Sweet Memories of Summer





pesce tabbachiere

Summer is over. But we have sweet memories. Lots of friends came visiting us in Pizzo. Friends from Bangkok, Stuttgart and Munich. And we met old friends in Pizzo and made new friends.

We ate great food, fresh fruits, lots of ice cream and went to the beach almost every day. Life in Pizzo is different from life in the big cities. One likes it - or not. I am glad, our visitors seem to have enjoyed the slow life in this little fisher village deep down in the very South of Italy. As I said before, here is not much to do - beside eating and going to the beach. Or eating and sunbathing on the balcony. Or eating and reading a book. Or eating and having a good afternoon sleep. Especially after some glasses of wine.

During summer, streets are deserted in the afternoon. A few people are still at the beach, but most are resting at home. Only in the evenings, the piazza awakes to life. Tables of the bars and gelateries are getting most crowded around 11pm, when people finish dinner and come for tartuffo icecream. During summer holidays in August, various spectacles are organised for locals and tourists. After a long night, the next day, when the sun invites to the beach again, sunbathers arrive at the Marina around 10.30am or later. The locals all have their favorite spots, and meet up with friends to chat in the crystal clear water and get more suntan. Most Pizzitani would leave the beach between 12.30 and 1.30pm to eat lunch at home. Then rest. Around 7pm you can find kids coming out of the houses and playing in the piazza, maybe having a granita or gelato before dinner. Dinner usually is not before 9pm. Only tourists, not adapted to the rhythm of the South, would feed their kids before 8pm. But not many tourist find their ways to Pizzo. Which is not too bad after all. It keeps the village innocent and at its own pace.

For us, summer passed smoothly, except for one or two incidents, and before I realized, it was already time to leave. I could have gone on and on with the slow peaceful rhythm of summer in Pizzo. And as there was not much to write about, I did not post anything. But I took a lot of pictures with my new 50mm lens. Since food was the major interest of the day, most close-up pictures are food pictures. I uploaded some today to our facebook page. If you want to stay connected with us via FB just "like" Palazzo Pizzo on FB. Not much posts their either, but I will upload sometimes for Sweet Memories of Summer.


connect with Palazzo Pizzo on Facebook
 
PS: we have a medium long "To Do" list for our guest residence. Although our guests had a good time living in the vaulted ceiling residence, we need to adjust some things before we rent out professionally.

PPS: I love Calabria runs a photo competition on facebook, just a a few more days.

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Summer wirth friends (part II)


A house coming to life

Our last summer, actually the first summer IN the house, was determined by two phases:

First, we were still hectically arranging the house to move - ourselves - in, and prepare the basics for our first guests to come.

Second, we were finally spending our first holidays together with friends and family in our new Italian home.


Our dream came true:
Having a holiday house by the sea
to reunite with friends and family
while living abroad


In Summer with friends (part I), I described the arrival of our first guests - a dear German family with two kids from my hometown Stuttgart. Our time together was like a dream where girlfriends would chat and have drinks, the men would chat and cook, the kids would run around, eat and play - and from time to time - between meals and drinks - we would walk to the beaches to cool down in the crystal clear sea.

But if you ever wondered, what happened in Summer with friends (part II), I have to admit, it just continued that easy going way:

The morning, after my lovely German friends had left....

guest departure accompanied by running JUVE fan
... we changed the bed linen, washed the sheets and hang them on the balcony were they dried in a moment since we had a nice breeze that day.

Our helper Rosy did a great job, like always, mainly de-sanding the floors from sand that had fallen off sandy feet - and cleaning after Angelo, who was still working in our "guest residence" downstairs in the garden floor.

I had sent our second visitors, an Italian family from the Veneto, the same picture as last time to indicate the left turn into the pizza.

So, in the evening of their arrival, I was waiting there, at the entrance to the piazza and looking for their rented car to come in sight. It was then, when I suddenly thought I had run out of sparkling wine and went across the street to buy a bottle of prosecco for a welcome drink. Of course, when I was standing at the cashier waiting for the change, they had arrived. So we couldn't do it as last time (one of the visitors gets out of the car and walks with L to the house while I would sit in the car and give direction). But there was no need. The piazza was so crowded in the evening that the car could only drive at walking pace, and through the narrow alleys, you are even faster by walking.

After dropping the luggage we went for a "pizza in piazza". And here we were sitting, a large Italian family: our new guests, the cousin of my mother-in-law, his teenage son, his wife, my friend, and the wife's brother - together with my small family, and the Italian parents-in-law.

Meanwhile it was August. The piazza crowded with locals and tourists from other parts of Italy and Europe. We had to wait very long until our dinner finally was served.

Same on the beaches, people everywhere. But my guests, coming to Calabria for summer holiday since many years, knew how to find the good spots:

Torre at Briatico beach in August - not far from Pizzo by car

When it was becoming too hot at the beach, we would drive home for lunch and an afternoon nap.

Italian lunch time ...

There was a slight difference, between the German and the Italian during preparing lunch:
Italian men leave the kitchen territory preferably to the ladies! - The pic above shows them totally concentrating, almost meditating, over  their laptops, iPad and guitar. - And there were less aperitifs too... (probably its the Germans fulfilling the Italian cliche when in Italy).

For the music, with a music addict teenager in the house, we would listen mainly to rock bands. Not only the new stuff, but also the good old Rolling Stones and Pink Floyd. Very educational for my little boy...

local fruit for desert

cipolla di Tropea, pomodori e chili di Calabria

For cooking we used the fresh locally grown products, like sweet onions from Tropea (cipolla di Tropea), super tasty tomatoes and Calabrian chili - displayed in my new orange Murano glass bowl.

For desert we would just serve fruits on a fruit plate and cut a melon.




Italian light summer lunch with salad, bread, wine, and pasta

Italians don't eat bread for breakfast (that much), but for lunch they need to have bread on the table (like the French). Here there was no time to unpack the bread for a more beautiful setting... so it's still in the brown paper bag on the table. - And if there is no fresh bread, a pack of kind of crackers will do too to accompany the pasta (and mozarella, and salad):

pasta with tonno a la Fiore

These pics (above and below) were taken by my friend - the wife of the cousin of my mother-in-law - and I hope, she does not mind I post them here on my blog. I like them! Grazie!

2 1/2 Italians
 
Ferragosto Rubbish
I love to post beautiful pics for memory. But this one, sent in by my friend, needs to me mentioned too, yet "small":

The garbage collectors in Pizzo usually come every day through our street. But for the long weekend of Ferragosto, everyone, included garbage collectors, are at the beach. So, for a couple of days, lots of garbage was piling up in front of our house... and I don't want to imagine the smell...


But I cannot finalise a post with rubbish. - Therefore, I am posting another beautiful pic by my friends, who liked the view from our balcony, especially when small fisher boats pass by:

blue view

We needed to fly back to Bangkok before our guests left Pizzo for northern Italy, because son's international school starts in the middle of August. - I am sure, they enjoyed their last days of holidays, without us. Although the house is much more lively and fun with lots of friends!

----
("Summer with friends (part I)" was written in September 2011 and can be found here)

Summer with Friends (part I)

The evening of our friend's arrival was near. When I had to describe how to arrive from Lamezia airport with the rented car to our home, I came until where they would need to turn left into the piazza - which is NOT allowed after 6pm. Every evening there is this barrier you see in the picture (below) and two traffic police ladies ensuring only residents sneak through. Some evenings before their arrival I took that photo and emailed it. At least they would not miss the turn. Also I talked to the charming traffic police ladies and explained the situation.

turn left into the piazza

I arranged with our friends - and very first guest - that they would call me as soon as they had left the rental car company. Then, I would walk slowly from our house towards the piazza, checking out what's up in Pizzo and end my stroll here at the barrier talking to the charming traffic police.

Around 20 minutes after my friends call I looked excited into every small car that looked like a rented car filled with German tourists. There were many. My son came waiting with me. When we spotted them, we waved them over. My friend got out of the car and walk with son the short way home, while I would co-pilot her husband through the narrow alleys - a fun ride.

The plane was delayed and we arrived around 9pm at home. We decided to go for a pizza in piazza, although Saturday night in August you better cook at home. The tables outside in the piazza were crowded, and we had to wait long to be served. But life just starts now. Most life you will find around 11pm in piazza. This is when people queue for a table at the Gelateria Belvedere.

The next morning - and this is one of my favorite parts of this holiday with friends - before everyone else is up, T. would go and find a bakery to buy fresh panini for breakfast!!

When I would come downstairs, breakfast would be ready! Ah, what lovely guest! Danke ! Danke! Danke! (Lately, I got guest in Bangkok that were jet lagged the whole stay and didn't come out of their rooms until 11am!!)

Usually, in Italy, I never have breakfast, just a coffee, an expresso with some milk. I never liked the hard bread down here. But T. managed to find the right things. We even had a delicious bergamot marmalade (that I even brought back to Thailand). And he would make me smile with his shopping tour observations early in the morning across the piazza that seemed only inhabited at that hour by elderly and old men, drinking espresso at the bar and chatting. The sales woman in Lo Biancho would always be in a grumpy mood and not having change. And every morning he came up with some other details.

I was pleased to see that the simple life down here was enjoyed by my guest as much as by myself. It is easy to consider life in Pizzo as boring if someone prefers fast exciting city life.

So, slow and pleasant, finally, my vacation started. I enjoyed the company of my fellow countrymen - speaking German for a change was so relaxing! Since it was the first holiday our families spent together, we were lucky to see that we follow a similar "rhythm".

After the very nice breakfast, we would pack for the beach and leave the house never earlier than 10.30. We would walk through the village, pass by all the gelaterie and walk dawn the alleys towards the marina.

Beach of Pizzo Marina

Mothers would lay in the shadow under the blue striped umbrella, chatting and reading. Kids would be constantly in the water, swimming, snorkeling, playing. T. would do it all.

A couple of hours later, around the same time, we would all have had enough from the sun and the heat and walk back home to prepare a late and light lunch.

"Spritz" my favorite Italian aperitif

Preparing food altogether in my beautiful new kitchen was even more fun when everyone was having a drink. The orange colored Spritz, originally from Veneto area, become my favorite summer drink.

Mix a Spritz:
1/3 Aperol
1/3 prosecco
1/3 soda water
just fill it in a prosecco glass, don't shake or stir, add ice cubes and a slice of lemon.

It is so light - like lemonade !
I admit, I use more prosecco and less soda ;-)

After lunch, that we finish, almost like Italians, just a little later, at 3pm we would have a break, like Italians. T., R. and E. would read, LC and A. would play or draw and I would just enjoy the house and having the house filled with life. Sometimes T. would even go with the kids a second time to the beach in the late afternoon and come back before sunset.

our "house beach" in walking distance

Soon we figured out that two times cooking per day for 7-9 people is just too much, even with a dish washer. So when we would have had lunch at home, we would have dinner outside.

my favorite pizza "Tricolore" by SPQR

In piazza there is more competition since the pizzeria SPQR with its good looking and dynamic staff opened directly next to La Ruota. It is difficult to say which one is better. We visited them both by turns. The pizze from La Ruota might be slightly better cooked, but SPQR has a better choice of pasta dishes and the best prices. And their pizza "Tricolore" (prochiutto, ruccola, parmesan) was my summer's favorite.

Paradiso del Sub Beach

Another day, another beach. 35 Years ago, this beach was only accessible by boat. 15 years ago it was still a secret bay. Now, you can find it even printed on postcards: Paradiso del Sub, a few km North of Tropea. I can't believe how many people, young and old, would walk through the heat all the long and steep way to access this "isolated" bay. The water is still beautiful though. For this beach we prepared panini - picnic lunch on the beach.

preparing dinner at PP

Preparing dinner at home might be interrupted by sunset watching and photo shooting. Here, I count 9 covers on my 4 meter something table cloth from the market featuring chili and garlic. This was when CC was still in Italy and we invited his parents over for dinner.

beach below Tropea's balcony

Another day, another beach. Since we had two cars, we used them from time to time to discover new beaches. One day, after a visit of the old town of Tropea and a pizza slice for each, we went down to the beach to cool off in this crystal clear water.

orechietti (little ear pasta) with sweat cherry tomatoes from the market by R.

Tropea's famous beach

another tomato salad for lunch

So we went on and on.
Beach, lunch, siesta, dinner.
Beach, lunch, siesta, dinner.
A real Italian vacation.

---
Six month later, I finally compiled "summer with friends (part II) and you can read it here

Early Booking Recommended

Hello dear Family and Friends,
Buongiorno and Guten Tag,

this is to let you know that early booking for a holiday at Palazzo Pizzo in 2011 is strongly recommended!

We are happy to announce that for the month of August we already have two bookings from family and friends. Finally, after so many years we will fill up this old house with friendly people and laughing children!


For those who still do not know were we are:
We are in Calabria, the most Southern region of Italy and probably as well the poorest region of Italy, if not from all Europe. So usually you would arrive by plane and land in Lamezia Terme, which is just a 15 minute drive from Pizzo. Or you come by train or car from Rome and Naples (around 5 to 6 hours). Arriving by yacht or sailing boat is another alternative. Although one of the poorest regions, some of the biggest yachts are seen here - however, only for a pit stop before going to the Eolie Islands... If they would know that the gelaterie in Pizzo have one of the best ice cream of Italy...

But no need to advertise: Soon I have to hang a "No Vacancy" sign at my door !


One more thing to the visitors that will be coming in 2011:
The pictures on this blog will show you the work progress on site. Please inform yourself here to be prepared in cases of delays. Also, so far we do not have invested in beds. Worst case: you will sleep on mattresses on the floor and leave the clothes in your suitcases due to lack of wardrobes. However, I know, you would not mind. And I am glad to fill the palazzo with life! If someone prefers to stay in a real hotel: we can rent rooms in a small boutique hotel just around the corner, a stone throw away, that will open next spring. For those booking flights: the earlier you book, the cheaper. Flights from Germany are twice per week in summer. From UK and other Italian cities more often.