It's Spring!

It's spring and time to update the blog. Our first guest have arrived in Pizzo and the next are on the way. It's almost Easter and tourists are heading South for some sunshine. The weather in Calabria was already very pleasant, then we had was some rain, and now it's sunny again. But surprisingly it is warmer in the North than in the South - and so we had to switch the heating on again.

Dear travellers, always pack a sweater or fleece jacket when going to the sea side. Even in summer there can be a fresh breeze, especially in the evenings in the main piazza of Pizzo. There are easily 10 degrees Celsius difference during the day, and a temperature of 20 C in spring with a fresh breeze from the sea can feel like only 15 C. It's best to check the forecast and be prepared to dress like a (spring)onion in layers. However, while some wear a jacket, others already sunbath at the beach and in a few days time you will observe the first brave swimmers.

Happy Spring Holidays & lots of sunshine!

Pizzo and Vibo Marina on Sunday, 25th March 2017 - Looks lovely, it's Springtime, but Jacket still needed!

Pizzo and Vibo Marina on Sunday, 25th March 2017 - Looks lovely, it's Springtime, but Jacket still needed!

For some more spring impressions of earlier years read Summer feelings in April (April 2013) or simply click on the APRIL or SPRING tag (scroll down, click NEXT to see all posts).

Beach goers sunbathing and in the water at Pizzo Marina city beach, April 1st, 2017 (no joke!) 

Beach goers sunbathing and in the water at Pizzo Marina city beach, April 1st, 2017 (no joke!) 

Photo credit: All photos by Carmela, March 27 and April 1, 2017 - mille grazie for sharing first spring impressions from Pizzo  :-)

In Pizzo for Christmas

Christmas was over a month ago and the New Year started already with lots of good energy. We had such a great time in Pizzo, with the family and amici Pizzitani and some fantastic neighbours, that I really need to write it all down and make several (!) blog posts. I had not expected it to be so much fun in Pizzo in December. It was very Christmassy, with lots of heartwarming invitations and events. And the weather was just perfect!

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As soon as we arrived, I pulled the large box from the storage that contained our Christmas tree from Beijing. I knew it was one with 'snow' but I had forgotten over the years how beautiful it was! (It was eight years in a box!) Our saloon felt instantly so much cozier with the Christmas tree lit up and decorated. Friends brought winter roses over to our house to welcome us. So sweet!! Grazie! 

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We even got our "own" Christmas illumination in our little piazza in front of our door and the church Chiesa del Carmine.

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We decided to settle into our own guest room, and to use the cozy little orange bathroom, as it feels warmer and less humid as our bedroom and bathroom on the ocean side. And what a lovely view into a little garden we have. Orange trees full of golden fruits.

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The living room became Christmassier every day, with a lovely table decor, a surprise by our friends, fruits, nuts and sweets, plenty to snack, and a candelabor by Ditto of Seminara with red candles.

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And I baked. I baked tons of Cantuccini. I baked almost every day. For the friends as gift with Christmas ornaments, for an after-Church-get-together, and for our local presepe vivente (more about that later). 

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On December 23rd, the first little presepe vivente (nativity scene) by the kids from the local kindergarten was organised on the new Piazza Padiglione near our house. A lot of effort went in the decoration! So nice! And a local bakery offered Zibbibio wine from Pizzo and cheese to taste for the parents and visitors. (More photos in a separate post).

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This year's Christmas illumination in the main square of Pizzo was that one (above). Maybe the one from last year was pretier, but it is also nice to have something new every year. The castello got a skirt of lights (in the background).

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The side alleys, the corso and each church got Christmassy star ornaments. 

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The difference between Pizzo and Tropea in winter is that Tropea is dead, and Pizzo is lively! We love Pizzo for being lively all year round! All the bars, restaurants and shops are open. They only take turns in their day of rest (which they don't in high season). Only Lo Bianco's deli is closed until Easter. But the alimentari (little supermarket) opposite the entrance of the main square is open - and so is my favorite veggie & fruit vendor, and the pharmacy, and the art galleries ...  We wouldn't need the car for grocery shopping. If you wanted to go out, every day, you would find a good choice where to eat or have a drink or coffee.

The temperatures before Christmas were surprisingly mild, no wonder some guest were served ice cream outside, even at night (photo Bar Belvedere). 

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... to be continued.

Palazzo Pizzo Newsletter December 2016

Hello dear Readers of the Blog,

I am very excited to share the link to my latest Newsletter! It is the 3rd (ever) and the 2nd this year. If you have not subscribed yet, subscribe today! - The next newsletter is planned for Spring 2017.

We wanted to announce, that we are opening our entire house, Palazzo Pizzo in Pizzo Calabro, for guests in summer 2017. If you are interested in renting our house with your family and friends, please send your enquiry to susan@palazzopizzo.com.  

In case you plan a Christmas Shopping trip to Venice or Padua, please do not miss the deal for my newsletter subscribers for a new rental near Venice! It is my Italian cousin Fiorella's father-in-law's former house that she renovated and decorated with Italian detailed design and style. You find the code for the discount and her email address in the latest Newsletter.

Enjoy browsing,

cordialmente 

Susan

 
Palazzo Pizzo Main House

Palazzo Pizzo Main House

 

The Spirit of Summer 2016

This summer was different from past summers. Where do I start? 

(photo credit: Yann)

(photo credit: Yann)

I could start writing about our road trip through Italy #onthewaytoPizzo ...  or say we felt it was overall less hot than last summer... I have thousand of photos on my phone and almost as many memories in my head.... It was a great summer! The food, the sea ... always fantastic in Southern Italy.

For us, above all, it was a very busy summer! Our guests beat all records. We had non-stop guests from all over the world. We had double occupancies and check-out and -in on the same day... in our own house! We loved it!! Family and friends getting together in one big house. That was the purpose of it all. 

My favorite moments that I enjoyed with all guests was the aperitivo on our balcony. One, two glasses of Aperol Spritz, some ice cubes and watching the sun going down, disappearing in the sea and the sky a canvas for vespertine spectacles of nature. 

When I browsed through all the photos of this summer, I came across the photo above - that one of our lovely guest had posted to our Facebook page - and I felt it all over again. The spirit of our summer 2016. The photo has it alI: summer, sun, beach, the crystal clear sea that stands in such a beautiful complementary colour contrast to the Aperol Spritz, which I only drink in Southern Italy because it doesn't taste anywhere better. Relaxing & refreshing after a hot day at the sea. And the hand crafted wrought iron balcony railing, that I designed after an old pattern for our new project which turns out to be lovely, no, gorgeous! (more about it soon)  Last but not least, it's a guest's photo. It shows what makes me most happy: guests see the beauty of this place, this little spot in the South of Italy which is almost paradise. It makes me happy to see that our guests feel the same. Double happiness.

We didn't launch a photo contest for guest or so yet. It could be an idea for next year! This photo (above) for sure is a winner. Other great photos by lovely guests can be found in my album "Great shots by lovely Guests" on Facebook. If you have been staying with us, feel free to upload yours! I love to see photos of Pizzo. I am constantly checking #pizzocalabro on instagram as I miss it already. For us summer 2016 is over. For most Italians summer ends right the week after Ferragosto. But Pizzo only gets better again after the crowd has left! In fact, with the ice cream and tartufo varieties of Pizzo the summer never ends!

So I hope you had, are still having or going to have a lovely summer holiday! In Pizzo Calabro or somewhere else with lots of sunshine and some refreshing aperitivo.       

more soon....

 

The recipe for Aperol Spritz is easy:

  • 1/3 Aperol  
  • 1/3 sparkling water
  • 1/3 Prosecco
  • .... add ice cubes and a slice of lemon

cin cin !

Busy furnishing and decorating in April

This April 2016 in Pizzo was not meant for us to be a leisure holiday. Our destination was not the Calabrian sea or mountains but all hardware-stores, furniture-shops and casalinga-suppliers in the region.

42 punti luce!  Translated this means that our inseparable pair of electricians, Alfonso & Ciccio, had managed to install forty two light sources that needed to be covered with lamps, mainly wall lamps as pendants, I was told, non si fa piu. Not easy in Calabria where not one store had more than three lights of the same sort in stock. Of course you can always order! 

Thinking to find two queen size beds, buy them, get them delivered and done, was also an illusion of mine. That's one of the reasons we are not ready in May with our new vacation rentals. - Vabbè! - We will be ready mid July! And we had a great time! As usual! We are addicted house-decorators, and here are some visual impressions:

 
my husband's famous red sofa finds a new home :-)

my husband's famous red sofa finds a new home :-)

 

The photo above is actually from my last day. I stood 8 days longer than my husband and son because there was so much work to do ... or should I say work to "coordinate"? On my last day, a windy Sunday, the local artist Antonio La Gamba came by with some of his pieces to advise on how to display them best in the house. It came in handy that he was there when we arrived with that red sofa on top of the roof of Angelo's car. That sofa has seen already a few different flats before and is over 20 years old and still beaming. It now has found a new home in the small bedroom upstairs in our "Dependance" where guest can sit and enjoy the seaview.

 
charming late night art delivery and hanging test

charming late night art delivery and hanging test

 

Talking artist, above is one of my favorite shots. I didn't give up waiting for the framing and was rewarded with a charming late night delivery and a hanging test by talented local photographer Francesca Procopio and her charming husband Gianpaolo. I took the photo and Angelo did the hanging first thing the next morning.

 
the result - matching even perfectly the red and the blue in the Vietri floor tiles

the result - matching even perfectly the red and the blue in the Vietri floor tiles

 

The photographs above are modern interpretations of old masters by photographer Francesca Procopio. 

 
professional support

professional support

 

There were only a few exceptions when Angelo needed professional support. This pendant has three light bulbs and each bulb can be controlled by one single light switch directly. Press one, all three lights on, press two, one light out, press three, two lights out, press four, all lights out, ... and press one too often -> repeat.

 
the new kitchen is nicer than mine!

the new kitchen is nicer than mine!

 

The kitchen was delivered already but because of its unusual counter top shape we were recommended to get a customized natural stone top, which we did. Our marmista in Filadelfia (in Calabria, on the hills!) had this beautiful marble from Carrara (which we had visited before and like the lardo speck as well). So now, here it is, our marble kitchen top, delivered and fitted with the help of Angelo and Lidia, my in-laws!

 
short break to discuss Furniture arrangement

short break to discuss Furniture arrangement

 

If this looks like sitting around, no way! We just had carried the sofa from the other side and moved the heavy arm chairs to the opposite wall and are discussing the new arrangement and also trying the effect. Lidia is wearing a working sweater from Angelo (it can be cold in April) and cool shoes. On the table are a few wall lamps ready for mounting.

 
re-arranging furniture IN BETWEEN apaRtments

re-arranging furniture IN BETWEEN apaRtments

 

Just a few minutes later, we are walking up and down again. Bringing furniture and stuff from the Dependance (upper entrance) to the Studio (ground floor entrance). Sets of plates for downstairs, sets of plates for upstairs, sets of wine glasses, prosecco glasses (important!) upstairs and downstairs, knives, scissors, pans & pots, towels, bed sheets & curtains, espresso machine ... and more ... all you need for your perfect holiday we unpacked, washed, ironed, prepared, sewed, trimmed and distributed into the right drawers and shelves. While Angelo was still drilling to hang lamps and pictures, and I assisted with the vacuum cleaner, at least I tried to be as fast as him.

Browsing the local weekend markets

Browsing the local weekend markets

Shopping with Lidia is fun. She has the right "eye" to spot things. On Saturday, at the market in Vibo Valentia, we found the handmade baskets and typical Calabrian green and white household ceramics. On Monday, at the market in Vibo Marina, we bought all the right fabrics for curtains and Lidia spotted the unusual mirror from Germany (!) (photo above left).

 
we can't wait to see our fabrics from the market on these windows

we can't wait to see our fabrics from the market on these windows

 
different kind of curtains (tende) where made by talented Lidia

different kind of curtains (tende) where made by talented Lidia

Although we worked hard, the Italian structure of the day was duly followed: lunch breaks started not later than 1.30pm and we often went for an aperitivo in the evenings, and some espresso breaks at the bars in the piazza. We even got a phone call and our coffee orders were taken by surprise visitors which led to a cleared and representable / photogenic dining table and our first Kaffeeklatsch at home!

 
First visitors from near and far (new york city!) and first Kaffeklatsch at home

First visitors from near and far (new york city!) and first Kaffeklatsch at home

 

We had some welcoming interruptions from work when neighbours, friends and even actual guest from the residence stopped by to see our progress. They all liked the place, and that is widely understated. They all loved the Dependance. Some said they even prefer it over the palazzo. (Mainly because of the clean white walls ... he he he... I begged Angelo to not use any colours this time).

 
first staged photo with real guest And tab water ...

first staged photo with real guest And tab water ...

 

Best advertising ever! Gianni and Nada spontaneously staged a holidayer scene with our new wine glasses (Lidia poured them quickly tap water...). Imagine Aperol in the glasses and that is your view! Whatever balcony you choose, we have four facing this dream scenery, come to Pizzo!

 
Deciding on where to hang the large painting

Deciding on where to hang the large painting

 
Deciding on how to hang pictures

Deciding on how to hang pictures

Decision making processes on where to hang paintings and how to arrange the hanging of them. Quite easy when you have some good advisers and can take a step back to look at it.

 
Very happy about how our kitchen turned out!

Very happy about how our kitchen turned out!

 

The kitchen above was custom built around the vaulted staircase underneath and I think, we are very happy how it turned out. The colourful backsplash band of ceramic tiles is an artwork of local maestro di ceramica Antonio Montesanti and tells a bit the story of Pizzo. And of course I love my retro azzurro SMEG fridge! 

Coming back to my last day in Pizzo, Antonio La Gamba is taking a photo (photo below) of the kitchen wall we want to hang one of his sculptures. We agreed to look for a smaller fish of a smoother material. It's another item on my to do list in my mind.

 
placing art by Antonio La Gamba

placing art by Antonio La Gamba

 

Although we were working on many details allover the house and lots of tools and packaging was laying around, I tried my best to take some decent photos that show potential travellers the new apartments in the best way possible for now. Please see the photos and more details about the Dependance delle Grazie and the Studio Bellavista on our website. An overview of all three vacation rentals can be found here. We are looking forward hearing from you, please contact us if you have any questions.  

The work continues in the following weeks and we are looking forward to greet our first guests this summer!!

I say ciao for now, and greet you with that stunning sunset and Stromboli view from the church square just next to the Dependance & Studio!

 
natural beauty cannot be kitsch

natural beauty cannot be kitsch

 

Dear Reader,

if you've got mail from Palazzo Pizzo, then because you may have subscribed to the blog (RSS feed) to receive every new blog post at your favorite destination. If you signed up to our newsletter (below), are our guest or friend, you will receive special offers of Palazzo Pizzo vacation rentals and travel information about Calabria 2-3 times per year via email. 

Grazie ed a presto

Susan