August 29, 2009

Market Day in Vibo Valentia

Saturday is market day in Vibo Valentia. So, today, for a change, we went up the 'mountain' to Vibo Valentia - the birth place of my husband (!)

- lingerie is selling in front of the church -

In the center of the old town around 9 am the streets begin to fill up with pedestrians strolling around the market stands. Unfortunately, these Italian village markets nowadays sell lots of polyester clothes, underwear and cheap shoes from China, among the usual fake shirts, bags and perfumes.

To me, the market stall of the basket maker (above) was the most interesting and beautiful. It was the only one who sold real handycraft. These baskets are not cheap. But I will get something from him when my house is ready: Antonio Cosentino, S. Nicola Da Crissa, Calabria - intreccio vimini e canna

There also was some pottery. A few terracotta pots and vases. One stand sold handpainted plates (left), that make good sovenirs to hang on the wall. But the rest was of the pottery was mainly kitchy.

The Saturday market extends to the colourful vegetable market, that opens daily :

Southern delicacy : the sweet ognion of Tropea, la cipolla di Tropea (middle). We eat this ognion almost every day - with tomatoes, in the salad, on tuna fish ... - it has this sweet taste that you only can find here in the South. Also prickly pear, fico d'India, growing on a cactus (left) are eatable. However I prefer, the green figs, fici (right).

From the left (above): home made cheese, zucchini flowers (to be fried!) and black olives !

Important in the Southern kitchen are: chili (peperoncino) and garlic (aglio). Also with olive oil preserved vegetables are a speciality of Calabria. E.g. I love preserved sun dried tomatoes !

- sun dried tomatoes ! -

Look, what we have here ! Tiny yummy snails ! And a new scuba watch for 3 Euro ...

And here we have for la brava casalinga, the housewife, a nice selection of cleaning dresses. I think, I need to get one for me when I am going to clean my palazzo ...

For now these three tableclothes are mine ! I know, they do not really fit the style of my appartment in Germany, but they bring some Southern atmosphere back home !
And it was a great deal

August 27, 2009

the iron doors

After having been thinking and researching and writing and posting so much about wrought iron grids and doors, I almost forgot to present the result of our iron doors for the garden access.

The two original archways are not identical. That's why the iron doors have a slightly different finish and shape.

As one can hardly oversee, our tiny garden is not ready yet.
And my little lemon tree has suffered from lack of water.

But it is doing better now.

August 26, 2009

the 20 something windows

We ordered 'non-bombato' window frames and got a 'bombato' (round) finish.

The craftsman claimed he never saw our detailed order.

That's also why some windows we ordered to be 'pivot-hung' are not 'pivot-hung'.

Lesson learned: always let the craftmen sign the details you want !

When I saw these windows for the first time (3 weeks ago), I lost my temper ...
For me this 'bombato' (round) finish of the window frames on the inside does not fit the square-cut finish of the window shutters as well as the square-cut finish of the window frames on the outside ! How can someone do a round finish when the rest is not ? 20 something windows ... impossible to think of an exchange.

I also did not like the window handle, this golden finish ... and all these hooks. But this was my husbands idea. It seems to be quiet common in Italy. And as we are here ...

After sleeping on this one night I went again to see the windows.
Well, they are not the end of the world ... but when you spend so much money it should suit your taste ... well, maybe dust cleaning will be easier ...

And while I shot the photos for the blog, a boat passed on the blue sea, deep down below the window.

Aaahh ! What a view ... what am I complaining about


August 24, 2009

the new window shutters

This is one of our new window shutters. The newly ordered, white laquered ones. The original ones were not preserved well enough to go for an economic restauration.

As you can see, our window shutters are on the inside of the house. This is quiet common here in Pizzo, as the sea climate affects the wood over the years. The palazzi here that have window shutters on the outside mounted them additionally. Often made of aluminium or PVC and having fins to let in some daylight.

Personally, I would love to have shutters with fins on the outside. During the afternoon heat, you can close the shutters and leave the windows open while napping.

When we close our shutters, the windows must be closed as well and no light comes in. They just have a different purpose.

During the renovation of the windows and walls on the sea side we have left enough space for additional outside window shutters, in case we want to add them later.

For the main facade, however, where we have two bedrooms, I am already looking at some easier solution.

I love bamboo shades.
So why not something like this :

Bamboo shade mounted outside over the balcony door, house at Pizzo Marina

When the shades are rolled down, they are hanging over the balcony to allow air in and look out. (I need to find more picture samples, coming soon)

August 22, 2009

Renovation: restored shutters

Some days ago, a small transporter drove down the alley and parked in front of the house. I was picture taking, and we had not yet delivered the entrance doors, when I saw some workers hauling a heavy door. Beautiful finish, antique looks ... WOW, I thought, what a beautiful entrance door ...

When they were hauling this door up the stairways to the first floor, I learned that this is not our entrance door, but one of the three restored window shutters !

You see, I am not the best informed person on the contruction site ...

The next thing you see, is the attempt of the workers to fit the shutters to the right window ... but at the end it turned out that still two of them are not measured accurately so the windows cannot be opened (see picture above).

This shows how beautiful it will look at the end (when small corrections are made).

We had decided to restore just three of the many shutters. Three that were best preserved. And we decided to paint them with wood color to show the original wood that is of high quality. The other shutters are all newly made and lackered white - less expensive then the restored ones.

And if one day the brown shutters will ever appear too dark we still can paint them white.

August 17, 2009

Creative Monday

flower pot with geranium and succulents, watercolour by me

original object

tanker with anchor, watercolor by Luca

original object

Today, we decided : no beach.
My son and I sat on the grandparent's terrace and started to paint what was in front of our eyes. We both enjoyed the creative exercise !

August 16, 2009

Terrace : Amalfi Style

The water blue tiles (color Zaffiro, serie Emozioni) and the listelli, that make the decorative border are both from Fornaci d'Agostino in Salerno. This company is one of the well-known producers of famous Vietri ceramics (Ceramica di Vietri). The ceramic's name comes from the small village Vietri Sul Mare with its many ceramic crafters, located close to Salerno at the East of the Amalfi coast. The beautiful colorful ceramic tiles became famous together with the picturesque dream destinations Positano at the Amalfi coast and the island of Capri.

With all these mouthwatering names and links, I am sending you some warm and sunny greetings from Italy. Happy day !

August 15, 2009

recently on the way to the beach

- the bench with a view -

- the wallflower -

more balcony

Thanks to the response to my latest balcony pictures. As some readers wanted more, I am posting a view from the seaside, that shows the balcony (with two tiny persons) and the roof terrace. And some pics are from above. It is difficult to take pictures of the whole balcony all in one as my small camera is broken and the Canon has a zoom. So the last two pics are a view to the left and to the right.

August 13, 2009

"La Donna Napoletana"

our house with street festival deco

My neighbour brought me flowers to welcome us as new neighbours in the street.
How nice and thoughtful !
See the flower pots on the balcony above the entrance.

The funny side of the story is that when she brought the flowers and knocked on the door, we were not there. A worker let her in.

And I can imagine her face when she entered the house...

... and saw this welcoming entrance !

I am telling everybody and here on the blog that we started the renovation OUTSIDE.
And that we have NOT finished inside.

The house is not liveable yet.

Really !

I know, it looks so beautiful from the outside, that one cannot imagine that it is still a construction site inside ! Yes it is !!

So I have told my neighbour. But she must have been dazzeled by the beauty, and the fact, that in Calabria usually the houses are finished inside first - if at all. Some have no colour on their outside since 30, 40 years.

But she is not the only neighbour these days thinking we have moved in.
Signore R. wanted to take the balloons off our front door at the night of the street festival. He thought we need to go in and out.

When I answered, no need, we are done for today...
He asked: But are you not sleeping here ?

I laughed and opened the door wide for him to take a look.

"So, your house is like a donna Napoletana - bella di fuori e brutta di dentro ... - beautiful outside and ugly inside !

(Remark: I don't know this saying above about the donna Napoletana, the woman from Napels, maybe it means the city of Napels which is just pretty on the surface. If it means the women, from what I know, the housewifes of the South are cleaning their homes like crazy and leave their garbage on the beaches. So it would be the other way round: clean and pretty inside and dirty outside. - Any suggestions ?)

August 10, 2009

Balcony : stunning !

Stunning is the view and stunning are the tiles !

It was our biggest worry that we had made the wrong decision with these blue tiles. They were not cheap and I thought they might draw off too much attention from the spectacular view.

But look at the result !

I am so impressed myself - the pictures are stunning (maybe more than reality).

The blue tiles underline the impression of floating between sea and sky !!

Of course the different position of the sun let the tiles reflect their blue color differently. In direct sunlight it might appear a bit kitschy - but I am calling it "Amalfi style".

And here are some "before" photos, when I tried to picture with one single sample tile the effect of light and reflection :

Shopping source: these waterblue tiles are from Fornaci d'Agostino from the Emozioni serie

And the finish is diagonal, which suits a rectangular balcony shape best:

Next time I will present our roof terrace. Very "Amalfi"...
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