Seaside Photos in Italy

Fornillo Beach at Hotel Pupetto in Positano Photo by Margie Miklas

Italy is a peninsula and also has two large islands, Sardinia and Sicily, plus countless smaller islands. It is not surprising then that there is no dearth of beautiful beach scenes and seaside photos. As you know I love the beach and being near the water, so here are some of my favorite photos from the beaches and harbors of Italy. Enjoy!

Off the coast of Portofino

Off the coast of Portofino

Harbor in Maiori on the Amalfi Coast

Harbor in Maiori on the Amalfi Coast

Levanto beach

Levanto beach

Maoiri beach and dock, Amalfi Coast

Maoiri beach and dock, Amalfi Coast

Pescallo, Italy

Pescallo, Italy

Beach Scene in Rimini

Beach Scene in Rimini

Marina Grande at the port of Capri

Marina Grande at the port of Capri

Isola Bella in Taormina

Isola Bella in Taormina

Portofino harbor

Portofino harbor

Lake Como

Lake Como

San Remo Beaches

San Remo Beaches

Photo by Margie Miklas

The beach at Cefalu`

Otranto Photo by Margie Miklas

Otranto

What are your favorite seaside areas in Italy?  I’d love to hear your thoughts, so please leave a comment.

Grazie and Ciao

Have you stopped by my Instagram page lately? Lots of Italy images there…Check it out.

Save

Save

Save

Save

Posted in Italian lifestyle and culture, Italy Photo, Italy Travel, Photography, TRAVEL, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Exploring Rome with a Local

Rome view from Capitoline Hill Photo by Margie MiklasAlthough I’ve visited the Eternal City on five previous occasions, I never had the opportunity to explore Rome with a local, until now.

Exploring Rome with a Local -Colosseum Photo by Margie MiklasI yearned to be in the city again, since my last time in Rome was four years ago, so I decided to take a day trip to Rome from Florence, only a ninety-minute train ride on the Italo fast train.

Having no particular agenda, I wanted to wander around, shoot photos, and enjoy the vibe of the always interesting and busy capital of Italy.  In the back of my mind, I thought I might like to see the “St Peter’s Keyhole,” on Aventine Hill, if I could find it.

I couldn’t have anticipated that it would be my good fortune to explore Rome with my own personal tour guide. Daniela Fanfarillo, a colleague and friend whom I had only known online, offered to drive into the city and show me some of the lesser known places of Rome.

Exploring Rome with a Local photo by Margie MiklasShe grew up in the hills just outside of Rome and was a wealth of knowledge with suggestions of special sites to explore. I always find it a thrill to finally meet someone in person after having made a connection and communicating on social media for some time.

I walked down via Cavour to the area near the metro stop, where Daniela and I met. Parking is a nightmare in Rome, where you are only allowed to park in certain districts with specific credentials. It was great to meet up and Daniela whisked me away in her car to our first stop. She had already designed an itinerary which she thought I’d enjoy, and she was right.

Colle Oppio
The first place she took me was Colle Oppio (Opium hill) where we visited Basilica di  San Pietro in Vincoli, in the beautiful Rione Monti.

Exploring Rome with a Local Photo by Margie Miklas Exploring Rome with a LocalThis church is best known for being the home of Michelangelo’s sculpture of Moses, and Daniela explained that the lighting makes this an even more striking work of art.

Exploring Rome with a Local Photo by Margie Miklas

We also passed by the ruins of Emperor Nero’s villa, known as  Domus Aurea. We also enjoyed spectacular views of the Coliseum from this vantage point on the hill.

Exploring Rome with a Local Coliseum Photo by Margie Miklas
Colle Celio (Caelian hill)
Next stop was Colle Celio, another of Rome’s seven hills, and yet another place I have never been. Here we visited the Basilica of San Clemente, significant for its three historical layers.

Basilica di San Cemente Rome Photo by Margie MiklasBasilica di San Cemente Rome Photo by Margie MiklasThe 12th-century basilica is built on top of a well-preserved 4th-century church, where frescoes can still be seen, and  this was built next to a  Mithraic Temple dating back to the third century. It’s fascinating to explore the excavations of the lower two levels, and amazing to see running water inside from a  spring.

Basilica di San Clemente Rome photo Margie MiklasAfterward we stopped for gelato at Antica Gelateria De Matteis, recommended by Daniela. We had to try some of the unusual flavors such as mascarpone fighi and cioccolato al peperoncino. Delicious!

Antica Gelateria Rome Photo by Margie Miklas

We continued our walk past the military hospital and the  Romanesque church dedicated to Santi Giovanni e Paolo

Behind the church we found the subterranean archeological site, Case Romane del Celio,  where the “ancient aperitif” is held on Fridays.

Rome Photo by Margie Mikalas

Rome Photo by Margie MiklasSounds like fun…too bad we’re here too early.

Margie and Daniela Photo by Margie MiklasColle Aventino
Next is Aventine Hill, another of the famous seven hills of Rome. This is where the famous St. Peter’s Keyhole is found. We walked up via Santa Sabina, which ends in the small, picturesque Piazza dei Cavallieri di Malta. The keyhole is located on a door of the Grand Priory in Rome of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta. A small line of people were there hoping to get a glimpse through  the peephole. I was excited to be here and happy that the line wasn’t too long.

Piazza dei Cavallieri di Malta in Rome Photo by Margie Miklas

Aventine Keyhole photo by Anthony Majanlahti (Flickr)

Photo by Anthony Majanlahti (Flickr)

I was thrilled to be able to see St. Peter’s Dome through the keyhole. It truly was amazing. But my excitement was tempered by my lack of being able to capture a good photo with my iPhone. I walked away to let the others in line have a turn. I assumed I needed a better camera.

Daniela at Orange Garden Rome Photo by Margie MiklasSo we walked around the piazza and enjoyed the church of Sant’Anselmo, and the views from the gardens of the church of the Santi Bonifacio e Alessio, and the Orange Garden, (Giardino degli Aranci).

Rome Church Photo by Margie MiklasRome walls Photo by Margie Miklas Rome flowerpots Photo by Margie Miklas Rome cypress photo by Margie Miklas Rome church Photo by Margie MiklasViews from the Orange Garden…

View from Orange Garden with Margie Photo by Margie Miklas

I decided to try my luck at the keyhole one more time.  So I waited in line again. And I couldn’t believe that I got the shot! I think it’s so cool!

Exploring Rome with a Local - Keyhole Photo by Margie MiklasColle del Campidoglio (Capitoline Hill)
Capitoline Hill was next, and yet another place I have never been. Daniela has managed to take me to all places I have never seen in Rome. It’s been an amazing day so far. This is the place with the most spectacular views of  the Roman Forum and the Coliseum.

Forum Photo by Margie Miklas

Roman Forum views Photo by Margie Miklas

Rome Marcus Aurelio statue Photo by Margie Miklas We reached the Piazza Campodiglio, designed by Michelangelo with the statue of Marco Aurelio. The buildings on the side were part of the Musei Capitolini. We had a delicious lunch at  Terrazza Caffarelli, where the views of the city were spectacular.

Rome View from Caffe on Capital Hill Photo by Margie MiklasOur lovely day ended in Piazza Venezia when I took a cab to the train station to return to Florence. Thank you, Daniela, for a memorable day in Rome that I’ll remember for the rest of my life.

I saw places I’ve never been and exploring Rome with a local like you is the absolute best. Grazie, Cara.

Vittorio Emanuele II Monument Rome Photo by Margie MiklasHave you explored Rome with a local? I’d love to hear about  your own  experiences, so please leave a comment.

Grazie and Ciao.

*** Related ***

What I Love about Rome in Photos

Everyday Life in Rome – Photo of the Day

Taxis in Rome – Italy Travel Tips

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Posted in Italian History, Italian lifestyle and culture, Italy Photo, Italy Travel, Italy Travel Planning, TRAVEL | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

A Luxury Villa in Tuscany

Montestigliano Luxury Villa photo by Margie MiklasClose your eyes and imagine yourself on a hillside in Tuscany, surrounded by the beauty of nature, a  feeling of serenity, and a gorgeous terra cotta tinted villa. Sounds like a dream, doesn’t it?  This was my reality as I arrived at Montestigliano, an eighteenth-century family-run luxury farm estate which has been renovated with sophistication and elegance while maintaining its authenticity.

Montestigliano view Photo by Margie MiklasMuch more than I could have anticipated, this unique place is truly a little slice of heaven. My view of the expansive rolling Chianti hills of green reached as far as Siena, twelve kilometers away. It was almost mesmerizing.

Montestigliano view Photo by Margie MiklasThe Donati family operates this working farm in Tuscany, which has been in their family for three generations.  Spread across 2500 acres, Montestigliano  offers guest  accommodations in eleven stone, rustic, restored luxury villas, which house between three and fourteen persons each, and  can accommodate a total of 63 guests.

Villa Pipistrelli photo by Margie MiklasIn addition, Villa Pipistrelli, a larger seventeenth-century villa a bit father up the hill houses up to fourteen persons and is especially suited for wedding parties and their guests.

My home for three days and nights was in Casa Luisa, named after Luisa Donati, one of the five owners of the estate.

Luisa Donati Photo by Margie MiklasCypress trees lined the road and flowerpots of red and white geraniums in terra cotta pots welcomed me as I walked to my new living quarters just on the other side of the central piazza of this hamlet.

Montestigliano photo by Margie MiklasCasa Luisa is a beautifully appointed apartment with five bedrooms and four bathrooms, a large living room, dining room, outdoor covered terrace, and fully-equipped kitchen with up-to-date modern conveniences.  And a room with a view.

Room with a view photo by Margie Miklas I could  stay here forever, I thought.

After I got  settled, a delicious Tuscan dinner  was served that evening on the loggia where I could appreciate the beautiful wooded view through the open arches.

Loggia Photo by Margie Miklas Grilled vegeatbles Photo by Margie Miklas Outdoor table Photo by Margie Miklas Photo by Margie MiklasA stay at Montestigliano can be a private affair if one is looking for solitude, perhaps to write, or paint, or meditate. If you’re looking for more, the Donati family has also arranged numerous excursions and activities as options for anyone expressing a desire to explore the surrounding countryside and experience authentic Tuscan artisans at work.

Massimo Donati Photo by Margie MiklasDuring a guided walk and tour of the  olive tree grove on the property, I met Massimo Donati, brother of Luisa, and one of the five owners. Massimo is the farmer in the family, and was happy to demonstrate the art of harvesting olives with a tool called a comb.

The work is done by hand with the exception of this tool. The Donati family produces their own olive oil, appropriately named Montestigliano, and an olive oil tasting was another experience provided for me.

Montestigliano olive oil Photo by Margie MiklasA tour of the vegetable garden verified the reality of Montestigliano as a working farm. The friendly  strolling black and white cat, Monroe, and the donkey, also provided a dose of farm life reality.

Monroe, the Cat Photo by Margie MiklasI loved the sense of peacefulness I felt as I explored the property and wandered around alone, smelling the fresh flowers in full bloom, and enjoying the photo opportunities around every bend.

Montestigliano Photo by Margie MikkasOutdoor dinners in the main piazza were a favorite experience for me as other guests staying in the hamlet also participated.

Dinners in the Piazza at Montestigliano Photo by Margie Mikals Dinner in the piazza in Tuscany Photo ny Margie MiklasDamiano Donati, Luisa’s other brother and another owner, oversaw the authentic Tuscan experience of fresh and healthy Tuscan cuisine.

Damiano Donati at MontestiglianoCarrot soup, freshly made pecorino cheese, boccino, pappa pomodoro soup, chickpea and baccala, bruschetta, pesto gnochetti, and nutella pizza on  pizza night  were a few of the memorable foods I experienced. Wine was abundant, of course. And of course, the meals always ended with homemade limoncello.

An outdoor wine tasting with Alessandro preceded dinner one evening as he explained the history of wine making in Tuscany, a real  educational experience. I learned that Tuscany now produces its own semi-sparkling wines, known as frizzante,

Hiking in Tuscany at Montestigliano Photo by Margie MiklasAnd early one morning a 2-hour hike through the woods with Caterina, a local naturistic guide, provided plenty of  exercise, maybe more than I expected, but it felt good afterward.

Pool at Montestigliano Photo by Margie Miklas One afternoon I made time to swim laps in the pool overlooking the Tuscan countryside. The peacefulness I felt here was priceless. And to have a taste of the city for an hour or so, a short ride to Siena late one afternoon, provided a change of pace.

Siena photo by Margie MiklasLuisa Donati and her partner Piero Asso, could not have been more gracious hosts as I immersed myself in the dream of living in a Tuscan villa.

Luisa and Piero Photo by Margie Miklas

A huge mille grazie, Luisa and Piero.

Click here for more information on booking an authentic Tuscan holiday at Montestigliano.

Disclosure: I was a guest of Montestigliano and the opinions, words and photos are my own.

Have you dreamed of staying in a villa in Tuscany? I’d love to hear your thoughts, so please leave a comment.

For more photos on Italy, please check out my Instagram page.

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Posted in Italian lifestyle and culture, Italy Photo, Italy Travel, TRAVEL | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 25 Comments

 Italian Traditions of Today

Positano church Photo by Margie Miklas

When our ancestors left Italy in search of opportunity, and a better life, they brought with them their Italian traditions. Today Italian-Americans respect and honor their heritage by maintaining customs learned from their parents and grandparents. Three of these well-known traditions include: the naming of children, Christmas Eve celebrations, and wedding cookie tables.

Photo by Margie MiklasNaming of children
In Italy, there is a very specific tradition of the way children are named, dating back to the sixteenth century. It continues today, especially in the southern regions of Italy, and many Italian-Americans also carry on the custom.

The first son is given the father’s father’s name. The second son is given the mother’s father’s name. The first daughter is given the father’s mother’s name. The second daughter is given the mother’s mother’s name. Other children are often given the names of their parents, or unmarried aunts and uncles.

Photo by Margie Miklas Shrine in ItalyNot everyone chooses to follow this naming pattern. For those who do not, patron saints’ names are often used. Choices become either the patron saint of the town, or the patron saint whose feast day falls near the expected birth date of the child.This is how my family chose our names. My birthday is at the end of  September, and since St Margaret’s feast day is close enough, October 17, my parents chose Margaret as my name.

Photo by Margie MiklasAnother variation of the naming process occurs when the first born child is a girl, and some parents wish to show respect by naming her after the paternal grandfather. She would be given some variation of his name, such as Giuseppa for Giuseppe or Filippa for Filippo.

One other departure from tradition  occurs when the first born or second born child either died, or was not expected to survive. The name would be given to the next child born, which can become confusing for those doing genealogy research.

Christmas Eve celebrations
The Christmas Eve dinner has traditionally been celebrated with various fish dishes, usually seven but in some instances, up to 13. These could include baccala, clams, whitefish, eel, shrimp, mussels and calamari. Christmas Eve is the vigil of the feast, Christmas, so typically meat is avoided.

Fish Photo by Margie MiklasAlthough this custom originated in southern Italy, not all areas adhere to this tradition. Angela Savoca, my Sicilian friend, stated that her family has never celebrated Christmas Eve dinner with the traditional seven fishes.

Angela Savoca cooking Photo by Margie MiklasAngela was born and raised in Cesaro,  Sicily, an inland mountainous area, the same village where my grandparents were born.

Photo by Margie MiklasAngela clarified that the mountainous inland regions do not have any fresh seafood, as do like the coastal towns and cities, where this tradition is more frequently practiced. Many Italian-Americans today prepare the vigil meal the same way their ancestors did, depending on which region of Italy they claimed as their home.  So now you know why my family never practiced that tradition.

Wedding cookie tables
Food being paramount to any Italian celebration, the traditional wedding feast is the epitome of endless amounts and varieties of food, particularly the cookie table. Most other American cultures are content with the traditional wedding cake, but when you attend a traditional Italian wedding, you know that you are going to be treated to much more.

In addition to the wedding cake, there is a long table filled with plates, piled high with home-made Italian cookies. For weeks prior to a wedding, the bride’s aunts, grandmothers, and cousins get together, and bake thousands of cookies, and freeze them, to be served later, at the wedding. Usually you will find pignoli cookies, S-shaped cookies, traditional wedding balls, biscotti, pizzelles, fig cookies, and all varieties of almond flavored cookies.

Sicilian Cannoli

In some areas, there is a tradition of a cookie dance, where the bride and groom dance, leading the guests to the cookie table, where they help themselves to cookies. There are also stories of cookie cakes, where a cake has been fashioned by layering cookies higher and higher to resemble a wedding cake. Pastel colored almonds are used with icing in between the cookies to hold them together. When a friend’s son got married several years ago in Texas, he wanted a cannoli cake. The family hand carried the shells and the filling on the plane from New Jersey, and constructed the cake for the wedding.

Italian-Americans are proud of their traditions, which revolve around the values most meaningful to them, God, family, and food.

What Italian traditions does your family practice? I’d love to hear them. Please share your memories and leave a comment.

Posted in Italian lifestyle and culture, Italian traditions | Tagged , , , , | 32 Comments

Walking in Italy – Streets, Staircases and Hills

Erice road Photo by Margie MiklasMost of Italy is  mountainous or hilly at the very least, so plan on walking a lot when traveling to Bella Italia. On average, I walk a minimum of five miles a day and many times it’s closer to eight or nine.  I find all  the inclined streets, staircases, walkways and hills quite challenging, but the more often I travel to Italy, the easier these have become to navigate.

Italian woman walking uphill in Bergamo Photo by Margie Miklas

Italian woman walking uphill in Bergamo

I decided to post a few of these photos to give you an idea of how it is to move about in Italy. It still amazes me that the locals do this every day and think nothing of it since they are used to it as part of the Italian lifestyle. No wonder they live to be in their eighties and nineties and still get around better than their younger counterparts in the U.S.

 An inclined street in Bergamo Photo bymargie Miklas

An inclined street in Bergamo

Narrow stairway in Centro Storico of Caltagirone Photo by Margie Miklas

Narrow stairway in Centro Storico of Caltagirone

Apricale caruggi Poto by margie Miklas

Apricale caruggi

Dolceacqua Bridge Photo by Margie Miklas

Dolceacqua Bridge

Positano Photo by Margie Miklas

Positano Staircase

Cisternino centro storico

Cisternino centro storico

Life on the Amalfi Coast photo by Margie Miklas

Life on the Amalfi Coast

Hiking the Cinque Terre Trail Photo by Margie Miklas

Hiking the Cinque Terre Trail

Winding roads in Sicily Photo by Magie Miklas

Winding roads in Sicily

Steep hills in Perugia Photo by Margie Miklas

Steep hills in Perugia

Udine - Porticato del Lippomano Photo by Margie Miklas

Udine – Porticato del Lippomano

Path of the Gods Photo by Margie Miklas

Path of the Gods Photo by Margie Miklas

Erice Photo by Margie Miklas

Margie in Erice

Have you experienced any challenges walking in Italy? I’d love to hear your stories, so please leave a comment.

Grazie and Ciao

If you’d like to read more about my travels in Italy, you may enjoy my books, available on Amazon.

Save

Save

Save

Save

Posted in Italian lifestyle and culture, Italy Photo, Italy Travel, Italy Travel Planning, Photography, TRAVEL, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Photo Collage from Venice ~ Italy Travel

VENICE CANAL GOLDEN HOUR WISH YOU WERE HERE Photo by Margie MiklasItaly travel is on the rise and Venice is a favorite travel destination. Its beloved nickname of La Serenissima, seems to be going by the wayside though, as the city becomes congested with tourists.

Venice gondolier taking a smoke break Photo by MARGIE MIKLASVenice is one of my favorite places in Italy, and there is no place else like it. I can’t help wanting to return again and again.  I like to explore the small alleys and discover places not mentioned in the tour guides.

Venice Photo by Margie MiklasIt was recently reported in The Telegraph, authorities in Venice are giving serious  consideration to capping the number of tourists who enter the city center.

VENiCE FROM CRUISE SHIP VIEWOn any typical day, Venice handles an influx of  70,000 tourists, contributing to crowded waterways and pedestrian alleys.  Most are cruise ship passengers and day trippers. Venice’s residential population is only a little over 53,000.

VENICE CRUISE SHIPS IN PORT PHOTO BY MARGIE MIKLAS“In July, the United Nations warned that Venice will be placed on Unesco’s list of endangered heritage sites if Italy fails to ban giant cruise ships from the city’s lagoon by 2017.” It remains a hotly debated issue, and will be decided at the July 2017 meeting in Poland.

Glassmakers in Murano Photo by Margie MiklasVenice’s main attractions are not to be missed but  there is so much more to this city, including the local residents who have built businesses here over the generations.

Marco Jovon - Photo by Margie MiklasI’ve been fortunate to have met some of them, like Marco Jovan,  a jeweler of hand-crafted cameos. His shop is on the famous but crowded Rialto Bridge.

Rialto Bridge Photo by Margie MiklasOr this friendly shop owner near Piazza san Marco

VENICE JEWELRY SHOP Photo by Margie MiklasEnjoy my photo collage from Venice…some famous and some not so famous scenes.

Have you been to Venice?  What are your thoughts about the overcrowding problems facing this Italian travel destination? I’d love to hear them, so please leave a comment.

VENICE BLUE GONDOLAS pHOTO BY MARGIE MIKLASGrazie and Ciao

If out haven’t checked out my Facebook Author page, please stop by and LIKE the page…Lots going on there….Hoping to reach 1000 followers soon!  Grazie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Posted in Italian lifestyle and culture, Italy Photo, Italy Travel, Photography, TRAVEL | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 27 Comments

Mammoni and Mammismo – An Italian Lifestyle

File Photo Pexels

File Photo Pexels

Six years ago I wrote a post titled Mammoni – Mamma’s Boys in Italy and today it ranks as my most popular post.  Mammoni, a term applied to single Italian men who live at home with their mothers sometimes into their forties and fifties.  This  Italian lifestyle is alive and well today, maybe moreso  in light of the worsening economic situation in Bella Italia. And so is its counterpart, mammismo. The two lifestyles appear to go  hand in hand.

Goodfellas IMDB Photo credit http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0099685/mediaviewer/rm3046118656

Photo credit Goodfellas IMDB

According to to The Telegraph, mammismo is an “Italian bond of love between a man and his mother that chokes romance, inhibits sex drive, and even has the power to slow the economy.” They report that Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, the archbishop of Genoa, warned that the phenomenon is “one of the biggest risks to marriage in the country today.”

File photo:Pexels

File photo:Pexels

The Times Live corroborates this information, stating “the classic attachment between Italian men and their mothers – is one of the biggest risks to marriage today.” Going even further, “Leading matrimonial lawyer Gian Ettore Gassani said interfering mothers-in-law were responsible for 30% of all separations.”

Last year ITV News aired an ON Assignment episode titled “Italy’s mamma’s boys: The curse of the mammoni,” where they interviewed three Italian women who left their partners because of their mothers. One even described the situation as an addiction.

File Photo Pexels

File Photo Pexels

From my conversations with Italian men and women I’ve met on my travels to Italy, I understand that not all Italian men are so attached to their mamas. Many are in committed relationships, some married and some cohabitating.

File Photo: Pexels

File Photo: Pexels

From what I have discerned, moving away from the mother seems to be helpful so this mammismo does not become a problem for the couple.  Traditionally the Italian mother however does always hold a place of honor and importance in the culture.

Photo by Il Tirreno

Photo credit: Il Tirreno

The latest figures from Eurostat show “sixty-seven percent of 18-34-year-old Italians” living with their parents. This figure is  almost “20 points higher than the European average.” Due to the lack of jobs, there is not much of an alternative.

So the trend is controversial and I’d love to hear your opinions, so please leave a comment.

Grazie and Ciao.

 If you haven’t checked out my books on Italy yet, please visit my author page on Amazon. Also available on Amazon UK.

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Posted in Italian lifestyle and culture, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Gift of Positano

Positano Photo by Margie MiklasIf you told me I could click my heels three times and I’d be in Positano, I wouldn’t have to think about it. My answer would be “Yes, please, right now.”  Since I don’t live in a fantasy land and this isn’t a movie, the reality is I can’t be in Positano whenever I wish.

Positano - Photo by Margie MiklasSure, I have my unforgettable memories from my eight trips to this magical place on the Amalfi Coast. I have hundreds of photos to refresh my memory in visual detail.

I have made-in-Italy ceramics, scarves, sandals, and art I bought while I was in Positano. Did I mention I even bought a jigsaw puzzle?

But this week I received a piece of Positano as a gift I never expected, through the random kindness of a fellow blogger and published author. I first met Lois Patton as she was leaving her writers’ workshop group at the same time I was arriving at my writers’ guild meeting, coincidentally held in the same space. I liked her immediately, especially her smile and positive attitude about life. I had heard she was an excellent writer.

Lois has also been to Italy and shares a love for travel. In the past couple of years, Lois has been very supportive of my writing, commenting on my blog, and she has purchased my books too. I can’t thank her enough for that.

Once she gave me a gift of beautiful note cards created by her artistic husband, Ralph Patton. Eight different images of colorful flowers were reproduced from Ralph’s original pastel paintings. I thought they were gorgeous and recognized his talent immediately, although I had never met him.

Pastel note cards Art by Ralph Patton Photo by Margie MiklasRecently Lois contacted me and asked if I would mind if her husband used one of my Italy photos as inspiration for a painting. How honored was I to hear this? “Of course,” I said. “It would be my privilege.” Lois went on to explain that Ralph no longer exhibits his paintings at art shows, but he still enjoys painting. And then she told me that I should choose a favorite photo and he would paint it for me, as a gift. And I had never even met this man!

So, it didn’t take me long to decide on a photo, and I chose this one of Positano.

Positano Photo by Margie MiklasI shot this last October when I was in Positano for two weeks to write. I love the view from a road in the upper part of the town.

When I arrived at the library today, a perfect choice to meet, I thought, Lois and Ralph were waiting.

Ralph and Lois Patton Photo by Margie MiklasAfter the introductions, I could not believe my eyes when Lois unveiled Ralph’s stunning work of art. I expected an 8×10 sized painting size, or possibly 11×14. But what she presented me was much larger, a work of art that measures 12×20, matted 20×27. And it was absolutely perfect, so detailed.

Positano painting by Ralph Patton photo by Margie MiklasI thought the medium was pastels, but when I asked Ralph, he told me he used colored pencils  for this piece of art. Now I understand how he was able to create such intricate detail.

I know exactly where this painting will hang in my home, as soon as I have it framed. And everyone who visits will see it when they enter my house.

I thought of waiting to publish this post until I have the painting framed and hanging, but I didn’t want to delay this post. I wish I could steer you to a website or social media page of Ralph Patton’s, but he no longer promotes his artwork. He now does it for the sheer pleasure.

Margie Miklas and Ralph Patton with painting- Photo by Lois PattonRalph, you have provided me with so much joy from this personal gift of your creativity. I will be forever grateful and will share it with everyone.

When I hang the framed work in my home, I will add an addendum here so you can see the completed beautiful Positano work of art by Ralph Patton in its permanent place of honor.

Addendum: I now have the beautiful painting hanging in my home where I am transported back to my favorite place in Italy every single day, thanks to the magic of Ralph’s artistic talents.

A Gift of Positano  Photo by Margie Miklas What do you think? I absolutely love it!

Grazie mille dal fondo del mio cuore. Thank you so much from the bottom of my heart.

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Posted in Art, Italy Photo, Italy Travel, Made in Italy, TRAVEL, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 22 Comments

A Video View of Positano and the Amalfi Coast Road

Amalfi Coast Road Photo by Margie MiklasFor all the times I’ve tried to describe the Amalfi Coast road, I could never really adequately explain what this short video shows so clearly.  A classic example of “show, don’t tell.” Thank you, Coastal Living Instagram, for posting this cool video of Positano which received over 22,000 views in six hours. Enjoy.  Please check out @coastal_living on Instagram. Don’t you agree, this video is spectacular? Now you know why I love this place in Italy.

Along the Amalfi Coast, Italy photo by margie MiklasHave you been  as spellbound as  I have seeing these views as you took a ride on the Amalfi Coast road?  Or have you had the misfortune to become sick from the numerous twists and turns of the road that you couldn’t enjoy it? Please share your experience…I’d love to hear it, so please leave a comment.

Amalfi Coast Photo by Margie MiklasIf you enjoyed this post, you may also like my photo/coffee table book featuring images and correlating stories about Naples and the Amalfi Coast.

Positano Photo by Margie MiklasEach photograph tells its own story, enhanced by the lively and insightful narrative that accompanies it. If you’ve visited this special area of Italy, you will want to return once you’ve turned the pages of her book. lf you’ve never traveled there, you will put a trip to Naples and the Amalfi Coast at the top of your bucket list.” – Recent Amazon review

Colors of Naples and the Amalfi Coast by Margie Miklas

Available on Amazon in hardback $24.99

Have you visited  the Amalfi Coast? Did you love it as much as I did?  I’d love to hear your thoughts, so please leave a comment.

Grazie and ciao

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

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

The Next Step in the Writing Process

Dell Laptop, writing, editingMany of you know that I’ve been working on my first novel, and now I’ve reached the next step in the writing process. For the past few weeks, my manuscript has been in the capable hands of my editor, Susan Hughes, owner of  My Independent Editor.  It won’t be long before her work is completed and my revision process begins once more. You’ve heard it again and again…writing and rewriting. And yes, that is part of the process, if you want the final result to be your best work.

You’ll recall how I spent two weeks in the serene environment of the Amalfi Coast overlooking  the Tyrhennian Sea. Yes, it was a dream for me to  be able to spend that time in Positano, a magical place for me.

Positano Photo by Margie MiklasSo for the revision, I still need to have silence and need to be alone so I have no distractions. Although I like to write near the ocean,  need to do this part of the process on the laptop, so I will be home in my office. But, I am tempted to take the laptop outside onto the patio, and work from there.

Pool in Florida photo by Margie MiklasMy pool has a jacuzzi attached, and the water gently falls from from the jacuzzi back into the pool to recirculate. The sound is gentle, like a quiet small waterfall, so it’s relaxing.

If I need a break, or some inspiration, I may print out a chapter and head to my beach, twenty-five minutes away.

Hutchinson Island beach umbrella photo by Margie MiklasCritical Cover-Up is my first novel, and so it’s nothing like any of of my other books. This is a work of fiction, and I have been working on it for two and a half years, the longest of any of my books. The setting is Florida, and you won’t find any references to Bella Italia.

I’ll soon be sharing  my cover with you, as well as a synopsis, so please stay tuned for more updates. With some luck, I’m hoping to be able to publish Critical Cover-Up in late spring, depending on how the rewriting/revision goes. It will be available on Amazon.com  as well as in the UK and other countries in digital format as well as paperback.

Enjoy a few photos from my inspiring place at home in Florida.

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 Facebook Author page and  LIKE my page  for all the latest updates on my books.

Grazie and  Ciao

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Posted in Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments