Tivoli, as promised

Horribly late again, I know that. In my defense I’ve to tell you that so far my 2020 has been pretty turbulent, both in a good and in a bad way. Let’s go back on topic anyway.

The first thing I did in Tivoli was run! One of the main reasons for me being there was Villa d’Este and I knew the garden would close pretty soon, plus on New Year’s Day basically everything is closed. It was more or less a now or never situation. Despite it being pretty cold I arrived at my B&B literally drenched in sweat because not only did I run, I run on a steep climb which turned out to be the wrong one. So after that I had to run some more, this time on a flight of steps. Since apparently I can run faster than I thought, I arrived before the owner, who I couldn’t call on the phone due to total lack of signal, so I had to ask a nearby bar where a kind guy pointed me to the owner’s mum’s house. I forgot to be shy, rang the bell and finally had my room in the prettiest, cozyest B&B ever!

When I arrived at Villa d’Este I realized my phone was almost dead, so I had to limit the pictures, which I hate on one hand, on the other hand I’ve to admit it wasn’t bad at all to simply enjoy the place without a camera always in my hand. Ah, the charm of traveling old style! After all I still managed to take a few nice pics so I’m satisfied. The interior of that beautiful, ancient house has some amazing ceilings, but is pretty much empty, infact for me the best part is the garden. It’s huge, with many many fountains, one more outstanding than the other, baroque sculptures, and panoramic views. I’m sure that by night, with the lights on, it must look like a dream. They allow visits by night only during the summer, anyway, what a pity. Not that I’m complaining, I had the luck to be there in a wonderful, sunny winter afternoon, and let me tell you, the sunset was so beautiful I almost cried. About that, there’s a roof terrace where you can enjoy a 360° view. Try to be there in time for the sunset, you won’t regret it!.

There are other two villas and an ancient temple to see in Tivoli, but they’re closed during winter holidays, so I could only see them from the outside. Anyway the town’s historical center is small and pretty and one can simply stroll around the narrow lanes and just enjoy being there. For some reasons it looks like the locals are very fond of pizza. I mean, sure, that’s Italy for you, but I was still impressed by the number of pizza places I came across. I tried a few and I was pretty satisfied with my purchases.

After that I spent the most important midnight of the year in the main square. There was music, people, a small ice rink and a friendly, lively atmosphere. I didn’t stay very long because I had a small trekking planned for the next day, besides it was really cold, at least by my standards. The trekking proved to be a little disappointing, though, probably because I was simply tired from the night before, but the sun shone bright and I stopped to bask in it for a while on a big, square, white rock. It was worth it, in the end.

An advice for myself now. Small towns like tivoli tend to keep all of their attractions closed on the main holidays, so it’d be wiser to go on normal week ends.

New year’s eve for single ladies

As usual I find myself starting this story from afar, but I’ll try to keep it short. Well, a long time ago, when I was a teen ager, I loved last year’s celebrations very much. I didn’t go to clubs and I didn’t spend uncanny amounts of money in fancy restaurants, I usually had a very abundant dinner with my enlarged family, then went out with my friends after midnight. This was more or less the italian tradition. Time passed by and we all get a bit older, which was even better because it was dinner with friends and a party at home soon after. As it happens, yet more time passed by, so friends were tired an started to claim they wanted to go to sleep right after midnight, then some of them had children and all that jazz. I found myself associating boredom, loneliness and depression with one of the holidays I used to love the most. For a period I told myself, give it a rest, this is just how life goes! Then I changed my mind. I started to tell myself I’m still alive, I want to do things, I want to be happy now! So what saved me from all this decay? As usual, the solution is within ourselves, it only takes a small act of will. I truncated that sort of umbilical cord that tied me probably too tightly to my friends, people I still love more than my own life, with whom I don’t have so much in common anymore, and I started reorganizing myself, for myself, by myself. You should never, ever, delegate your happyness to other people, not even in small things such these.

Well, last year I found a small agency that organized dinners and parties for people who never met each other before. It was fun! I made some new friends and got the chance to wear my favourite dress, the dinner was great and we partied almost all night. This year, tho, I find myself running out of the necessary amount of energy to interact with brand new people. I’m basically an introvert, so making friends doesn’t always come naturally to me and I decided to do what I always do when in doubt. Travel!

My first step will be the little, lovely Tivoli, near Rome. Easy to reach by train from Tiburtina Station, not too expensive and surely equipped with some amazing gardens and ancient villas to see. I honestly don’t know why I never went there before, there’s so much to see and I even found a lovely apartment to rent. I’m almost more excited about that than all the things I’m going to see! Soon after I’ll go to San Gimignano, Tuscany, where I’ll even meet two friends I didn’t get to see since last year. Now, San Gimignano is really, absolutely a must see if you happen to be in Italy. It’s probably on every, single travel guide and if you go there you can see why. It’s a small medieval town, with stone towers, narrow streets and amazing art hidden inside the churches. The last time I went there I was a little girl of maybe ten, so I remember almost nothing, but I still have a small, marble owl my parents bought me as a souvenir. The only flaw, maybe, is that the ancient burgh is not immediately linked to Florence. You can still get there by train+bus, so this is not even a real problem, and probably it’s even easier to reach if you’re in Siena.

Well, of course I’ll be back on this topic probably at the very beginning of 2020 and hopefully with some nice pic to show you. Let’s hope the weather will have mercy.

Looks like I’m making friends

And let me tell you, I couldn’t be more satisfied because finding new friends with my same passion for travels is one of the purposes of this blog.

So, long story short, HERE you can find my first, but not last, contribution to Food and Travel Guides, an awesome blog about, guess what? Food and Travel 🙂 I decided to talk about my home town, Naples, because I’m just in love with it.

I’m also right in the middle of planning my first 2020 trip and I’m super excited! It’ll be Italy again because I can’t leave for too long, but I’m looking forward to red wine, delicious food and a touch of Middle Age! I’ll be back soon with more details.

Why nobody talks about Molise?

Why have I never done it? What’s Molise, anyway?

Well, let’s start from the beginning. As I’ve already told you before, probably more than once, I’m definitely an autumn enthusiast. This means I really enjoy red leaves, fireplaces, crisp air and all the package. I really wish to experience autumn in Canada, for an instance, but this is another story. Since I had a couple of free days, two weeks ago, I decided to leave for a small trip with a few dear friends of mine. The problem was, where to go without spending a small fortune and without having to stay in a car for the whole duration of the trip? As it turns out there’s a region in the south of Italy which for some reason isn’t really on the main tourists roads, despite being pretty close to some beautiful and well known villages, and also on the road to a few of the most popular ski resorts in the south. This region also has some amazing landscapes, is not crowded at all so you can really enjoy its relaxed, peaceful atmosphere and if this were not enough, with a little luck you can run into the truffle festival!

Well, this is Molise for you! For me there’s just a virtual, self-inflicted clip behind the hear because of course I knew Molise existed, but it never occurred to me to go there, despite it being really close to where I live.

We had to choose the easy paths for our walks because it was a rainy weekend but it was wonderful just the same. I got to collect a small booty of pine cones and acorns with which I am having fun making some Christmas decorations. We also visited a sanctuary for injured or sick animals, where they are currently treating wonderful birds of prey and some turtles. Or maybe the turtles are just there as permanent guests, I’m not sure.

Unfortunately, deer and does were nowhere to be seen, but it is completely understandable. You never know what some smelly humans can do.
As far as I know in the region there is also a large peat bog where you can meet wild horses, among countless other species of animal and birds in particular. It must be a beautiful place, and definitely something I will want to see sooner rather then later. I’ve already seen something of the sort in France and it was really far beyond amazing. Sadly for this I will have to wait for spring.


In the meantime, my advice is, if you are in the south of Italy don’t snub Molise!

A day to remember

Aaros Museum
Rainbow Terrace

I always thought that the best test to see how much a place, a person or an experience has affected me is to let time go by. I get excited quite easily but more often than not it’s just a flash in the pan, then it’s over. If after a few weeks or months the memories (either good or bad) are still vivid, my mind keeps on going there at the most random moments, then I know that that experience really did something for me.

Well, looks like ARoS Museum in Aarhus, Denmark, is one of those places destined to stay close to my heart for a long long while. I’ll be honest, Aarhus is not my city. I mean, it’s a nice, lively and interesting place, I enjoyed my short time there and even tasted a wonderful ice cream, but I couldn’t feel the spark, so to speak. Nevertheless, I totally, absolutely, greatly enjoyed the Museum of Modern Art, a place that in my almost total ignorance of that particular city, I didn’t think I’d find there. Luckly my friends in Aalborg pointed me in the right direction.

Mind you, it’s sort of pricey (like many other european museums), but it’s also huge, so you’ll find it’s worth the money. About that, keep in mind you’ll have to spend a few hours there, if you want to see it all, it’s totally worth the time too, just remember to plan your trip carefully if you don’t have much time.

Before anything else, you have to experience the Rainbow Panorama on the terrace of the 10th floor. It’s a 360° view on the city through colored glasses. Very fun and, I’d say, cinematographic. I have seen it on a cloudy day, I can only imagine how amazing it has to be when it’s sunny. Anyway, forget any maturity you may posses and abuse your selfie stick, you’ll hardly be the only one. Another very enjoyable experience is right on the ground floor, where you’ll find a permanent collection of sound, lights and installations. Many of them are interactive, others are just stunning. Again, you may want to spend an inordinate amount of time down there.

On the 6th floor you’ll find the awesome, albeit sort of intimidating, work of Ron Mueck. If I remember correctly it’s not permanent, so hurry up if you’re interested. I think it’ll stay untill the end of 2020. And if you are a 20th century history freak like me, don’t miss Before the Fall of the Wall, another non-permanent installation whose title is kind of self explenatory.

There are so many other things worth mentioning, but really, it’s hard to describe the whole museum into details. There’s so much to see, experience and enjoy. And to buy too, the bookshop is a never ending temptation, as it should be!

There is something about fall

And that something is color. How beautiful is the blue of the summer sky, how pretty is the sparkling white of the snow and nothing brings joy like spring flowers. Yet, the warm color of the autumnal nature is unbeatable for me.

Almost all my friends are great summer fans so they low-key criticize me for this, but I’m sure I’m not the only one passionate about autumn. Especially when the sun is in the sky and the air is crisp but not cold.
It really is the ideal climate for a nice walk. This one I did a couple of weeks ago is also truly easy. It’s a path called La Camosciara that’s part of the Abruzzo, Campania and Molise National Park, in the south of Italy. It’s really suitable for everyone, this means that you don’t have the feeling of being completely surrounded by nature because for the most part you walk on the asphalt, anyway I strongly recommend it.

A small river runs close by the main road and all around there are all kind of threes. In October their foliage is red and golden and truly spectacular. There are supposed to be chamois, boars, bears and all sorts of wild life. I wasn’t lucky tho, I guess the animals prefer not to interact with humans and I can’t even blame them. Birds are less problematic in this respect, so you can easily spot small hawks, which is always a huge emotion for a town girl.

The last part of the path is a short and easy climb that crosses the woods (no asphalt here, yay!) and leads to a couple of waterfalls. I’m quite sure there are other paths leading up to the surrounding mountains but this time I didn’t get to explore them, I guess I’m not adventurous enough to go around without a map.

So what’s the point of all this, besides the obvious will to share a lovely experience? Well, the point is to share also a bit of love for the most underrated season. Come on, people, pretty fall deserves better!

Once upon a time in Blokhus

I woke up on a sunny morning of one of my free days with a nasty pain in my back and an annoying foot injury that I had gotten myself a couple of days before, but I had planned for a long time to dedicate that day to Blokhus, a small town on the west coast of Jutland and I didn’t want to give up the trip. It was also one of my unlucky days, one of those where I couldn’t find any kind soul that could give me a ride, so I took the bus. Not that it’s a problem, the connections up there are pretty good.

I literally dragged myself all day, with the frustration of being able to move at half the speed I usually move, which in any case is not that much, but in the end, as always, it was much better to go than to not go.

First things first, Blokhus has a fabulous beach, but unfortunately for a southern girl the Danish sea is too cold, so no bath for me and not even a bit of tan, mainly because the morning was cloudy, but also because I had three layers of clothes on me an the idea of being half naked in the wind didn’t seem very appealing. The city center is not that impressive, I have to say. Just bar, restaurants, tons of souvenir shops and If you know where to look a couple of very nice craft shops. The fun part is right out of the town, some 3 or 4 kilometers, I guess.

The small Museum for Papirkunst is indeed tiny but it’s one of the loveliest places I’ve ever been. It’s like entering into a fairytale, a world made by hand carved paper artwork and lights arranged so as to create wonderful plays of shadows. The atmosphere is that of a relaxing dream, a really nice place to simply be and to let your imagination fly. It’s funny that just a few minutes away you can enter a totally different world, the Skulpturparken, an oper-air museum all dedicated to sand, wood and concrete sculptures. It gives a bit of a beach party vibration despite not being on the beach. The difference is that you are surrounded by eccentric, original and fun sculptures instead of half drunken people dancing like mad. It feel like a fairytale too, but more metal so to speak. Maybe it’s also just a little bit kitch, but that’s definitely part of the fun. And if you stop to truly ponder on what you’re looking at, you’ll see that each sculpture requires a great amount of skills to be realized, so respect for the artists, really. If you happen to be a nerd like me you’ll also find plenty of references to books and movies. I’m still asking myself if that was made on purpose or if I was just seeing what I wanted to see.

Anyway the point is, if in Jutland, go to Blokhus!

Those signs of destiny written in neon letters

First thing first, as a blogger I am half a failure and that’s a glaring truth. How bold of me to think I would have been able to be constant in posting here! So yeah, after yet another long period of silence I’m back again. I was thinking if I should just start to simply write as I always did, but it feels wrong to just move on to what is happening now (not much to be honest), overlooking all that was my summer experience in Denmark. In fact that’s why I am here.
I spent a few weeks in a small community that despite being indeed small, opened a world to me. It was as if it unlocked a window on myself, making me remember things that I had set aside for a long time, buried under boredom and dissatisfaction. That’s why you should always travel, to get rid of layers and layers of negativity, even if all you can afford is a bed in a room shared with 11 strangers and snacks for dinner.

That wasn’t my case, btw. I had my own private room and even too much to eat. Yes, I gained weigh, no I don’t care. Food is an important part of a country’s culture. I am back on my healthy diet anyway, so no harm done. Either way, to me one of the most important part of this trip is the reason why I decided to go in the first place.

Last year these days I was at the height of depression for several reasons. I felt stuck, as in a prison made by situations I thought I couldn’t change. The things I used to love, working as a freelance, being single and free, leaving in Naples, didn’t give me joy anymore, they felt like some punishment for something I didn’t know I had done wrong. My crime? Maybe I dared to chase tiny dreams, too afraid to dream big, or maybe I let other people tell me what to do way too often. In the meantime I saw my life flowing away uselessly, as if I were wasting my time in this world. And in many ways it was exactly what I was doing. When I just couldn’t take any more of it I realized it was one of those moments when either you drink or you drown. So I drank. What was in my glass? A good dose of self confidence, for a starter, mixed with some awareness that no one would save me. I had to do it by myself and I found the idea exciting, which was weird considering the apathetic mental state I was in back then. I decided to start from scratch, for which is never too late, and I decided that I had to identify the main problems first. As it turned out, one of them was that my life and my city felt too small and constricting, so the new beginning had to start from another place. Away from home.


It’s not like I put my finger at random on the map, but well, I almost put my finger at random on the map! Of course I could not go away for more than a couple of weeks without a bit of money, so I thought to put the two things together and look for a small job abroad. I mainly tried with the hotels, but almost everyone wanted people with experience or who spoke three or four languages, so I expanded the searches, I discovered famous web portals of which I was apparently the only one not aware of and I wrote to a lot of people. From the small Amsterdam restaurant to the European Parliament. The first to answer me was a kind Danish gentleman who happen to own an art gallery. It was like a huge sign of destiny written in giant neon letters. I have always liked art, whether to do it or to see it, I studied art history at university and being able to work in a museum was a fabulous idea. Who was holding me back? Same old fears… and a couple of annoying people who wanted to hold me back. I’m glad to say this time they failed.
So I left, I lived a piece of a bigger dream and I came back with the moral imperative of keeping the spark burning. That’s exactly what I am doing now and I feel so much better than 12 months ago.

What I actually did in Denmark? Learnt a lot about how to manage a business, sculpted a huge ass sculpture, visited amazing places I didn’t even knew existed and made new friends. I will explain in more details in the next posts, now it’s time for my beauty sleep this side of the world.

Sorry!

I want to apologize! I had so many projects for the first summer of this blog, but then everything went south, technologically speaking and then boom, suddently it’s september yet again! Also I’ve been pretty busy with some artistic projects and 24 hours a day are never enough.

Anyway I have tons of pics, stories and experiences I want to share so I’ll be back very soon, I just need a bit of time to reorganize my thoughts and my daily routine because summer was as fun as it was hectic. I need an holiday!