Will Italy Say Si or No to Matteo Renzi’s Referendum?

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CBS New Photo

Today is election day in Italy and in a few hours Italians will go to the polls to cast their votes.  Will they say si or no to Matteo Renzi’s referendum to  streamline the parliament?  Voting begins today at 07:00 Italy time and ends at 23:00, with results expected early on Monday.

The youngest Prime Minister in Italy’s history, the former mayor of Florence was only 39 years old when he was sworn as prime Minister in  22 February 2014. He is considered left of center and has been a controversial figure in Italy especially as of late.

The referendum is a Yes or No vote to reduce the size of government in Italy.  Currently the Italian legislature consists of 950 members, and under Renzi’s plan, would be cut by two-thirds. From the recent 60 Minutes interview with Charlie Rose :

Charlie Rose: U.S. has 435 members of the House, and 100 members of the Senate.

Matteo Renzi: In Italy, the number are 630 in the Chamber, and in the Senate 315.

A “yes” vote would reduce the Senate to 100 members who would be appointed and not elected. Renzi believes the change is needed because the Senate is the graveyard of legislation in Italy.”

Renzi has also  threatened to resign  if the referendum does not pass. Many believe that his future as Italy’s prime minister is doomed regardless of the vote.

What do you think of this? I’d love to hear  your opinion so please leave a comment. I am especially interested to hear the opinions from Italians who have the opportunity to vote on this referendum.

Ciao and Grazie

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Posted in Italy News, Italy Travel | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

Italian Way of Life – Photo of the Day

Older Sicilian couple in Trapani, Sicily photo by Margie MiklasThis older Sicilian couple captured my heart as I walked behind them in Trapani one evening during passeggiata, the traditional evening stroll in Italy. They seem to understand what so many of us forget, that spending time together is one of the most important things in life.

What do you think?  I’d love to hear your thoughts, so please leave a comment.

Grazie and ciao.

For more photos from Italy, please follow me on Instagram.

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Posted in Italian lifestyle and culture, Italy Travel, TRAVEL | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 24 Comments

My Adventure on the Path of the Gods

Path of the Gods Photo by Margie MiklasWalking the Path of the Gods has been in the back of my mind ever since I heard about the experience a few years ago. Since I am not a hiker, I initially dismissed the idea as being out of reach. But the more I read about it and saw photos of the incredible views from 2000 feet above sea level on the Amalfi Coast, I reconsidered and decided to go for it while I was in Positano to write. It would be only one of two excursions I did while spending two weeks relaxing and writing. So this past October, the idea became a reality and I am thrilled that I decided to undertake this challenge.

img_7325The so-called “path” in reality is a mountain path that consists of little more than dirt covered with numerous gnarled tree roots, and in quite a few areas, engages in rock-climbing.

Path of the Gods Photo by Margie MiklasI must caution though, that this hike is definitely not for the faint of heart or for those that aren’t somewhat fit.

I wondered why I saw a banner along the way, which said #Climbwithgods and the more I advanced on the trail I certainly understood.

Photo by Margie MiklasI started out alone in some light rain which let up after about fifteen minutes.

img_7342I enjoyed the quiet solitude as I walked along, listening to the chirping of the birds and feeling the cool fresh air on my face.

Path of the Gods Photo by Margie MiklasOccasionally  I would catch a whiff of mint or rosemary in the air and saw quite a few grape vines, most of which looked as if the harvest was already over.

Path of the Gods Photo by Margie MiklasI was on my own but every once in a while a group of serious hikers would pass me; some were Italian, others were German, and one group was from France.

Path of the Gods photo BY Margie MiklasAn American named Sarah was part of the French group and she graciously offered to take my photo at one of the best views, the place where you can choose to continue toward Nocelle and Positano, or toward Praiano.

Path of the Gods photo by Margie MiklasIt was nice to talk to an American for a few minutes. Most of the other hikers I met that  day were European.

A sign along the way with the words, Benvenuti sul sentiero degli Dei, was a welcome sight and encouraged me to continue along. The little green Ape next to it made me smile.

Photo by Margie MiklasI found it more than a coincidence that while I came to Positano to write, many famous writers also fell in love with the Path of the Gods,and  one of them was D.H. Lawrence.  He wrote, “Is this the view that from on high along the Path of the Gods, opens to our sight: it is the picture of the great loop of the Amalfi coastline that looks towards the west, towards the Island of Capri, that precipitous coast, steamy, hot, with the crystalline mountains where the gods of today are forsaken and you find a lost self again. Mediterranean, before you.”

img_7346The yellow wildflowers and  the terraced vineyards balanced the rugged rocky walls seen along throughout this adventure.  In some areas where the path was not so clear, a small red and white marker painted on a rock or a piece of wood, showed the way.

The most challenging part for me was the rocky areas where I literally had to climb on my hands and knees to traverse the trail. Also the steep dirt path made it difficult to walk without my feet twisting and slipping. I think I almost lost my footing a dozen times and was saying Hail Marys the more I progressed, particularly near the end. I had decent shoes but not hiking boots which may have made a difference. I hate to admit it but I actually did take a fall at one point and scraped up my arm pretty good but nothing major.

dscn7579When I could see Positano below I realized how much I enjoyed this walk and took my time to savor the moment and shoot some photos.

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positano-path-of-the-gods Photo by Margie MiklasThe 7.8 kilometer walk from Bomerano to Nocelle is supposed to take 3 hours and it took me 4 only because I enjoyed it and didn’t rush through. I took my time and would recommend everyone to do the same and be in the moment with nature.

img_6655I recognized the picnic table at a high point on the trail from a blog I had read, and decided to take a little break here and appreciate the natural beauty that surrounded me.

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I could see as far as Capri and it was incredible.

dscn7577Truly this day was a highlight for me and I feel so good that I decided to take on the challenge. It was totally worth it!

I’d love to hear your from you, so please share your thoughts and leave a comment.

Don’t forget to follow me on Facebook and Instagram for more photos from Italy.

You may enjoy my hardback coffee table book featuring photos from the Amalfi Coast. Available on Amazon or directly from me  for the same price ($25) and no shipping if you’d like an autographed copy.

Colors of Naples and the Amalfi Coast by Margie MiklasGrazie  and Ciao  

 

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Posted in Italy Travel, Italy Travel Planning, TRAVEL | 35 Comments

A Writer’s Dream and the Writing Process

Amalfi Coast Photo by Margie MIklasWriters each each have their own preferences for writing.  Some write early in the morning, some write at night, and most of the good ones write every day.

Margie writing Photo by Margie MiklasI have to have silence when I write and I like to be alone so I have no distractions. I find that I like to write near the ocean, where the sounds of the waves drown out any other sounds. For me the water is  relaxing and soothing. I thought it would also be inspiring if I could spend a couple of weeks alone at the sea on the Amalfi Coast to finish writing my first novel, a work I had begun two years ago.

I am fortunate in that my dream became a reality and I have been able to spend two weeks last month in Positano on the beautiful Amalfi  Coast finishing up Critical Cover-Up, my first novel.

Writing in Positano Photo by Margie MiklasThis has been a work in progress for the past two years, during which time I had put it on the back burner so I could write and publish Colors of Naples and the Amalfi Coast. I think it’s more than a coincidence that after I finished that book , I chose the Amalfi Coast as the place to find my inspiration to complete writing the first draft of  Critical Cover-Up.

Now I have started the rewriting process and finished the second draft. My manuscript is in the hands of four beta readers, whose feedback will be invaluable to me, as I review it and continue with the rewriting process and  the third draft. After that I will hand it over to my editor who will send it back to me to make more changes and start the fourth draft. A good editor and award-winning author once told me to expect to write at least five drafts before publishing a book. At first I though she was crazy  but I have since learned that she was right.

I’ll then be working on my cover, collaborating with an expert I know and trust. I plan to release  my book as an e-book as well as a paperback edition, and it will be available on Amazon.com  as well as in the UK and other countries.

If all goes well I am hoping  for a spring release date, so definitely stay tuned for more updates.

Enjoy a few more photos from my inspiring place in Italy. All I have to do is see these images and I feel completely relaxed.

How about you? What relaxes you? Where is your go-to place to feel inspired? I’m eager to hear your feedback so please leave a comment.

Check out my photos and follow me on Instagram if you haven’t  already been there.

Grazie and  Ciao

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Posted in Italy Travel, TRAVEL, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 21 Comments

Sicily Road Trip #2SicilianGals Part 3

img_8515-edited-roadHere we are in Sicilia! These #2SicilianGals certainly made the most of our ten days in Sicily on our European road trip  in Sicily. (Thank you Auto Europe)

img_9132There is no way to write about all the places we saw and all the experiences we enjoyed in one blog post, so here are some of the highlights after we left Castelvetrano.

We headed to Sciacca, a seaside town  and working fishing port with a lovely upper town where we had a delicious lunch on the  outdoor terrace of  Miramare Ristorante.

img_8562We made a stop at the small town of Porto Empedocle, the home of writer Andrea Camilleri. This is the place on which   the fictional  town of  Montalbano’s  “Vigata” is based. 

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Next stop – Agrigento, best known for its nearby UNESCO World Heritage site of Valley of the Temples and although I have been there once before, I was blown away when that first  ancient Greek temple came into view.

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Driving our car up a winding hilltop road at night to find our agriturismo in San Michele Ganzaria proved challenging but the view in the morning was incredible. Kudos to Victoria for that drive!

Our next stop  was the non-touristy town of Nicosia and we definitely got our inclined walks exercise there once we parked our car. img_8713The locals were friendly and we found a delightful pasticceria, Bar Antica Gelateria, where we had some of the best cannoli ever!

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So hard to decide which place is better than the other!

Much more on this later…

One of the great benefits of a road trip in Sicily is what you see along the way..like these sheep grazing in a field…or another one of the many hilltop towns in Sicily.

road-scenes sheepA stop at Piazza Amerina, another incredible UNESCO World Heritage site, and then the long drive to Siracusa,  our home for three nights.

That’s it for now…Next place is Siracusa, where we’ll also take a day trip to visit Donnalucata,  Scicli, Punta Secca,  Modica, Ragusa, Noto, and more. And the final destination will be Taormina, the pearl of the Ionian Sea. Stay tuned.

Watch for us, #2SicilianGals, on our blogs and social media where we will be continuing to post photos in the weeks to come.

Check for the latest updates from Victoria, my traveling companion, on
PostcardZ from Victoria

Auto-Europe

My Love Affair with Sicily

Where it all began…Road Trip with #2SicilianGals

You can stay updated on my travels on FaceBook  Instagram and Twitter

I’m always eager for feedback, so please leave a comment or ask a question. I’d love to hear from you.

 

Grazie  Ciao

 

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Posted in Italian History, Italian lifestyle and culture, Italy Photo, Italy Road Trip, Italy Travel, Italy Travel Planning, TRAVEL | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Sicily Road Trip #2SicilianGals

img_82471Ciao from Sicilia! After seven days into our road trip in Sicily,  these #2SicilianGals have put on close to 2000 km on our rental car (Thanks Auto Europe). Victoria and I have traveled from the northwest corner of Sicily to the southeast and in between.

Photo by Margie MiklasMany more detailed stories to come in the weeks to come after my return but here are some of the highlights from our travels.

Trapani by the sea was a lovely town to explore and the cannoli at the family-run Pasticceria Colicchia were to die for. Elderly gentlemen were only too happy to speak to us in Italian, although they told us that there were better places to live than Trapani. Interesting perspective.

The challenging 9 kilometer winding road up to Erice was so totally worth it for the views and the quaintness of the town. What a treat to actually meet the famous Maria Grammatico at her pasticceria. The signature pastry, genovesi, melted in my mouth and of course the cannoli were out of this world. I am so glad I waited until I got to Sicily for the cannoli because they truly are the best.  Much more on this later.

A wine tasting thanks to Donnafugata in Marsala…

was followed by a visit to the island of Mozia characterized by the salt pans and windwills. So much more to write about these experiences later too.

Then we were back on the road to visit the ancient Greek archeological temples of Selinunte.

Next stop was Castelvetrano where the driving was more than challenging. Are there any traffic rules in Sicily? Since they park cars in both directions on the street, it’s not to find yourself (like I did) going the wrong way on a one-way street. And the Sicilians are quick to honk their horns and shout in their dialect that you are going the wrong way! More on that later…

That’s it for now…Much more to come later about visiting Montalbano sites, Sciacca, Agrigento, Siracusa, Noto, Ragusa, Scicli, and more.

You’ll be hearing more as we share along the way, so stay tuned.

Watch for us, #2SicilianGals, on our blogs and social media.

Check for the latest updates from Victoria, my traveling companion, on PostcardZ from Victoria
Auto-Europe
My Love Affair with Sicily

Where it all began…Road Trip with #2SicilianGals

You can stay updated on my travels on FaceBook  Instagram and Twitter

Ciao and Grazie…

What do you think? I would love to hear your thoughts, so please leave a comment.

 

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Posted in Italian lifestyle and culture, Italy Photo, Italy Road Trip, Italy Travel, Italy Travel Planning, TRAVEL | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Sicily Road Trip #2SicilianGals Palermo to Trapani

#2SicilianGalsAndiamo a Sicilia! #2SicilianGals begin our European road trip in Sicily.

#2SicilianGalsAfter arriving in Palermo and retrieving our rental car at Palermo Airport, formerly known as formerly Punta Raisi Airport, Victoria and I are hitting the road.

#2SicilianGals EuropeCarFirst stop some espresso and a pastry!

#2siciliangals We’d soon be on our way in our Toyota Camry Hybrid, thanks to AutoEurope.

2sg1-carBeautiful countryside awaited us as we drove from the outskirts of Palermo on the autostrada to Trapani, about an hour away. The day was warm and sunny, a beautiful day for a drive in Sicily’s countryside, and a nice change  from public transportation.

#2SicilianGalsTrapani is on the Mediterranean Sea and the color of the water was a gorgeous blue.

2siciliangals2You’ll be hearing more as we share along the way, so stay tuned.

Watch for us, #2SicilianGals, on our blogs and social media.

I’m interested in your thoughts, so please leave a comment!

My traveling companion PostcardZ from Victoria
Auto-Europe
My Love Affair with Sicily

Where it all began…

Road Trip with #2SicilianGals

Grazie and Ciao

You can stay updated on my travels on FaceBook  Instagram and Twitter

 

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Posted in Italian lifestyle and culture, Italy Photo, Italy Road Trip, Italy Travel, Italy Travel Planning, TRAVEL | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Writing Inspiration in Italy

Terrace at Hotel Pupetto in Positan Photo by Margie MiklasI’ve  thought about coming to Italy to write for a few years now. My dream to spend two weeks alone in a beautiful relaxing place on the Amalfi Coast with the intent to write has come true.

Margie writing Photo by Margie MiklasI have been in Positano for the past ten days and have found my inspiration and my muse in this peaceful environment I call Paradise. Can you see why?

I have a few more chapters to go to complete the first draft of my novel, Critical Cover-Up, a psychological thriller. Then will come the editing and rewriting. Stay tuned as I hope to publish by the spring of 2017.

Hotel Pupetto, a small family-run hotel on Fornillo Beach has been the perfect place for me to write.

My balcony at Hotel Pupetto in Positano Photo by Margie MiklasThe stunning view of the sea from my hotel room balcony has allowed me to enjoy spectacular sunrises and  sunsets. The sounds of the waves have lulled me to sleep every night and I have found  a sense of tranquility here.

Sunset at Hotel Pupetto in Positano Photo by Margie MiklasFrom the terrace overlooking the Tyrhhenian Sea I have felt inspired to write without any distractions that so often overtake me back home.

Fornillo Beach at Hotel Pupetto in Positano Photo by Margie MiklasSince Wi-Fi is intermittent, it can be frustrating at times, but I’ve been able to connect to social media and the internet when I found it necessary to do research, thanks to a few little tweaks I learned from Ciro, the hotel manager.

my-office-in-positano-photo-by-margie-miklasAll the waiters, Fabio, Antonino, Domenico, Raphael, and Francesco, and Giuseppe, the chef, have learned my favorite beverages, aqua (still), prosecco, and cappuccino, and have made me feel like I was part of the family.

Hotel Pupetto waiters and manager Photo by Margie MiklasVeronica, Gabriella, Gabriella’s mother Lucia,  and the rest of the Pupetto family have been wonderful.

Veronica and Gabriella at Hotel Pupetto Photo by Margie MiklasI’ve even learned some shortcuts to get up to the top of Positano, thanks to them. Of course, they do entail a minimum of 250 steps each way, but it’s been a great way to stay in shape.

And Andrea would certainly know that, as he carried my 30+ pound bag  down the path and all those steps acting as if it was no problem. Grazie, Andrea.

Positano Andrea with my luggage Photo by Margie MiklasThe housekeepers, Anna and Laetizia, have always greeted me with a warm Buongiorno and Come sta, and a smile, and I practiced my Italian with them.

Anna housekeeper - Hotel Pupetto Photo by margie MiklasI feel fortunate to have been able to live out my dream here. I have  a few more days to enjoy, and when I leave, the hotel will also close for the winter, since their season ends. Most of Positano shuts down for the winter, since this is a beach community. It has actually been a joy to be here without the crowds of the summer.

Gabriella at Hotel Pupetto with my book Photo by Margie MiklasAnd now a copy of my book is in Positano!

Thank you Hotel Pupetto for everything. You know I will be back.

(Disclosure: I received a discount on my accommodation by Hotel Pupetto.)

Fornillo Beach at Hotel Pupetto in Positano Photo by Margie MiklasWhat places inspire you?  I’d love to hear your feedback, so please leave a comment.

Photo by Margie MiklasGrazie and Ciao.

Check out my Instagram account for my photos of Positano and other places in Bella Italia.

 

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Posted in Italy Travel, Italy Travel Planning, TRAVEL, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 30 Comments

Travel in Italy – Photos from Positano

Positano by Margie MiklasI’ve been in Positano now for five days and I don’t think I could ever get tired of waking up to the views like these. I am here to write. I’m hoping to complete the first draft of my novel, Critical Cover-Up, and have felt inspired here, and making a lot of progress.

Since my more in depth blog posts will have to wait until I return home, I am posting some photos from Paradise so you can enjoy what I am experiencing every day.

Positano Photo by Margie MiklasPositano Photo by Margie MiklasPositano Photo by Margie Miklas Positano Photo by Margie Miklas Positano Photo by Margie MiklasPositano church Photo by Margie Miklas Positano shrine Photo by Margie Miklas Positano stairs Photo by Margie MiklasPositano sunset photo by Margie MiklasPositano Andrea with my luggage Photo by Margie Miklas

Positano with Margie Photo by Margie MiklasKeep an eye on my Facebook page for more photos. I will post there  whenever I can.

Let me know your thoughts. I’d love to hear from you. Do you see why I am in love with Positano?

Grazie and Ciao from Italy

 

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Posted in Italian lifestyle and culture, Italy Photo, Italy Travel, Photography, TRAVEL, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 19 Comments

Travel in Italy – Photos from Milan

Ciao from Italy!

Of course I am happy to be in Italia and am enjoying every minute. Since I want to enjoy la dolce vita I will not be writing long stories from here…  those will have to wait until I return home. So for now enjoy these unedited  photos from Milano!

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Posted in Italian History, Italian lifestyle and culture, Italy Photo, Italy Travel, TRAVEL | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments