August 31, 2007

Point of Departure

When I was in Pizzo this summer, I posted that the house looked worse than last year when we bought it. Did you read that? Did you believe me? Those of you who still associate the Italian word palazzo with a glamorous palace got the wrong idea.

In Italian casa means 'home'. It can be a 'house' or an 'apartment'. A villa is a big house with a big garden. And a palazzo is a big house with no garden. Italians have nice sounding words for simple things and our palazzo is far from glamorous.

I reported that almost all window glass was broken. Probably kids threw stone at the windows. Of course some of the glass was broken before and all windows need to be replaced anyway.

Wild plants are growing on the floors of several rooms inside the house. Outside they grow on the walls as well as on the terrace and the balcony. Rain water is following their roots. We need to isolate the house well to avoid the penetration of rain water.

And last but not least more graffiti was on the doors.

I hope that all this 'wildness' will fade soon after we have the permission to start the renovation works. The permission is expected to be given in September. Let's see if the architect can keep his promise :)

August 28, 2007


Pizzitani who had to leave Pizzo must feel homesick for the rest of their lives, until they can come back to this special place on earth between the sea and the sky.

I just came across this picture (I am working on our bathrooms, yes me too) and I stared at the photo for several minutes... thinking of all the Pizzitani (people from Pizzo), who had to leave this beautiful place on earth to find work somewhere else. And lucky Pizzitani who live here and cherish the value of life in Pizzo.

(Picture courtesy by CC, my husband)

August 26, 2007

I was Tagged

I have been tagged lately by Katiedid and South of the Sahara. Thank you for showing interest in the blogger behind this blog. I owe you answers.


- I am very happy and thankful to have seen a lot of this world. I am German and have lived 32 years in Germany before moving for 5 years to Thailand. Now, I am living in China since 2 years. For my work I have travelled to over 20 countries, where I spent a month in average. My favourite countries are Ireland, Thailand and Italy. My favourite city for many years was Paris.

- It happened to me to fall in love with an Italian whom I met in my hometown Stuttgart. He looks more Scandinavian than Italian and I am the one with the ‘Italian’ temperament in the family.

- I do not care about brand names and I own less pairs of shoes than my husband (well, he is Italian).

- I suffered from asthma when I was little. For many years I could not run as much around as other kids because I could not breath. With swimming, lots of swimming and even more swimming I was cured when I was about 11 years old.

- Although I was a real good and talented swimmer, I was playing tennis daily for many years and I loved skiing, I have lost my interest in these sports. Maybe I have overdone it. Maybe I am just too lazy.

- I met Keanu Reeves in person once. He looks even better in reality than in the movies or pictures. Although he has a fantastic voice he does not talk that much - same as in the movies.

- I am ‘collecting’ languages. At school I learned first French, then English and Latin. French and Latin helped me to learn other languages like Spanish and Portuguese (which I lost after not using it). I learned Italian to be able to communicate with my new family (which made me loose my Spanish). I know some words in Japanese, Bahasa (Indonesian), Dutch, Swedish and Danish. Nowadays I am trying to learn Mandarin as every other foreigner living in China does. Besides my German mother tongue, I am best in French, I think.

- Although I dreamed of becoming a graphic designer, painter or writer I choose to study the more ‘safe’ economics. 20 years later, I am now changing my ‘destiny’. Two weeks ago a resigned from my old job (that was on hold) and feel free now, to do what I always wanted to do. First of all I am writing in blogland, here and there. And maybe other dreams will come.

I found eight things about me. So I am done. Who else wants to join the game? You are tagged, tell me!

August 23, 2007

South Italian Facades and Doors

When you have to choose a color for your house's facade, windows and doors, you look around to get inspired. So I looked around in Pizzo:

We are also a bit restricted by the village's regulations for the historic center. The window frames should be brown. Most of the palazzi have another frame on the facade around the windows which is painted white. That makes the facade look even better than white window frames framed with white color. Some facades in the mosaic do not match the (new?) regulation.

(Remark: picture no 3, first row is taken in Tropea, another village with other rules for colors of window frames and shutters).

What did we do all summer?

We have been looking for the things first to do:

- roof tiles
- windows
- doors
- tiles
- facade
- interior walls

Most important: To close, isolate the house.

1) roof tiles: we agreed with the architect to use new clay roof tiles that look 'antique'. The color of the tiles will be clay / slightly orange. This is a regulation of the city of Pizzo for the hioric center. Roofs must have the same harmonious look.

2) windows: we had three different manufacturers coming to the house and doing measurements for a bid. Although the one who wanted to do everything different from our idea, didn't came up with a bid. We had to decide about the material (aluminium or wood or both) and the colour. We choose aluminum for the outside in order to have not to repaint the frame regularly. The colour for the outside frames, again, is regulated by the city. It should be a wooden brown colour. Some of our neighbours did not follow the rule. However I got used to the idea, as the windows have another white painted frame on the facade. We choose the fake wooden structure instead of a plain brown RAL colour. Angelo said, this looks better and I had let me persuade. For the inside, we choose wood and for the colour we changed our mind in the last minute. Instead of a natural brown we decided to have the frames painted white for a more elegant look.
The scuri, the shutters, that are before the window on the inside (not outside) are going to be white as well.

3) doors: we have three entrances. The manufacturer that makes the windows will do the doors. The architect proposed to draft a design. They will be wooden from the outside, cherry brown as I remember.

4) tiles: I posted about the tiles before that we ordered for the terrace and the balcony only (no bathrooms yet). We choose a light blue watercolour tile (40x40cm) for the terrace (70m2) with a hand painted border tile that goes all around the terrace - and costs as much as the tiles for the whole balcony(!) My husband insisted. For the balcony we will use the same tiles, just in a different size (30x30cm) and no border. The balcony is wide (11m) but not equally deep (2-3m) for this kind of decor.

5) facade: we defined how much, how less respectively we would like to renovate the facade and which colour to use. I think for choosing the right colour someone has to travel back to Italy to make sure we like the house at the end!

6) interior walls: we will knock down two walls on the ground level in order to open up the space between the living, dining and kitchen area. And we have to displace a wall in the first floor in order to enlarge a toilet that will become an entire bathroom.

So we signed the orders and the contracts needed just before August, when whole Italy is on the summer holiday.

In September/October things will start.... hopefully according to Angelo's 'execution program'.

August 17, 2007

Vietri Ceramics for Mediterranean Style

When in Italy we had to choose tiles for the balcony and terrace. This was when I learned about the colourful Vietrese ceramics (Ceramica di Vietri) that spread instantly Mediterranean atmosphere. I am sitting here and browsing through the beautiful catalogue (215 pages!) from Francesco de Maio, one of the famous producers of Vietri ceramics. I just wanted to scan the most beautiful pictures but also show the variety of colours, shapes and sizes they offer. So I have a total of ten pics:

Vietri tiles make your kitchen look rustic. It feels like being on holiday everyday.

Listelli are the decorative borders you can add for a perfect look. In the kitchen (above) or in the bathroom (below).

The blue bathroom above shows perfectly the way Italians use different shapes, sizes and colours of tiles to create a unique pattern. You can do the same at home, no need to have Vietri tiles.

For our balcony and terrace we choose similar unicolored tiles, kind of water-air-colour from Fornaci d'Agostino (see picture below).

Of course you can also order panelli, different Mediterranean motives to decorate your walls in the kitchen or in the garden.

And you can have motives for the floor. Above two examples to use for a terra cotta tile floor.

There is no limit for fantasies. You can use Vietri ceramics for your table. Perfect for the garden, rain and sun resistant. Above the very classic colours yellow, blue and green - and on the right a more modern fresh alternative.

(If you want to know about the production technique click on the above picture, the English text is on the right below.)

Have a great weekend and thank you for dropping in.

- All pictures from Francesco de Maio catalogue 2005, Salerno, Italy -

And once more the picture from our future terrace tile with matching listello, both from Fornaci d'Agostino.

August 08, 2007

Holiday's Favorites

The vacation in Calabria is over and I am sorting the pictures. I detected three favorites:

This first picture is not from this summer. It shows bathing people at Pizzo Marina around 1930! The photographer is unknown to me. And I thank Signore Franco R., who provided me with a disk full of interesting and old photographs from Pizzo.

This sunset was shot by my husband from the Piazza in Pizzo. I really like the colors - I think he has some talent...

Number three is taken by myself while I was sitting and waiting on the doorsteps of the house with the B&B Antico Terrazzo by our architect. What I like in Pizzo are all these small alleys that remind me of the old town of Naples Santa Lucia.

August 03, 2007

Italian Feelings

In the previous post I have introduced Angelo. He is my father-in-law and he is a big fan of my blog. Maybe the biggest. He tells everybody about this blog and to google 'Palazzo Pizzo'. He follows my blog regularly and he tells me when I wrote important Italian words wrong, like 'tartufo', the famous ice cream invented in Pizzo. Recently he even made me alter some post content for some serious reason. Read this:

When arriving here in Calabria about two weeks ago, I wrote about the new convenience of a direct flight from Germany to Calabria. In the original post I said that flying directly is so much better than flying with Alitalia and having to change planes with delays and loss of luggage. The next day, Angelo said to me: You cannot write that about Alitalia, this is not nice to say, also it is most of the time the fault of the airport staff when loosing luggage ...

Okay, I thought, I do not want to hurtt Italian feelings and mess with Italian national institutions, no problem to delete the name of the airline. Also I don't want to get sued by it (like the guy who created, the website I found last year when I was doing research for my lost suitcase for which I had to wait one week).

So I corrected my post. Deleted the name of the Italian Airline and also the one of the German Airline. To be fair. No product placement in my blog.

And you know what?
The same day at dinner, by the way, Angelo mentioned, that he had bought a remarkable amount of shares of - guess what Italian company?
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