We’ve taken up “stamp collecting” in Italy.

No, I’m not talking about keeping a dusty book full of various century-old Italian stamps. Instead, it’s about the very contemporary art of “stamping” in Italy. Now that’s worthwhile and is of utmost concern . . . and it’s a lot more fun! This is an interactive blog entry. Help us decide what could possibly be behind the thunderously noisy and exacting art of stamping. Who are these maniacal officials and can we find a way to stamp out stampers? (more…)

Whenever someone says, “Would you like to see the villa?” say yes!

First of all, let me clarify. The term villa has been used and abused in recent years as people have tried to attach romantic charm and elegance to contemporary houses. Well, don’t let them fool you. Even the largest and most expensive re-creations don’t measure up to the natural magic and inspirational quality of an authentic villa Italiana. Just take one step into the century-old gardens surrounding one of those gems and you’ll discover a peaceful calm like no other—just relax and soak in each delicious moment. (more…)

A nature lover at heart, I wouldn’t hurt a flea—but a fly . . . yes!

I have never heard anyone voluntarily, or under duress espouse the virtues of the common fly. I understand that they are part of creation just like me, but that doesn’t give them the right to pester, pollute and perpetrate everyday acts of annoyance on innocent people. Actually, my disdain for the fly goes way back. (more…)

I looked up and saw something incredible.

There on the hill across the valley was the star that I had all but forgotten about. It’s actually a deep woods surrounded by olive groves and old farm houses, where the edges of the woods are delineated be different plants so that it resembles a three-dimensional star gently laying on the hillside. I first saw it about 6 years ago when my mother (then in her early 80s) and her husband, Harold, were visiting for several weeks. I’ll never forget it. (more…)

Wild animals are one of the most interesting aspects of living in the Italian countryside. When we first arrived here 10 years ago, we were mostly alone up on this hill. Surrounded by nature, we saw and heard it all: cinghiali, wild boar; fagiani, pheasant; lupi, wolves; volpi, fox; caprioli, deer; cornigli, rabbits; istrici, porcupines; lucertoli, lizards and many serpenti, snakes. Of course, the ucelli, birds are everywhere—a constant chorus of canzoni del bosco, wood-songs. (more…)