Stew on NYC radio. On Italy.

LONG ISLAND, NEW YORK – Everything you’ve ever wanted to know about Italy. In three easy pieces. Audio excerpts from an interview we did with a NYC radio station. The host, John Vivenzio found us on the web and called and asked if we would like to talk. About Italy? Ma Certo!

The conversation ranged from the top of Italy’s boot to the bottom of her stylish toe. We talked about food, culture, restoring old, old houses, and making new friends.

The only thing better than chatting about Italy? You guessed it: being there. All this talk has got us really ramped up for our September trip. So far the tentative itinerary is Panicale, Venice and the Brescia region in Italy. With side trips to Dubrovnik, Corfu, Santorini and Beyond.

Non vedo l’ora!

See you in Italy!

Stew Vreeland

A new taste of Italy

PANICALE, Umbria, Italy–New web site to send your way. From our very talented friend and Panicalese neighbor Diletta. This is in our neighborhood. In fact, our house is just above her in the photodiletta of panicale, italian shopping site. The site is brand new, a work in progress, the English version will be up shortly. Watch for that, but in the meantime there are plenty of fun photos and a sense of good things to come. Say you have a desperate need for saffron, fresh from Italy, well, this could be for you. Or olive oil, or many other things that help awake fond Italian Memories of all things Umbrian.

NEW, NEW VITI TRASIMENO SITE. The site, for the moment, is all in Italian, but never fear, there are big pictures of the products and a link to email where you can write in English or Italian and ask Dily any questions you have about the products, about ordering. Her English is all inclusive, very fluent.

Allora, ci sentiamo and in September we hope to . . .

See you in Italy!

Stew Vreeland

Carrying on in Italy

Varenna Castello over Lake Como, Italy
TRIESTE/LAKE COMO, Italy–Our anniversary trip to Italy was grand. It was just too short. We had planned for three weeks but it became one. Best laid plans and all that. And seriously, who is going to pout about ONLY getting a week in Umbria / Italy in spring? Where would a person have to go to find a lot of sympathy for that?! Regardless, we were there in our minds. Ferrari Varenna, Italy on Lake ComoAnd our travel buddies from Steamboat Springs Stayed Calm and Carried On in marvelous fashion. And thru pictures and videos made us feel like we were actually right there with them, just as planned. Which well and properly answers the age-old question “what are good friends for?” Their still photos of Italian lakes, Ferraris, and lazy afternoons shown here are from Varesse on Como. The video from Piazza Grande (now called Piazza Unita d’Italia) in Trieste. Trieste is about as far as you can go in Italy. East of Venice. A couple miles further out of town and you are in Slovenia. I’ve heard it said that Piazza Grande is the biggest piazza in Italy. It’s original name more famous by the classic Lucio Dalla song “PIAZZA GRANDE, 1943”. Three sides are elegant buildings. The fourth side is all Mediterranean, looking out past cruise boats, across the harbor at Emperor Maximilian and Carlotta’s fantasy castle, Miramar.



Italian Views:
Of the Garden. From the Garden.

figs and storms over umbria lake
PANICALE, Umbria–There is no question about it. A garden ups the “degree of difficulty” of a home away from home by a factor of “lots.” But when it’s good . . . its very, very good. It is a happy place. With so many fun distractions. Much as I try to zone out and read and catnap, the Iowa farmer in me wants to study this year’s fig crop futures. Or to pinch off those two renegade weeds in amongst the wild strawberries. Or to lightly prune the plum. Or maybe check out . . . that bunch of clouds rolling up over the lake. Midge! Grab the magazines. I’ll get the laundry off the line!

See you in Italy,

Stew Vreeland

When push came to shove . . . .
we came to Torgiano

TORGIANO, Umbria–I think the fact that we came here to Torgiano to celebrate our anniversary was very telling. A year ago it was Torgiwhat? We’d certainly never been in the village. (It is a bit left of Perugia and above Deruta) Oh, we’d heard “i voci” whispering about the wine museum, but I’m such a barbarian, I just couldn’t imagine such a thing. Turns out, I’ve only got two speeds on my wine analysis dial 1) hey, not bad. keep pouring and 2) Gack. no, no, choke, i’m fine, thanks.

But our co-anniversary celebrants kept after us. And we thought, you know, they are such inveterate, non-stop, explorers – lets get over ourselves and go see the darn Wine Museum with them. Well. We spent over an hour at MUVIT last year one rainy spring day and hardly made a dent in the place. Loved every minute of it. They have every thing from the ancient, ancient, bet-you’ve-never-seen-one-of-these to knock-your-socks-off modern art.
olive oil museum, torgiano italy, umbria, wine museum. Siro's restaurant
Thanks to their sugardaddy and founder Lungarotti Vineyards, everything is top drawer, world-class. Exceptionally well done and high art standard across the board.

This year, on a rainy spring day we went to its companion museum MOO. Yes, as fluent as the site and guides are in English, they all seem oblivious to the fact that we think “MOO” is cow noise, but they think it is Museo Olio Olive . It was smaller than the wine museum but no less interesting. Both are worth the trip and both can be seen on the same ticket for the price of seeing either one. On the day we were there they were throwing in tickets to the wine tasting at the winery as well. Win-win.

The previous year, post tour, we asked a guide where to eat. Specifically where CLOSE as it was raining buckets and some other museum-goers had “accidentally” walked off with my wife’s black and white polka dotted umbrella. The guide half leaned out the door and pointed to the corner of the street. And said “Giri, a destra all’angola, immediamente a sinistra, c’e Ristorante Siro.” This is where I would usually put a link to a deserving hotel/restaurant’s site. They evidently don’t have one. You can Google them, people like them and review them, but I couldn’t find a site per se. Regardless, we went and we were glad we did. And not just because we had shelter from the storm although that was in its favor. I would rank the food as wonderful, good vistas and personable staff who were the only people we ever heard speaking English. So there.

Exactly how much did it ring our bell? When we had to cut our trip back from three weeks to one, we could see it would cost us jaunts to the dream duo Trieste and Lake Como. We thought what can we do to make this right? To come up with a worthy last-minute fill in that wouldn’t chew up all our precious time by riding about in a rental car? We voted and revisiting Torgiano/Siros won. We felt like we did too. It was an unforgettable string of laughing in the rain, Dear Diary moments.

Thanks Torgiano,

See you in Italy,

Stew Vreeland