Thursday, January 12, 2023

Two Rooms Become One

"You probably won't like what I am going to say, but Giulia and I were talking

yesterday after we left your house and both felt that a fireplace with an

insert would make your living room too hot. We thought that a good solution 

would be to open up the wall, say with an arch, to increase space, making 

two rooms into one," said Roberto rather reluctantly .

James countered," these walls are two feet thick, do you know how much that would cost?"

"Well yes, that is why I hesitated to mention it," replied Roberto.

James had one of those three am. moments when he realized that an arch 

was a problem solver........albeit an expensive one!

As you can see, it was now or never......and the now is an arch creating 

one nicely proportioned room.....with a fireplace and insert.


The fireplace is just now being built.
It will have an insert  that will provided added heat to the house in
colder months along with some romance!

This is the view from our house across to the Comune.

Tuesday, October 11, 2022

House On The Piazza


All the doors and windows were open this morning.  There was a flurry

of sounds ringing forth, scraping, clanging, hammering and voices

of the workers loudly staying above the din of those sounds.

The work on the house, our house has begun.

The house was just what we were looking for with it's terrace and small garden,
original beams and floors and it's location  right in town where
we can walk to stores and restaurants...not to mention the lovely
people here!

But, this pink bathroom  was dated and really had to go!

                                                               Goodbye .................
                                                                Preparing for the new.

Friends told us about a tile place in Perugia. James really dislikes driving in Perugia,
With all the roundabouts and visual clutter of signage. They took pity and offered to 
take us there to Biondi.  We were told to select tiles that were dispondibile , which
means available or in stock. They only had a few tiles in stock, but to my
delight they were all very nice as a matter of fact because we didn't have thousands tiles to
consider it made easy work of this. The tiles were exceptional and just what I had in mind.

Not only did we get tiles, we also bought a toilet, a sink, and a shower.

It turned in to a fun one stop shopping event with help from friends!

I loved this sink and mirror, so that will be coming home to us.

Meanwhile work continues , more scoping off of old wall tiles, plastering 

and creating more headroom so that James will not be bruising his forehead.

Tools of the trade.
I am amazed that they work out of these small buckets. It was mesmerizing to watch
this man plaster above the new door opening. These same buckets carry out debris to their truck.
This can't be much different from how plastering was done when this house was
first built , some time around 1400.

Out the door the balcony is over the beautiful piazza.

I can't wait to have herbs and flowers out there.

Tuesday, April 5, 2022

After the Rain....

 After the rain, wind and even a few snow flurries Umbria lives up
to its being called,"The Green Heart of Italy". To any doubters, there is evidence of 
the snow on the mountains in the distance!

Spring is when the olive trees are pruned. Often the branches that
have been pruned and pied up and burnt creating a hazy atmosphere,
but on this day the air is perfectly clear.
The emerald green crop in the foreground is wheat .....
for pasta no doubt!

Back in Panicale the blue of the sky tops the town. Strong
shadows are painted by the April sun. The warmth from the sun 
bringing the Wisteria into bloom.

Loving the Umbrian spring!!!

Thursday, August 12, 2021

SUMMER GARDEN.......a buzz!


High summer has arrived bringing with it  record heat and humidity that the plants in the garden thrive on and I hide from. The mosquitos are also thriving in this weather but thankfully the dragonflies are on patrol zipping through the dense air above the garden making a meal of those biting marauders .

A Monarch Butterfly flutters around the Echineacea and Tall Verbena in the late afternoon stopping to feast on these flowers of the dog days of summer. There is dappled sunlight on the grass and I and doing my best to stay out of it and remain as cool as possible in the early morning shade. The sun will be blazing here in a few hours......not for me , thanks!

The hosts is getting some of that dappled light this morning. Lately we have been short on sunshine with mostly cloud filled skies and back in July rain was a daily occurrence. The shade garden didn't mind all the rain looking very lush.

I adore this begonia. I bring it indoors in the winter and by spring it looks rather shabby yet once outdoors it makes a glorious comeback ! 

A look into the perennial border........ I will wait until later....much later this afternoon when the sun is no longer beating down and I will freshen the birdbath and deadhead the remaining day lilies, cosmos and anything else that needs some attention. Then James and I will sit inside the screens of the atrium and wait for the hummingbirds, bees, and dragonflies & butterflies to put on their spectacular show.....despite the heat and humidity of August.

Wednesday, July 1, 2020


Panicale ( Umbria)

I was expecting this news from Brussels yet when it was made official
I was struck by how devastated I felt. The European Union was opening up
to outside nations but  not to the United States.

Our friends in Italy told us about their three month lockdown which was
extreme and enforced. They did not like it, but they complied and now Italy
has very few Covid-19 cases.  Who can blame the EU for not admitting
Americans? I live in New England and in this region of the U.S. where
the cases of Covid -19 have been low and are declining. We
followed the stay at home orders and are wearing masks. Many of the
States in the South and West have had their heads in the sand on 
the seriousness of Covid-19  and are now seeing the cases rise dramatically
in those regions. Please, wear a mask and follow social distancing's not that difficult and the results are enormous.

The world is a changed place, Italy, America and 
anywhere you put your finger on a global map,
 due to this pandemic.
 The sun still rises each morning , beyond that no one
knows. All I do know is that James and I will not be returning to Italy as
soon as we'd like.  
We will miss seeing great works of art
in  places such as Florence, Rome, Assisi, Montefalco, Ravenna, and Venice. 
  We will miss eating the foods from
the fields and farms of Umbria and Tuscany and drinking the wines. We will
not be seeing the very same landscapes that Perugino or Raphael looked at and painted.
We will not be sitting in the piazza drinking our morning cappuccino at the bar. We will not 
be having an October lunch in our friends olive grove while the harvest is on 
or eating fresh umbrichelli pasta with truffles being shaved over the top in
a local restaurant.   
But most of all we will miss our friends and all the kind people 
we have gotten to know through the years of spending time at home in Panicale .
To everyone, we will return.

A few memories to hang on to.................

Panicale with Lake Trasimeno


Rome rooftops and St. Ivo



Umbria landscape


I did not include  pictures of everyone and  of  all of our friends but we are dearly
thinking of you all.
abbracci tutti!

Saturday, June 6, 2020


Like most of us, I have been trying to come to terms with this plague 
that we are suffering through.
I try do do it with paint.




Often when we visit Venice it is raining. Not just a little drizzle
but full buckets of water falling onto this floating city. With 
Vaporetti rocking and canals rolling it's difficult to know which
way is up, but it really doesn't matter because it's all such 
a wonderful swirl.

The Swirl

[detail of cloths]

In its Malthusian way sickness moves through the World's 
population. We are social animals and so interconnected that any
pathogen can and will move effortlessly through us.
That is what it does.

[detail of cloths and city]

But we will survive and continue to expand, it's what we do.
This painting has obsessed me for months, sorry for sharing
my obsession, but it's what I do.

Siena Daylilies ( in progress)
James Aponovich
oil on canvas, 30" x 28"

Monday, May 25, 2020


Like most of us, I have been trying to come to terms with this plague 
that we are all suffering through. I try to do it with paint.

Painting In Progress


Siena Daylilies (in progress)
James Aponovich
oil on canvas, 30" x 28"

When I taught, I used to tell my students, "listen to your paintings,
they will tell you what they need." My students would squirm
uncomfortably and avoid any eye contact with me. They must have
thought that I was crazy. After I reflect on my lectures of the
glories of Bounty paper towels ( full sheet) they may have been right.

Siena Daylilies (in progress)
with sky ( blue)

Siena Daylilies ( in progress)
with sky ( white)

What I had 'wanted' was a sky that transitioned from an almost
white on the horizon to a deep blue. What I got was an 
uncomfortable feeling every time I looked at the 'pink / blue thing'.
So the blue had to go. Right now it is almost a monochromatic color
structure, a first for me. But, hey! What do I have to lose? If it works
let's just say that, 'I am a very good listener.'

( cloth detail)

Onto the cloth.....not so easy.