Tuesday, August 30, 2011


It was a hell of an adventure getting to Italia, but rather than rehashing that, let's dig in, shall we?

Phase 1: Castellaneta Marina - il dolce far niente (the sweetness of doing nothing)

The place: Castellaneta Marina, Taranto Gulf, Italia

Home sweet home.

This is the summer home of the Pignatelli's where I had the pleasure to stay for 12 days. My days were filled with the beach, eating, sleeping, and playing enough cards to make Grandma Gardner proud. It was lovely.

The Famiglia Pignatelli
You can love someone in 12 days (a little tidbit I'll remember for my dating life, I'm sure). I love this family very much, they are very kind and hospitable. They drive far for good pizza, which I appreciate.

Marco, Grandpa, Rosangela
(We went out for pizza in Ginosa Marina.)

Marco: he was my one official 'student.' He is 16 and leaving to be a foreign exchange student in the thriving metropolis of Sturgeon, Missouri this week. He is the youngest and is involved in sports, and water sports. He is not nervous to travel to America, I think he is very brave. He will do well and his host family will love him.

Grandpa: you do not need to speak the same language to love someone. Grandpa was visiting the family and was a pure delight. He always found me seashells at the beach, made sure my water cup stayed full at meals, and came out of the shower once wearing a towel-turban to make me laugh.

Rosangela: she is the sweetest Italian Mom. I felt very welcomed from my first moment with her and she made my stay very easy. She is a wonderful cook and a teacher. She spoke with my mom on the phone and my mom got teary telling Rosangela how glad she is I have a nice mom here.

Uncle, me, Luca, Pasquale

Uncle: Rosangela's brother. He lived in America for a few years and works for the Navy. He speaks English.

Luca: 22, studies Business Management at a University in Milano. He was good about keeping me informed on what we were eating or seeing.

Pasquale: he does not speak much English, but he tries hard. His family makes fun of him when he tries to, but I think he does well. He is a 3rd Assistant to the Head Master and a Physical Education teacher. His 'Dad Project' is re-doing the terrace of the summer home, he spent all his time doing so.

Simona braiding Marco's hair.

Simona: 23, she has a boyfriend in Afghanistan and is in University. We shared a room. She is very sweet, and speaks more English than I originally thought.

The Beach:
My bag got lost on the way to Italia, so I was without my belongings for a few days. Rosangela offered me a bikini my first day, I kinda wish I would've taken her up on the offer. EVERYONE here wears bikinis or speedos.

Who is the overdressed girl at the beach?

My bag came and in it? A tankini. Who was still the overdressed girl at the beach? I'd like to take credit for introducing Southern Italia to tankinis which magically change into tube-inis (to avoid halter tan lines, of course). Italia beaches will never be the same. I literally received comments every day on how white I was when I came, but now I am brown they say.

The Food:
I was worried about what I might experience with the food here, but it has all (99%) been lovely. Italians eat very simply. We begin each meal with pasta, then the plates are cleared and we eat a protein. Plates are cleared again and we have fruit. Always frutta. So much frutta. It was all very delicious. The Pignatelli's eat very quickly, but to my surprise, the meals do not last longer than a typical American meal.

Me with my Napoli pizza in Ginosa Marina.

I have enjoyed homemade spaghetti, homemade pizza, carbonara pasta, pesto pasta, pea pasta, zucchini pasta, etc.

My first gelato here, amarena and cocco.

I discovered amarena gelato my first trip to Italia and it is still just as good. Amarena is cherry, which I usually do not care for, but this is a sour cherry that is soo good. Coconut was an obvious other choice.

I was sad to leave Castelleneta Marina last night. I caught the bus in Taranto to come to Turin (Torino). I cried as the Pignatelli's drove away, but I will be staying with them in October so it was not goodbye forever. The bus drive to Turin was 15 hours. It went quickly which I'm thankful for. I am also EXTREMELY grateful the Barale's were at the bus stop waiting for me.



  1. I wish you could see me reading this - slightly tearing up, but mostly just grinning from ear to ear. I love this family for loving you (although I knew they would) and I wish I could just sit on your bed and hear ALL the details. XOXO

  2. Oh Camillllllle. This was delightful. I kept putting off reading it because I just wanted to savor it. Tell us more! I want to hear everything about everything. Hooray for wonderful experiences!

  3. Thank you for posting! I just took a huge sigh of relief in your behalf! Italia is amazing and I knew that you would love it!