Posts Tagged ‘travel’

Gone Fishing

Posted on: January 31st, 2012 by jmbroekman 6 Comments


Abbiamo fatto un piccolo giro in Toscana e Umbria*

*Ok, so we didn’t really go fishing, but we did go on a little road trip through Tuscany and Umbria this past weekend.

We have been meaning to get back to Lucca, where we spent 2 months in 1993, and up until now we just never made it. It was an interesting trip down memory lane. We also went back to Oriveto, where we’d only briefly been for a B.B. King concert, also in 1993. Between Orvieto and Lucca, we made stops in the Val d’Orcia in Pienza and Bagni di Vignoni; and on our way back to Foligno we stopped to revisit the Piero della Francesca in Arezzo, and spend a night on Lago Trasimeno.


A few pictures above, of the lake and the watchful lion at the Duomo in Orvieto. More to follow in another edition of the Italy News newsletters – if you haven’t yet subscribed you can do so here:

Welcoming the New Year

Posted on: January 12th, 2012 by jmbroekman

Three Cheers for January Snow

I saw the snow from a distance right around the middle of December up on the mountain tops surrounding Foligno. It was magical. To my great delight I actually got to hear the crunch under my feet when we went to Colfiorito for a hike on the Epiphany, last week. It was a cold blustery day and it finally really felt like winter.

We did some traveling playing tour guides with visitors over the holidays – hit the usual suspects: the Giotto frescoes in Assisi, ruins in Rome, the Duomo in Florence (as well as the Capella Brancacci), among others. Now, I’m ready to get back to my own work!

Photos below from left to right: a modern ruin on a Roman wall; a detail in Assisi; and the Duomo in Firenze at dusk.


Harvesting Olives

Posted on: November 21st, 2011 by jmbroekman 8 Comments

A weekend spent working outside, harvesting olives

This is how friends hang out together in Italy. When it’s time to harvest the olives on your property, you call all your friends, and out they come to climb trees, rake olives, and spend the day in conversation under the fog or sun. Saturday started out foggy and cold, but by mid-day the sun was out, same deal on Sunday. By the end of the day yesterday, we had filled 30 crates.

I think the crew, of as many as a dozen or so people (coming and going), stripped about 80 trees of their olives over the weekend. What I want to know, is how the Italians make feeding a crowd look so easy. Because needless to say we took a break in the early afternoon for a true pranzo (local wine included). On Sunday, la nonna and il nonno were even there to help. The sweetest thing was finding il nonno sitting in a little patch of sun after lunch – there’s a picture of it, as well as several others on the olive harvest page (click that bold olive harvest page type, or find it anytime on the sidebar on the right).

The next step happens tonight when the olives are brought to il molino to be pressed into oil. Evidently at this time of year, the mills operate 24/7. November in Italy!

Un Viaggio al Nord

Posted on: November 15th, 2011 by jmbroekman

A November Rose blooms in Villa Guardia

Early November presented us with a grey weekend for traveling, none-the-less, we enjoyed a trip north to visit our friend Giovanna in Villa Guardia (near Como). It was one of those full immersion weekends in which we spent continuous hours doing our best to communicate in Italian, and keep up with all of what was being said around us. My comprehension appears to be improving, but getting the words out in the right order, and with the right endings is still quite a challenge. Maybe by the end of this stay, I’ll be able to follow the talk show hosts and their political guests on TV. Finally, I’ve found a good reason to waste time in front of a television! We had to change trains in Florence in each direction, and had enough time for a quick walk in the city – a treat, despite the rain.

A pink umbrella in ComoAn old entrance to the city in ComoA quintessential peek at the duomo in Firenze

Pictures above from left: A pink umbrella in the piazza in Como; An old entrance to the city, Como; and
A quintessential peek at the Duomo in Firenze.

Permission Granted!

Posted on: September 22nd, 2011 by jmbroekman 8 Comments

At long last, we have received our visas!

After jumping through what seemed an inordinate number of hoops, the Italian Consulate in Boston finally saw fit to grant us permission to spend 8 months (255 days to be precise) in Italy. We’ve been talking about this adventure, and putting it in motion for almost 6 months – and I have to say, until I had a passport with a visa attached, it never felt quite real.

It’s real now. Lift off is on October 4th. Fra poco saro in Umbria, e vi scrivero da Foligno – which roughly translated means: in a little while I’ll be in Umbria, and I will write you from Foligno!