Montenero - My Open Air Gym

28 February 2009

My Italian (English) Christmas in Livorno

25th December 2008

In all the years I have lived in Livorno, I have nearly always spent Christmas here rather than going back to the UK. This is mainly because my husband has to work on Christmas Eve, making pre-Christmas travel almost impossible.

For many years our Christmas lunch was very conveniently enjoyed at my parents-in-laws’ home here in Livorno where we would turn up at 1pm to find everything beautifully prepared and ready for eating. All we had to do was take our places at the table and tuck in.

Pomegranate Flowers

20th June 2009
Pomegranate tree in flowerPomegranate tree in flowerThere is a blaze of summer colour wherever you go at the moment, from the various shades of Oleanders - in white to dark pink - , the purple Bougainvillea and its less common red-flowering variety, the huge orange flowers of Campsis radicans, to geraniums in every shade decorating terraces and balconies. My favourites, however, have to be the striking orange flowers that appear on the pomegranate shrub or tree at this time of year. They are small in comparison to many other summer flowers, and not as spectacular, but there is something about the beautiful contrast between the orange flower and the bright green leaves that I can't get enough of!

Shocking Weather and Advent Calendars

4th December 2008

That was the wettest, windiest, stormiest  and coldest spot of weather I have ever experienced in Livorno. I kept expecting Noah to sail past the window in his ark. If he had, I might have suggested he took some of the neighbours’ barking dogs with him, especially the one that barks at 7am, every day, Sundays and holidays included. It is so good to see the sunshine again today.

1st December meant advent calendars for the kids. Although the calendars are not part of Italian tradition, I introduced them to my half-Italian family early on.

The First Snow, The Last Ships

25th November 2008

Bear in a ChairI saw the first snow on the distant mountains this morning. It is such a stunning sight on clear, cold mornings like today, cold being the operative word as the car thermometer registered 6° at half past eight.

Incredibly, there are still a few cruise ships pulling into port. I can’t really imagine what pleasure there can be in a Mediterranean cruise in late November, but I suppose the thinning crowds in cities like Florence is an advantage. Yesterday, though, some of the excursion buses heading that way got stuck on the motorway because of the bad weather, or so I heard.

Seeing the snow on the Apennines is not the only advantage of living up here on the hill in Montenero. There are some absolutely beautiful sunsets at this time of year. I always feel like stopping and pondering the scene, but I’m usually rushing by in my car, ferrying one or both of my boys to their various afternoon activities. Can’t stop.

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