Life as I know It

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San Luis Obispo, California, and South Bristol, Maine, United States
Author ~ Illustrator ~ Lecturer

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Knock Knock-Who's There?

We trudged through the cities and villages armed with my friend Alexa Barre's invaluable maps and critiques of the best restaurants and Rick Steves' Guide to Italy 2009-and what did I focus on? Door knockers. I love them. They are so enticing and can be indicative of an area or the people who live inside–wondering what those two suspicious Americans are doing lurking outside their door.

Vernazza, Cinque Terre

A close up
Castiglione del Lago
Magliano Sabina

Teaser for the next blog entry. What is Sharon doing? (This is from Jeff)

Buona notte!


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A Walled Village in the Heart of Italy

OK, I'll admit it. I've been lax about writing, but I'll try to do better. Yesterday I received three e-mails from readers who had checked my blog and wondered what is going on.

I did rewrites and answered queries until 8:47 p.m. on the night before we left for Italy. By the time I collapsed into my Alitalia seat (which wasn't bad!), I was ready to hibernate. But you can't hibernate in beautiful Italy.

I was overwhelmed by the richness and diversity and tended to feel best in the picturesque walled and hilltop villages. We hiked, climbed thousands of steps, ate too much good food (as my Tennessee friend said, "too much is not enough"), and saw art work that I had studied in college, but never dreamed I would see in person.

Every day I'll post a few pictures and a few thoughts about Italy, Maine, our wonderful new stone fireplace, Damariscotta, and our trip across the vast United States (hint-we visited the 60 year home of Laura Ingalls Wilder and the Pasadena home of Julia Child). More to come!

My favorite town was a small walled village called Castiglione del Lago on Lake Trasimeno in Umbria.
View of Lake Trasimeno from Castle (fortress) of the Lion, Castello del Lione

One of many small markets in Castiglione del Lago.

For my birthday, it was my dream to throw open a window and gaze out on a beautiful countryside and lake (a la Enchanted April). We stayed in this peaceful village for a total of 7 days and my dream came true.

View from our room at Hotel Miralago on my birthday.

We made friends with Maurizio and his wife Josefina (chef extraordinaire), who own and operate Ristorante Monna Lisa (Monna is correct!).

Josefina in the center with her two helpers.

We ate there many times and were treated with such an open-hearted embrace that we always felt like we were sitting in their home. Their meals are incomparable and their style is fresh and classic.

We stayed at Hotel Miralago the first time we visited the village.

Hotel Miralago (rose colored building) is in the town square.
Sharon (in red) in town square in front of tourist information office.

It was elegant (ask for a room with a lake view) and served a good breakfast, but once we walked down the cobbled street and turned the corner to the gardens and walled tower of Il Torrione, we knew we had to spend time there. In this intimate yet private B&B, we were served breakfast right outside our room in the midst of their beautiful little garden and tower rose garden. Franco and Karen were perfect hosts, and you will not regret a moment of your time in their welcoming inn.

Entrance to Il Torrione B & B is down a small alley inside the walled town.

Il Torrione means The Tower.

Garden leading to the steps of the tower.
View from Il Torrione.

Until tomorrow,