Do you have a dream place? Is it a place you’ve been? Or is it a place you dream of being? Italy is surely one that ticks that box for many people. Heck, you don’t even have to go there to dream about it! For many the romance has been created from stories in print and film. From the eternal city of Rome and her counterpart cities who blow our senses with architecture, art, ancient history, music, rustic charm to the country and seasides with their rolling hills, majestic mountains, Mediterranean coastlines and productive landscapes of vineyards, olive trees and tomatoes. Or, is it the general Italian’ness we all love to love – the food, wine, language and her pleasure loving, jovial valuing Italian way of being, the treasure of any great culture, her people.
For me it’s all of the above. I can’t count the times I’ve stood at the Pantheon and marvelled in awe! Oh wait, I probably can, about six. I’ve been to Rome three times and it’s always a visit twice spot for me. It still blows my mind. How did they? Who did it? I always feel connected to an ancient time when I’m under the spell of this incredible feat of mind blowing ancient (25 BC ancient), mystical architecture. If you need a good dose of feeling your mortality and a good wake up call as to what a creative can make in their life – Rome is your city. And if you need a good dose of reminding how to love the good life (la dolce vida) Italy is your country.
Every time I’ve posted about Italy, the response is always along the lines of oh la la Italy, my heart! Sometimes it’s a romantic longing to return and for others it’s a yearning for the romance of a country they’ve falling in lust with. It doesn’t matter how Italy found her way into your heart what matters is how you nurture that love. Italy lives in our hearts and our home. In fact we’ve created an entire front terrace dedicated to living la dolce vita!
If you come to ours on a Saturday afternoon it’s likely you’ll feel the heat from the wood fired pizza oven, smell the intense smell of baked bread as you bite in to your home made Napoli style pizza, all while sipping your prosecco, your spritz or your birra, whatever takes your fancy. Except in July, we’re dry in July. Why? I dunno. #dryjuly must have been invented by non Italians and definitely from someone in the Southern Hemisphere. It really is spritzy weather here! Regardless of the month you will feel the love of the food, the moment, the space and the pleasure of the experience. And it is an experience. A multi layered experience created to simply enjoy life and it’s beauty.
The terrace is in its first season but the grape wine, tuscan lemon tree, herbs, fruit trees and potted vegetables will embrace you. The husband (pizzaiolo) will be standing at the oven in his uniform, black apron, tea towel in the back pocket and whichever tool is required for the stage the pizza is at. The dough will have been lovingly made with fine ingredients the day before following a tried and tested process. The mise en place (the putting in place of what is needed) also prep’d earlier will ensure the pizza’s are topped with deliciously simple toppings. The kids will be home, they don’t like to miss pizza night. The chatter will be fluid, the laughs spontaneous and the desire to be anywhere else – non existent.
You will be here and you will be in Italy.
It’s a work in progress our little piece of Italy! We will continue to grow with it as the plants grow around us. Our roots intertwined. Many meals and many moments will be shared. Tradition that forms the basis of how our kids remember childhood will happen right here on this terrace. I think it will be fondly. And I know it will inspire them to keep space for a little Italian’ness in their lives.
If I’m in need of a bit of Italy other than the eating and drinking I have been know to ask Siri to play me something Italian or to watch Eat, Pray Love. Ha! I’ve watched it so many times I may have even referenced a scene of it in my book. Obviously, I am an unashamedly hopeless, hopeless romantic. And, of course there’s always the ultimate way of escaping – into a book! There’s that classic Italian escape Frances Mayle’s, Under the Tuscan Sun. Do you have a favourite to share with us?
We don’t always have to go somewhere to have the ‘feeling’ of somewhere. And I may even argue we shouldn’t ‘have’ to need to. The travel, the marvelling is the icing. Most of life happens where we live! It’s what we bring home to our daily lives that matters most. Happy here, dreamy here, this is where to start.
P.S. Support local! We support Dutch businesses as much as possible. Our fruit trees and vines are purchased from Fruticos. And the beating heart of our terrace the oven was purchased from another Dutch family business Fornitalia.