30 Oct 2012

Market Treats



When we are in Italy we often go to the weekly market in a local market place. 

  



As well as the regional variety of ciambelle biscuits, sweet and savoury, hand-made pasta, honey  and other cakes there are tarts with different fillings.
My sisters-in-law are all good cooks and make their own breads, pasta and desserts, but I like to buy at these artisan market stalls to take as a gift or for when someone comes to visit us at home.


Last time I bought a tart with a zabaglione custard filling and a tray of biscuits.

 I've been looking through a new recipe book with the idea of cooking some different desserts other than apple pies, jam tarts and sponge cakes. I'm not keen on chocolate spread, but the grandchildren love it so a crostata with a cream filling would be very popular.  



24 Oct 2012

Hill towns in the Ciociaria Region, Italy (2)

It was late afternoon when we visited a hill town in Lazio region and many of the narrow streets were in shadow.  The shops had just opened and most residents were indoors, apart from school children and a group of men sitting in a cafe in the inner town piazza playing card games.
There are many caves in the area associated with the Ernici tribe who built the settlement well over two thousand years ago.  Sections of the megalithic walls are still present on the site.  However, the layout with its walls and towers is late medieval with buildings that once belonged to noble families such as the Castle - which has been a Benedictine monastery since 1912 when the sisters moved from the nearby palace complex.



 





 

 




The main Piazza Sant'Angelo was full of trucks and building material
so we didn't go to our usual cafe for a drink.  (I've included a couple of photos
of the piazza and the church from a previous visit).
Instead we went shopping for presents for our grandchildren and bought
 some art material for the younger ones, which has become something of a tradition.




Castello Filonardi
There are many art treasures in the churches and castle including a rare fresco by Giotto of an angel so next time we visit I shall be checking these out.


We took a final drive around the town walls before heading back home. 

22 Oct 2012

Hill towns in the Ciociaria Region, Italy.


A drive up to one of our local hill towns is always a pleasure and the nearest is one of the most fortified in the south of Rome region of Lazio in the Ciociaria province.  It has three rows of surrounding walls and eighteen towers.  The settlement dates back to pre-Roman times and within the narrow streets there are buildings from the Medieval, Renaissance and Baroque historical periods.  At the moment some of the buildings are shrouded in scaffolding and protective sheeting and it looks as if a lot of conservation work is taking place.
 



 High up, the road runs around the outer town walls.  
There's a walkway with seating on the left 
and a sheer drop into the valley below.


One of the entrance gates


The main entrance gate into the town


Opposite the entrance there's a recreational area.



Views from the piazza.






19 Oct 2012

A time in Italy


We've just returned to the UK after spending a few weeks in our Italian house.  It was good to see blue skies for the majority of the time.




The vine leaves are just beginning to change colour and drop.  The family had already gathered our wine grapes for us before we arrived, but left some table grapes for us to enjoy and there were still plenty of apples and figs.



Back in England we're adjusting to the colder weather again!