Is That a Trick Question?

We really got a kick out of this email exchange between a friend of ours and her sister about whether they should come visit us on the farm.  (Note: I’ve redacted the names and potty mouth language, in case Dad sees this entry.  For the rest of y’all, I think “WTFY” is a nice shorthand for “absolutely.”)


Surf’s Up, Le Marche Style!

G and I spent Thanksgiving with our family on the island of Kauai. Although I spent a lot of time in the ocean as a kid, I never took up surfing. But I did give it a spin on Kauai… and am really interested in pursuing it a bit more.

Imagine how happy I was to learn that – every so often – the sea in Civitanova (about an hour north of Tutto Doppio) is suitable for surfing!  Can’t wait to check out the scene next fall.

Here’s a little clip of some of the action.  Gnarly, giusto?



Beautiful Le Marche – Through the Eyes of Marco Gentili


Our Ripatransone Neighbors Star on Italian TV!

Tooling around YouTube uncovered this RAI 3 television show focusing on the people and culture of Ripatransone.


Making appearances are:

  • Stefano Acciarri — Stefano and his family are the hardest working people we know.  They grow delicious organic things year round, and make some of the very best olive oil.  We procured our little baby olive trees from Stefano!
  • Alessandro Capecci — Alessandro runs a pasta shop in “downtown” Ripatransone. He also gave G a cooking lesson at Le Caniette during one of our earliest visits to the area.
  • Roberto Pasquali — We only met Roberto once, very briefly, at Caffe Blob in Santa Maria Goretti. Our good friend Pietro arranged for us to try out a couple of bottles of his Rosso Piceno.  It was absolutely DELICIOUS!

In addition, there are a number of other talented folks from Ripatransone. We can’t wait to meet the rest of them around town!


Seven Things Americans Can Learn from Italians – HuffPo

G sent a really good HuffPo post my way, and we spent a bit of time talking about it.  Seems spot on to both of us.

I’ve noticed three threads in the way Italians approach life that seem different and good, and I think they’re picked up in HuffPo’s list:

  1. Italians prioritize family and friends.
  2. Italians prefer to interact in person.
  3. Italians pursue happiness in a sustainable way.

Eating slowly and with others, the evening passegiata (stroll) in a crowded piazza, staying near the place you grew up, drinking but not to excess, maintaining a positive reputation… these all seem to me to stem from a shared set of values that focus on spending face time with those you love, and enjoying life without losing (too much) control.

G and I are looking forward to learning a bit more the way of Italians, and are especially looking forward to family and friends coming to spend some face time in one of the best places on the planet!


Old Postcards and Photos from Ascoli Piceno

Tutto Doppio is in the province of Ascoli Piceno, in eastern Le Marche.  The province is named after its capital city, Ascoli Piceno.

Ascoli is a beautiful old town, positioned at the confluence of the Tronto and Castellano rviers, and nestled at the foot of the mountains.  It lies along the via Salaria (“salt road”), an important route that the Romans used to transport salt to Rome. It’s a really lovely place, with a couple of magnificent piazze, and warm, friendly people.

Giovanni Vagnarelli has put together a slide show of 150 postcards and pictures of old Ascoli Piceno.  Much has changed, but not too much!  Enjoy!



Christmas = Karaoke?

It may not be a true Christmas tradition, but we sure do enjoy it!  Although the setting isn’t quite as spectacular as the terrazzo at Tutto Doppio, the boys and I had a great time belting out some tunes.  The girls – G, Gidget, and Buttercup – were good sports and put up with us.  A ton of fun!


Cappelletti: Pasta Shaped Like Little Hats

Pasta comes in a nearly countless number of variations, but one of our favorites is cappelletti, or “little hats.”  These tasty, meat-filled pasta are a Christmas Eve tradition and are typically cooked in a brodo or broth.  G’s filling included a combination of chicken, pork and beef, plus some cheese and a bit of seasoning. The pasta was handmade and then shaped by G into the little cappelletti.  Quickly cooked in seasoned chicken stock, these pasta are absolutely delicious on cold winter evening!


Bea’s Honey

on July 17th, Gina’s beloved Aunt Bea passed away. She’d been ill for a while, and although her passing wasn’t a surprise, it was a big loss.  Fortunately, G had the opportunity to be with her for a bit prior to her death.

Later the very same day of her passing, we learned that a colony of bees had built a hive
on the farm, between the kitchen shutter and window – a prominent spot that
couldn’t be missed.

Aunt Bea
always enjoyed a good joke.

We weren’t at the farm to take care of the bee invasion.  But not to worry: our good friend Pietro carefully removed the hive, and relocated it to the farm his family owns just a few miles away from Tutto Doppio. 

On our last visit, Pietro presented to us a couple of good sized jars of Bea’s honey.  We rebottled it, and shared it with those we love!