Monday, June 24, 2013

The weather is changing on the monte, my dear friend Prabal and Mr. Owl pays a visit!

I am feeling the need to try and communicate with myself in this manner more frequently than 1x per month.  I know I did an entry yesterday.  Which was a mediocre day at best.  Today is a tad better.  My dear friend skyped with me from India for over two hours and set me quite straight.  He made such perfect sense and has encouraged me to Practice "the practice" in order to remain grounded enough to not give in to the "flee" syndrome but rather to stay the course and "fight" it out or, as Italians would put it "go with the flow and be flexible or ready for anything".

So amazing what a learning experience this is for me here on this hill.  I mean.  Little did I know that me left alone with my own thoughts due to the silence and lack of "things to distract me" in my immediate vicinity would yield so much difficulty and emotional "pain" as it were.  Feelings of guilt because I left a 6 figure job and an expensive apt in Manhattan.  How dare I drop out of the corporate mecca that I had spent the last 25+ years circumnavigating.  Hell I only just this past year got back to the salary I was earning back in 2007 when I was relocated to LA for a big job!  What happened to my drive?  My ambition?  My power hungry "I want to win" competitive edge.  I sit here with the winds blowing outside wondering what is going to come of this journey.  How will I evolve and I have to believe it will be for the betterment of being.

I sit here today working on an outline for a lecture on branding that I have to give on July 5th to some heads of small export companies here.  And I am struggling with the material.  I have been selling this stuff and writing proposals about it for years and it took me an entire day to craft an outline for a day long class!??  And now, I have to fill that outline up with content.  And I'm a tad panicked!  What happened to my ability to throw 50+ slides together for a very important career defining meeting in less than a day!??  Am I getting soft?  Lazy?  Or do I simply feel as though this has little meaning?  How can it have little meaning if it is intended to share my knowledge with Italians of another culture who are eager to learn from the way we do it on Madison Avenue?  How can I not be all up in my face wanting to make this the best it can be!?

It's not that I can't do this but that I am telling myself I don't want to because I am scared.  Again.  To not do a good job.  This nagging self doubt as I sit here trying to figure out what's next will need to either move itself along or I need to give it a good swift kick because it's not helping me move forward.

Today my friend in India told me that I took the biggest gamble of my life coming here and that now that I am here I have to learn to create the work ethic for myself and my own work that I gave so generously to my employers all these years.  How do I structure and turn this into a successful enterprise over here?  I am surrounded by small export companies and young managers who need help.  I need to help them. By helping them I give back and maybe even save a company from going bankrupt in the process?

Why do I constantly feel that not doing 180 million things at one time all suited up for success is failing to "be working" or is this the detox in workaholics rehab that everyone told me was coming.

My friend up in Switzerland was laid off in January 2013.  He has a one year paid severence package and a non compete clause for that same time period. He is now going to invest and build his own wealth management advisory bank.  He is risking a lot to try and make this work with 4 collegues of his.  It seems as though as we hit 50 (at least some of us) we are either let go of, or we stand in place doing what pays us every month so we can make bills.  I feel like what i did was nothing short of totally crazy and lunatic by walking from such a seemingly great job that i was bored of and in because i wanted to come to Italy to establish things that mattered to me while I got a little business off the ground in order to make some money to live well and travel when I wanted to.  I came here for that reason.  And now I have the schizophrenia of wanting to run home with wanting to give it a real shot.  My fears my worries over money all of this stuff.  So safe and so secure for so long..but was I really safe and secure back in my Manhattan abode or was that all just my own illusion?

I have downsized to the bare minimum and am aiming to live on an expense line item of less than $1800 per month all inclusive here in the mountains of Tuscany at least through the summer.  I mean I don't do much shopping other than to buy food and niblets for our resident "gatti" and I spend a lot of time trying to figure out "the second half"   How to make it real and satisfying.  How to keep it real and authentic.  Who is to say that I cannot do what Prabal today suggested and actually find amazing artistic product somewhere in crumbling Europe that I cannot export back into the USA in high net worth areas for a decent margin?

But.  Do I have the guts to make the investment in myself?  To spend down some savings to try?  Or will i sit here and hope to get another JOB for the paycheck every month or will it be both?  One thing is for sure, I am still confused and scared and from today on I am going to try and be nothing but overly optimistic because to not be is a death sentence.   I look back at my old life in NYC and cannot say that I miss "IT" much.  I just miss or dont know how to exist without WORKING ALL THE TIME or working at a pace where i never stopped to listen to people nor did i even want to talk on the phone much with people.  Crammed days.  Now my days are my own.  And I need to learn to structure them and focus them for me so that i can succeed and make this dream come true for myself.  Or not.

Today the weather is shifting here in Tuscany for the remainder of the week.  We are to have rain and clouds and cooler temperatures Tues-Friday and the winds are howling up here in the monte.  I am having a Diane Lane in an "Under the Tuscan Sun" period here with doors slamming around, curtains blowing off windows, spider webs coming undone in the crevices of this retrofitted stable / barn home we live in. addition to the gatti out front?  An Owl showed up and perched right outside on the edge of the Terrazza--stared at me and me at him for a good 10 seconds and then he just majestically flew off into the mountain!?    Was that a sign for me?  Was he my keeper or guardian angel or was he sent to deliver a message to me, one that I do not think I received today but maybe he will be back.  I liked him, Mr. Tuscan Owl visiting on a stroke of wind.

I have a lot to do on this presentation this week BEFORE Friday and so I must try to focus and structure and believe that THIS IS AS IMPORTANT AS ANY NEW BUSINESS SALES PITCH I HAVE EVER GIVEN because some people may walk away from the day's lecture doing things differently in their life and work and that would have been because of my presentation.  So.  I need to get out of myself and make it count for other people.

It's a hard journey this one that I am on.  Everyone around me who knows me thinks I can do this.  I seem to be the only one who lacks the confidence....

I learned how to keep the laundry rack from falling over due to the winds today...lovely what a pair of 2 deck chairs can do in terms of drying your laundry (we dont have dryers here in ITALY, folks..its au naturale as in the wind and the air and if its raining and winter oh well its just going to be a week before everything dries that's all but I can't think that far in advance.

Friday is my birthday party with the Reggiani and I have to get this work done STAT.  I also am trying to devise a way to earn some money so that i can go to India in early November for 2 weeks for the Hindu New Year.  Its only 8.5 hours flying time from here and PK is there for the next 6 months.  How amazing would that be to see the country with him as my guide!?  I also am making plans to see friends in Belgium and Switzerland in July and August and Gianni and Jackie will be about 45 mins away on the beach in San Vicenzo beginning next week so...human connection will soon be possible!

Crap I need to figure this out and get productive!  I need to get back to my old ME in terms of output.  I have got to UNBLOCK!  UNBLOCKING GODS PLEASE HELP ME!

Or Mr. Owl come back and tell me how to unblock as you seem to be having no problem flying free all around the regione!

Signing off from Tuscany for this 24th day part of June.....there goes the cow bellowing..must be feeding time.....

How to keep the wind from knocking over the "drying" laundry- Deck Chairs!  GENIUS!

 This would be my bath (bagno)
This is the REALLY BAD KITCHEN meant for summer holiday residing only but GG and I we manage to make some good meals in this discombobulated set up!

Salotto--the Main Room.  Rustico for sure.  There is no way I can live here in 
wintertime as its freezing up here---he needs a STOVE THAT BURNS WOOD PELLETS THIS YEAR!

My room.  My bedspread and am back in a twin bed like a little 4 yr old-but the plan was to move upstairs to floor two in the fall and have a double size bed sure ain't my lofty queen packed back into storage in NJ that is for sure..but how much does that matter--REALLY!?

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Under the Tuscan Sun Uncensored and How I overestimated myself ---

Well.  Its late June and I am very behind in my recordings of my experiences/adventures here in the Vecchia Paese of ITALY.   I think I left off where my friend Gayle had left to go back to Chicago and shortly thereafter I had medical issues that took me to 2 different doctors here both of whom said that the US Medical system practices defensive medicine and neither felt I needed any sort of biopsy...turns out all I need is a diagnostic something or other in September but not to overly worry or focus on it for now.  So that took a load off...

Then.  I had the proverbial melt-down.  The mid life crisis realization that I left EVERYTHING i had worked so hard for the last 25+ years and stored it in Hackensack to come here and live the dream.  Well.  It is not a dream.  It is reality.  And the reality is hard, hard hard.  So hard that I actually have found myself not doing so great here when all the while I thought this was a slam dunk.  a no brainer.

Well.  I was wrong and I overestimated the living situation.  Surely living in the Tuscan countryside near the mare (sea) is quite lovely (for the summer at least) but doing it full time is making me a bit psychotic.  After a solid month of being dependent on a car (that is hardly ever here), and roomming with a "Solitary Scholar" type of person who can sit at his desk and work on his lessons plans for days on end and never see or speak to anyone, I have officially had the Head Pop Off my body and have told all that I am moving OFF THIS MOUNTAIN at the end of August.  At first I didnt think id even last until mid July.  But I have made some plans to take some trips away from the woods to go see friends in Belgium and Switzerland later in July and August so that will get me out of my head and off the damn mountain for a time.

Italy is beautiful.  Don't get me wrong.  But I think I may very well have to finally cop to the fact that I just do not move at their speed.  Giorgio has energy and he moves like me but in the academic camps which is a whole other ritmo of existing.  I am a total extrovert.  A sales person.  I need to talk to people, see people, interact with them and BE WITH THEM.  You put me on a hill with some cows, goats and cats and dogs and an academic and if I had a pistol I would have already shot myself in the head!!!  Its not like I need a BIG CITY--but to go from NYC to this was a bit stronza on my part.  I should have known far  better.  Most people who know me well told me I'd not last -- even my therapist once told me dont go remote because you are   a social person....OK well live and learn.  I am here now but I have told everyone (including said landlord) that I will not be moving to the upstairs apt in Sept but rather down the mountain and either I will have to return to America and restart all over again or I figure a way to earn just enough to live where there is far less tranquility and MORE HUMAN BEINGS in giro....

OK OK you can all go ahead and laugh at my expense on this one ok?  I mis read myself.  I thought after all the stress in NYC and the shlepping etc that this was gonna be so fantastic and that i was gonna launch this business and blablabla but---reality is---it is HARD HARD work and NOT AT ALL easy and with the medical issue preoccupying my head for almost a month up here on the hill with the silence of the lambs--you can imagine that by now July 1 I am ready to leave this second!  But its summer and I am in the mountains near the Tuscan seashore so I NEED TO MAKE THE BEST OF THESE NEXT 60 days because deep down I know I am lucky to have them.  Most don't get this chance and I need to savor it but the self discovery is some scary shit...when its quiet and you have you and your thoughts and the bees and the trees?  You realize.  What life do I really have?  All I did was work?  All I want to do now is work?  But there is not a lot of work.  Or I have to get the work structured to make it happens.  And I have no steady income.  AM I OUT OF MY FRIGGIN MIND!??  Yes.  We all know Mindy is not normal. and to be really true folks, I have no idea where I am going to land by September 15th but it won't be in Vetulonia/Castiglione because once the summer seasons closes I will need to be on my way so Plan B is right now in full effect.  Scary thing is, its not all that fleshed out yet this plan B of mine.  I have some lectures and seminars I am doing in July and August but not very much stuff going on here in July and August and then it will be time to"hopskip" from the mountain to a metropolo--FLorence would be PERFECT if i can figure a way there but its not likely---so if I am back in the United States by mid September people, I invite you all to have a great belly laugh at my expense for watching me lift off only to boomerang back because the temporary living situation (which I can no longer really tolerate full time already anymore) is not working and my sanity is more important than anything else right now!

At least I tried.  No one can fault me for that , right?

OK so.  Suffice it to say I am brutally honest about this entire thing and to and about myself but I can make lemonade out of this lemone.  I have seen some gorgeous countryside and beaches while here and I promise my summer sabbatical location is better than most i could have had back in NYC this summer.  The Challenge will be the "REINVENTION"  "THE RESTART"..... and so in 60 days we physically relocate to more "civilization" so that Mindy can think and come to life again.  Once that happens I am sure I can create/make something of my silly little life, right?

If nothing else I am mountain biking in some beautiful terrain when not working on teaching assignments or the nestplan business stuff so even though I am a little disappointed I can't complain too much.  I am very fortunate that I got to do this and that I had the courage to try.  OK so now we know. Mindy can live in the country mountains with animaletti ONLY 2 weekends per month or 1 week per year on holiday---other than that..I need to be NOT car dependend and my legs shld be all I need to get ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD...or I need to live someplace where a car takes you to a variety of things in less than 10 mins.

So there!  Not embarassed to share that the transition in terms of living situation is not going well and we already have to make plans to move come Sept 1 and so that is my focus while I do the beach and sea thing here in betwixt some of these assignments..

OK OK are you all laughing now?? GO AHEAD!  Glad I can be of some entertainment value to you all! ha!

And I have yet to figure out what i want to be doing this next half of my life professionally.  Trying to figure that out while here reading books about it and magazine articles and what not.  I could probably teach here in ITALY as that is where most of Giorgio's connections are -- in the academic arena- and that would not be so bad but I just feel that I am going to get very rusty very fast which is why I am trying to dive into this BIG DATA-BUSINESS INTELLIGENCE thing here because that is software and that intrigues me...

What i know I have learned so far is that I am definitly going to work until i am well into my 70's because i dont like NOT working at a fast pace.  I am built for higher speeds.  So i either create MACH DEF 1 here in Italy and take over half the region or I come back to America and launch this idea state side from FL where there is no state tax and incorporating is inexpensive.  I already have a great local lawyer down there who can help me and my dad isn't any slouch.  I need to build/run that i can come up to the mountain once a month to decompress.  If i  am here all the time decompressing I cannot get creative.  I need chaos around me to be creative...does that make any sense at all!!??

Back later with some of the actual adventures which I have had, BTW.  Especially with the moths and the bees up here the size of RATS!!!!  Mamma Mia!!

This is the view from my terrace level "office" looking left at the old stables
 This is one of my office mates who clearly is around all the time b/x I feed him!
 My office view on non rainy days.  That's our car under the tree di fronte...
 Italian Cats resemble the Italians.  This is about as tough as the day gets up here at Headquarters!!!

OMG!!  I am laughing so hard.  I can NOT believe I am actually here doing this in this location.  I cannot wait to see how this loudmouth caterpillar transforms herself as a result of all this and it better be into a pretty damn good butterfly and not some hairy, mothlike creature!  Here's hoping!

Friday, May 31, 2013

Chapter 2: Under The Tuscan Sun- "Uncensored"...

Welcome back to the "journey".   Sorry for the long delay between day parts folks but I have been lax in my committment to this journal mainly because I have been on the road for the last week with Chicago Gayle who was here for 10 days.... So .... Let's catch up on my mid-life "awakening" on this side....

So.  I was really hoping to make this chapter the "flashback".  You know.  The one about selling the NYC Apt with the views of the bridge and downsizing into a crappy Spanish Harlem one room studio with a shared bathroom in the hallway!!??  Half my friends and family stated they would NEVER BE ABLE TO MOVE INTO A SHARED BATH gig after a certain age in their lives but oh what I did to make this move/dream happen.  I wanted this so much I put it all on the line....I won't bore you with the before and after photos---the photos of my gorgeous apt overlooking the Hudson River relative to the shithole Spanish Harlem shared bath I was in for one full month--(A whopping $900 bucks however--WHAT A GREAT DEAL!!)  ha!  No, no..too many things on the journey path to mention....

Let's now go move it forward.  I am here.  In Tuscany.  In a lovely home shared with one of my very best friends Dr Gandellini.  We have two resident wild cats, a lovely neighbors dog--7 milking COWS across the street and some donkeys and goats and sheep up and down the road....the entire street is about 4 Kms from bottom to the hilltop and the top of Lovely VETULONIA boasts stellar views of the rolling Tuscan countryside and the Mare (Seashore).  Everyone is envious that I get to experiment here like this..."Im jealous"   "Congratulations on your new job" and on and on and on---yes--I am lucky--but this is the UNCENSORED version of the famous movie with Diane Lane--

Recall how she leaves a miserable life/divorce--as did the protagonist in EAT PRAY LOVE--they leave unhappy lives and go to ITALY-BALI or wherever seeking meaning--they make new friends--create beautiful homes--fall in love and live happily ever after....?  But what about the uncensored parts in between...

Stretching and growing and finding what makes one tick and their inner passions is an arduous process...throw in homesickness due to being thrown out of your "ROUTINE", leaving your dynamic fast moving job....your friends, your home, your independence, your income....I think it really started to set in when Gayle was here visiting as she and I always did our vacations here together...this time though--I was no longer on vacation. And I am unemployed and I have fixed savings to live off of and--i couldnt be as carefree...

What the hell have I done!!??  DO I REALLY WANT TO LIVE HERE or is it better as a vacation destination?  Why did I do this?  Was this all a tragic mistake??

Yes my friends.  The uncensored version is that life is life in beautiful places and ugly ones.  In relaxed places and stressful ones...and then...the real fun begins...

So..I get here to the lovely abode and things are falling down around me or  breaking..the bed brackets break..I have to hammer them in one rainy afternoon with the back of a wine bottle cork so that Gayle was not sleeping on the floor!!

The light switches keep going out---I have to figure out how to get them to work.  Call the Handy Man Gian Paolo.  Well he has to go 19 Kms to Grosetto to get a matching color.  Freggatene, just put in the leftover ugly brown one from your tool box. If it works?  I dont care if it matches..this is not House Hunters Inside Edition and it just needs to LIGHT UP THE BATHROOM!!!

Power outages due to the most horrendous weather pattern that the Italians have seen in 20+ years.  Rain. Damp. Cold. Crap. Wind.  These "Villas" we live in are not insulted and they have no heating system to speak of unless you want to pay over $500 USD equivalent to HOPE to feel heat after the thing is on for an hour or two and even then you are wearing gloves and socks to bed--IN MAY!!!  We dont run the heat. It costs a load and a half and we cannot afford it so...we just ARE COLD IN early JUNE.

Yes.  Lost power several times.  Meno male there is a circuit breaker switch in the apt but it is outside in the neighbors doorway/hallway so if they are not home. Heaven help me.  Have to get a key...UGH!

Giorgio is on the road.  Alot.  That leaves Mindy big city woman home alone with the animals in ALOT OF QUIET THOUGHT.  Which is deafening.  And scary. and Lonely. and ISOLATING.

I miss my friends.  I miss my life.  I miss my money and my independence and my ability to come and go as i damn well please.  I miss being able to use my credit cards in the damn grocery store!!!  "only if your card says "MAESTRO" signora!!!??  What!!!??  Everything here is cash--heaven help you on the rare occassions you want to use a DEBIT card--if it ain't a MAESTRO are out of luck and out of food!?

So.  Yes. No.  It has not been all beauty, church bells and such a bella vita.  Change is hard.  Growing up and out is rough.  That movie with Diane Lane did not show half of what we really go through when we move from a Pacific Heights San Fran penthouse like she did or from a Hudson River views lovely NYC apt like I did!  The movie left out the real long bouts of anxiety, loneliness, inability to motivate oneself.  This is all so very, very hard....  Most days lately I just want to run to the airport and jump a plane home.  One slight problem with that though is, uhm, I don't have one of those anymore.  I sold it when I decided to radically try to change my life to come make a new one in Italy here.

Now I am thinking: This may have all been a big mistake.....

But then, this is probably because Gayle left and I got a real sharp pang of home sickness.  Everything truly familiar is back there. I am even thinking it may be a good idea right now to deactivate my facebook page for a time as looking at it only causes me more angst.  I see my friends back home and remnants of my life there and I get really sad...until I can figure out my direction forward in my life, it may be a good idea to just shut that down and move forward here with real GUSTO!

Started to do some job stuff. Very little.  Dreaming up crazy things like a training/agriturismo facility in the Tuscan hills to promote to companies for retreats that we can market to corporations.  Or maybe exporting?  So many ideas that totally terrify me.  But look.  It has only been 30 days on the ground and 10 Gayle was here with me.  I need to give this some more time, right?

In the meantime, have a look at some of the beauty that is ITALY. Below, some excerpts of a weekend in Rome with Gayle, where BTW, we got by in a hotel for 4 nights for about $39 bucks each per head or $155 pp!  BEAT THAT!  If you can handle a really sparse and simple setting, call Natale at The San Lorenzo Dream Hotel. Great location, but his idea of "Luxe" rooms is VERY different from NOI AMERICANI!  But his price is right and he is a real great inn keeper host!

Tune in before Monday 3 June for the next Installment where we take you on the real uncensored portion of our trip!!!!   Yes.  It is very beautiful here but I am still not convinced I will LAST as I thought I would before this journey began.  I may very well just be an AMERICAN with an identity crisi!!!!  Stay tuned...where will I land next!??  Mamma Mia!

Day at the Vatican to see Papa Franceso and to receive his Benediction (Me and Gayle fr Chicago!)

Me and Gayle -- Happy Hour in Vetulonia!

Sunny Day Atop di Roma Citta

Me and Roma Panorama Dietro!


Ciao Papa Franceso!!!

Roma Pantheon--Piazza Pantheon--My Fave di Roma!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Chapter 1:  12 May 2013

Flashback....Should I start this journey with one of those very "banale" beginnings?  You know, the time I said this or that in a seemingly sort of dream state when on holiday with a friend in an exotic Asian country where I met a handsome Australian and then presumed it was the beginning of the beginning or the beginning of the end?

Let's go back to the "Flashback" scene later as it will eventually help piece together the present state of my existence.....

This story is not at all unique really.  Certainly many millions of people do such things every day!  It's just that in the world that I come from, you don't walk away from a 6-figure income, a NYC Apt with full-on views of the Hudson River and GW Bridge, and a pretty cushy lifestyle (depending on how you define cushy, of course..) and take off for another country with no real "other" job or means of steady income to go to as you approach the ripe old age of 50!  Well...may you was not something that 3+ years ago I ever thought I'd do.....Italy was for retirement.  I was coming here in my late 50's --early 60's or maybe mid-60's even, to make a nice life for myself once I had banked as much cash as humanly possible.  Was it ever going to be enough.  The money.  The security.  Do I have enough disability insurance?  Long Term Care insurance?  Health Insurance?  Insurances against terrorist attacks?  Floods? etc.?  I was always planning months and years into the future.....spent most Sunday nights at my desk organizing and planning...

But let's not get too bored.

Let's fast forward....

On March 26th, I said goodbye to the big 6 figure job, sold the lovely apt with views on the hill and moved everything into storage.  I packed myself into 4 suitcases and 2 medium moving boxes and set out with both my US and Italian passport for ITALY.  I arrived here on May 1, hit the road with my dear friend Giorgio and am now about to see if I can make a go of a real "LIFE" here.  It is a grand experiment to say the least.  I tried doing this very same thing back 24+ years ago when I was about 25 without citizenship, however, and ambitious, driven and ready to take over the world with my newly minted MBA degree...Italy just didn't cut it for me long term.  No jobs.  Low level jobs.  Bureaocracy that would choke a horse, gas at $8-9 bucks  a gallon?  Were you kidding?  I ran back home to the USA after less than 12 months and started my career as a marketing executive...20+  years later..I am back again..only this time wiser for the wear...with less to prove, looking for something else...

So....Suffice it to the first half..I learned about what I "don't want" to be doing, to be like, to have happen.  For the second half, part of my escape plans were directly correlated to figuring out what I "do want" and am currently "in search of" at the moment.

I always knew I wanted to retire here.  What a great place to retire.  Yeah, yeah they are in a bad "crisi" here.  A really BAD one.  A lot of small mom - and - pop and family run businesses are failing and closing.  Starbucks is rearing its ugly head in key tourist centers like Milano, Firenze and Roma.  But in the countryside where I am now, people still live very well, drive nice cars and seem to do well enough raising cattle, cats, goats, sheep and chickens.  Life is sweet.  The food is outrageous and well..the challenges, obvious.  But is it worth the risk?  Absolutely.  And.  I didn't run off here because I got laid off or I got married or I followed a man or I wanted a man to follow me...nope...well, I came this soon because I was hoping to come with someone but I came anyway and now let's see how we go....

I am promising 3 times per week entries to this journal.  The rest of the time I have to try and make myself productive so that we can eat!  I am thinking that this summer I will hang around outside late into the night looking for some beefy Cinghiale dal paese.  These are wild boars and they are a regional specialty if you know how to prepare them properly....

Anyway..for this first entry I will close with the simple statement that I am here now and I am totalmente "terrificate" but I am with good friends and surrounded by love, kindness, sweetness and the most gorgeous topography and geography I have ever seen.  This country is so blessed by it's beauty.  It never gets old.......

30 April--Day of Departure---
Left it all in a storage unit, grabbed the boarding passes and the passaporto and headed to the Bell Paese!
 I think I make a good Italiana--this one is for The Sabella's are from Lanciano!
 Views from the Abruzzo home we house sat in for the first 5 Manhattan Views but views nonetheless.....
 Those are real olive trees in the yard...Raccolgano a casa!
 Terraza Typica
 I spent a few afternoons out back here lounging in the sole with the resident gatto names ZORO who has the life of a real QUEEN!