Archive for July, 2011

Sunflowers and solar panels

Wednesday, July 13th, 2011
sunflowers solar panels

If you want to see sunflowers then this year the Marche is the place. I assume the European Union has increased its subsidies on sunflower oil as the place is full of them.  At the moment they are in full bloom and it is very spectacular. Unfortunately there are also lots of solar panels sprouting up. The government had given subsidies to encourage the development of solar energy but instead of being placed on the top of factories etc they are sprouting up on agricultural land. We were told that a farmer can get 150,000 euros if he leases his 2 hectares of land for 25 years. For many farmers it is not profitable to try and cultivate crops and so using the fields for soar panels seems easy money. There is growing concern about the spread of the panels both in terms of loss of agricultural land and their impact on the landscape.

What’s being read on Torrette Beach?

Monday, July 11th, 2011

torrette reading
The last few days have been very hot and so in the afternoon we have being going to the beach at Torrette. Currently the book being read by the English speaking commnity is “The Godless Boys” by Naomi Wood. Naomi is the daughter of Pam and Michael who live in Tavernelle and so she is “almost” a local girl.

The book is set in an imaginary present where a religious revival in England has led to non-believers being placed on an island off England. The islanders are suspicious of all outsiders who may be attempting to introduce religion to the island. A young stowaway arrives on the island in search of her mother who she believes was sent to the island. The girl, Sarah, meets the leader of a gang of young tearaways, Nathaniel, and the major part of the book is about the developing relationship between these two. Other realtionships on the island are inter-weaved with this main narrative and the overall effect is that the story is always interesting and keeps one’s interest until the end.

Music under the stars and two grumpy old men

Wednesday, July 6th, 2011

zulublues quartet

The Osteria Casa Mina, which opened some months ago, is close to our house. Now that the summer is here they are eating outside in the garden and once a month they have dinner followed by live music. The music begins at 10.00pm and continues until 1.00 am. The garden is not very big and so a small jazz band, man with acoustic guitar would be ideal. However, so far the bands that play here are practicing for the time they play the “big stadiums” and so have amplification suitable for letting the whole village. This means sleeping is difficult as with the heat all windows need to be open. Last Saturday we decided to go to a late show at the cinema instead of having to listen to music we didn’t want to listen to. So we went to see the film “Transformers 3” which was 130 minutes long (130 minutes too long) it did mean we didn’t get home to after midnight and so only had to survive 1 hour of live music.  Next time they have an event i.e. 22nd July we need to decide if we go out, if we go to eat and listen to the band or do we stay at home, get annoyed and discuss denouncing them for noise pollution.

The band last week was “La Banda degli Zulu”. Click here if you want to listen to their music or to sympathize with us.
The next band to play will be the “Blues Quartet” on the 22nd July. Click here if you want a preview of our evening.

English class lunch

Tuesday, July 5th, 2011

english class lunch

On Sunday we had the English class lunch. Pam and John were invited to join as for the last lesson of the year they had played the doctors in a medical role play exercise.

We decided to return to La Palomba in Mondavio where we had had an excellent meal before. Again they didn’t disappoint. The menu was:


Antipasto fanatasia dello chef (cold meats, cheeses)

Pasta course:

Tortelloni di robioloa, rucola al pomodoro fresco (tortelloni with soft cheese, rocket, and fresh tomatoes)
Mezze lune ripiene con ricotta al limone (Ricotta stuffed half moon ravioli with lemon sauce)
Tagliatelle al ragu d’anatra (tagliatelle with duck sauce)
(We didn’t have to choose a pasta as  you are expected to try all three. In Italy this is called a Tris. If there are only 2 dishes being served then it is a Bis)

Main Course:

Faraona alle olive verdi in crosta di pane (Guinea Fowl and olive pie)
Tagliata con rucola e pendolini (Sliced sirloin with rocket and cherry tomatoes)
(this was served as a Bis)
(served with roast potatoes and mixed salad)


Tagliata di frutta con gelato (slices of fresh fruit – pineapple, apricot, peach etc. served with 2 flavours of ice cream).

After this marathon of a meal we staggered out of the hotel and some of us drove up to the sports bar in Orciano where we could watch the men’s final of wimbledon on a big screen.

A good result at the restaurant and a good result at Wimbledon

Drinks and art at the Solea Hotel

Monday, July 4th, 2011
hotel solea blog-solea-hotel-view.JPG
hotel solea inside
inside the hotel
painting by Albano Aniballi

Erika and Thomas told us about a hotel about 20 minutes drive away. They said it was a very interesting and that there was currently an exhibition of painitings by Albano Aniballi, an artist who was born in San Giorgio.

So, on a beautiful warm, sunny evening we went to the hotel for view of the art following by a drink on the terrace with great views over the Marche countryside. Along with us were Erika, Thomas and 5 of their German friends. A chance I thought to practice my faltering German but fortunately I was saved any embarrassment as all the Germans could speak English.

The Solea Hotel is near the town of Ripe and is owned and managed by a young couple from Milan. They have converted a large,old brick house into a hotel. The thing that is different is that they have made the inside a very modern space. The art exhibition covers the walls of the main public rooms. They have linked up with an art gallery in Senigallia and so have a new exhibition every few months. The problem is knowing which artist is on show. The hotel’s web site does have a section for news and under this it mentions an art exhibition but it is for the summer of 2009. Italians may like to have web sites but they are not very good at updating them. In fact the gallery who exhibits here is the Galleria Gherardi in Senigallia. On their web page they don’t mention the hotel under “links” and don’t even say that the Gallieria Gherardi is in Senigallia.