Friday 30 April 2010

New luxury Italian properties

Umbria is known as Tuscany's quiet sister, this remarkable central Italian region is home to many cultural resources—wine making in Montefalco, Todi and Orvieto, sightseeing in the great St. Francis Cathedral Basilica of Assisi, and the world-renown Umbria Jazz Festival. For a memorable Italian vacation and access to the best Umbria holiday villas, consider Abode's outstanding selection of Umbria villa rentals. Umbria is truly "Italy's Green Heart," a pastoral blend of lush green hills, enchanting forests and fields of sunflowers. Our portfolio of luxury Italian properties for sale and to rent, includes authentic farmhouses in rural locales, restored by their owners. A property in Umbria offers a unique base from which you can explore the unruffled interior of Italy. Please visit our website to find the perfect Italian villa to buy or for rent!

Caffe Shakerato (iced coffee) moments

Summers in Italy are usually long and hot. To reduce the effects of Italy’s stifling summer heat, something cool is a must. Something like a caffe shakerato (iced coffee), maybe.
Ice cream is ok, but its effects never really last long enough. The fruit and mint flavour liquid ice granitas are much more effective at bringing one’s body heat back down to acceptable levels, and I find that their effect is longer lasting.

Then there is the caffè shakerato – which is not only refreshing, but it puts a smile on your face. It gets its name from the cocktail ’shaker’ used to make it.
It’s very good, and the combination of caffeine and cool seems to help reduce the effects of the searing Italian summer heat. Even if the effect is probably only psychological, it doesn't matter, after a shot of this, you will feel refreshed!
Now that the sun is out, here is a nice caffe shakerato recipe for those summer days...
Agitation is the essence of this popular Italian coffee. The drink takes shape when freshly pulled shots of espresso and chocolate syrup are combined with cracked ice and a bit of sugar in a cocktail shaker. It's shaken vigorously to aerate the espresso, then strained into a slim cocktail flute. At its best, the shakerato retains both chocolate richness and espresso complexity, layered with an attractive head of reconstituted creama. It is reccommended to chill the glasses in advance and using prepared simply syrup (equal parts sugar and water, boiled and cooled) rather than granulated sugar as the syrup dissolves more quickly in the cold liquid.

1 ounce espresso, at room temperature
1 teaspoon simple syrup
a few drops of vanilla extract
1 1/2 ounces chocolate syrup
twist of lemon or orange peel for garnish

Fill a cocktail shaker halfway with cracked ice cubes. Pour the espresso, sugar and chocolate syrups, and vanilla over the ice. Shake vigorously for at least 30 seconds and strain into a chilled glass that has been lined with a spiral of syrup. Garnish with a citrus peel.
Works well, in fact I think I’ll have another shakerato moment a little later on this afternoon!

Tuesday 27 April 2010

Italian Property. Italian property update.

The luxury Italian property market has been on hold for the first quarter of 2010. We have seen a decline in active purchasers looking to purchase Italian property. We predicted last year that the recession which was still not apparent in Italy in 2009 would start to effect the Italian housing market in 2010. Prices across the board have been effected but the exchange rate has also played a large part for overseas buyers looking for Italian property. Those looking to return the asset to sterling have benefited from the decline in the value of sterling as they are able to reduce their asking prices by almost 33% which still equates to the same sterling value of 18 months ago. Many vendors are now extremely keen to sell their Italian properties and in several cases they have reduced their property prices to well below the present market value to entice buyers.

We now believe that this is the right time to pursue your Italian dream. We have an excellent selection of beautiful Italian properties reduced to levels not seen for 5 years. Follow this link to go directly to our reduced Italian properties .

Monday 26 April 2010

Food festivals in Italy

If you are travelling in Italy by car, you might want to enjoy a local food festival, called sagra in Italian. Look for sagra signs like the one in the photo, with the word sagra or festa followed by the name of a food. They are written in Italian, of course, but they are pretty easy to figure out. There are a lot of local 'sagras' in Umbria, infact these festivals centered around food, are common in several small towns and villages throughout Italy. Especially during the summer you will find them every weekend, don't worry if you don't like the speciality they offer, because there are usually other local food choices available. Sagras are a combination of the celebration of typical regional cuisine based on local seasonal produce, enthusiastically incorporated into Italian cookery. These small festivals are definitely not set up just for tourists, here you will find families, couples, children, and elderly people all enjoying a meal together. Food and wine are reasonably priced and sometimes there will be some live music, games, or vendors selling things on stalls like sweets, toys, etc. Food festivals and sagras are a good way to mingle with the locals and experience the Italian lifestyle.

Attending a sagra is also a way to get a taste of Italian country life. You order food to be cooked by locals with a passion for the local cuisine, then sit at communal tables to eat.

You will probably need a car to go to a sagra, as most of them are held in small towns, normally in the main square.

Thursday 22 April 2010

Etiquette & customs in Italy

To tip or not to tip? I like this global guide of who to hand money to (and how much) when you are on holiday...

Why Abode Srl

If you are buying, selling, building or renting a luxury property in Italy, our expertise and reliability in providing comprehensive service is unique, which may be why our clients come back to us time and time again. We are dedicated to what we do, and passionate about how we do it. We have a global background, local presence and established relationships with world-class developers and investors, if you want unrivalled specialist knowledge, you have found it!
We have been dealing with properties in Italy for 23 years and we have thus developed the expertise in serving clients with a wide variety of interests and needs, and always with an emphasis on quality of service.
Our extensive, global network and focused market knowledge will put your property before the right clients in the right way to ensure a successful and timely sale.
If you are looking to purchase an Italian property, our local insight network, can help you find exactly the property that would best suit your needs.
We are able to present the finest selection of private and exclusive properties for holiday rentals, as well as wedding locations. They are situated in the most beautiful areas of Italy, whether by the coast or in the countryside in Tuscany, Umbria and the Marches. We know that providing you with the most complete source for information is the key factor for getting and keeping our business, our efforts will complement your Italian dream holiday and your time here will be really unforgettable!
Our company's mission is also to offer the highest quality of  wedding ceremonies, wine tasting, olive oil tasting and cooking classes.

We can help our clients optimise their property investment through our tailor made management program. Whatever you need, will do. We will maintain your property in pick condition and deal with all contractual and regulatory issues, leaving you free to enjoy only the benefits of your Italian property.

Tuesday 20 April 2010

Seats available back to London from Perugia. Only 2 remaining.

No planes now for 6 days. Are you stuck in Italy? We have 2 available seats on a private jet leaving from Perugia airport on Thursday for London. Need to get back before the weekend. Call us for further information 0039 075 573 3941.

Who is going to the UK?

All the European media are carrying epic tales of travelers' efforts to get home because of Iceland's volcanic cloud, that paralysed air traffic in northern Europe. Journeys by bus, car, train, bicycle and on foot, across seven countries, are not unusual.
Hundreds of flights to the UK have been cancelled after fine volcanic ash, invisible in most cases, drifted into Italian airspace yesterday morning.
The airports across northern Italy remained shut yesterday, as meteorologists warned that volcanic ash from Iceland had reached skies above Tuscany.
Airports such as Linate and Malpensa in Milan and Genoa's Cristoforo Colombo were in complete lockdown. Meanwhile, Italian holidaymakers remained stranded across northern Europe.
In major European cities, travel chaos reigns supreme. Travellers will have to turn to ground- and sea-based alternatives, with coach and ferry services reaping the dividends.

Some Italian coach company Eurolines said that some of its routes had seen growth of 600 percent after it put on hundreds of extra services and that "the demand for Eurolines services is still increasing."
The Italian rail network, Trenitalia, said it had laid on dozens of additional trains to cope with the flight ban and was working with other European rail authorities to increase the number of international journeys.

Train operator Eurostar said it was carrying almost 50,000 passengers going to London, Paris and Brussels.
Ferry operators in France received a flurry of bookings from people desperate to cross the English Channel to England, while a taxi company in Milan said it had received requests for journeys to cities as far away as Paris, London and Amsterdam.
I would imagine all the Eurostar trains and buses are choc-full. If you need to go back to England from Perugia you can contact
This company is based in Assisi, and they are able to provide cheap coach travel all over Europe.

It won’t be a volcano that ends man’s existence on this planet!

Thursday 15 April 2010

Astonishing castle perfectly renovated leads the Tuscan property collection at Abode

'This castle hath a pleasant seat; the air/ Nimbly and sweetly recommends itself/ Unto our gentle senses' Duncan says this just as he is entering Macbeth's castle. I am quoting Shakespeare’s Macbeth because this Abode Italian castle has a strongly scenographic appeal and a dramatic setting. We are in the process of adding this beautiful castle to our existing portfolio of properties in Tuscany. The castle lies on top of a hill overlooking Lake Trasimeno, on the Tuscany - Umbria border. It is surrounded by pine and oak woods, cypress trees and olive groves. This location, besides being extremely panoramic, with a full view of the lake and of the adjoining Valdichiana, makes it an ideal starting point for touring both Umbria and Tuscany. Do not miss the opportunity to buy an Italian dream! Further information will soon be available on our website

Monday 12 April 2010

Typical Umbrian farmhouse in Castiglione del Lago

We now have many clients looking for Italian farmhouses in and around the area of Castiglione del Lago in Umbria. Whether you are searching for a luxury property or a plot of land in Italy, or an idyllic holiday hideaway… it's just a click away!

Four days of spring fantasy in Castiglione del Lago. Parade of tulip-decorated floats. Historical procession, folklore and typical food

Tulips are magic for so many reasons, their exotic majesty is a reflection of nature's miraculous beauty. These flowers have inspired poets and artists and bewitched nations with their allure. Legend has that tulips are the sleeping cradles of fairies.

Umbria holds a yearly traditional Tulip Festival organised in the town of Castiglione del Lago. The colourful tapestry of tulips is a feast for your eyes in this scenic setting. More than one million of tulips are in display over the four days of the festival.

Every day entertainment includes live music and a magnificent range of food.
The Tulip Festival has been held in Castiglione del Lago since 1956, when Dutch families bought Umbrian farmhouses on the Lake Trasimeno and brought their country's tradition of celebrating the arrival of spring decorating windows, balconies and floats all with tulips. The Tulip Festival is held in April and attracts many people every year.

The most important part of this event is the parade of floats decorated with banners of the four wards of the town (Castello, Prati, Molino and Fontivegge). The festival also offers the opening of the old traditional taverns serving typical Umbrian and Tuscan dishes, and tournaments between people dressed up in historical costumes.
If food, music and books are my three favourite things in the world, interesting festivals sure come fourth.

The Tulip Festival in Castiglione del Lago happens once a year in April, Castiglione del Lago is gorgeous in this time of year. Every house seems to be glowing with stacks of flowers.
The last time I went to the Tulip Festival I guess it was a particularly packed weekend because weather-wise, it was probably the nicest day so far since the Tulip Festival had started.
This is a not to miss display- the whole town is adorned by thousands and thousands of colourful tulips that frame balconies, windows, street corners, squares and shop windows. There is a real competition to set up the best floral arrangements and the scenery is spectacular- local families set up real works of art with the colourful flowers.

The festival also includes a parade of floats, of course set up with tulips, the central piece of the event. Tulips are definitely the most important element of the event, but the festival is also based on a joust ‘Palio’ between the four town districts, opening of typical taverns, flag-wavings and parades in historical costumes.

So would I recommend the Castiglione del Lago Tulip Festival? Well, only if you love nature, flowers, plants, the outdoors, beautiful landscapes, photography, picturesque settings... basically if you love anything that takes your breath away, you should definitely make it a point to check it out if you are here during the month of April.

Friday 9 April 2010

Luxury Italian Property in Assisi

We now have many clients looking for luxury Italian properties in and around the Assisi area of Umbria. We are always interested in new properties in Assisi, Spello, Spoleto and Montefalco. If you're looking to sell your Italian property or would like an up to date valuation without obligation please give us a call.

Wednesday 7 April 2010

The Maggiolata in Assisi

On this beautiful spring afternoon, I went to Assisi and stop outside its ancient walls at San Damiano, a tiny Franciscan sanctuary set in a grove of olive trees, cypresses and wildflowers. I went there to enjoy The Maggiolata an unusual culinary festival occurring in private gardens throughout the old town center of Assisi in May. Each course of this long supper is served in a different garden and it is accompanied at each location by different musicians and singers.
Compared to the centuries-old traditions and festivals of this lovely Umbrian town, this festival of food and music is relatively new. The owners of some of Assisi’s most renowned and historic restaurants have established the event to celebrate the best of the local cuisine and talent. The Maggiolata is a progressive dinner set in the little gardens and hidden cloisters of Assisi, offering abundant food, wine and entertainment.

At arounf 6 o'clock in the evening, we gathered (we were about 200 people) in the garden of the Church of San Vitale and we were treated to welcome appetizers and flavourful wedges of focaccia. Here, musicians performed spontaneous verses known as May songs. This tradition is slowly dying as the young have neither the time or inclination to follow in the footsteps of their fathers country folk who in times past would go from farmhouse to farmhouse singing for their supper. With accordion and tambourine, our present-day musicians sing for our enjoyment. Our next stop was the olive grove of a private house. A long path lined with cypress trees leading us through this immense forest with silver-green olives glittering in the light that gilds the landscape. The tree branches framed little postcard scenes of tiled rooftops, you could see church spires and the varied fields of the valley far below. We were in the foothills of Mount Subasio. Stretched out in front of us there was a long table covered in a red table cloth, groaning under the weight of delicacies to whet our appetite.

Loads of lovely food, wine and more wine! From the surrounding woods, it was possible to hear music from a bagpipe, violin, bass and accordion.

Some pasta with wild fresh asparagus was waiting for us at our next stop, another intimate garden where wisteria vines and climbing roses crept in and around the railings of a characteristic terrace overlooking the breathtaking panorama of Assisi. The sun was setting as we walked the cobbled streets where lighted candles guided our footsteps to the garden of San Stefano. Along the way, we made a pause for a brief concert by a mezzosoprano singer, singing with the accompaniment of mandolin and classical guitar. It was a moment of pure magic.
Now in the full dark of night, we proceeded to the garden of Sant’Andrea for sweet endings and a performance by tango dancers, whose graceful, sensuous movements delighted the eye. It is nearly midnight as we approached our final destination the Basilica of St. Francis, with its white façade illuminated against a blue-black sky. On the patio beneath its stone rose window, framed by the arched portals, a baby grand piano sits was waiting. Despite several courses of delicious food, we decided to go for one final note of pure harmony. A tenor and a soprano gave voice to that wish, and for about half an hour, I really experienced joy.

Thursday 1 April 2010

Italian Estate Agents

Looking for an Italian Estate Agent with the best Italian property. Abode should be your first port of call. We have over 30 years of experience dealing in Luxury Italian Property. Want to find that unique castle or Tuscan Villa? Why not contact Abode and let us find your Italian dream. Our dedicated team of property professionals who all live in Italy will listen and then search Italy for your abode. We love Italy and want to make your house purchase or villa rental as painless as possible. Why not take your family to Italy for an unforgettable holiday. We have some of the best Castles, Villas and Palazzos available to rent. For further information or for a chat about Italy and Italian property call us on 0039 075 573 3941 or email us at Abode - no one does it better...