first “real” day in ITALIA

ciao a tutti

well I finally had my first full day back in Italy, and it wasn’t very eventful… the joys of not having a car and having a fidanzato that hates public transport, meant we were at home for the day, but it was nice and relaxing, waking up around 10am, getting out of bed to enjoy un caffè, then I put on my workout gear and did 20-30minutes of running on the spot, sit ups, crunches, mountain climbs and press ups (I need to try and lose some pre wedding weight while I’m here haha), then after a beautiful lunch of pasta, I enjoyed an nice long afternoon nap!

After dinner, around 10pm, finally something was getting to happen! we got in the Bella piccola nera Matteo’s mothers old black mini, and went to the meeting spot to catch up with his amici, turns out it was very cold, two others arrived and we all decided we were going to go to their friends house that lives literally across the road from Matteo’s family block. so we went there and caught up with all the friends for about an hour. it was nice for me for once, because normally when I would go there it was difficult, because I would try to speak italian but as you know my italian is very limited, so after a short while I would run out of things to say, and get lost in the conversations because they’re speaking too quickly, but this time I was lucky, because the friends who came with us from London were there too, so it was much easier for me because they talked to me and I didn’t feel left out. I guess because the girlfriend of Christmas (my nickname for him because his last name is Natale), is also an outsider of the group because she didn’t go to primary school with them, so it was easier for her to chat to me, because she knows me better. so that was quite nice! but I do love Matteo’s friends. they do try to keep me engaged, and if they can’t, they put the tv in English for me usually! haha!

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The three Matteo's. or in italian they say “Tre Mattei”!

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Matteo ed io!

After a while, Matteo, Christmas, Anna (christmas’ girlfriend), Chiappa, Giorgia, Luca and I all went to the Lord Lichfield’s English pub in Rome, it’s the usual hanging spot to go for a drink when we come to Italy! it’s very english, while they don’t exactly speak English, they have pictures of the royals and famous english people all over the walls! it’s very cute! so we went there and enjoyed a drink, and some patate fritta , then made our way back home.

Now on the way back was where the interesting part of the night happened. we were sitting in the car, singing along to the girly music that Christmas had on his iPhone, when we got stopped by the carabinieri! all 5 of us that were in la macchina had to get out of the car and show them our IDs, which as I later found out was so they could check that we didn’t have a criminal record, because I thought it was very strange that they had to ask everyone for their drivers license or ID cards. good thing I decided to bring mine! then I was explaining to Luca what happens in New Zealand when we get pulled over and the policemen didn’t seem to happy about me speaking in English because they didn’t know what I was saying, so they wanted me to say what I was saying to Luca to them. which I did, I don’t think they understood me anyway! Then I asked them if I could take a photo of their car, and gosh did they get upset with me about it, no no no! that was a crime to take a photo of their car! oh my gosh! that is just very strange to me, I just wanted a photo to put up on here, or on Facebook! ahhhhh! then after a good 15 minutes of checking everything out we were finally able to driver the two minutes back home!

Now it’s nearly 3am, and I’m finally tired and ready to fall asleep!

buona notte!

Anna

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

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

A few things I have noticed after 2 1/2 weeks in Italy

Ciao a tutti,

Mi dispiace that I have been unable to tell you all my news of being in Italia, I’m sure most of you can understand that the internet in this country is sooooooo slow!!!

But I thought I would let you know a few things I have noticed in my time here:

 

Paper Plates and Paper Cups

Whenever I have pranzo (lunch) or cena (dinner) at home or at another family members house, they always bring out the paper plates and cups to save on washing up. I think it’s a fantastic idea! Definitely a way to save on the problem of an overload of dishes when you’re feeding up to and over 10 people!

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Dinner is always late

In New Zealand I am used to having dinner around 6pm, but here they are always have dinner around 8-8:30pm, sometimes even later! So because I’m used to eating earlier, by the time it is dinner time here I’m not very hungry, I have gotten over being hungry. I try to eat as much as I can, but always say poco poco so I’m not stuck with a full stomach before going to bed.

 

Antipasti

There is always an antipasti of meats, assortments and bread before the pasta! I’m always hungry for pasta, but they bring out the antipasti first, and by the time that is eaten I’m not very hungry anymore! 😦

 

Crazy drivers

All italians drive crazy fast and don’t put on their seatbelts! I always make sure my seatbelt goes on, if we have an accident I at least know I will survive. Which is why I always have to tell Matteo to put his seatbelt on when we are in the car.  would rather he be safe and uncomfortable than dangerous and fast. We even had a small car related accident while on our way back from the Campania region. We were waiting to turn on the highway to the road that leads to Roma and a car was coming up too fast, and hit the back corner. Luckily everyone was ok. But I mean, they and a child in their car. What were they thinking?!

the damage to pàpà's machine

the damage to pàpà’s machine

The other guys

The other guys

 

Cats

Cats in Italia are all friends. They all seem to hang out together without getting into scraps with each other, it’s kind of nice to see cats hanging out and not fighting! haha

 

Young Adults

Young adults all meet up around 11pm at random meeting spots (like a random street) and just hang out for about an hour outside their cars before decided to go to a pub or a friend’s house or something of the likes. For me it seems really strange to meet up at bed time! But they all seem to do it. It seems completely normal practice over here!

hanging out with some of matteo's large group of friends - chiappa, giorgia, andrea and me :)

hanging out with some of matteo’s large group of friends – chiappa, giorgia, andrea and me 🙂

Un cafè

Italians go crazy for coffee, that little espresso shot. They have it after every meal, at the bar when we’re in town. I think they would have about 10 every day if they could!!

enjoying my little coffee with 3 sugars!

enjoying my little coffee with 3 sugars!

 

Well here is just a little insight to what I have seen these past few days. But the internet is really frustrating me with how slow it is being! I will try and write again soon!

 

Ciao for now!

 

xxx

Anna

 

Italia a domani!

Italy tomorrow…..

wow, I’m actually going back to Italy tomorrow. With poor language skills, and no one to translate for me. It shall definitely be an interesting ride.

First of all, I would like to thank everyone for their condolence messages, it is much appreciated! And means a lot!

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It will definitely be a rather strange trip to Italia, considering my reason for going early was to spend time with Mamma. But it will still be a nice week I am sure, one of Matteo’s cousins Carlotta will be free most of the week, so I can spend the time with her. Although she doesn’t speak english, and my italian skills are abysmal. Last time we were there, I could get the start of a sentence, miss the vital middle part but I would also know the end of the sentence. It was very frustrated. But I got my phone fixed, and have the trusty google translate app which is pretty hopeless. But hey, if I remember back 20months ago when Matteo and I got together, that was how he spoke english with me, with google translate, so lets hope it will work in reverse with italian!

Me and Carlotta! Who says you need the same language to be great friends! haha

Me and Carlotta! Who says you need the same language to be great friends! haha

I’m nearly all packed. I have packed mostly for Matteo because when he arrives the following Thursday he only has a carry on bag to take, as we plan to buy a second suitcase in italy to fill up with food on our way home. Although, my suitcase is mainly full of gifts, even more than in the pics below, as I got a couple more bottles of wine to give to the aunties and older cousins.

One side of my bag all packed!

One side of my bag all packed!

Am just hoping it doesn’t break in the luggage bay of the aeroplane! The presents are full of overpriced goodies from New Zealand, since I had to buy them from over here, I had to pay ridiculously inflated prices. Gosh I cannot wait until September next year when I can go back to New Zealand a fill up a suitcase with all the food that I miss! haha

It feels so weird to be going to Italy alone though, I can just imagine how my conversation will be when Zia Donatella e Carlotta pick me up. Maybe Gaia will be there too, we shall see! It will probably go like “ahhhhh ciao ciao” then the usual kisses of greeting, then I might be able to work out if they ask how my flight was, only because of that song that goes voooolllllaaaarrreeee! then I will reply with a bene bene, then a come stai? And then it was be Blank…. I will end of being a snob, because I have no more structure of sentences. Unless I say my italian is awful, or I feel stupid, because I worked out how to say those ones too! Oh and I missed you! So I guess it may be like a long 2 minutes of conversation before I go back to being like a child!

Now speaking of children, one piccolo person I CANNOT wait to see will be little Daniel! I have lots of presents for him, and learn so much playing with me (which makes me feel more of an idiota because my language ability is that of a 20month year old) but it will be great! He is the cutest little man in the whole wide world! haha

Piccolo Daniel! Photo credit: Carlotta

Piccolo Daniel!
Photo credit: Carlotta

At least I can hope in the fact that after a week of no one being able to translate for me, I must be able to pick up something! I’ve got my mango languages course on my phone, so I might just listen to that the whole flight, although I restarted the course again as it’s the same as the computer version, and it’s just basic things that I know, like “how are you, what’s your name, have a good day” which I guess is fine to re affirm, I just hope that it will start with useful things, like “can I have a glass of water” which I know eventually comes in the course, I just can’t remember what chapter!

I guess the best way to learn a language is to immerse yourself isn’t it? And while we were there for those 2 1/2 days for such an awful reason, I was forced to speak some italian, and while whenever I attempt to speak it in a group, I get it repeated 5 or 6 times with everyone giggling afterwards and saying che carina which is really quite a put off and makes me feel embarrassed, it did vastly improve. So with a full week without Matteo there to be a translator, it will have to improve!  I think my biggest hindrance to myself is that I’m a bit embarrassed to speak. It’s not that I don’t understand, it’s that I just feel silly speaking the language.

So it should be a great ragazze settimana or girls week! haha! I’ve even got a pohutakawa or New Zealand christmas tree to attempt to grow in Italy! So they can have a little bit of me with them all the time! haha or a little bit of New Zealand!

a New Zealand christmas tree

a New Zealand christmas tree

Well I hope everyone has been having a good summer!

I am sure I will be writing a lot now that I will actually BE in Italy for a whole 4 WEEKS!!! AHHHHHHHHH!

 

 

Ciao a tutti!

Scrive a presto!

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xxx

Anna

 

Ciao mamma….

Allora… I had a not very nice trip to Italy on domenica at lunch time.

We woke up to a call from zia, saying that Matteo needed to come to Italy, but they wouldn’t say why, then after lots of messages between his sorella and himself on facebook, we found out the horrible news… Mamma is gone….

I have never moved so fast, got straight onto the computer, booked the cheapest direct flights to Rome and left as we had about 2 hours to be at the airport before check in closed. Then we arrived to Gatwick airport and was on the plane to Rome in no time, it felt surreal, like it couldn’t be happening… Matteo had just spent a week in Italy spending time with Mamma in the hospital… the doctor said she could probably leave hospital in 2-3 weeks… so that would mean she would either be out, or coming out of hospital by the time we were arriving for our holiday…. not for this to happen, it was a shock, I guess you can never truly be prepared for something like this. I am so glad that Matteo got to spend that week with her though, I think it was so important.

And to think back when we were both there together in febbraio I wanted to get a photo of all 3 of us. And Matteo said no, next time… well I’m never going to get that next time. Neither of us will…

It was quite different for me attending an Italian funeral, coming from a different country there were definitely aspects that I found strange. In the morning we went to the hospital where they had her body in the hospital mortuary. Matteo didn’t want to go in there, I told him it’s important, and Mamma’s fidanzato convinced him it was important as well. So I went with him, she was so beautiful lying there, it just looked as though she was sleeping and she would wake up any minute. I was so glad I could be there for Matteo, that he didn’t have to face it without me there. I was glad I could be there for his sorella as well. Because I know it’s hard of Matteo, but it must be just as hard on Gaia if not more. Because mothers and daughters always have that special bond that you can’t explain.

After we left the hospital we went to the funeral mass, where the priest talked about her during the homily, no one else came up to say a eulogy or anything, there was no slideshow with pictures of her life or anything and I couldn’t really understand much of what was being said. Then we went to the gravesite. That was the thing I found most strange, the priest never came to say a prayer or anything as she was being lowered in the ground. We just got there, they put her in the gravesite and then the grave workers put the dirt over the casket and that was it. Then the family put the flowers that they had gotten during the morning on the gravesite.

It was hard, there is so much I would of liked to have shown Mamma. I loved her very much. She reminded me so much of my mother in New Zealand. Even though I couldn’t speak to her probably, I wished I could of talked to her in Italian and understood what she would say to me. I wish I could have taken her to New Zealand to see what it is like on the other side of the world. I wish I could of just given her one last hug and told her how much I loved her.

But at least now she will be able to understand me. I think when you have faith it makes you understand that even though it’s hard, you believe that she is in a better place, she is no longer in pain, no longer hurting. And now when I talk to her, she can actually understand me even if I can’t speak to her in Italian.

Ciao mammina!

Ciao mammina!

Zia Paola found a good prayer/poem for us to think of It’s St. Augustine’s prayer of death is nothing.

I have just moved to the neighbouring room

I am who I am … you are whom you are,

That which we were to one another,

We will always be.

Call be by my name.

Speak to me like you’ve always did.

Don’t use a different tone ….

Don’t take that look; solemn or sad.

Continue to laugh at that which made us laugh together.

Pray, smile, think of me, pray for me.

Let my name be pronounced at home,

As it always was,

Without pomposity or gloom.

Life is still the same

It is what it always was

The string has not been cut.

Why should I be away from your thoughts?

Just because I am away from your sight?

I’m not far, just on the other side of the road….

You see, everything is fine …

Wipe your tears and cry no more.

Just beautiful, and so true!

Yesterday morning after our horrid day on Monday, Zia Paola took me, Matteo, Gaia, Carlotta and Simone to see castel gandolfo, it reminded Matteo and I that the sun still shines after the storm. It was a nice morning to be together. Zia Paola bought me a piccola bambolina (little dolly) Matteo said that it’s a good reminder for us of the past couple of days. I said I will name my piccola bambolina Stefania. after Mamma. So now I will always have her in bambolina form!

And surprisingly for myself, after two days of having to speak Italian, my Italian drastically improved, only problem for me is, that whenever I speak it, everyone always repeats what I say in my little voice, because they think it’s so cute that I try. Che palle!

Well I hope everyone had a much better weekend/beginning of the week than we did. Was back at work on Wednesday! But I have two weeks now before I go back to Italia, it really won’t be the same anymore. I will never get to say Ciao Mamma anymore when I see her. I think that’s one of the things I will find the hardest, because I loved to say that to her, and I like to think that she liked to hear it from me too!

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me con Gaia e Carlotta

me con Gaia e Carlotta on our goodbye of italia after the funeral, the sun still shines after a storm

Ciao a tutto!

A presto! xxx

Anna





My top 5 places in italia

Ciao a tutti,

Haven’t been on here for a while… you know how it is, life gets in the way and all that! I realise I need to start practising more italian. But I guess I will get there in the end.

I though today I would do my top 5 places in italia! In saying that, next time I go to italy these will probably change again, because I haven’t seen all the places I would yet like to see. But here we go. In no particular order of greatness.

1. Roma

Who doesn’t love rome, from being the very essence of the roman empire, to being the capital of Italy, roma which is in the region of lazio has everything, from current trends to thousand year old buildings such as the Colosseo, you can’t go wrong with roma, considering it has a history expanding more than 2500 years since it’s legendary founding in 753BC definitely the place every tourist needs to go when visiting italia! If you want to know the history of the founding of roma, I could story to look up would be the story of Romulus e Remis

View of palazzo del popolo

View of palazzo del popolo

il colosseo!  Photo credit: Me

il colosseo!
Photo credit: Me

Fontana di trevi

Fontana di trevi

The spanish steps! Such a large crowd!  Photo Credit: Matteo

The spanish steps!
Such a large crowd!
Photo Credit: Matteo

2. Stato della Città del Vaticano

One thing I love about Italia, is that while it’s a country itself, it actually has 2 more countries within it, that of San Marino and vatican city, while I am yet to see the former, I love vatican city, it’s hard to even realise that you’re actually in there, considering you can see it from any high altitude point of roma, with a population of less that 840 residents, it is definitely a place to visit. And we all know the swiss guards look so adorable in their little clown costumes. 😛 haha. I mean I love everything in that “Country” from san pietro, to piazza di san pietro, to the musei vaticani and the sistine chapel. It is all so glorious and beautiful!

beautiful ceiling in the vatican museums

beautiful ceiling in the vatican museums

The Apostle Peter? I think, in the piazza!

The Apostle Peter? I think, in the piazza!

View of st. Peter's from inside the vatican museums

View of st. Peter’s from inside the vatican museums

Pieta, my most favourite artwork in all of italy

Pieta, my most favourite artwork in all of italy

3. Firenze

I travelled to firenze, in my first trip to italia, back in december 2012, my main reason for even wanting to go there was to get myself a puzzle ring, I remember my first evening there, I found the shop I needed to go to and set on a walk to get there, and a man in his maybe mid 30s, stopped me and asked for the time, so I told him, when he realised I only spoke english, he thought it would be a good opportunity for him to practise, and I asked him for directions to the shop I was looking for, he said he would take me, although, I was following maps on my phone at the time, and realised he was leading me in the wrong direction and to his car…. and he kept on wanting to hug me and take selfies with me, needless to say I got a bit scared, quickly told him I had to go, and walked as fast back to the hostel as I could, so unfortunately that put me off going out in naples after 4pm. But I did get to see some amazing things during the day, I love the wee markets they had, I got some funky looking masks, and walking up the dome at the cathedral with the magnificent views of all of firenze, to all the other little piazze I stumbled upon. I definitely would like to go back again… next time though, I will NOT be alone! haha

One thing I do love about florence, is some pretty amazing notable figures came out of there, including Dante – the father of modern italian, to michelangelo, the medici family who created the bank system, and giotto! All remarkable people!

Firenze from the cupola Photo Credit: Me

Firenze from the cupola
Photo Credit: Me

One of the beautiful churches I stumbled across on my walks around firenze

One of the beautiful churches I stumbled across on my walks around firenze

Dante!!!

Dante!!!

The big cathedral!

The big cathedral!

Another view of the cathedral!

Another view of the cathedral!

Brunelleschi's dome

Brunelleschi’s dome

4. Taormina, Sicily

Taormina is in the region of Sicilia it is about midway between Messina and Catania, I spent 2 glorious days of sunshine there just after new years in jan 2013. While the hostel I stayed in was quite unsavoury, since when I arrived people were in my room, and they never topped up the toilet paper at all. So was not very happy, considering the owners were never there for me to ask. But I had some nice walks down the main drag of taormina, beautiful views of mt etna, and just all beautiful scenery! Definitely a place I would like to return too. I remember when I was catching the bus back to Catania to get the train back to roma, bus driver said to me “fa freddo, fa freddo” as I only had a singlet top on (or vest as some people call it), because it was like 20 degrees! That’s not cold!!!

Coastal images

Coastal images

Beautiful views of Etna

Beautiful views of Etna

my selfie in taormina

my selfie in taormina

coastal views

coastal views

more coastal images

more coastal images

5. Assisi!

Now if you love medieval towns along with a bit of Christian history Assisi is the place to go. I remember my first trip to Rome, I had actually booked a tour from Rome to Assisi, but unfortunately it got cancelled, so to my surprise on this trip, I woke up one morning, and Matteo said “Let’s go to Assisi”, after 3 odd hours on the road, and a bit of getting lost, we finally arrived to Assisi, with the beautiful views of the abbey from the hill below. I love that Assisi is just a small town on a hill with like 5 or 6 churches!

With great artworks of Giotto in the basilica, to the statue of San Francesco’s parents. It was all amazing, I literally felt like I had stepped back in time (well minus the vehicles but we were walking everywhere)… with breath taking views of Umbria. It’s definitely a place I want to return too.

View of Assisi from the car on the way there.

View of Assisi from the car on the way there.

Hanging out with the parents of francesco!  Photo Credit: Matteo

Hanging out with the parents of francesco!
Photo Credit: Matteo

Me with the gorgeous view behind me! Photo Credit: Matteo

Me with the gorgeous view of Umbria behind me!
Photo Credit: Matteo

 

I hope you enjoyed! I unfortunately haven’t been to as many places in Italy as I would like to go! I’m sure the next time I go I will find another top 5 places for you to come see with me!!!

Ciao miei amici!

Anna x