Friday, April 4, 2014

Guardia Welcomes the World..

This is where I like to spend a few minutes every day!  (Thanks for this treasure Elizabeth C.!!)

I feel like my adventures in Guardia are starting a new chapter.  I'm no longer House Hunting or getting things set up.  I'm back in Texas, working and raising a family. Yet every day I talk to neighbors and friends that live in Guardia or have purchased a home in Guardia.. always getting the latest updates and news, responding to questions from people interested in going to Guardia to find their dream home, or simply planning my next trip. In some way, I feel like I manage to spend at least a few minutes every day in Guardia, this wonderful place that brings constant little snippets of serendipity to my daily routine of traffic, deadlines and conference calls. The house in Guardia is ready for me at a moment's notice.

People ask me if I have any regrets about buying a house in Guardia, Italy.. my answer is always the same.. "Not for a single second!!!" 

Hillside view of Guardia - Picture by Guy Ranzino

The real story of Guardia is now the new wave of house hunters arriving in Guardia from all over the world.  In the last year, 20 houses have sold in the Centro Historico of Gaurdia to foreigners.  People ask if there are still houses for sale and if the prices are still good.. the answer if Yes and Yes.

The historic table that has welcomed so many visitors to Guardia in the past year.  (The plaque was a gift to the Orso family .. so appropriate Glenn T!!)

I am amazed at how a little town like Guardia, that has remained unchanged for so many years, has opened there arms to so many different people, and made them feel right at home. 

Welcome South Africa and Singapore!!

This month alone, Martha and Carlo arrived from South Africa and within one week, found a lovely vacation home for themselves.

Wayliak and his family from Singapore and spent 2 weeks in Guardia house hunting and enjoying the many day trips easily accessible from Guardia.  After 2 weeks in Guardia, they had found a wonderful vacation home and friendships that will hopefully last many lifetimes!

Wayliak and family meeting little Orso's
Even the littlest visitors can't help falling in love with Anna (and her cooking!!) 

Also, this month.  A film crew arrived that was filming a horror film called "Janara"  The filming took place in various locations in Guardia and San Lupo.  A lot of the filming took place on the piazza by my house Piazza Croce. All very exciting for the people of Guardia!  See the link on fb...Janara Il Film for more pictures and information.

Temporary bar scene.. on the Piazza

Filming on the steps of the Chiesa del Rocco
Click on link above for historical information on the Chiesa del Rocco.. one of several significant churches in Guardia..  

I'm excited to see new life coming back to the Centro Historico of Guardia, and I go to sleep at night dreaming about the possibilities of what tomorrow will bring ..

Buonanotte a tutti!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Upcoming Events and Updates

I  wanted to give everyone some updates on some upcoming events happening in Guardia this summer:

The Comune di Guardia always puts out a list of summer events will festivals, open air movie nights at the castle, and concerts.

If you are not on facebook and are looking for more information on Guardia, I would encourage you to do so. Much of the information available online about Guardia is communicated via facebook pages.  Although the summer events schedule is not posted yet, the City updates the above link with regularly.

For all of you art fans and artists, another exciting new event being planned is Ri-Creare Guardia, an international artistic gathering in Guardia. The even is being held July 4-6 and July 11-12 of 2014 and is being sponsored by Guardia Sanframondi Renaissance: The Art Town

And last but not least, for the wine lovers and foodies out there.. there is the 21st annual Vinalia 2014 that will be held August 3 - 9 2014.  The information hasn't been updated yet for this year's festa, but I'm including the links from last year's event.

Poster from Vinalia 2013

Official Vinalia website at:

Vinalia Facebook page at:

This a one of a kind week long food and wine festival sponsored by the Winemakers Club and organized by the Committee Vinalia.  The festival is an annual even and marks the culmination of the celebration of the wine harvest.  The event is aimed at showcasing the local products of the Campania region of Italy.  The lively festival takes place in the characteristic setting of the "Centro Historico" of ancient Guardia. where over thirty company sponsors come together to set a stage for a delight to the senses.  The billboard includes wine (with over 200 labels), taverns (where you can taste local cheeses, olive oils, meats, honey and bread) , taste workshops, musical performances, film screening, street performers and more...

The festival is free of charge and weaves through the ancient streets and the magical castle in the clouds of Guardia Sanframondi.

In addition to the local festivities, Vinalia offers a unique wine tasting experience with an opportunity to have a private sampling of best wines from the 16 wineries present.  Here you will get to meet with experts and producers from the region to explain the uniqueness of their wines presented, giving you a feel for the tradition and passion for wine that is so much a part of their life.
An entrance ticket is required for this event.

I'll continue to update the information as I get more updates. I'm already getting excited about my next trip, but can't decide when to go  .. I don't want to miss anything!!

Until next time Ciao! 

Sunday, January 19, 2014

A Day Trip to Naples...

The trip to Naples with Luigi and Anna was one of the highlights of the entire trip!! While Guardia is calm and serene, Naples is an explosion of the senses!! A bustling port city full of sights, sounds, and delicious food!

Luigi knew the back way to get into everything and knows Naples (and it seemed like everyone in Naples!) like the back of his hand. 

Anna & Luigi Orso 

We started our day walking through the market in Naples and weaved our way through miles and miles of specialty shops, street vendors and little cafes and restaurants.  

mmm the bread, the pie!

"Everything for the Baker"

Really interesting antique shop.. not sure if I went in I would ever be able to come out!

Every kind of seafood 

It was a nice sunny day.. so laundry day in Naples

Next we went to the Via San Gregorio Armeno to the mercado del presepe.  This is the Christmas market in Naples where they have beautiful hand crafted manger scenes.  The region is famous for its very intricate and elaborate mangers.. far beyond what we have in our typical manger scenes .. the "cribs" include very detailed scenes of entire villages.  I imagine you build your own a little at a time, adding a few pieces each year. 

Anna & me in front of one of many beautiful presepes

One of the more elaborate presepes.

Entering Via San Gregorio


Luigi!! always adding a laugh!

The small start of our family presepe

 After all that walking and shopping.. we were hungry and Luigi knew of this little place where we could eat the best pizza and the freshest seafood.. sooo good!!!  My mouth is watering just thinking about that meal!!

The cook came out to show me how fresh the seafood was.. it was still jumping!!

And 45 minutes later .. Wallah!!!

and its Naples so you have to eat Napolean style pizza!!

At this point my phone died so sadly I have no more pictures but I can tell you all about it.. After pranzo, we headed over to the port side and ate a gelato while looking out into the Gulf of Napoli where you can see the Isle of Capri in the distance as well as the Amalfi Coast .. all the way to Salerno.  It's a stunning view!
Next we went to the Castel dell Ovo, which is a 12th century fortress, surrounded by some of the nicest hotels in Naples as well as little shops and restaurants.  It's really a lovely area to take a stroll and soak in the sites.
Stock photo of Castell dell Ovo
..and this finished up our day in Naples.. we made a few stops on the way home because Luigi knows a place that has the best fruit, and another place that has the best cheese and so we made our way back to Guardia, everyone laughing and smiling about the memories we had made that day. 

Thank you Luigi and Anna for a most wonderful day!!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Tanti Auguri!!

Buon Natale and Capodanno Everyone!

I've been in Guardia for a week.. I'm not quite sure where the week has gone, I know I've been busy but it has been leisurely and restful at the same time. Mostly spent catching up with old friends, celebrating the Holidays and birthdays and getting a few things done around the house.It seems like there was something to go to every night...

Christmas Festivities in Guardia

I think what I enjoy the most about being here in Guardia is that I feel that I'm really living life as its supposed to Dolce Vita!! . new tastes, touch, sounds, sights. I've been back 4 times now and every time I am amazed at how people take the time to talk and enjoy life!! (It seems like a bit of a lost art at times in my daily life back at home!) 

Dinner with friends in Casa Kestler

I have somehow gone through most of my time here and forgot to take hardly any pictures!  but I thought I would share a bit of the trip ..

New Years Eve Pre Party at the Tanna Del Orso.. Champagne Toast!!

Followed by 6 hours of eating a 6 course delicious meal and drinking wine, singing and dancing at the White House Restaurant..

Course #1 -- and then 1 forgot to take pictures of the rest

Our great Italian neighbors in Gropola Groche!!
Francesco and Gigia who are always there with a friendly welcoming smile!

New Canadian neighbors and friends in Guardia .. Happy Bday D!!

The two men that make everything possible for people arriving in Guardia looking for their own slice of heaven.. Grazie, Grazie, Grazie Paquale and Roberto!!

 The parties are always so much fun!! but I think this is what I love the most.. sipping a giant american mug of espresso while looking out of my kitchen window... followed by a nice walk through the piazza.

Or learning how to make Gnocchi with Anna Orso... yum!!

I finally went to visit the Palace in Caserta.. It was amazing!!  It went on for forever!! and I feel like I would like to go again in the summer and see the gardens

and went on a personal tour of Cerreto by my wonderful neighbor Gigia!! We saw a beautiful art exhibit by the talented Luiza Muzi from Rome at the Commune

El Commune de Cerreto

Concert at the Church in Cerreto


I'm off for a personal tour of Naples tomorrow with Anna and Luigi Orso.. I can hardly wait!  

Buonanotte from Guardia!!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Holidays in Guardia

Christmas is 3 weeks away and I'm incredibly excited that I'll be returning for a visit to Guardia just in time for New Year's!!  After the whirlwind of activity to get the house ready for the entire family this past summer, it is now time to get back to the long term plans of maintaining and renovating the house at a more leisurely pace. The basics are all there, but my wish list is long and I'll have to take my time with the rest of these wish list projects.

It's wonderful to think that the place is all set up and ready to go at a moment's notice.  I'm paying the utilities via credit card monthly and the total cost for water, electric, phone and internet is running a little over $100USD per month. Approximately $70 is for the phone and internet, which I absolutely need to work from there, so there are more economical ways to set up a house.

Can't wait to get the fireplace in the kitchen started!

My project manager, checks on the house periodically and lets me know of any maintenance issues as they come up, and gets the house ready before we arrive (ie beds made, pilot lights on, refrigerator plugged in). Setting up, and maintaining a house in Italy from Texas has been relatively stress free and a lot easier than I would have ever imagined! 

Several of the people that recently purchased houses will all be gathering in Guardia at the end of the month, and as usual we are all getting excited about getting everyone together and the new memories we will share.  It continues to be a very diverse tight knit group that has been an incredible support system for me and countless others, as we each live out our own adventures and share our common experiences.

Several new house hunters will arrive between now and the end of the year, and I wish them the best of luck in finding their own slice of heaven, and hope they're able to join us for New Year's next year!! (LF, PF and GR.. you know who you are!!)

So for now, most of the planning involves deciding where we are going to celebrate Capodanno, visiting the Christmas markets in Naples and some antique furniture shopping to finish putting the house together.  The rest of the time I'm hoping to fill sharing good wine with good friends.

This antique store near Naples is full of treasures.. (thanks Glenn for the tip and the pictures!!)

Buon Natale everyone!