30 things to do before I’m 30 – Go inside an Italian Castle

Ciao a tutti, I was lucky during my italian summer to get to visit a Castle, FINALLY. After our disaster in febbraio last year, when we tried to visit Castello Orsini-Odescalchi in Bracciano about 30km out of Roma (although I’m pretty sure it took us around 1 1/2 – 2 hours to get there) only to find that everything in Bracciano happens to be closed on a lunedi (Monday), I was finally going to be able to pretend to be una piccola principessa in a castello! And all we had to do was get a ride to the centre of la citta di Roma! 

The only view of the castle that I got to see in February 2014!

The only view of the castle that I got to see in February 2014!

Castel Sant’AngeloFinally I got to experience a historic Italian Castle! I remember always being fascinated by the idea of Princes and Princesses and Castles and fairytales. When I first imagined going to Italy, I think apart of the fact that all the historic buildings and structures seemed like something out of a fairytale, made the idea of going to Italy so much more appealing! (It probably didn’t help that as a child my mother and step father used to fill my head with ideas that I was dropped off at the doorstep in a basket because I was a long lost Princess haha) Italy, and it’s history and castles were just all so appealing! Not that Italy had exactly had a monarchy, after they managed to abolish the monarchy in 1946 and send Re Umberto II into exile! But Finally I, Anna (without the king) was finally getting to experience stepping foot into a 2000 year old castle!

My first look at this magnificent Castel Sant'Angelo

My first look at this magnificent Castel Sant’Angelo

The Castle of the Holy Angel, as it is called if you translate the name in English, was in fact originally constructed as a mausoleum by the Roman Emperor Hadrian, in 123 the building works started, for what would later turn into a fortress and a castle for the catholic papacy in the 14th century.

Remains of what was clearly a strong fortress!

Remains of what was clearly a strong fortress!

I guess when it came to the Papacy and the Roman Empire and what I imagine would be countless sieges, it definitely acted as a strong hold for the church.

All those little doorways had windows, so they most likely acting as a good place to shoot from!

All those little doorways had windows, so they most likely acting as a good place to shoot from!

Fun Fact! Castel Sant’Angelo even acted as a prison for the Papal State…  I guess when your whole country is the size of an ant hill, there isn’t exactly room for a prison. haha The views from Castel Sant’Angelo were just beautiful, from the views of la citta di roma to the Ponte Sant’Angelo bridge that leads towards the Castel. It literally felt like something out of a fairytale book. The type of stories that start with C’era una volta…. 

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The view at the top of the castel! You can even see the tip of San Pietro in the distance!

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View of the Ponte Sant’Angelo… I was a bit worried when taking this photo, there was a small hole on the ground, I thought I would drop my phone and it would be gone forever! ahhhh

From the artillery rooms, to the crazy italian cartoons from back in the day, there was so much to see in this Castel now turned museum. For €10.50 I definitely felt I got my monies worth!

Strange artwork in one of the museo rooms!

Strange artwork in one of the museo rooms!

There was even a restaurant within the Castel (I can’t remember the restaurant name unfortunately) which made a delicious pizza (but come on, where do you find a bad pizza in Italy). We arrived at Castel Sant’Angelo just before lunch around 11ish, maybe a bit later. And as I’m sure those of you who have been to Italy know and understand that the italian version of “lunch time” is around 2pm. So after a few hours walking around the Castel we fortunately stumbled across this restaurant in one of the upper floors of the building. I remember Matteo being in the il bagno so I remember asking if the table was free in my horrid italian. Pretty sure I even used the wrong word, I can’t remember what incorrect word I used but it wasn’t libero or gratis. oopsie! But the waitress seemed to work out what I was trying to say anyway so that worked out to my favour! And I remember the prices weren’t that bad for a restaurant within a tourist destination!

Enjoying my italian coca cola at pranzo!

Enjoying my italian coca cola at pranzo!

My little friend I made while enjoying my lunch!

My little friend I made while enjoying my lunch! Must of been eyeing up my cibo!

My delicious pizza for the day!

My delicious pizza for the day!

After a beautiful l’estate day in a castel from just out of paradiso, We finally decided to make our way back to the meeting point to get our ride back to la casa.

Enjoying the view from Castel Sant'Angelo

Enjoying the view from Castel Sant’Angelo

I really hope that during this next trip to Italia, even though funds will be incredibly abysmal because we are having to move to nuova zelanda with practically only the bond money from the flat, I really hope we might still get an opportunity to explore a bit more and see some more castles. Even if they’re just around roma… I’m pretty sure there are more castles than just Castel Sant’Angelo in the eternal city!

All roads lead to Rome right? haha

Ciao a tutti!

Until next time!

Anna x

Real Neat Blog Award

Ciao a tutti,

Today I have to say a big thank you to Moving Around Mum for nominating me for this award!

Her blogging skills are fantastic, and a great joy to read!

Now the rules for this award are as follows:

1. Put the Award Logo in your post

real-neat-blog-award-from-horty-rexarch-4-dec-20142. Answer 7 questions by the person who nominated you.

3. Thank the people who nominated you by linking to their blog

4. Nominate any number of bloggers you like, linking to their blogs

5. Let them know you nominated them (by commenting on their blog etc)

Now I’m going to answer the 7 questions that Moving Around Mum wanted me to answer:

1. Which book genre is your favourite?

I love fantasy, like game of thrones and books like that, or anything with a supernatural element.

2. What’s your favourite city and why?

It would have to be Rome, as it’s my home away from home, with so much culture and historical influence, I could spend hours exploring every inch of that city if given the chance.

3. What’s your perfect Sunday morning?

My perfect Sunday morning, which I literally haven’t experienced for a very long time, would be to go to mass in the morning with the family, then go to my grandmother’s place afterwards and enjoy a beautiful family gathering for lunch.

4. Which do you prefer – a beach getaway or city tour?

I would choose the beach any day…. Amalfi Coast beaches preferably 😛

5. Which holiday is your favourite?

I love Christmas time and La Befana

6. Are you an owl or an early bird?

I used to be an early bird, but now that I’m not working I have become a Night Owl.

7. Any other hobbies besides blogging?

I like music, and singing, I play the guitar, and enjoy spending time with my friends and family.

Now I am going to Nominate:

Craving Mad

This Labyrinth I Roam

Timeless Italy

Hello World

Puglian Pleasures 

Vino Vita Viaggi

My 7 Questions for my nominees are:

1. What inspires you to create/write your blog?

2. Are you a realist or a dreamer?

3. Which country would you move to straight away if given the opportunity to live anywhere in the world?

4. What do you think is the greatest hurdle of blogging?

5. Who would you love to be for a day and why?

6. What is your favourite past time activity?

7. If you could meet anyone dead or alive, who would it be?

Happy Blogging miei amici (My friends!)!

Ciao

Anna

Papa Francesco è molto fico!

Ciao a tutti,

After the recent horrid events that are happening in this world (It is really scary to be honest), I found this video clip floating round. Matteo mentioned it to me just a couple of days ago what Papa Francesco actually said, so it was quite cool to see the proper video clip. It just makes me love him even more!

Enjoy x

30 things to do before I’m 30 – experience the #Amalfi Coast

Ciao a tutti, Another wonderful thing I got to experience while on my l’estate vacanze in Italy was the amalfi coast (another item I can cross off my 30 thing to do before I’m 30, only made possible once again thanks to my soon to be father in law Stefano! And to think we only spent 3 or 4 days just out of Avellino… we didn’t even really go back into town once Papà and Mariangela picked us up! Just stayed up in the beautiful mountain side where Mariangela’s mother lived.

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View from the street, just outside the door of Mariangela’s mother’s house

View from the street again

View from the street again

That was the first morning, just before we were starting out trip to the Amalfi Coast. To be honest we did get a bit lost, and went through a toll both for no reason. OOPS. Went in and then back out, when Papà realised we had gone the wrong way. We took a wrong turn unfortunately (and we all know what men are like with directions…. they don’t want to follow mister tom tom navman! hehe) Finally we managed to find the right path and get on the road again! And gosh, was the view breathtaking! We then decided to stop at a little town just beside Cetara, which according to the google maps stamp on my phone is called Maiori, which was just literally breathtaking. We managed to get to the public carpark which was up a very narrow hill, and we had to pull over to the rather small side whenever a car was coming back down the hill. But we got there in the end and made our way to la spiaggia! 

Walking down the hill towards the beaches

Walking down the hill towards the beaches

Finally getting to the beach!

Finally getting to the beach!

Lots of lovely italians with their beach chairs and umbrellas

Lots of lovely italians with their beach chairs and umbrellas

As you can see, there is rather a large about of sun umbrellas with lovely italians under them, so we decided to walk a bit further along the beach and found a quieter side of the mare (or sea)… In New Zealand I’m so used to saying Ocean, because it literally is an ocean, but turns out in Italy they only have the sea. I think for kiwis, we say that the ocean and the sea are the same, but turns out that seas are smaller than oceans and are usually located where the land and ocean meet… Some fun facts for you. 🙂 We had a beautiful day at la spiaggia di Maiori, I had plenty of dips in the ocean … oops I mean sea (or Matteo would say he was having a bath in the sea) , and got a nice sun tan. I loved the fact that you could hire the umbrellas and beach chairs. Unfortunately I think that they were rather expensive. Like €15 or €20 and we got 4 of them. oops! But I guess that is what happens when you go to a tourist destination in l’estate in Italy! (Even if we were at a less populated beach). But just looking out at the ocean… gosh wasn’t it the life. If I didn’t know Italy before, I surely felt I knew if better after that day. Just relaxing by the beach, going for swims in the sea, putting the goggles on and seeing the fishes swimming below your feet. Even feeling the horrible sea salt in your eyes. It was something I really missed, I mean my summer in Italy was the first time I had been to the beach in 2 years, other than the rather windy time I went there in febbraio! It was the first time that I got to literally swim in the open sea in a temperature that made it feel like I was in the bath! It was just such an amazing reality that I was getting to be present in the moment.

View from my beach chair

View from my beach chair

Going for one of many dips in the sea for the day!

Going for one of many dips in the sea for the day!

Getting to ready to enjoy some lunch before going back in for another swim

Getting to ready to enjoy some lunch before going back in for another swim

After having a delicious Caprese panino, when then enjoyed another soak in the sun, and dip in the sea, and then made our way around 3pm back to the car to enjoy another trip along the Amalfi coast to Amalfi itself. I couldn’t stop looking out the window at the breathtaking views. I felt like, if I didn’t look, I was missing out on an opportunity to plant some beautiful memories into my brain. We finally got to Amalfi and stopped in the car park, and I ran straight out of the car to the Pier. I didn’t look back, I wanted to experience Amalfi in all it’s beauty and fullness. Words can’t really describe the feelings you get when you see a place so beautiful, I mean it looks like something out of a movie, or out of a fairytale, it doesn’t feel real! But gosh it was. Definitely a place I want to be able to go over and over again. Somewhere I would love to bring my family (If I could ever get mum to get a passport and finally leave New Zealand haha). It was literally like Heaven on Earth.

One very excited Anna on her arrival at Amalfi

One very excited Anna on her arrival at Amalfi

Walking onto the Pier in Amalfi

Walking onto the Pier in Amalfi

More beautiful views

More beautiful views

Beautiful Views

Beautiful Views

All those houses that you actually see on the films!

All those houses that you actually see on the films!

Going to Amalfi is literally like finding a corner of the world that is what I like to imagine that heaven would be like. After I had my running away onto the Pier experience, I think put on my tourist hat and had to buy some souvenirs. Which, if you know me, I am the worst person ever to go shopping, especially because I take about 30minutes to decide on one thing, and I don’t think to shop around, I end up paying twice as much for something, that I find in another shop 10 minutes later for half the price… this girl is not a savvy shopper while on holiday! haha. But I did buy an awesome navy sweater with a anchor on it that says Amalfi (I wear it everywhere in London, obviously because it’s super cold) and I bought 3 different sized bottles of limoncello which I still haven’t drank yet. I’m trying to think of how I can take them with me to Nuova Zelanda, because I’m only allowed to take 3 bottles of spirits into the Country before I get stung with duty tax! I might just have to hope my tax refund comes through and post them onto my mummy! But they are awesome little bottles. One is all colourful, in the shape of a shoe, and the other has amalfi art all over it! They are just so cute!

Afterwards we went to the Piazza del Duomo to enjoy an ice cream on the steps of the church, the piazza was absolutely buzzing with life. It was so beautiful to see all the different types of people, foreigners enjoying the new sights, Italians enjoying their august holidays, just the every day little things were all experiences in themselves.

Piazza del duomo!

Piazza del duomo!

the men relaxing on the steps!

the men relaxing on the steps, doing typical italian things — ehhhh smoking! 😦

I really hope to return to Amalfi soon. I don’t really think that will happen just yet, but never say never. I will get to see you again soon Amalfi! Just watch out! Anna will be back! haha (I’m sure there a lots of Anna’s there already, considering Anna is one of the most common female names in Italy haha)

Quick Selfie!

Quick Selfie! 

Well I hope you enjoyed hearing about my trip to Amalfi as much as I enjoyed reminiscing about it. I wish I had of kept a diary or something while I was there. Definitely something I plan to do this next trip in exactly one month!

Ciao a tutti!

Anna x

30 things before I’m 30 – Pompeii!

Ciao a tutti,

I was going through my list of 30 things before I’m 30 and realised that I actually achieved a few of them on my last trip to Italia. 

Although the more I read through this list, the less likely some of them seem, especially now that things are changing, and we are going all the way to the other side of the world. But I guess that when we do finally get to make those trips back to Italia, once we are in Nuova Zelanda, it will be much more special, and we will want to see so much more of this bella paese that I now call my second home.

But anyway you didn’t come here for the above, you came here to learn all about my experience of Pompei…. turns out in italian it’s only one “i” not two, like we english like to write it, it’s NOT Pompeii! but Pompei! I had big arguments with Matteo about this spelling… turns out as a native English speaker, you shouldn’t really try to defend that italians are spelling their place names incorrectly! haha oops….

Quick casual selfie in the carpark!

Quick casual selfie in the carpark!

The view of Pompei from the line to get in!

The view of Pompei from the line to get in!

 

The massive line!

The massive line!

I remember the excitement I felt finally getting to go to an iconic place in history! Considering I did really want to go to Naples, I think that Pompei may be the closest that I am going to get because Matteo is a scaredy cat when it comes to Napoli! It didn’t take long for the line to move, and then suddenly we were in! On a beautiful late agosto di mattina, Anna was finally getting to visit the ruins of Pompei! 

I remember just walking in that entrance and being fascinated straight away, because one thing that fascinates me a lot (which is rather strange really) are the pavements and roads. They are all so bumpy and old, and frustrate me a lot if I am a passenger in a car while driving on them. But then I guess that is part of Italia, and one thing I love so much. Keeping the old along side the new, and it makes Italy just beautiful, in the way it can embrace having both old and new side by side.

Seeing all the latin writings, things like sign posts, and random paintings, everything about Pompei just wanted to make me travel back 2000 years ago to that time, to see what it would be like in those days.

Street signs

Street signs

The original roofing structures - which are used in most houses all throughout Italy today

The original roofing structures – which are used in most houses all throughout Italy today

Latin Street Signs

Latin Street Signs

Eumachia - The public priestess of venus in Pompei during the middle of the 1st century AD. She funded the construction of a large building next to the public forum in Pompei.

Eumachia – The public priestess of venus in Pompei during the middle of the 1st century AD. She funded the construction of a large building next to the public forum in Pompei.

Everything about this city of ruins was amazing,beautiful, fascinating, unbelievable, just to name a few ways of saying practically the same thing. It was just such a truly inspiring place to be in! And what a cracker of a day we picked to go and explore! I remember by the end of the day (we were there for probably over 6 hours) I was completely worn out, my poor footsies were hurting from all the walking we had done! And we didn’t even manage to see everything! I’m pretty sure there was still so much more! Between seeing the ruins of little cities and houses, to the graveyards and the vineyards, and the garden of fugitives in their plaster cast forms. When I first saw the plaster forms of real people killed in the aftermath of mt vesuvius’s eruption I wanted to cry. To see the forms of children, pregnant woman and men alike it was just heartbreaking to imagine what they must of gone through  all those years ago. To see some of them cradled in a ball, or some hugging each other. I had so much compassion just seeing those remains of all those destroyed in the volcanic eruption!

victims in the garden of the fugitives

victims in the garden of the fugitives

Monte Vesuvio in the background

Monte Vesuvio in the background

Now one thing I absolutely adored when it came to Pompei was the zebra crossings!  The blocks in the road allowed pedestrians to cross the street without having to step onto the road itself which doubled up as Pompeii’s drainage and sewage disposal system. The spaces between the blocks allowed vehicles to pass along the road. To think that 2000 years ago, they had systems such as what we know now as a Zebra crossing is just fascinating!

 

Me standing on the old school zebra crossing!

Me standing on the old school zebra crossing!

 

Well I can’t think of much more to say but I will leave you with some more photos of my trip to Pompei! 

I'm was getting very good at the art of the selfie!

I’m was getting very good at the art of the selfie!

The many tourists enjoying the site as much as we were!

The many tourists enjoying the site as much as we were!

My little (or large) italian poster

My little (or large) italian poster

beautiful view of the ruins

beautiful view of the ruins

a version of an oven in 70AD

a version of an oven in 70AD

More Latin

More Latin

Relaxing against a pole from all the walking we were doing

Relaxing against a pole from all the walking we were doing

My handsome companions, Papà and Teo

My handsome companions, Papà and Teo

Another stunning view - and to think these were all taken with an iphone5!

Another stunning view – and to think these were all taken with an iphone5!

Panorama time!

Panorama time!

more views of the ruins

more views of the ruins

Cracker of a day

Cracker of a day

another temple or something

another temple or something

Artwork in Pompei

Artwork in Pompei

Casual selfie by the vineyard

Casual selfie by the vineyard

Wishing I could take home some of those grapes

Wishing I could take home some of those grapes

happy times for Anna, Teo and Papà

happy times for Anna, Teo and Papà

The site where the graveyard was

The site where the graveyard was

Being a bit creepy and taking a rest in  a memorial

Being a bit creepy and taking a rest in a memorial

The amphitheatre of pompeii

The amphitheatre of pompeii

Large view of the amphitheatre of pompei

Large view of the amphitheatre of pompei

Enjoying being such a small thing in a not very large, but still adorable amphitheatre… I guess it's not colosseo!

Enjoying being such a small thing in a not very large, but still adorable amphitheatre… I guess it’s not colosseo!

Latin writings just before you walk into the amphitheatre!

Latin writings just before you walk into the amphitheatre!

Pompeii outside gymnasium! where the gladiators worked out!

Pompeii outside gymnasium! where the gladiators worked out!

The outside gymnasium again!

The outside gymnasium again!

What would have been a shop or a bar!

What would have been a shop or a bar!

Getting tired from all that walking!

Getting tired from all that walking!

More artwork!

More artwork!

More artwork!

More artwork!

Fun times with Teo!

Fun times with Teo!

 

I had such a lovely experience getting to view Pompei! And it wouldn’t have been possible if it wasn’t for my amazing soon to be father-in-law Stefano! He is just the best! I am a very lucky girl!

And to finish of the day, I got myself a cute vase with artwork on it, which is currently in a box ready to be shipped to New Zealand. Along with getting to enjoy a granatina al limoni, which was like a fresh lemon slushy! It was delicious!

Me feeling spoilt with my granatina al limoni!

Me feeling spoilt with my granatina al limoni!

Well folks, that’s all for now!

A dopo!

 

Anna x

Buon Natale, Buon anno e Buona Befana!

Ciao a tutti,

I’m sure you can understand that this is definitely a busy time of year, which is why I’m only getting around to this post now. How was everyone’s natale, nuovo anno and my favourite holiday of all Befana! 

Unfortunately the holidays snuck up on me, like I’m sure they did with everyone. I have been going to a bellissima Chiesa cattolica italiana (beautiful italian catholic church) every week. As a way to improve the language skills, in a format that I am already very familiar with in inglese. It has definitely helped a bunch with understanding at least the mass. And it’s always such a bonus when I can understand the readings of the day. But most of the time that is a hit and a miss. I have been singing in the coro at St. Peter’s Italian Church , I was a bit worried when joining for the first time, as I thought “Oh dear, how am I going to communicate if they all speak italian the whole time”, but luckily only half of the choir is italian, and the other half tend to have italian family members but are english. But I do try to practise my italian whenever I go. As the little old lady who is the housekeeper opens the door,  and even though she see’s be twice a week, every week, she always asks me why I am there. So I always reply with a sono qui per coro, which is probably grammatically incorrect but she seems to pick up what I’m trying to say, or if she doesn’t she understands when I waltz into the choir room. We sang for messa di mezzanotte or midnight mass this year. It was really beautiful being able to sing the usual christmas carols in italian, and learning some new ones along the way. I grabbed a copy of the mass for the christmas season booklet that they had, so I can take it back to Nuova Zelanda with me, so I can so my old choir mistress back home to see if she would like to do any italian songs next year. I think it’s handy to be able to practise my singing in italian and latin, and I hope it will improve my language skills when we go to italian next month (o dio! Next month will creep up on us in no time)

the presepe in the church - pre baby jesus!

the presepe in the church – pre baby jesus!

La messa finished at around 1.30am, and managed to get home at around 2am, thanks to our wonderful choir director Ricardo, who gave me a ride instead of me having to catch a rather expensive taxi home! Once I arrived home, I gave Matteo all of his christmas presents, and we skyped my mum back in Nuova Zelanda. It was around 3pm over there, as they are 13 hours ahead. I guess that’s what we will soon be, or 12 hours when it comes to Italian time zones! Crazy! Time Zones are so weird! haha. After that it wasn’t long until we woke up again on Christmas morning. And could look properly at all of our toys. Matteo was definitely spoilt! But I wanted to make this a happy christmas because we were both far away from home, and every christmas without mamma is always going to be much harder now. So he deserved it. Plus I had conveniently started buying christmas presents around June, so by the time I found out I was going to lose my job at the beginning of December, I had already bought most of his gifts, including a DSLR Nikon camera (because he didn’t want my preference of a Canon) so that was a nice surprise for him. And will give him a chance to take some beautiful photos in London while we are still here, in Rome before we leave, and then also in New Zealand once we get there! It was a nice quiet day. I am very much looking forward to being with my family for natale next year though. And giving Matteo an opportunity to see what a Nuova Zelanda Natale is like!

Nuova Anno was a quiet one for me. Since not working, I have become a bit of a night owl, because I get to sleep in, and tend to have naps in the afternoon (ohhhh the life), I always stay up until 1 or 2am. So I was up at home by myself, as Matteo had to work, doing a Mossa Fight fitness workout on the xbox fitness. I didn’t even realise it was the new year until I heard the fireworks go off in the park across the road! haha

Now befana didn’t really amount to much for us this year, which is a shame. Next year I really want to give Matteo a little befana stocking filled with candy. He was looking on Facebook at some of his friends and family’s posts, wishing that he had a befana stocking filled with candy. But unfortunately as only he is working, and I have a very limited amount of money that seems to be disappearing rather quickly, even though I’m not doing anything, I didn’t get to do the befana tradition that I wanted to! But hey, befana comes every year! So while she didn’t stop at our house this year, she might find us next year in nuova zelanda! because that is one italian tradition I definitely want to bring with me! hahaha

buona_befana_by_twisted_wind-d5qmvi2

Arrivederci! 

I hope everyone is sticking to their resolutions this year so far! haha

 

Anna x