Tuesday 28 September 2010

Luxury villas in Umbria and Tuscany required

We are looking for more properties to add to our selection of luxury houses either to buy or for rent in Italy. We are particularly interested in villas in Umbria and Tuscany, but not only. We have collectively been in the property business for nearly 30 years and we know the property business in Italy very well. Maybe you own a gorgeous hilltop Umbrian farmhouse with a swimming pool, or have a lovely stone villa situated in a tranquil corner of Tuscany or Le Marche and perhaps you don’t have the time to use this house as often as you might like. Maybe you are a globe-trotting executive and are unable to make it back to your corner of paradise in Italy for a few years or so. If this is the case and you would like to keep your house in Italy in good condition, then you should seriously consider contacting us http://www.abode.it/ to discuss how to place your villa in our portfolio. Your property will feature on our globally recognised website. Are you interested in renting your property to holiday guests during the spring and summer?

Monday 20 September 2010

Home in Italy for rent

Through our website www.abode.it you can browse our properties for rent. We remind you that if you are searching for a particular property that doesn't feature on our website yet, you can send us a specific request and Abode Srl will find the suitable villa rental for you. The goal of our company is to give you the pleasure of renting your Italian dream!

Thursday 16 September 2010

Palio dei colombi in Amelia

The main festival of Amelia in Umbria is the 'Palio dei colombi', which stretches over 2 weeks in late July and early August. The central event is of this boisterous and vivid festival is a contest during which riders on horseback representing the city's five medieval neighborhoods (contrade) compete against one another in a game of quintan. The winner fires a bolt from a crossbow, hits the target and releases a caged pigeon. Easier than it sounds?

Monday 13 September 2010

Festa nella Fratta del '800 - Umbertide

Umbertide had their Ottocento festival over the weekend and it was a rousing good time, the Umbrian town turned into a stage for one of the most interesting historic commemorations of our region. Forgoing the whole Middle Age theme, Fratta (the original name of Umbertide) has embraced the roaring 19th century, a century of great social and political changes which gave birth to the modern era and to a time marked by huge and significant transformations in communication, labour and culture.

The 19th century was a time that deeply affected life in Italy and in the world, including the microcosm of Umbertide which, through evocative scenery and walkers-on wearing period costumes, re-lived the exciting moments that characterised the Italian Risorgimento with all the suffering that came with it. The many initiatives in the programme were grouped into sectors which were mainly cultural events (exhibitions and conferences), entertainment (plays, ballet and music and folk dances) and gastronomy.

This is a festival in every sense of the word- lavish tavernas done up as genteel parlor rooms, can can girls, dance performances, jugglers, young people running in the streets with bayoneted rifles, incredibly good wine. The events scheduled for 'La Fratta dell’Ottocento' began on the evening of Thursday 9th September and continued for four days, with the stage being the entire historic centre and they were undoubtedly approved by the vast crowd that filled the winding little streets on this occasion.
I went home tired, with sore feet and big smile. I love this festa!

Friday 10 September 2010

A corner of Umbria in London

Of Vasco & Piero's Pavilion Restaurant http://www.vascosfood.com/, legendary food critic Fay Maschler recently wrote within a review: The strange name refers to a time in the early 1970s when this restaurant was above the Cinema Academy (sadly no more) and decor as camp as a row of tents was supplied by surrealist photographer Angus McBean. Serenely supervising the kitchen is the venerable chef Vasco Matteucci who imports wild herbs, oil, cheeses, truffles and cured meats from his native Umbria. Pasta is made on the premises and tortelloni - not to be missed - might have fillings as various as wild mushroom, duck, sea bass, or aubergine.Food is simple and good; assemblies on the plate could never be accused of showing off. Eating here is like eating in Italy - and in Soho of old when it was the area you had to visit to find olive oil to buy. Lunchtime attracts media folk, evenings canny politicians. Gordon Brown wooed Sarah here.Terry Gilliam says: 'Which is your favourite London restaurant? Vasco & Piero's Pavilion on Poland Street, W1, because it does brilliant Umbrian cooking and it's always good.' Source: www.thisislondon.co.uk

Thursday 9 September 2010

Is Italian the World's most enchanting language?

English is well on its way to becoming the dominant global language- one out of four of the world's population speak English to some level of competence and demand from the other three-quarters is increasing. English, the world’s most utilitarian language, has infiltrated many realms of Italian life and Italian is becoming a real hotchpotch of a language.

So many English words are replacing Italian words... NO COMMENT! An English expression frequently used instead of the Italian 'nessun commento' (save five letters!)

For example, browse through a typical Italian newspaper and it would be no surprise to read about 'un killer' on the loose who has left locals in a state of 'lo shock'. Thankfully, police have nailed him, putting 'un stop' to his crimewave.

In politics articles 'i business leader'  don’t need un 'poll' to tell that the Government’s committed 'un altro gaffe' and their plans look like being 'un gran flop'!
But enough of politics. Fancy catching up on the football in La Gazzetta dello Sport? Well, il 'derby' last night between i due 'club' di Milan, Inter and AC, proved a real corker, what with both sides pushing each other back with 'il pressing' ‒ until Inter’s Marco Materazzi proved 'il matchwinner' with a header from 'un corner'! But overall it proved 'un match bellissimo' and 'i fans' will be talking about it for days, and thank goodness there were no 'hooligans' at the stadium!

Then there are the showbiz magazines. Even worse. It seems like Geri Halliwell's sporting il suo new 'look ' now that she’s finally bagged herself 'un boyfriend'. Bet she and il suo partner can’t wait to spend 'il weekend' together in un 'resort'. And as for that Posh Spice, well, she’s always been more 'la snob' than la sexy.  A few pages on and there are some prime examples of 'le showgirl', whose names you probably won’t recognise and whose ambitions start and end with appearing on 'un reality show' and then bagging 'un VIP' or 'un pop star' so they can hang out with all the beautiful people and sui loro 'yacht'.  And finally, if you think you need un po’ di 'restyling', the fashion editor’s an expert on 'il beauty' and what are gli accessori must. She’ll tell you all about il new look this summer, which apparently involves applying 'il make-up' only sparingly. I 'colour' for this season 'sono black and white', combining un 't-shirt extra large' with 'un paio di jeans'. This is 'il nuovo trend'!!

Weekend – instead of 'fine settimana' (save 7 letters!)

Welfare – instead of 'benessere', we have a 'Ministero del Welfare' in the Italian Government!!
Briefing – no one word translation in Italian! 'Riunione'? Maybe...
No excuse for mission! Missione in Italian- only one more letter!!

In order to stem the advance of anglicisms a little guide called 'Il Codice Itanglese,' (The Itanglese Code)- has been written. It is a set of rules for the appropriate use of English terms.

Itanglese is the Italian language used in certain contexts and surroundings, characterised by frequent and arbitrary recourse to English terms and expressions.
According to 'Il Codice Itanglese' here is a list of circumstances where Italians should not use an English word-

when only trying to appear more modern or advanced technologically. Rather than going online, in Italian you should go in rete (on the net) to check for posta elettronica (e-mail) or scaricare (download) a file. But why even consider a humdrum English word like 'hacker' when you can stick with the far more dashing pirata informatico (information pirate);

when you are suffering the laziness of not wanting to translate it from the original. Resist such temptations as opting for weekend instead of fine settimana, ok! For bene!, No smoking for vietato fumare, hobby for passatempo or chewing gum for gomma da masticare;

when English words might ruin the grammar or syntax of the rest of the phrase. There’s something jarring about phrases (ubiquitous on signs in Italy) such as 'il pranzo business' (business lunch) or il negozio fashion (fashion shop);

when the original meaning of the English term changes in the Italian. The Italian word ticket, for instance, translates as a medical copayment, not as a biglietto for a museum or movie. In Italian golf refers to a pullover sweater, mobbing to bullying or harassment in workplaces and slip to women’s underwear, not to a slip of the tongue (although it certainly would be);

when the origin of the English word is Latin. Honour word’s roots, and say centro rather than centre, fanatico rather than fan, supermercato rather than supermarket and esame instead of test.

Come on you can make it! Don't give in to 'lo stress'!!

Wednesday 8 September 2010

Buonconvento in Tuscany

Buonconvento is a town in the province of Siena in Tuscany. It's located about 16 miles southeast of Siena in the area known as the Crete Senesi. In Buonconvento you can visit some interesting churches (13th-14th centuries) and in the local museum there are works by artists from the Sienese School of painting. In most of the Buonconvento's 'frazioni' (name given to the territorial subdivision of a  municipality), you can find Medieval buildings and Renaissance castles. For example, the well known Castle of Bibbiano is in the comune (municipality) of Buonconvento.

Tuesday 7 September 2010

Buying a property in Umbria

Tuscany is invariably the number one choice of buyers who consider entering the property in Italy market. However, its neighbour to the east, Umbria, is increasingly winning investors over as it has not suffered from Tuscany’s decades of inexorably rising prices. And in truth, from the moment one steps foot in Umbria, appeal of owning property in Umbria becomes eminently clear. Its centuries of rich history seem to emanate from every cobbled step and church facade in its scenic hilltowns and villages, which are within easy enough reach of one another to be comfortably visited in one fell swoop, even on a relatively brief trip to this part of Italy. In addition it is not overrun by the millions of tourists who flock to Tuscany and consequently is all the more delightful for it. Umbria proudly describes itself as The Green Heart of Italy, and with good reason. Landlocked it may be, but some of Italy’s most stunning landscape is to be found here. Its has 750,000 acres of verdant woodland that includes seven nature reserves. So it comes as little surprise that Umbria is arguably the second most popular region, behind Tuscany, among investors in property in Italy – a trend accelerated when Perugia’s airport was extended in 2006 to take international flights.

In truth, properties in large swathes of Umbria have soared to close to Tuscan levels. Expect to pay about €400,000 for a restored farmhouse in Umbria and around €250,000 for a two-bedroom apartment or house. If you are happy with a fixer-upper, a rustic property to restore can cost under €100,000. But bear in mind you may spend an additional €300,000 bringing it back to its former glory.
However, these average prices do not portray the whole story and there are highly affordable properties available in Umbria if you look in the right places. For instance, on the northern shores of Lake Trasimeno, a one-bedroom property in Tuoro sul Trasimeno can go for just €100,000. Meanwhile, expect to pay €20,000 more for a new-build two-bedroom apartment and €220,000 for a new-build three-bedroom property.

Bear in mind also that the current economic downturn gives buyers the whip hand and smart negotiators can frequently knock up to 10 or 15 per cent off the listed price of a property.
Where in Umbria to buy? This is a region that has not lost its unspoilt charm, boasting a chain of splendid medieval towns apparently unaltered since the Middle Ages – Assisi, Perugia, Spello and Todi chief among them. However, the best thing for any prospective investor is to pay a visit to Umbria to get a feel for it in person. But deciding where to start can often prove a headache as the region boasts numerous attractions. One often preferred option is to base yourself in either Orvieto or Assisi and spend a handful of days, or a week if you have the time, seeing the lie of the land.

Although Perugia is Umbria’s administrative capital, Assisi is its spiritual heart, the town where Italy’s patron saint St Francis set up his religious order in 1209. It now attracts pilgrims worldwide, chiefly for the basilica that bears the saint’s name and is his final resting place. However, if one town in Umbria matches Perugia for religious preeminence it is Orvieto, which looks down from massive cliffs and boasting an amazing cathedral. Other must-sees include Spello, an enchanting town on the slopes of Monte Subasio, Bevagna, which lies on ancient Roman ruins and wine-growing Montefalco, nicknamed “Umbria’s Balcony” for its magnificent views that go as far as Assisi and Spoleto.

Monday 6 September 2010

A woman, a dog and Umbria

Tired of laboring in city cubicles, Justine van der Leun sublets her studio apartment, leaves her magazine job, and moves to Collelungo, Italy, population: 200 souls. There, in the ancient city center of a historic Umbrian village, she sets up house with the handsome local gardener she met on holiday only weeks earlier. This impulsive decision launches an eye-opening series of misadventures when village life and romance turn out to be radically different from what she had imagined. Love lost with the gardener is found instead with Marcus, an abandoned English pointer that she rescues. With Marcus by her side, Justine discovers the bliss and hardship of living in the countryside: herding sheep, tending to wild horses, picking olives with her adopted Italian family, and trying her best to learn the regional dialect. Not quite up to wild boar hunting, no good at gathering mushrooms, and no mamma when it comes to making pasta, she never quite fits in with the locals who, despite their differences, take her in as one of their own. The result is a rich, comic, and unconventional portrait about learning to live and love in the most unexpected ways.

This is the plot of the novel 'Marcus of Umbria: What an Italian dog taught an American girl about love'. The book traces Justine van der Leun's funny and illuminating time spent in Collelungo, a 200-person farming village in central Umbria. The author of the new book Marcus of Umbria, Justine van der Leun introduces us to her former home village of Collelungo in Umbria and what there is to see and do around the more well-known town of Todi.
The effect of this book is utterly charming. I was engaged from start to finish!

Thursday 2 September 2010

The giostra del Saracino in Arezzo

Every year an appointment with the past, history and wars returns: The Giostra del Saracino in Arezzo, running the last week of June and the first week in September.

The Giostra del Saracino 'Giostra ad burattum' finds its roots in Medieval times, it in fact born as a military training exercise, when Christian armies fought the wars of the crusades against Muslims to contrast expansion into Christian lands and domination of the city of Jerusalem.

With the passing of time it took on a meaning of officiality for the nobles. It took place in the occasion of visits by important figures or to solemnize specific civil celebrations. Today the Giostra del Saracino returns as a historical commemoration, on the occasion of the patron of the city: San Donato. The four neighbourhoods of the city participate in the Giostra, corresponding to the Gates of the city of Arezzo: Quartiere di Porta Crucifera, Porta del Foro, Porta Sant'Andrea and Porta di Santo Spirito. The neighbourhood of Porta Crucifera is distinguished by the colours red and green and its main seat is in Palazzo Alberti and it expands into the north east area of the city of Arezzo.

South east there is the neighbourhood of Porta Sant'Andrea with its white and green posters.
Porta del Foro, the third rione, is distinguished by colours yellow and crimson and its seat is in Porta San Lorentino, in the north west area of the city. And finally the neighbourhood of Porta Santo Spirito, in the south west area of Arezzo with seat in the Bastione di levante of Porta Santo Spirito, with colours yellow and blue. The Giostra del Saracino, organised by the Arezzo Municipality, starts in the morning with the 'lettura del Bando', reading of the competition paper by the Araldo, then followed by the re-evocative parade in 14th century costume with over 300 walk-ons and 30 horses, culminating with the "benedizione degli armati" (blessing of the armed) on the steps of the Duomo, performed by the Bishop of Arezzo.

The true tournament takes place in the afternoon when Piazza Grande is entered by the parade carrying the old gonfalons of the city by the orders of the Maestro del Campo. Then follows the display of the Sbandieratori (flag spinners) and the entry of the jousters who come in galloping on the 'lizza', the competition ground. At this point the Araldo reads the 'Disfida di Buratto' (a poetic composition dating back to the XVII century), there is a greeting of arbalesters and halberdiers and finally the authorisation by the Magistrates to run the Tournament and the singing, by the Gruppo Musici, of the 'Inno del Saracino'. Then come the jousters galloping, according to the order with which the knights will have to face each other, as decided the Sunday before the tournament, by a draw entrusted to the 'paggetti'. The objective of each knight armed with 'resta', that is the lance, is hitting an armoured automaton, the Saracino "Buratto, Re delle Indie" which represents a bludgeon armed Saracen. The pair of knights that will have totalled the highest number of points (which go from one to five) hitting the Saracino's shield, will win its neighbourhood the 'Golden lance', the Trophy of the Tournament.