Lively summer night in the heart of Trastevere…

Here’s a quick taste of the atmosphere on a breezy Saturday evening: https://vimeo.com/102507721

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Rehab?

Sometimes the Italians don’t consider lyrics at all when using American songs in certain situations.  It can be quite amusing – and also just plain wrong…

Honestly, can you think of a more inappropriate background song to use as the answering service for the main line of a hospital?

This is real, I swear!  I couldn’t make this stuff up.  Reminds me of when the band played “Purple Rain” during the cocktail hour at our wedding reception.

Press 1 for a pediatric visit.

Press 2 for a dental visit.

Press 3 for a generic visit.

Travel highlight: Civita di Bagnoregio, Lazio

Travel highlight: Civita di Bagnoregio, Lazio

This little jewel of a town is the stuff Italian dreams are made of.  It’s a cross between walking into a time machine and stepping onto a set of the most picturesque Italian scene you could ever imagine – except it’s no facade and certainly not Disneyland; it’s real, and absolutely gorgeous.

Located about 90km Northwest of Rome, in the province of Viterbo, it’s one of the best discoveries we’ve made so close to home and reminds us of how important it is to explore this area.

Appearing to be suspended in the middle of a valley, the town is only accessible on foot, or by motorino.  It takes about 20-30 minutes and it’s all uphill, but well worth the trek.  It was founded by the Etruscans twenty-five hundred years ago, and it’s population is currently all of fifteen residents.

In ancient times it was called Novempagi and Balneum Regium, before becoming known as Bagnorea in medieval times.  It was taken several times by barbarians between the sixth and ninth centuries, and was once a Papal State.  It’s also famous for being the birthplace of the philosopher St. Bonaventure in the 13th century.

Enjoy a glimpse of our visit a few months ago.

Travel highlight: Villasimius, Sardegna

A couple months ago, we took a long weekend trip to the island of Sardegna (better known as Sardinia in English). It’s the second-largest island in the Mediterranean (after Sicily) with more than eleven-hundred miles of extraordinary coastline.

The only way I can describe it is: serious beauty overload. This island is blessed with a rugged, staggering kind of natural beauty I’ve rarely seen before, if ever. The plane ride from Rome was forty minutes gate to gate – we were only in the air for about twenty minutes before approaching this massive rock of land surging out of the Tyrrhenian Sea.

The entire island boasts some of the world’s most beautiful beaches, with the kind of white sand and crystal clear, turquoise water Americans can’t locate anywhere North of the Caribbean. In fact, when I first got a glimpse of the magnificent color of the water, my first thought was: These people are crazy to bother going to the Maldives, South Pacific, etc., with this glorious place right in their back yard.

Sardegna, especially the Northern end, has a reputation as one of the most posh vacation spots for the Italian elite. In the Summer, it’s where the showbiz folk, soccer stars, and wannabes come to party on their yachts and be stalked (purposefully, of course) by the paparazzi. Since it was off-season and we knew most places would be closed, this time we opted for the more humble and relaxed Villasimius, on the Southern end, renowned for its amazing beaches and rocky, rugged landscape.

There’s something about this part of the island that gives the impression of a wild, untamed land. You know you’re still technically in Italy, but it feels like another corner of the Earth. It’s literally developed only along the coast; inland is a vast landscape of rolling hills, lush vegetation, and prickly pear trees – and not much of anything else. To get from one tiny beach town to the next, you have to be able to stomach a 30-minute ride on a windy road hanging over the bluffs, which is the only option (and actually a quite pleasant one, thanks to the abundant guardrails).

Sardegna is a destination most vacationing Americans never get to while visiting Italy. In fact, after so many years of travel I can’t believe it took me this long to get there. I suppose it was never on my must-see list of places since I’d never really heard much about it before living here. This island is still largely a best-kept Italian secret, and something tells me it’s that way for a reason (my theory is the ultra-wealthy have banded together in an effort to keep it tucked away as their private getaway, one of the rare places shielded from the dreaded foreign tourist invasion – although it was packed with Germans when we were there).

Anyway, since I have a thing for video cameras (my parents can attest to the countless tapes of embarrassing footage I took as a child), and I’m also pretty handy with editing, I’ve been trying to make a habit of taking some good video everywhere we go and creating a short recap of our trip. Makes for a great keepsake, and now, a great blog post!

Mi raccomando (keep in mind), your next trip itinerary abroad should definitely include this chic yet relatively unknown island. You won’t regret it.