Friday, April 29, 2011

Honeymoon Destination for Kate and William is Lucca?

This morning while rushing through Lucca on my way to the bar for my morning caffeine fix my eyes were arrested by the above announcement on the billboards. Have I beaten the British press and got my first news scoop.
Certainly Kate or Catherine Duchess of Cambridge as she must now be addressed,  has a connection with this area as she studied history of art in Florence during her gap year. Prince Charles, as I have mentioned before has called Lucca the most beautiful city in the world. Camilla has also holidayed in this area and Princess Margaret also graced Lucca. Therefore with all these Royal connections a Villa in the hills near Lucca would be a perfect way to finish their honeymoon. It seems that the American journalist, Alan Friedman has offered his beautiful villa. As a local I can guarantee there is no more romantic place to spend your honeymoon and they can certainly enjoy wonderful food and toast their love with a prosecchino while watching the sunset over the Tuscan hills.

Monday, April 25, 2011

I Attended Queen Elizabeth’s Birthday Party.

I must admit that I haven’t received a wedding invitation from the Palace to attend the Royal Nuptials of Kate and William. So when perusing the local paper in the bar I came across an open invitation to celebrate Queen Elizabeth’s 85th Birthday, it seemed like a way of getting in on the act. The Royal fever had so far passed me by but there are times when one has a strange little stir of national feeling in the pit of ones stomach. Therefore on Thursday 21st April I put on my lipstick and even a pair of heels and headed of to one of the four bars mentioned. The British Royal family have always liked Lucca and several members have holidayed in the area. Prince Charles once described Lucca as the most beautiful city in the world.

On our arrival we found Bar Il Cuore decked out in Union Jacks. However there wasn’t crowd of eager expats waiting to be offered a free Prosecchino but a small group of Italians who obviously were old friends. We hovered on the threshold in a sort of reserved British fashion feeling that maybe we were gate-crashing a private party. We were on the verge of retreating into the beautiful 

Tuscan evening, when the host came and welcomed us and was over the moon to find a genuine example of the British species present. It seemed Andrea Colombini is not only the organizer of Puccini concerts in Lucca, but also a great anglophile and importer of British military bands to the area. 

The evening to celebrate The Queens Birthday is it seems an annual event and this year there were portraits done by local artists of the Queen in all of the bars. The part of chatty Italians plus me and half-caste daughter moved along to the next bar, a favorite of hers due to their great selection of free antipasti. Just as foresaid daughter was tucking in we called to return to the first bar where two English had been found. Back we trooped to find two tourists with distant British connections who lived in Switzerland. The lack of British representation however didn’t detract from the evening and we had a lovely chat to members of Colombini orchestra, sharing stories about the musical world and making new friends.

We Brits don’t normally celebrate the real birthday of the Queen so it was nice to know that her Italian friends do.  Ma’am it just remains for me to say “ Auguri da Lucca per il Suo 85mo Compleanno e per il matrimonio di Catherine e William”.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Italian Easter Eggs

Easter eggs in Italy can only be described as extravagant. The packages lead one to believe that the egg will add at least two dresses sizes. The huge fanned tops of the packaging denote opulence and some how joy. I love these exotic objects and my heart always leaps into spring when I see the bars and chocolate shops crammed with these fantasy sculptures. Now I come from a family of chocoholics so the temptation to gorge on these delights having just shed the winter pounds by pruning the olive trees is high. This pleasure could truly be indulged when my daughter was small but now she is a teenager and a ballerina. 
Discipline has been forced onto me. The good side of this is that I don’t need to hide for the first two months on the beach but that longing to devour the chocolate hasn’t disappeared.

The other joy of these magnificent concoctions is the surprise secreted inside the egg. In the UK we have Christmas crackers but here, in Italy we get this thrill at Easter. The exhilaration of taking a rolling pin and smashing the elegant egg can’t be underestimated.

So all that remains is to wish  you a very Happy Easter .

Monday, April 11, 2011

Cinque Terre, Via Dell’ Amore and love padlocks.

Via Dell’Amore isn’t infact a street but a coastal path that connects the charming fishing villages of Riomaggiore and Manarola in Cinque Terre. The path is carved into the edge of the rocks and seems to dangle above the deep jade waters of Ligurian sea. The villagers originally called the path “Strada Nuova” viewing it as a convenient and short cut between the villages. Visitors had a more romantic view of this stunning pathway and renamed it Via dell’Amore or lovers' street. Perhaps because of its name modern lovers have put their faith in the railings that protect them from falling into the sea and hang love padlocks from them throwing the keys into the deep Mediterranean waters below. I noticed that some of the padlocks had combinations, perhaps those sets of lovers where hedging their bets.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Images Of A Spring Day In Tuscany

Sunday was a wonderful early spring day at Le Mura. The temperature was over 20 degrees and our new pool has already reached 19 degrees with the help of its new ecological lining and solar panels. Nature seemed to be springing into life and my daughter Isabella took a break from studying and took some photos.