22 Maggio 2018. Bella Ciao!

“Hello Beautiful Morning!”  “Mi son svegliato.”  “I awoke.”  The folk song with the title “Bella Ciao” became famous after World War II with its anti-fascist message.  Today the song has an expanded message: environmental activism.IMG_0323 (1)

Living here in Paciano, Italy, I awake every morning to a world new to me. I will talk about this experience throughout my blog.  Read along with me!

Do you know what the words “Bella” and “Ciao” mean?  “Bella” is the feminine form  of “bello” which means beautiful or handsome. In the case of this song, “Bella” refers to the beautiful “mattina,” or morning.  “Ciao” means hello and good bye, depending on the circumstances.  How easy is that?

I want to talk to you today about the lovely view I have from my window as I write this. The amazing red of the geranium has been nurtured by the equally amazing sun and rain of May.  In the near distance are fields of wheat, ripening, turning daily from bright green to yellow/orange.  There’s a soccer goal in the playground. May I remind you that soccer is the king of Italian sports? In the far distance, looking west, and hiding in the clouds is Monte Amiato in Tuscany.  They say that when it gets really hot here in the summer, people go to the top of Monte Amiato to cool off.  I go to Seattle.

Last Friday evening we had the pleasure to take part in a special “apericena,” called an “apericouscous.”  An “apericena” is an evening meal with drinks.  The “apericouscous” took place in a small bar outside the main gate of nearby Castiglione del Lago. The meal consisted of 3 giant round trays of couscous.  The proprietor of the bar is a Moroccan named Nabil.  He’s a very good cook.  The couscous dishes were hidden under giant embossed silver domes.  The music started, the lights lowered, Nabil rang the bell and the “cena” was ready.   The theme of the bar is North African, with Moroccan rugs, lamps and accessories and the pleasure of “couscous” dining  takes place under ancient olive trees.

We especially liked this experience because it is something so different from the usual, but excellent, Italian food we encounter here.

Buon appetito!



21 Maggio 2018. Introduction to My Blog


The title of my blog, “Bella Ciao,” comes from the refrain of a famously heartfelt Italian song,  “Bella Ciao” means “beautiful hello.”

The song is beloved because it’s about waking up to a new world.  It’s a symbolic song about the need and hope for change.  It was first sung in France!

“La mattina, sono svegliata:  Bella Ciao, Bella Ciao, Bella Ciao Ciao Ciao!’

“In the morning, I awakened:  beautiful hello, beautiful hello, beautiful hello!”

Now that you know what the title means, let me tell you what this blog is about?  I, Carolyn, an American from the Seattle area, live in Italy for about 5 months of the year.  I live deep in the countryside in a green valley in Umbria, to be exact, with my husband, Bob.  This blog is not just about tourism, nor is it just about food, but rather I wish to share with you my impressions of Italian culture.  I may touch on the abundance of beautiful artworks and landscapes, but all the while I’ll be reporting on my daily life and experiences as an American woman in Umbria. Dear reader, allow me to take you by the hand.  Let’s “wake up” together to a changing world, the world of Italy.  It’s always full of surprises!

Bella Ciao!