SNOW IN PANICALE! Lots of it. Sunny Italy?

PANICALE, Umbria – Was it really sit-in-the-park-reading-a-book weather yesterday in both
New York and Chicago?
snowmanpanicale6002AND IT SNOWED IN PANICALE!? And lots of it? Che sorpresa! I saw it on my iPhone weather thing but sort of put it out of my head. We’ve been there for snow storms but its so rare I went into minor denial. Until just now when our friend Katia sent us an email.

Check out Katia’s fine rentals site to see lots of brand new, fun-in-the-snow shots.
They are all from earlier today!

If you have ever been to Panicale, but haven’t yet seen it in the snow, you are in for a surprise. It looks like close to a foot of snow and it looks like everyone is having a ball. Snow ball? Allora. Enjoy!

Other snow storm stories

See you in (snowy!) Italy.

Stew Vreeland

Now that is a Holiday Card envelope

italianenvelope2CASTIGLIONE DEL LAGO, Umbria– Giancarlo’s Christmas card arrived right on schedule and it was great as usual. But the envelope was an additional celebration this year. Those stamps are a couple inches wide and is it just me or do those popes and saints look about life size?

Thank you for sharing these reminders of the Holidays with us, Giancarlo.

Buone feste!
See you in Italy,

Stew Vreeland

Holly Daze. Natale Sunday. San Stefano Monday.

Did you know this day after Christmas is a holiday in Italy? I can relate to that. Christmas is on a Sunday this year and a lot of people are going to wish they had that next day off. In Italy they always do. That day is called San Stefano’s Day. It is like Boxing Day in the British Empire. But rather than being all about presents etc. in Umbria it is all about Tombola. Which is like Bingo. But it has more personality/legend/lore. Every number has a nickname and story to go with it. The Tombola games themselves are fun trip souvenirs, not to mention that they are a good way to motivate your self to learn Italian numbers and counting. And it is a pressure-packed learning device, as you have to be quick hearing the shouted out numbers, quick with yelling your numbers out and actually getting them right. Playing in a town-wide Tombola can be heart pounding exciting for a self conscious foreigner. Well, it was for me! But memorably fun too. If you find yourself in Italy over the holidays, ask around and chances are good there will be a game and it will surely be open to the public. That is what we did one year in Panicale. I played and I won . . . an Italian Hair Dryer. Now, if I only had enough hair to need said hair dryer. Sigh. Oh, well, the girls in the family were happy. And isn’t that what the holidays are supposed to be all about?

Where ever you are, enjoy the moment, enjoy being with who ever you are with and as always, we hope to . . . .

See you in Italy!

Buone Feste,

Stew Vreeland

It is about time.

Another observation in this stream of holiday consciousness. It is about time. That most precious of commodities. Italians have more of it in this season. Generous with their time at all seasons of the year, our Italian friends often comment on how extra happy they are to see us Off Season so to speak. Many people in Italy have lives that are dependent in some ways on us for our tourist traffic and they have to “make hay while the sun shines” and harvest those euros while they may. But they are almost all somewhat more off-duty during these Holiday moments. They tell us how much they relish the chance to really sit and talk a moment, get that extra cup of coffee and just enjoy the moment with us “con calmo.” And of course that is a joy for us too knowing we aren’t distracting them from their livelihood.

See you in Italy


Italian expression that’s easy to say. Hard to do.

Fair warning, “Chi manga pocco, dorma bene” is an Italian expression. But it really isn’t really a good holiday expression. And with good reason. The expression itself makes infinite sense, because it means “he who eats in moderation, sleeps well.” Who can argue with that logic? But who can remember the expression or the logic behind it when friends and neighbors are so busy spreading good cheer, chocolates, cookies and eggnog?

Which reminds me, eggnog is quite evidently NOT of Italian origin. You know how some English-speaking people (OK, OK . . . Americans) call fried potatoes and egg-battered bread, respectively, French Fries and French Toast? In Italy, they return the favor by calling eggnog Zuppa Ingelese. English Soup!

Cheers! And buone feste!

Stew Vreeland