Posts Tagged With: carnevale

The start of the beginning…

Buongiorno a tutti,

How is everyone? I can’t believe it’s mid February already! I started this post at the beginning of January and never got around to posting it so I’ve had to keep re-writing it with the latest several times! I’ve got quite a mixed bag of good and bad news in this post. I’ll get the bad out of the way with…

I had sad news at the start of the year with my nan, my only remaining grandparent passing away. It was expected but of course it was still very sad and particularly difficult given I was back in Italy at the time. However, I’m pleased I spent quite a bit of time with her over Christmas and have lots of good memories to look back on. She has always been quite a feature of my visits when I’m back in the UK so it’ll be a bit odd without her.

One of my neighbours in Sarnano also died last month. He and his wife made me feel really welcome when I moved there. I used to have coffee with them. He would greet me with a call of “Amore mio” (“My love!”) if he was outside and I passed the house. Their house was heavily damaged in the earthquake too. It’s been difficult for all of us with damaged houses but particularly for them – moving from their lovely country house with their extensive veggie patch, fruit trees and animals, to a second floor flat in the centre of town was not how they envisaged spending their last few years. My heart goes out to his wife.

A day or so after I came back from the UK, the Italian army arrived to knock my house down. It’s technically great news, despite it feeling like bad news! The army knocked it down for free meaning the money we get from the State should go 100% towards the rebuild rather than having to include demolition costs too. So really, it’s the start of the beginning rather than the end of the end! I hardly got any notice of the demolition so I had a somewhat stressful week or two beforehand trying to clear the house which was still full to the brim with furniture. I had lots of offers of help though and managed to get an empty garage to put things in.


And then half an hour later there was nothing still standing! It was horribly sad of course but I was there with the neighbours and there was something nice about being sad together – stuff like that brings people closer doesn’t it?!

On a less depressing note, I did manage to get out for a couple of trips:

Sentina Nature Reserve                                                                                                                 

This is a nature reserve near San Benedetto del Tronto. I get the feeling it was supposed to have been wetlands but they weren’t very wet. I think there should have been a few lakes/ponds but I wasn’t able to see any evidence of them! However, it’s on the coast so you can do a circuit with the first and last bits through the ‘wetlands’ and the middle bit on the coast. It’s really nice to see some wild coastline in Italy. So much of the Marche coast has a road right next to it and bars. This stretch of coast was excellent for seaglass and had some very atmospheric falling down buildings on the shoreline!


Carnevale is the day before lent starts, though events usually take place the weekend before as well. It’s a time for celebration, fun and for eating “frappe” (fried things that they cover with some kind of syrup usually – here’s a recipe).  In many towns, they have a procession and floats with children and adults dancing or playing music and generally having a good time. Each region has their own style of costume: Harlequin’s are from Bergamo, Pulcinella (horrible black masks with long beaky noses) are from Naples to name just a couple.  It’s a celebration full of history and tradition.

A friend and I went to Ascoli Piceno this year to see Carnevale there. It was great fun. Rather than the typical procession, you wander around the main piazzas seeing little ‘scenes’ – often with some political message behind them but sometimes just absolutely silly.  I think it’s fair to say that all regions of Italy are proud of their local dialects and Ascoli Piceno is no different. It was quite amusing trying to work out what their signs said and I was pleased to note that even my Italian friend struggled to understand some of it!

So, after a fairly unsettled month or two with one thing or another, I’m really looking forward to getting back to a routine. I’ve got a swimming gala to train for towards the end of March and I’ve just given some paintings to be exhibited in the gym – the manager wasn’t there when I left them so who knows whether he’ll actually accept them… Fingers crossed! I’ve got a number of arty projects to be getting on with now so I’ll keep you posted on those. In other good news, despite seeing the snow creeping down on the mountains, the weather has been absolutely stunning this week so I feel like Spring is almost in the air (I even have a daffodil in the garden to prove it!).

I hope you have all had a good start to the year so far. A presto,





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Carnevale, Pebble Fish and Driftwood Sculptures!

Ciao all,

This week’s blog post will be short as I’ve not been up to much other than the usual. It’s the “Carnevale” period in Italy at the moment which means quite a few street parades etc. though I’ve not seen any yet. Hoping to go and see the Carnevale in Fano tomorrow and I’ll of course report back next week, I’m quite excited about it! Meanwhile, I’ve been having fun with the art stuff. I’m really into this beach recycling business at the moment and making things out of driftwood, sea glass and pebbles. I should do more paintings – I think it might be more lucrative but it’s not quite as amusing as my other projects so I’ve been slacking. Here’s some of my efforts in the last week or so…


My house, in the middle of my street…. (is that how the Madness song goes?!)


Sea glass and pebble tree (this has a glass front – it kept getting my reflection so I took it from a distance but then the quality as a result is poor! Does anyone have an ideas on how to do that?! I want the frame in the photo but I can’t take the glass out on this frame to take it without)


Phone holder – it’s got a handy hole in the bottom for the phone charger and everything…


Driftwood and sea glass mobile


Driftwood and shell Incense holder


Driftwood fish

On the portrait drawing front, I’ve hit a brick wall (which I’m intending to bulldoze soon). I don’t seem to be able to do a reasonable looking portrait in less than an hour and twenty minutes. The problem is in the shading, it seems to take me ages. HOWEVER, I have found a new technique which looks very promising called “Dry brush” and it’s a lot quicker. It’s basically using oil paint but a tiny, tiny bit of it. However, it’s really poorly documented. If you “Youtube” it, you’ll see some artists that have posted speeded up videos of them doing the portraits but it’s really not at all helpful! It’s not really the drawing bit that I have the problem with (though these are incredibly talented artists – it’s very clever!) – it’s the bits that don’t happen on the canvas which you can’t see that I’m confused about. The pioneer of this technique seems to be Igor Kazarin and he goes to great lengths to explain the technique but it makes absolutely no sense at all so I’m no clearer. My first attempt was blotchy and horrid. Anyway, I’ll experiment more with it this week. 


I’ve been doing a few inspiration stones… this one of Stephen King’s is my favourite!


Some mussel shell hearts and my bowl of inspiration stones and random fish


Pebble Fish!

Finally, on a non artistic front, I’m seeing a couple of houses tomorrow to maybe buy so I’m really pleased about that – it’ll be interesting to see what I can get for my money here.

Anyway, that about sums up my week. Hope you’re all well!

Buona notte!


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