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!


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! 


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


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.


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.


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). 


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).


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).


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


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). 


... to be continued.

Splendid December Greetings from Pizzo

Where in Europe do we find the month of December so sunny and beautiful? In Calabria, in the South of Italy. Calabria is a very green region which usually means rain in December and January. But not so much this year. Pizzitani are lucky with a splendid December. I wish I could enjoy Natale and le Buone Feste in Pizzo.  

December 7, 2015 (photo credit: Alfonso Salutato) 

December 7, 2015 (photo credit: Alfonso Salutato) 

The sea so beautiful and calm that one would like to take out the boat and go fishing or sunbath at the beach. 

View from our new roof top terrace (photo credit: Alfonso Salutato) 

View from our new roof top terrace (photo credit: Alfonso Salutato) 

But it wouldn't be Christmas without the festive Christmas lighting in the Piazza Della Repubblica!

La Piazza di Pizzo, Natale 2015 (photo credit: Il blog di Gianluca Callipo)

La Piazza di Pizzo, Natale 2015 (photo credit: Il blog di Gianluca Callipo)

And since temperatures are still reaching almost 20 degrees Celsius during the day all bars in the piazza are well frequented.

Talking bars - which means always gelateria too - the Gelateria & Bar Ercole will celebrate its 50th anniversary on December 22nd! Auguri!

The piazza in December 2015 (photo credit: Giuseppe Pagnotta) 

The piazza in December 2015 (photo credit: Giuseppe Pagnotta) 

What I like about Pizzo and other Calabrian villages are the many religious processions that are celebrate within the village community. The nocturnal processions are especially festive. On December 8, there is the procession of the Madonna Immaculata.

Questo video mostra la uscita serale della Madonna Immacolata per le vie del centro storico di Pizzo - this video shows the exit of the Madonna from the church in the evening and the beginning of the procession through the alleys of the centro storico of Pizzo. (There are more videos on YouTube).

With these impressions from a festive Pizzo, I wish my readers a Merry Christmas and all the best for a wonderful New Year.

Our new project illuminated from the inside in December 2015 (photo credit: Angelo)

Our new project illuminated from the inside in December 2015 (photo credit: Angelo)

Buon Natale & Buone Feste!  

Christmas time in Pizzo!

Natale in Pizzo

The photo that Angelo sent me last night is so beautiful that I changed our facebook page cover for the first time to share the Christmas feeling in the South of Italy.

This week the temperatures are from 6 degree (lowest during night) up to 15 degree Celsius during the day. Winter clothes and heating is definitely required as occasional rain and wind make it feel more chilly.

This year's festive illumination (luminarie) in Pizzo is especially beautiful. On December 8, with the fiesta of the "immaculate conception", the day Italians traditionally decorate their homes for Christmas, a procession took place in Pizzo's piazza. I shared a photo and a link on Facebook. Click below and read more about this special day in Italy: 

Winter in Calabria

Camigliatello in La Sila National Park, Calabria

So far this blog was all about renovating and decorating a Beach House.

Now, we did it. Okay, it still needs some improvements and probably constant re-renovation work - but mainly we are done. And we are really happy with the result.

Strangely, when I saw the latest interior magazine AD during our skiing holidays in Europe, with lots of snow outside, and all these cozy homes and restaurants in the mountains with wooden fires inside ... I started dreaming ...

Sounds crazy, I know. - Shouldn't I focus on our beach house?

But then I remembered, that Calabria has not only 800 km of coast line to offer. Calabria is quiet hilly and has mountains up to 2,000 meters high above sea level. And when it snows, you can ski! Yes, there are a few ski lifts!

The most important "ski resorts" in Calabria are Camigliatello and Villaggio Palumbo in La Sila and Gambarie in Aspromonte. Both mountainous regions are National Parks.
Pizzo --> Sila  app. 120 km and 1,5h drive (via Google Map)

La Sila is about 120 km North of Pizzo and the Aspromonte about 100 km South.  We could reach a ski resort from Pizzo in aobut 1,5 hours drive ! 

From the sea to the mountains in no time. The highest mountain in Sila, Botte Donato (1,928 m) is covered with snow right now. Information about snow levels at Camigliatello via Skiinfo. There are two ski lifts only, but this will do for us when in Calabria in winter!

This is an excellent reason to push forward the installation of a chimney in our beach house. We could drink hot teas and wine in front of the wooden fire after a day skiing up in the mountains. :-)

And I really enjoyed this magazine, especially the featured home of Aerin Lauder in Aspen.

AD German Edition Dec/Jan 2012

Living room of Aerin Lauder's Aspen home

Wishing you all the best for 2012!