With half of Rome gone on holiday and the other half preparing to go its been quiet in the neighbourhood. But if last night’s crowds at Largo Argentina are any indication the void, in Centro at least, is being filled by tourists on a Roman Holiday. We haven’t joined the general exodus and really won’t be going much anywhere except Pesaro on the Adriatic for a few days at the end of the month. Laurent is busy at work, his dad is coming over for a visit mid-month and we’re getting ready to move – so much for Feragosto being the time for rest and relaxation.
The Latina Plain

Overlooking the Latina Plain from the belvedere at Sermoneta.

But a few of my lucky blog buddies have been doing some travelling and sharing of photos and tales. And two weekends ago we did a Sunday jaunt down to Sermoneta with our friends Lorraine and John. Sermoneta is one of those incredibly charming medieval hillside towns that dot the Latina countryside As always I took a few pictures.
Il castello di Sermoneta

Of course every Italian hill town has to have its castle. After all that’s why the town is there. Il Castello di Sermoneta dates from the 12th century.

Steps leading up

And every Italian hillside town has to have steps; flights and flights …

And more steps

… and flights of steps. That’s what you get when you build on a hillside.

  • Larry and Vincenzo have been spending the past few weeks in Sicily including a visit with Vin’s family in Enna. And they’ve been touring around the island with stops in Castelbuono , Cefalù, and Erice. This B and B that they stayed at near Palermo looks wonderful. And needless to say they found some incredible beaches. Now I let Laurent postpone Sicily this year because he wanted to spend a few weeks in Japan in October but I am serving notice – publicly – we are going to spend at least two weeks in Sicily sometime in the next year.

Towards the piazza and belvedere

This is the view down to a belvedere and small piazza from …

Up the steps towards the castle

… the top of this flight of stairs.

The town hall in the piazza

The town hall on the piazza betrays its origins as a monastic building .

The Eternal Flame

In another part of town an Eternal (electric) Flame burns in memory of sons of Sermoneta who died in the many wars that have raged in the area over the past 200 years.

  • And my darling Dora was off to New Orleans, accompanying her Beastman on a business trip, and knocking the town ass over tea kettle in a fabulous new red dress. And being our Dora, she and Madame Destin had a meeting on a rainy street that turned into a lovely and touching experience and started a friendship. And she has… ahem… ahem… promised to give us some shots of her in that red dress!

Pub curtains

I did a double take when I saw the Irish lace curtains – shades of my childhood – then I realized it was an Irish pub. Honest! They’re everywhere even hill town Italia.

Houses surrounded with greeneryHouse surrounded by greeneryA doorway

Even amongst the marble, concrete and cobblestones people here make sure there is greenery surrounding them.

The central piazza

The crowds from a bicycle regatta had dispersed by the time we reached the central piazza and it was getting close to pranzo (lunch) so strollers where starting to turn attention to their stomachs.

  • Jeff is famous for those drives through the Los Angeles area that he’s been taking us on every Sunday – the radio playing classic rock, camera at the ready he has captured the often fantastical architecture that is SoCal and LA. Last Sunday we drove through Beachwood Canyon and found out the real story behind that Hollywood sign. And two weeks ago we had the pleasure (?) of a sleep over at the Madonna Inn. I can only echo Dora on that one: Words fail me.

St Joseph and the young Jesus

Il Duomo di Maria Vergine Assunta in Cielo is a fine example of the Fossanova style but sadly in need of restoration. I found this St Joseph with the young Jesus oddly touching.

Madonna Altarpiece

The most notable treasure in the Duomo is Benozzo Gozzoli’s altarpiece of the Madonna holding Sermoneta protectively in her lap.

St Joseph over the doorSt Michael guarding the entrance hall

This family was taking no chances: St Joseph with his flowering staff protected the door way and St. Michael defends against Satan in the entrance way. Hopefully between the two of them they defeated any attempts of evil to enter.

  • Back in June Cowie and Brownie at Around Britain with a Paunch – and by the way I’ll be damned if I can see a paunch on either one of them – spent a weekend in Burgundy. As always the produce and food photos make the mouth water and the soul yearn for such a weekend. Hell weekend let’s make it a week.

A deserted street

A deserted street in an Italian town at 1 PM on a Sunday can only mean one thing: everyone must be at …

The garden of Simposio

… pranzo. As indeed they were and we joined them in the garden of Simposio, a wonderful restaurant overseen by the ebulient Flabio Stavali. He can charm in five different languages.

A secondi to die for

But all the charm in the world wouldn’t matter if the food wasn’t exceptional. And Fabio’s food is exceptional. We managed two portions of antipasti (including the best fried artichokes I’ve ever tasted) between the four of us, a tasting of 4 different pastas, and this secondi of beef and a wild boar sausage, a docle (heavenly pana cotta smothered in Fabio’s brandied cherries) a pleasant local prosseco, Fabio’s home made grappa and coffee. Colour us well fed!

  • And it was wonderful to see comments yesterday from my Blog Mother Lynette- she’s been missing for far too long. And though it is travel of a different type she took me down memory lane and frankly made me homesick with her most recent post. Whither she’s writing political, social, biographical or nostalgical she always captures with her thoughts and her words. Welcome back Belle!

06 agosto – San Sisto II


Its been a while since I’ve shared some of the riches out there from my blog buddies and its about time I did. And here’s a few pictures of Spoleto from our weekend in Feburary (and a few from the past weekend) that have been hanging around that I’ve meant to share but some how never got around to posting.

Death Notices - SpoletoThe tradition of posting death notices on billboards, expressly there for that purpose, still exsists in smaller towns in Italy. This was one of the boards in Spoleto last Sunday.

  • Over at Big Ass Belle, Lynette enjoys the first tomato from her garden and in the process makes me so homesick for a Bacon and Tomato sandwich. The tomatoes we get here are fantastic its getting the North American style bacon that’s the problem.

I’m pretty sure almost every Umbrian hill down has its Boca fountain. Spoleto is no exception however this one is build into the first wall surrounding the Rocca castle. It was probably originally fed from the castle cistern.

  • I’m not sure why but this posting from Sageweb had me laughing and shedding a few tears too. It can’t be menopausal, I’m not on any drugs and I wasn’t hung over. Maybe just a happy high?

The ceramics in this area are colourful and though expensive can be an attractive addition to that small hillside villa we all want to buy. The best we could do were two ornaments to add to this year’s Christmas tree.

  • Since May, maybe earlier, Speck has been sharing her Hot Dog cartoons with us. I have to admit that Francine is my favorite but here’s a few of them for you to relish! Sorry I just had to.

I’m not sure that security is really a big issue in Spoleto but this palazzo owner wasn’t taking any chances – and admittedly the window is almost level with the pavement.

  • Lorraine reminds us that last Friday was the 232nd anniversary of the official birth of the United States; and she makes some observations on the documents that define America. And if you scoll on down she lets us share on her road trip with the Child and Auld Hat to visit our friend Sling.

The shops in Spoleto tend to the trendy, the elegant and the expensive. And they do know how to display things.

  • And speaking of Sling he posted an old Pete Seager number that had me singing along and remembering my brother on guitar singing tenor, my sister-in-law doing alto and me mostly off-key boy soprano. Goodnight Irene anyone?

And again speaking of Sing, when I see woodworking like this – the choir stalls at the Duomo in Spoleto – I am reminded of postings he done about the work he and his colleagues do as cabinet makers.
  • The talented and witty Hat takes an aphronism from Mark Twain that is not one of his better know – but it should be – and gives it an artistic and philisophical twist.

The goodies that are available in stores like this are incredible – pastas, meats, condiments, wines – everything need to make a great meal.

08 lulgio – San Adriano


It’s been a while since I’ve shared the wealth of postings that are out there on my favorite blogs, not because I haven’t been checking things out but mostly because I’ve gotten lazy. There’s been a kind of lethargy settled over our place the last month or so – call it the post-winter blahs, big-city depression, whatever but its certainly had its effect on my blogging activity. It took me almost a week to get a posting done on the very exciting Fidelio I experienced two weeks ago; and I still haven’t posted anything about the two Vatican visits last weekend – but they are in the works. Maybe by Pentecost???

Here are a few things that I’ve read and enjoyed over the past few weeks.

  • One of my great inspirations when I first started blogging, the incredible Lynette over at Big Ass Belle posted a piece on prayer God’s Golden Spotlight back at the end of March – yes its been that long since I shared. It came at a time for me when prayer seems to have, in a small way, reentered my life. And it’s great to see Lynette posting again, even if for the moment it is only off and on.

Alms slot at St Giacomo in Augusto

This alms slot is at the portal of the now closed Church of St Giacomo in Augusto which was built to serve the former hospital for the incurables.

  • The newly shaven EvilGnome had an unusual sighting in the middle of Boston earlier this week. And his camera has come in handy for capturing the birds that are flocking to his neighbourhood. And in his wry way he shared his thoughts as he looked in the mirror razor in hand.

Monuement in St Maria dei Aracoeli

This funeral monument set in the floor at Santa Maria dei Aracoeli was commissioned to commemorate the burial spot of an important personage for eternity. Ironically their name and face has been erased by the footsteps of centuries of worshipers and tourists.

  • As well as changing her profile picture (you can’t mistake those naughty eyes) Sageweb had a transcendental experience in the grocery aisle that had me in stitches. And she ended the week with two great videos that are touching and reaffirming.

A converted stable

Just off Campo di Fiori this stable/coach house dates from the 1500s – its now a beauty salon. Sic Transit Upsweep!

Vatican Museum - Map of Venice

We saw this famous map of Venice last Monday during our private tour of the Vatican Museum – its on the wall at the end of the incredible Map Room. Venice is one of our favorite cities and we’ll be there next week just in time for their Patronal festival. Don’t even ask about the cost of hotel rooms!

  • Foodie Jonathan at Around Britain with A Paunch praises the joys of Heinz 57 and unveils a new upscale version that’s coming on the market.

Crowds at Trevi

For any of you who think you want might want to relive those moments from Three Coins in the Fountain – here’s the crowds at the Fontana di Trevi on a quiet day in late February. You won’t want to see it now that the warm weather is here. Actually you may not be able to see it.

  • For the past few weeks Jeff has been taking us on a Sunday drive through his neighbourhoods. It reminded me of the Sunday drives we often took when I was young – only in this case the driver is a heck of a lot better looking.

Bacchus at Bleve

When we were having lunch with friends at Bleve, a great little wine bar near San Andrea delle Valle, Laurent noticed that this Bacchus seemed just a little bit tipsy. I must say his eyes do have that slightly unfocused look I remember – says he very self-righteously after over six weeks without a drink – from my drinking days.

  • And Elizabeth has been keeping us posted, as her time allows, on how things are progressing with KH after his surgery. Though I’ve removed the candle from the sidebar I’m still stopping in to light a candle for his recovery and to remind myself of the needs and concerns of so many of my friends.

Photo-op at San Pietro

After the Papal audience on the Wednesday following Easter newly married couples were lining up for their photo-op. Couples come from all over to re-don their wedding finery and receive the Papal blessing during the general audience. The couple waiting their turn were from Spain.

You may have read some of these posts already – if not give them a visit. And if you have, what it would hurt you to take a second look?

19 aprile – Sant’Emma

More Sharing

And wouldn’t you know it, I no sooner finish putting up the previous post than I come across three more items I want to share.

  • Our friend Larry is continuing a tradition in Rome that he started with a group in New York – a Lenten Journey. Here in Rome he is making a visit to one of the Station Churches each week of Lent linking his visit with a reading of the Beatitudes. This week a visit to Basilica di San Clemente and a Beatitude brought back memories of his Pacific Coast childhood and his mother. A lovely and loving tribute.

Shrine in the Borgo

Of course shrines are everywhere in this city – this one is built into an arch of the Passetto Borgo, a fortification that runs from the Papal Apartments to Castel Sant’Angelo.

Contented cat

A very contented cat basks in the sun at the Cat Sanctuary at Torre Argentino. It is one of several homes for the many stray cats that wander the streets of Rome.

  • LotusGreen of Japonisme has spotted a Klimt inspired trend in some of the new fashion collections unveiled in the past month. Her keen eye has caught the similarites between many of the materials and designs being used and the works of the Viennese painter. And while your there you might want to listen to the Mills Brothers sing Yellow Bird.

21 febbraio – San Pier Damiani


There have been quite a few changes going on in my little corner of Blogdom and at least one addition to my list of favorites.

  • In an unusual concept three of my favorite bloggers have joined forces with a friend of theirs, who I’m ashamed to say I hadn’t visited before, to become East End Boys and West End Girls. Auld Hat (The Voluptury), Cowbell (I Need More Cowbell), Eric (Secrets of the Red7) and Maine Gay have turned blog reading into one-stop-shopping – we’ll now be getting four great blogs for the price of one. And Ms Hat’s template is innovative and cool.

Bas Relief - King David

King David plays his harp before the Lord – bas relief from the organ decorations at San Giovanni in Laterna.

  • And the sexiest food photographer I know has, with his buddy Al, done a redesign of his blog. The new look over at Tater is clean and classy and the writing remains amongst the best in blogdom. And those photographs… I want me a big bowl of cherries.

Red Bull SmartCar

I knew those damned SmartCars needed some sort of power booster.

  • And speaking of food, at Around Britain with a Paunch Jonathan has posted a very unusual food fight. As well he and Cowie are cooking up some goodies, visiting some upscale restaurants and on a very serious pancake hunt.

Spider web gate

An very Deco spider spins its metal web on a gate near our house.

  • Our blogmother Lynette has come briefly out of retirement and posted another one of her powerful pieces. Kayla is not an easy read and if you are like me you will be both heart-broken and enraged.

Collanade at San Pietro

Towards the Piazza San Pietro from the steps of the Basilica.

  • Elizabeth at Love Elizabeth touches on diversity in two posts – one as an observer and the other as one of the observed. And over on her other planet, Ridiculon, she’s posted a photo that asks, it seems to me, a reasonable question.

Forgotten tombstones

These tombstones lay forgotten by the side of Via Nomentana, our main street. No doubt they are relics from the catacombs that warren the area.

  • Buddy Sling recounts an adventure in dining at Applebee’s that makes me appreciate that here in Italy being a waiter/waitress is a profession not a inoportune pause on the road to stardom. And earlier in the week he provided us with some real pretty guitar music.

The Fountain of the Four Rivers in Piazza Navona is being restored. This means using dental equipment to clean delicate surfaces. Sort of like a teeth cleaning only takes a hell of a lot longer.

  • It often happens that someone posts a comment and you’ve never seen them before, so off you going to check out their blog and how it would connect to you and your interests. I’m guessing Gertsamtkunstwerk is, amongst other things, an opera fanatic but the title Mad Musing of Me pretty much says it all. Been enjoying the posts immensely and according to one I’m in the Upper Middle Class. My accountant would be surprised to hear that.

21 febbraio – San Pier Damiani