Posts Tagged ‘Campania’

YES I drove from Guardia Sanframondi in  Campania to  Pescara in Abruzzo by myself!! It was about 144 miles! I am so proud of myself…. Me who was and still is terrified of the narrow village streets and the winding country roads did okay on the autostradas even though I went through tunnels twice as long as the Lincooln tunnel and at 100km.  Joel if you’re listening, your mom drove as fast as 114km, can you believe it?

When I got to Termoli, I was ecstatic thinking, Pescara was just up the coast a bit but no, it was actually another 75 kilometers away and that part of the trip was horrible.When I arrived in Pescara I had no idea as to where the train station was and was lost for awhile and texting with Barbara who was patiently waiting wasn’t helping.  When I got some directions and found it, it was so big and I was on the other side from where she was, I couldn’t pull in because they wanted me to pay for parking.  I texted her I’m near a big black locomotive and a lot of motorcycles – Barbara thought I must be at another station!

By the time we got to Pineto our Airbnb hostess were wondering what happened to us? One didn’t speak English so she had her sister there to explain, however much was left very vague.  We were not exactly sure where the beach was or the grocery store and I was exhausted and not about to get in the car again.  So we ate a light meal of cheese, olives, sausage, and wine.


Tell me that doesn’t look like an Italian repast?

We had a horrible time with WiFi, only Barb was on because one of the women put the password on Her phone before they left.  The next day we had NO 💦 water , so we called.  The next door neighbor said we would have water tomorrow, oh well isn’t that nice?  Roberta ( the English speaking sister) sent another sister over who also spoke English and as she and Lucia (?) arrived the water came back on, Go figure, this is Italy.  But since she was here maybe she could get me on wifi. Turns out the letter that Barbara and both thought was a q was actually an a!

We spent a day exploring the town, having coffee, found an open air market,


We just happened upon this open air market and bought some apricots.

Barb bought an outfit, we had a pretty good meal at a local pizzeria, went grocery shopping.  Still tired from traveling we went to bed kind of early…at 5:45am a rooster started crowing, I thought I was dreaming. I opened my eyes found my glasses and looked at my phone for the time , Geez God! At about 7am the garbage truck came by, at 7:45am the man next door started up his car outside my window and opened his gate to leave.  At 8:00am the church which is about 100 yards away began ringing their 🔔 s.  The clanging went on for over a minute, and it was a Friday morning?? There was no a/c and no screens so we actually slept with the windows open.  Barbara pulled down the metal shade that has tiny air holes in but my room had French doors and a beautiful full sheer blue curtain, so my doors were open and just the curtain hung – by the way there were no bugs whatsoever coming in! Just noise!


This little church made BIG noise! Those 🔔 Bells! The Church Of San Francisco

Hi We thought we would cook dinner since our hostess left us a lb. of pasta and a ajar of pasata which is like tomato purée/sauce but when we tried to turn the stove on, there was no gas! After a phone call to Peter who suggested the gas was not turned on, I realized I had seen two yellow lever like handles under the sink and sure enough, I turned one and whaadayaknow, we had gas

To Be Continued…


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The official name is Guardia Sanframondi, in the Province of Benevento in the region known as Campania.  Probably Campania is best known for the city of Naples and the glorious Amalfie Coast.  However Campania is a large region spanning from the western coast of Italy up into the mountains in its northeast corner.  And it is up into the mountains where the medieval town of Guardia Sanframondi is located.


View of the original medieval village as you approach the town.


A Slightly Different View


One Of Many Beautiful Passageways In The Medieval Village


Close Up of the Castle



Feast Your Eyes


See The “New Old” Town Built Around The Walls Of The Medieval Village -see left of photo

I am basically featuring the medieval village because this is where many Americans and Canadians have bought and are buying up these stone houses within the walls of the village. They have renovated, restored, repainted and refreshed many, many properties.  I believe there are about 100 “foreigners” owning property in Guardia at this time.  Life is beautiful here.  Most purchasers do not relocate permanently, they come 2-3 times a year and spend several weeks or a couple of months.  I also met several expats who are now full time residents. Interesting!!?? Stay tuned.

Ciao for now!

To be continued…


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Raphael offered to take us to see some ancient ruins IF we could be up and ready by 8:30am on Thursday morning.  Ugh, the thought of being showered and out of the apartment by then was distasteful BUT an opportunity to see something with Raphael, would certainly be interesting.  It was wonderful for us to see Italy through the eyes of an Italian who spoke English.  We knew how lucky we were to find not one, or two but three locals to  whom we could turn to when only English would do and not my fragmented Italian.

So  armed with cups of strong Italian coffee, we took off for parts unknown.  Peter let me sit in the front which was a bonus and a tribulation.  I got to listen to and speak to Raphael easier than if I sat in the back BUT as we careened down the mountain’s curved roads and through some very narrow little villages and more mountain roads, I clung to the armrest on the door of his little Fiat.

We arrived to a time and place that up till now only existed in ancient history books.  It was a beautiful sunny morning and this national landmark was open to all at any time.  No parking lots, no tickets to buy, no lines to stand in – just history in its purest form!

Altilia was an ancient Samnite town in south central Italy.  This area was heavily invaded and within the walls of this town, you can see influence from Romans and Greeks as well.  Although the ruins are not outstanding, it was the most serene place to be on sunny late spring morning.


Look closely and you can see the image of a bird’s head and beak.


One of my favorite photos showing the aqueduct system running through the foundations of the houses. Hot water ran under the stone homes to heat them in the winter.


Some pillars are still standing from one of the two temples in Altilia. Temples to Jupiter and Apollo had been erected there.


The remains of the town’s amphitheater remain fairly intact.


Imagine these walls, built so long ago that the town itself was captured by the Romans in 293 BC

I learned so much about Sepino (Altilia formerly) from Raphael – I have to repeat how lucky we were to have his company and expertise guiding us through these ancient ruins.  He is a very intellectual man, a former professor and a student of sociology and philosophy.

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The Tales, Trials, and Tribulations of Travels with Peterlori

For the those readers of mine who have in the past enjoyed the tales of my trials and tribulations in travel, I think you’re in for a treat.  This trip was long in the  planning stage;  As the New Year rang in, the stark reality of turning 70 this year hit me,  and well,  that and a fairly significant real estate deal gone south, caused me to re-assess a LOT of things. What followed were a series of days and weeks when the phrases Carpe diem, You only live once and Don’t put off till tomorrow what you can do today and lastly, My God, this is a BIG one!  That’s the prologue to my finally deciding to go for it!  I’m going to celebrate my 70th birthday in Italy!!

And so in the wee hours of the morning (a.k.a. I can’t sleep because my mind is racing), I searched and searched and then researched and read and read some more and  then I did the following:  I booked a flight to Rome (because Naples was more expensive) so reasonably I was jumping up and down at my desk.  Then through Facebook, I communicated with the owner of a B&B in Guardia Sanframondi, in Campania Italy.  I checked out whether we should train it to the village from Rome but realized it would be best to rent a car so we could drive around once there.  So I went online and rented one, you have to love the internet.

But why Guardia Sanframondi you ask?  Well, last year I saw a segment of Sunday Morning that featured this town as a place many Americans were buying homes in this medieval town – I was intrigued.  Then I found out that Guardia was within an hour’s driving distance to Mirrabello di Santico which is the village my paternal grandfather was born and raised till at age of 16, he took off for America.  Mirrabello di Santico is in the province of Molise.  Several years ago, my cousin Kathi did extensive genealogical research and during the Christmas holiday, she showed me many of the documents she had uncovered.  Since no one is still alive who would know the history, things seemed a bit confusing. My cousin said the family came from Mirrabello, my grandfather used to refer to Naples, my grandmother said her family was from the province of Abruzzo but we believe it was Salerno, my father often told me I must be Calabrese (a slur referring to my being stubborn), and to that add the fact that over the years, some of the borders of those provinces blurred.  This landmark birthday was the perfect time to find my roots.

The Provinces of Italy

We’re Basically In The RED

Over the next couple of months I corresponded with my soon-to-be host, Pasquale Orso.  Pasquale owns a B&B, La Tana dell’ Orso, http://www.bborso.com/ but more about him later.  I began my compulsive organizing, much list-making, reading blogs and printing out reams of information: directions, maps, reservation confirmations, airline confirmations,  house rules for the Airbnb (where we would stay in Rome), airport information as well as several pages of family genealogical information and a letter from my grandfather to his mother which I hoped to have translated.  I also made arrangements for a friend to stay in our apartment and take care of our cats for a few days and hired Edith, a cat sitter and friend, to feed and care for Nick and Nora once our friend left.  Additionally keys were designated for both parties, the doorman notified, and the Super agreed to move our car to accommodate New York City’s alternate side parking rules.  Whew!  

Monday evening May 15th was D-Day (Departure date) and in the days prior, clothes were ironed and laid out all over the apartment.  The night before I folded everything with tissue paper and packed my shirts and pants in these great plastic  packing bags my sister-in-law, Juanita gave me.  The next morning I insisted on washing my hair and then packed last minute make-up etc.. Of course being true to myself, I also dusted the bedroom, put clean sheets on the bed, laid out fresh towels for my house guest and put a new bar of soap in the shower.  

We are almost ready to leave – Peter said we should leave about 2:30pm.  Our flight was scheduled to leave at 5:20pm.  I took the airline confirmations out of the folder they were in and tried to reach the airline to see if we could change our seats.  That exercise went nowhere after about 15 minutes of wait time.   I had hard-boiled eggs to eat on the plane, packed some carrots and tarelli (Italian biscuits) and packed them into my handbag.  I made it a point to take a handbag that would be large enough to hold my Kindle, my iPad and the folders of information I collected.


Tarelli – photo “borrowed” from Wildeastblog.com

As the clock creeped towards 3:00pm I flew into my crazy-we-got-to-go mode, barking orders to Peter and lamenting over the fact that we would not be able to greet Jade, our friend who would stay in the apartment.  Kiss the cats, grab the suitcases  and lock the door.  As it happened we met Jade coming out of the elevator as we were going down.  Quick hug and kiss, we GOT TO GO!  In the lobby the doorman stops me before I can go out and hail a taxi.  It seems I forgot to complete a form notifying the building that I have a house guest who has my permission and key to come and go.  Peter has found the mailman who was still in the building and asks him to give our mail to the front desk.

We are off!!!  And if you are wondering why I went into such great detail about my preparations, just wait till you read on.

                                                                                                  to be continued…









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