Tag Archives: Friends

Life goes like this…

Lots of things going on here…. It’s the busiest time ever at work, working 10 hours a day all week…saturday and sundays are for shopping, cleaning, family and friends, not really enough time for being social….I’ll be back to normal mid-august….if I survive!

Here are some pics from our visit (end of april) to the annual flowers and plants fair, held in the park of the Royal Palace in Colorno.

We try to visit it every year because our friend R has a stall there where he sells his olive and fruits plants….our last time was two years ago, read about it here….


This muscular back belongs to M, our friend’s son….

The same weekend was also dedicated to some Street Food tasting…..a really good tasting!

From the end of february we are renovating my m-i-l apartment for our daughter, lots of things to do, to buy, to decide, problems after problems…now we are almost done, and this will be a subject for another post…soon, I hope.

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Posted by on June 27, 2016 in Uncategorized


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March – part two

A while ago, I found an old photo of me and one of my aunts, too early taken from us. I shared the photo on the WhatsApp group of the “cousins”, and to some it was new ….thus the idea of getting together one day to share family photos and stories. The occasion presented itself the saturday before Easter, and my cousin S invited us for lunch……Three were missing, one living in the US and two being abroad for a short vacation…We had really a great time, sharing memories….adjusting memories…. sharing a meal and so much love….just us, no children, no partners, just the inner circle of us….

God….I’m blessed!

Easter morning, a walk through the streets of Fontanellato, but the Street Food Festival didn’t met our expectations for a different Easter lunch…..

so instead we called a aunt who previously announced she would have been thrilled if we were going to lunch……..glad we did!

Full, we had to digest all that, so we rejoined daughter and bf, to explore the area around….A nice surprise was the old, deserted Church of San Carlo, dating back from early 1700, but very sadly almost completly ruined…..and in spite of our search, not too much was available to learn more about it….

but all the magic was there………..such a waste!

Then we drove to the near village of Roccabianca. The Rossi Castle was open and for free………

This imposing stronghold was built between 1450 and 1465 by Pier Maria Rossi as a gift for his beloved Bianca Pellegrini. Originally surrounded by a moat, it has a rectangular structure with two bastions and a high central tower and despite the damages of time, it still preserves its forceful appearance. On the ravelin, it displays the coat of arms of the Rangoni and Pallavicino families that took possession of the castle after the collapse of the Rossi family.



The interiors once boasted a cycle of frescoes depicting the Life of Griselda, inspired by the 100th novella of Boccaccio’s Decameron. Little remains today of it: the walls and vault of the room, together with the Pier Maria Rossi astrological cycle attributed to Nicolò da Varallo and his school have been detached and reassembled in the Castello Sforzesco in Milan. Thanks to long restoration works due to the last owner, cavalier Mario Scaltriti, the castle has been recently reopened to the public.

Tastings of typical products of the Road of Culatello and free tastings of local homemade liquors are also available by prebooking as well as (for children) the marvellous world of Fairy tales.

Easter Monday, up in the hills, we met with a couple of friends in another little village around a castle, Torrechiara.

It doesn’t matter how many times we’ve been there, the charm is still there…..and I guess it will ever be…

Last time I entered the little church at the foot of the castle, was for our friends’ wedding, 31 years ago….I didn’t remember it at all….

Back to our friends home/farm (he produces and sells olive trees and olive oil along with some fruits plants), just above the castle, where we had dinner together….

So April, bring it on….will you live up to March?

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Posted by on April 14, 2016 in Uncategorized


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A busy saturday

First saturday of march, the day wasn’t that good, a little rain in the morning, heavier later in the day…I had a lunch date with my ex-collegue P. and her little boy. I was early, so I decided to get off the bus and take a walk. Not that there weren’t things to look at along the way……..

The Palazzo Dazzi, also known as Palazzo Corradi Cervi, (below) was built on the site of existing buildings between 1794 and 1797 by the architect Domenico Cossetti, a student of Ennemond Alexandre Petitot , at the behest of the Marquis Gian Francesco Corradi Cervi, Captain of the militias of the Duke of Parma. In 1832 it was placed in the small courtyard the statue of ‘Innocence’, by the parmesan sculptor Tommaso Bandini , on a fountain with a marble fish tank. During the nineteenth century, the palace was bought by the Dazzi family, and now it’s a private residence.

The beautiful church dedicated to St. Anthony Abate (below). I already knew about this church, but I went inside for a few moments. (If you wanna know more, I already posted an entry about it here.)

There were lots of open wooden gates, like the one below….just to have a glimpse of the inside courtyards…….can you think of old chariots ready to leave?……

The Palazzo Marchi is a neoclassical building (below), built between 1770 and 1774 for the Marquis Scipione Grillo, duke of  Anguillara, a project by the architect and abbot Giovanni Furlani. In 1859 the building was sold to the Marchi family, that a few years later bought also the scenic Fountain di Proserpina , made ​​in the 20s of the eighteenth century by Giuliano Mozzani for the garden of the Palace of Colorno; it was placed in the back garden of the palace, but already in 1890 it was dismantled and sold to a Venetian antiques dealer, who in turn sold it abroad; broken and without drawings to testify the original arrangement, its pieces were divided into two groups to form two separate fountains, today positioned respectively in front of and behind the Waddesdon Manor castle in England . During World War II , the palace became the headquarters of the military command of the provincial Republican army Republican. In the following decades the Marchi family took care of the restoration of the entire building, part of which was intended for a public function: after being used for some years as the seat of the Institute for the Verdi Studies, between 2003 and 2009 the building housed the representative office of the Arturo Toscanini Foundation. 

I don’t know a thing about this palace below (a private residence) but I wish I would…..

Or why on this house wall they left the date….1721…but maybe it had to do with some renovation began in that year of the adjacent Church of St. Michael of the Arch

The church was called St. Michael of the Arch because it was probably built near the ‘ triumphal arch built in the third century by the Emperor Gallienus on the Via Aemilia . The building is cited for the first time in a document dated 8 February 1136 .St. Michael the Arch was consecrated by Pier Simone Brunetti, aid-bishop of Parma, on 29 May 1437 .


In 1514 the original building was knocked down to allow the road axis expansion; Giovanni Gozzadini, prothonotary apostolic and papal governor of Parma, ordered its reconstruction on the left side of the road coming into town, and commissioned the works to Giorgio da Erba, a local architech very active in town. From this church is the altarpiece depicting the Holy Family with Saints Michael, Bernardo degli Uberti and Angels of Giorgio Gandini del Grano , now kept in the Galleria Nazionale Di Parma .The church, united for a short time with the one of St. Sepulchre , was consacrated again as parish on 25 July 1814 .The facade was redesigned by architect Niccolò Bettoli in 1820 and the bell tower was raised in 1877. The church has one nave only, covered by umbrella vault . The frescoes in the lunettes that run along the walls were made ​​by Latino Barilli in 1924 .The altarpiece on the main altar, painted by Stanislao Campana in 1828, represents the Virgin with Saints Michael and Gemignano.

I was really starving when I finally met my friend for lunch…………

After a good coffee (and a lot of talking) we were ready for the second part of the day. We drove (on her car) till the Parma Fair to visit the annual “Merchants on Fair” a mix of antique, brocante and vintage…for all tastes and wallets….We got lost among so many things to see (so lucky her son, after a while, fell asleep….) and I have to admit, If it wasn’t for a bit of sanity left, I could have gone broke in a moment….

It was an intense day, but a funny, relaxing and good one!

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Posted by on March 19, 2016 in Uncategorized


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February….not so short, after all

Lunch given by a collegue for his retirement…lots of laughters, memories and some tears….

Lunch for my daughter’s birthday, just for the family, a very good lunch (minus the cake coz she was having dinner that same night with her friends)

We are renovating my m-i-l apartment for our daughter ( an operation of titanic proportions!), so we had to sell lots and lots of things, usually a joint task force daughter/hubby, but one day I went along…..problem is I would have bought almost everything I saw….

Valentine’s day….we had lunch with a couple of friends…..

Looking for new furnitures for my daughter’s home, led us to Ikea one saturday afternoon….and I’m glad to say, another little piece has been choosen…

Saturday night, as often, dinner out with some friends….

For the end of the month, our agenda had a visit to Milan for an art exhibition….but this is worth a post on its own…

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Posted by on March 8, 2016 in Uncategorized


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January…..a good start

First day of the year….we got an invitation for dinner from a couple of friends living in our neighborhood, along with her sister….Nothing fancy, I made some pesto and cheese crostini as appetizers, she made some very good rice with veggies, and the always present tiramisù…a nice night to kick off the new year!

Like every year, january is also the month to celebrate Epiphany on a bike, driving around delivering gifts to children….

After the event, with some friends we had lunch at a very fancy restaurant set in a rural tourism estate….a little bit expensive but worthy every cent…

We have this longtime friend, actually the first friend of my husband I met….February 2015, while at work he had an intracranial hemorrhage, he stayed in coma for a few days, he had ups and downs for a long time, but finally just before Christmas he got home form hospital. So one evening we all got together (finally out of a hospital room) to celebrate….

Too you G…..welcome back!!

A sunny winter sunday afternoon at our friends home in the hills…..finished with a “stay over for dinner” of course…

Towards the end of the month we were out again…..this time to welcome back a friend who stayed abroad four months for work….

Our friend S brought just for him the famous spongata she baked for Christmas and that he missed…..

End of january, time for some charity for our friends’ son mission in Brazil….what’s best than to have a great time doing good?

And now…..looking forwards to february……


Posted by on February 8, 2016 in Uncategorized


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Early in the month we finally got the chance to meet with our friends from Modena…..obviously sitting around a table….

For once somebody else (our friend S) was taking the pic and I’m in it this time!!!

Salame di Felino and the king of them all, the very special culatello…..

Mariola with smashed potatoes and home made mostarda….all sooooo good!

All the food in the restaurant is home made, the desserts are all served as single-portion, hubby had viennetta

and I opted for warm zabaione with rice and almonds biscuits

After lunch the discussion was of course about netx spring/summer bike rides….

Then it was time for my daughter to fix our Christmas tree….

and this is the version with the lights on and a few gifts already under it…

We heard that our favourite band was helding another show at the usual place just outside town, and we gladly drove there one night to have a great time…

The sunday before Christmas with a couple of friends we drove up the hills to the little village of Bazzano, home of the most famous nativities exhibition in the region…..

and the villagers creativity and imagination have no limits….The setting can vary a lot, from traditional figurines placed inside a wooden spool for hoses….(and I don’t know why the apples…)

a more traditional one setting in a porch under a tree covering a door (hoping no one has to use it soon…)

one carved in a log….

one made using wine bottles and jugs, the cave being an old corking machine….

a traditional one, but made of plasticine….

there were also two with the Minions…………

A very elegant one, all in white….

one made on roof tiles….

one hanging from a tree inside a glass house….

a modern one made with paper…

one hung on a wall made with glued grains….

just opposit a bakery with its own, all made with bread….even the woods in the fireplace are bread-sticks…

this one is made of carved polystyrene with pebbles and woods glued on it….

I guess who made this likes to travel….

another one hung up a tree….

and this is a one-dimension….

the one below is made with colored children’s pens

I saved for last my favourite, a nativity scene set inside a doll house, victorian style….

In the village there are also Santa home and office….

We were so lucky to see the old man itself…..

(for my previous visit see here). At the end of the day we were cold and tired….not enough to go home to have dinner….I had the most fabulous gluten-free dinner ever!!

This year my daughter gave her best to fix Christmas’ eve dinner….three different appetizers….

a very good fish and veggies lasagna

octopus salad with potatoes and olives and a potatoes and anchovies terrine…

The only thing we bought was the dessert….

After Christmas we met with friends at our favourite place to spend the evening together…..

New Year’s Eve we were just the two of us, me and hubby, because I got a bad flu and I wan’t really in the mood….so it was just a traditional dinner….

It’s been a very intense year, with its usual ups and downs, for us and for our extended family and our  friends…..there are still some situations pending, but luckily all will end well (fingers crossed)….

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Posted by on January 13, 2016 in Uncategorized


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It’s been another good month…

It started with a very happy hour with lots of collegues in a nice place, the lounge bar-restaurant of a local “off” theatre near the office.

The occasion was a warm and teary good-bye to these two guys (at the center) who after so many years, resigned to start a new working adventure….it was an emotional evening for all….

We usually don’t go out on friday nights, but this was a special occasion….with a couple of friends we drove to Modena to have a buffet dinner and some drinks and listen to a couple of bands (jazz and rock) in a very nice (and huge) place…..and I tried a rosemary mojito, not bad but I think I will stay with the original one in the future.

Then it was a collegues affair again. This time it was M. 50th birthday we celebrated, one of the most sweetest and nicest guy I ever met….

Can you spot me in the mirror?….

On a saturday me and my daughter were in Colorno, at the Royal Palace, for a photos exhibition. It was interesting, at least for the photos’ lovers, to see how important photographers see life through their lenses….

And yes……we bought a couple of photos books too, obviously….

A cold but sunny sunday with the always present friends, we drove up to the hills for a little walk in the woods, and to have lunch in a cozy place they already knew….

One day at lunch with a couple of collegues we were back at the birthday celebration place….the owner, a very talented sicilian girl (she wakes up every day at 3.00am to cook, bake, decor all the things she serves to her customers) invited me in her kitchen to witness the preparation of my gluten-free lunch…

The end of the month was marked by a beautiful day spent  in Verona …..but this deserves a post on its own….


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Posted by on December 4, 2015 in Uncategorized


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