In April, it may happen that after an afternoon flight plunged into an amazing painted sunset lighted sky, a smooth evening landing at the Stockholm airport of Skavsta and a reinvigorating night rest, you will start your next first day in Stockholm having breakfast in front of a snowy, almost “Christmassy aired”, fluffy view. You, then, realize that is an invite to go out to enjoy and to be part of that landscape. It is a magnificent gift of serendipity that nature offers you before, in just few hours, perhaps in the same day, letting you immerse yourself in the rhythm of Spring and its mesmerising light, filled with new leaves, gems in bloom and food for the soul.
Hello! Looking back at these pics I took some time ago, it still seems to me to feel the vibrant atmosphere of my journey in Stockholm, where, it is easy to reach places by taking the subway and then having long walks for enjoying, with traveller’s heart filled with wonder, local art, architecture, food, design, nature and people. Here, in Södermalm, firstly I got to Bellmansgatan and to the bridge made of iron, where Mariahissen is. Then, just few steps away from there, I did enjoy the magnificent view of Riddarholmskyrkan on Riddarholmen and the whole Gamla Stan from the romantic walking path of Monteliusvägen.
At the moment, while we wait to be back soon on travel, let’s keep on being safe, by taking care of ourselves and of those around us. Thank you ❤ .
The Affordable Art Fair in Stockholm is a wonderful place for women, who are dedicated to art. Let’s celebrate them on this day. Looking forward to visiting the exhibition again some time.
“Love is anterior to Life, Posterior to Death, Initial of Creation, and The Exponent of Earth.” Emily Dickinson
In the end Spring is right behind the corner again and if Sweden is in your plans, among your best preferred destinations for enjoying holidays, definitely, Drottningholm Palace and its fabulous Baroque styled gardens are worth a visit when you are in the nearby of Stockholm. It takes a very short trip to get there. As I already took chance of writing in the past about my visit to Drottningholm Palace, an exhaustive guided tour, run by well qualified staff, is highly recommended for those, who love to learn a bit more about history, art and culture of Sweden. By the lovely café in front of the palace, you may order a cup of warm coffee and perhaps a delicious cake and then sit by the mesmerizing waters for enjoying the beautiful landscape of nature, which is offered to you, and the sight of ducks and swans chasing each other. On the right side of the palace, follow the path that heads to the free entrance of the gardens. Have a dip in the wonderful architecture of the gardens, where the inspiration for French Baroque motifs comes from Versailles and Chantilly. Enjoy a long walk through the majestic gardens of Drottningholm Palace, explore the full area until you will be on the route for the stunning Lovö Nature Reserve.
Hello, are you in Stockholm for the weekend, by chance? Since it is going to be the culture night on this Saturday, April 27th, I may recommend to climb the bell tower of Sofia Kyrka overlooking the beautiful district of Södermalm or to visit the Stockholms stadshus. More accurate details about Stockholm Culture Night and all special events that are going to take place tonight are on Visit Stockholm web pages. Enjoy the weekend!
Springtime will come soon and a visit at Skansen, the ancient park museum in the open air, is amongst the recommended things to do if you are in Stockholm. Of course, you can’t miss to have a look at the gracious little artisan lab, which is just few steps from the escalator, for enjoying watching and see how skilfull hands of excellent artisans bring glass art to life.
Capture the moment: “You are poetry of light” .
It is time to welcome the Autumn season and its very distinctive fragrances, its amazing natural landscapes made of warm shades and golden foliage! There is a world filled with inspiration in Albert Camus’s quotation, “Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower”, which makes you long to wander, at the week-end, through the woods and countryside paths of Apulia, for rediscovering those familiar places, where you know you can find those peculiar, seasonal ingredients for your kitchen. September mild temperatures, a bit more of humidity and little rain, from time to time, become the elements for the growing of new little plants of wild chicory, for example, that is one of the main ingredients of the homemade lasagna I’m going to prepare. It was a long time ago when I made this recipe for the first time and every year, by the arrival of the Autumn season, I enjoy to make it again and again.
So, I start with making lasagna pasta, by using local organic Senatore Cappelli durum wheat (it is excellent for homemade cooked ‘al dente’ pasta). For about 4 portions, you will need about 250 gr of flour and some water for making into a mixture that you need to work very well by hands, in order to be compact and not sticky. Perhaps, you may help yourself, by adding a sprinkle of flour on the surface of it. What is more, in Apulia, we do not use eggs in the pasta mixture, since it does not belong to our local culinary tradition of ‘cucina povera’; on the other hand, dishes are lighter and more digestible when using only water. Once the pasta mixture is well done, you can use your traditional nonna papera pasta machine for making thin layers of pasta; then, leave them to get dried.
In the meanwhile, boil some water in a pan, add and cook the cleaned wild chicories (about 500 gr) for few minutes. Strain the chicories very well and add them in a pan with some extra virgin olive oil, small cubes of bacon, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper.
Prepare your béchamel sauce, firstly by working a couple of spoons of (semola) flour and some cold milk (between 250 ml and 350 ml – it depends on the consistency you prefer for the sauce) together in a saucepan, by melting all the lumps, add a sprinkle of salt, an idea of hot pepper, grated nutmeg. Secondly, put the saucepan on a small stove and a very moderate heat and start steering the spoon in order the flour does not stick on the surface of the saucepan. Then, as soon as the sauce starts slowly boiling, keep on steering just for little while more until it is well done but not too much thick, since the lasagna requires it be not too much thick. In the end, melt a knob of butter in the saucepan and some grated goat cheese.
Now, before starting to prepare lasagna, it is necessary to cook the layers of pasta for very little moments, perhaps a couple of minutes, into boiling salt water. Strain the layers and make them dry on a cotton napkin, then, grease a baking pan with butter or few drops of extra virgin olive oil. Start fixing layers of pasta, then add small spoons of béchamel, a layer of chicories and bacon, one more of fresh mozzarella and then keep on doing again with a layer of pasta etc, until you have filled the bakery pan. A sprinkle of goat cheese on top and then place it in the oven 250° C for about ten minutes. When the mozzarella is melt and the surface of pasta appears little grilled, you can remove the lasagna from the oven and wait only few moments before making portions and serving them in the plates.
Pair the lasagna with your preferred wine and ‘buon appetito’!
Just few days ago, on Saturday April 1st, we had a cultural dip into the historical and art atmospheres of Salento, attending an interesting conference that took place by the ‘Gallerie Teatro Tartaro’ in Galatina, organized by the local Club for UNESCO. In details, the round table was about the precious ‘Orsiniani’ frescos situated in one of the most important Romanesque and Gotic art monuments in Apulia, the Santa Caterina d’Alessandria Basilica.
The architectural structure of the basilica was built during the second half of the 14th century on a preexisting church, which dated back to the 9th – 10th century, according to the will of Raimondello Orsini Del Balzo, prince of Taranto and Count of Soleto. The legend tells that the prince, back from the crusades, headed for a pilgrimage to Mount Sinai and, after stopping by the monstery for paying homage to the body of Santa Caterina D’Alessandria, in a daring way, brought one of her mummified fingers in Italy. The relic was mounted in a reliquary made of silver and nowadays it is still kept among the tresaures of the basilica. After Raimondello’s death, at the beginning of the 15th century, his wife, Maria D’Enghien, Countess in Lecce, and her son, Giovanni Antonio, continued the works of patronage for the basilica in Galatina and for the magnificent three architectural ordered spire in Soleto, by calling together artists from different painting schools in Italy and expert workers.
The audience at the conference welcomed with great attention the magistral lesson of eminent art experts and researchers in an almost mystic silence and sometimes with expressions of dilightful astonishment. Among the speakers: prof. Maria Stella Calò Mariani (University of Bari), Antonella Cucciniello (director of the Royal Palace in Naples), prof. Anna Trono (politic-economic geography – Unisalento), prof. Luigi Manni (researcher), prof. Rosario Coluccia (linguist and academician from ‘Accademia della Crusca’)
On Sunday morning, April 2nd, a historical cortege took place in Soleto, a small center that is only few kilometers far from Galatina, where it is possible to contemplate both the beautiful spire of Raimondello and sometimes you have also the chance to visit the tiny precious church of Santo Stefano, an authentic work of art for its decorated walls with sacred scenes.
The historical cortege of Maria D’Enghien advanced slowly along the narrow paved streets of the old center to the roll of the drums and both the local people and the visitors from the neighbouring towns and villages could admire the refinement of the dresses, worn with elegance and style. Attending the event was an invitation to read a bit more about the local history and its characters.
Grown-ups and children showed great care in performing the historical cortege of Maria d’Enghien and later on, it was amusing to watch all of them playing and having fun, cheered on by families and friends. In the end, even some parents joined the games.
In the afternoon, the cortege was in Galatina, where a lot of people gathered by the door of the old town hall and most of them followed the sumptuously dressed characters in a sort of procession that ended in Piazza San Pietro, the main square, where more games, a banquet reserved to the cortege, music and dances took place.
Along the way, people could stop by a banquet accurately prepared by some students of the Istituto Alberghiero ‘Aldo Moro’ from Santa Cesarea Terme (Ascalone Giorgia, Rizzo Pierpaolo, Scrimieri Luca, Pagliara Chiara, Murrone Angelo) and their teacher (prof. Piero D’Urso) and try delicacies that had tastes and fragrances of the Middle Ages cuisine. (Both of the two pictures have been kindly provided by Club for Unesco – Galatina)
Many thanks for the remarkable commitment and all we can wish for this amazing cultural initiative is to be performed again at Summertime, when more and more people, both locals and those coming from abroad on holiday, will be glad to attend it.