea, chickens and learning Italian

A MYSTERIOUS HENHOUSE

One morning during our refreshing morning swim, we heard chickens cackle.  There were lots of trees and bushes around the pool. And behind them we saw huge fields. Where are the chickens?

Ardea 2_ puskat altaalla

After a few minutes of looking around for the secret chickens, my husband jumped into the small forest.  And he found a small henhouse. I then jumped in to the forest too.

Ardea 2_kanat 2

I am a city woman. I have never seen a henhouse. I saw ten chickens and one rooster. The rooster was so suspicious of us, the hens were not. They were happy to see us. It was a fun moment. A neat moment.

We wondered when the eggs were fetched. Maybe so early in the morning that we did not see or hear anyone in our garden.

Another funny thing was to find Danger signs in the bushes 😉 Still wonder what was so dangerous in the bushes…

Ardea 2_pericolo

A FROG LIKE A FOOTBALL

What is better in the morning than a huge dead frog ? 😉 After breakfast my husband cleaned the pool.

When I came to the pool area, ready to enjoy another perfect day by the pool, I had surprise waiting.  My husband said I would never guess what he had found.  He showed my a huge dead frog. It had drowned in the pool. We buried the frog.

Ardea 2_frog

AMAZING DINNERS

Ardea is a small city. We searched for a neat restaurant, where to enjoy nice small dinners. We found two close to the house. The frist one was a pizzeria. We tried it twice. Then we found Le Pietre Antiche, and ate there often. A small hotel, with a small restaurant and fabulous food. And friendly people and aervice. We enjoyed our time there.  So did the locals. The restaurant got full quite fast after opening at 8 p.m.

Ardea 2_Le Pietre Antiche

The fish dishes, the pasta choices, the squid and the pizza… they were all excellent. When we arrived before 8 p.m. hungry as we were, we were always welcome to sit down and have something small to eat and drink.

Our waiter was a great Italian gentleman. It was interesting to discuss with him. He liked to share his thoughts and learn more English.  We liked to share our thoughts and learn more Italian.

We were happy to visit Le Pietre Antiche in the eveningafter some happy and enjoyable hours by the pool.

MrMrsHurmerinta

Sometimes I cooked dinner at the house. I love cooking.  In Italy you find great ingredients for anything you want to cook.

Salsicce is a tasty sausage, maiale is pork, vitello is veal. Sea bass is in Italian  branzino.

sea bass

When you would like to enjoy sword fish, order pesce spada. Octopus and squid come in various sizes. You can ask for seppia or calamari, or choose the big one: polpo.

polpo

When you want to order a steak, the waiter will ask you how you want it. If you want it well done, say: vorrei la carne ben cotto. If you like medium steak, you say: vorrei la carne non troppo cotto.

To get a bottle of water, you ask: vorrei una bottiglia di aqua, per favore.  White wine is: vino bianco. Red wine is: vino rosso. Tomato is: pomodoro and onions is: cipolle. Peach is great for dessert, so ask for: pesche. Ice cream is: gelato. Bread is: pane. When you would like some chicken, ask for: pollo.

The Italian ham… is something else! It is the best in the world. I love prosciutto di Parmasta (air-dried ham from Parma). I also like very much prosciutto cotto and prosciutto crudo (tasty Italian ham)

prosciutto di parma

I bet about everyone knows mozzarella, but I mention it anyway. The best type is: Mozzarella di Bufala.

Always say: per favore when you ask for something. It is important to be very polite in Italy. And why could we not do that in other countries and languages as well 🙂

When you leave a store or a restaurant you say:  Arrivederciwhich means goodbye. If you know someone, you can say: Ciao!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Italy: Montemagno mountains and animals

During our vacation in Montemagno, Italy, we decided to take photos of most of the animals around our house or in the air.

Haukka

We saw and heard many birds in the forest behind the vacation house. Two hawks flew above our house, high up in the air. A better zoom would be needed to photograph objects this far, but fortunately I got a few quite nice photos of these amazing hawks with our medium level camera.

ps. to enlarge the photos, click on them 🙂

Haukka_2

One morning we had a surpise at the pool. We were wondering why the water was so still. My husband decided to check the filters. And there we found our surprise!

Sammakko löytyy

A frog. A huge frog. This one was fortunately alive. The frog we found some years ago at the pool by the house in Ardea, was a dead frog.

My husband got this frog somehow to trust him and the frog was saved from drowning.

Sammakko pelastetaan

After a few swimming lessons, the frog sat calmly on the broom, and was carried to a safer place.

Sammakko matkalla kotiin

There was a door from the kitchen to the backyard, where we sat most of the evenings, enjoying some shadow after the hot, sunny weather during the day.

Usually, when I opened the door, I saw a lizard, a funny little lizard.

Sisilisko_2

Sometimes the lizard and some of its friends run quickly inside the house. It was impossible to find them. But that did not matter. The next morning the lizards were outside again, warming their bodies in the sun.

Sisilisko

Our peculiar white rabbit, which we named “Osku”, lived around the house. He sure was funny. He was always happy to see us and made some small jumps and tricks around us.

Sometimes he just focused watching something we did not see. This could go on for five minutes at a time. Osku sure is a funny rabbit 🙂

Osku keskittyy

Not all animals and creatures are neat. Check out this one. It was huge and not a bit nice to have around.  I ran away but my husband took the camera and got some great photos.

Mikä lienee_2

One night, during sunset, a beautiful black cat came around the corner of the house. Its eyes look quite amazing in this photo.

Musta kissa

One of our best photos might be this one, which my husband took. The spider was less than half an inch, if even that. Quite a spider, don’t you think?

Hämähäkki

What are your best photos of animals and small creatures?

 

 

 

Italy: Historical Lucca

We decided to visit Pisa, Italy, and rented a small house in Montemagno. This small village lies up on the hills, just 10 kilometers from the Mediterranean Sea.

Montemagno house and the view towards the Med

Our small rental house was so close to the sky, sometimes I felt I could touch the sky.

ps. to enlarge the photos, click on them 😉

Haukka taivaalla

Houses on the mountains

The weather was mostly awesome: sunny and warm. After enjoying a few days by the pool, we decided to drive to Lucca.

Swimming pool in Montemagno
Lucca is a city in Tuscany, situated on the river Serchio. It is famous among other things for its intact Renaissance-era city walls.

Lucca_2

Lucca was founded by the Etruscans and became a Roman colony in 180 BC.

If you arrive early in the morning, you can find a parking slot within the city walls. Otherwise you have to leave your car outside the walls.

Lucca_3

The atmosphere within the walls is old, beautiful and fascinating. You see small allies, old buildings, beautiful churches and neat cafeterias.

Lucca_5

After the early morning hours, the tourist invade the city. If you like peaceful hours, come early. If you like crowds, come later 🙂

I love special small shops. This one was my favorite “Gastronomia prodotti tipici”

My favourite store in Lucca

I bought veggies, capers, cheese and wine… and in the book store closeby I found a few great books. We read a lot. Everyday. Small shopping is great shopping.

When the tourist rush started, around noon, we headed back towards our home in Montemagno. But first I had to take a few more photos and climbed up on the city walls. It was such a  beautiful view, towards all directions.

Lucca_1

Driving away from Lucca we enjoyed the countryside. And I must say, Italy is a very beautiful country. Toscana looks like this:

matkalla Luccaan

This is Italy_2

Toscana countryside_photographed from the car

I can warmly recommend Pisa, Lucca and the countryside.  Fly to Pisa, book a hotel room in Pisa or rent a house in the mountains. You will love it.

The Med_Viareggio and the mountains