Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Como prices decrease for the first time in five years!

Words by Carla Passino
Have you always dreamed of buying a house on the Italian Lakes but your budget didn’t quite stretch to it? Now may be the right time to purchase.According to Italian estate agent Gabetti, prices in and around the lakeside city of Como have gone down for the first time in five years.
The Gabetti study refers to the first half of 2009 and puts current values for properties in the city at £3,000 per square metre for renovated flats with lake views, and £4,000 per square metre for period homes in the historic centre.
Although the price reduction is hardly colossal—only about 5%— proceedable buyers may be in for greater discounts. Sale volumes have gone down too and vendors, keen to secure a sale, are prepared to offer rebates of up to 10% on the asking price to the right person.
Earlier in the year, Gabetti had also reported a slight decrease in prices for second homes in villages along Lake Como.
On the Como side of the Lake, prices went down by about 10% to about £5,000-6,500 per square metre for a lakeside flat in posh Cernobbio, and £4,000-6,000 for a waterside home in neighbouring Laglio, Moltrasio and Carate Urio. The Lecco side of the Lake was similarly affected, with homes here rarely going above £5,000 per square metre.
All this brings formerly unreachable properties within the realm of the (barely) affordable. To take advantage of the market, though, you may need to act quickly as other buyers are in on the secret. Indeed, Gabetti reports that demand in Como has already started to increase, albeit by a modest amount.
And the usual proviso applies—like elsewhere in Italy, premium homes on Lake Como held their value far better than those further down the property ladder.


Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Agriturismi Near The Lakes Offer Great Food

Roland Merullo's book "The Italian Summer" is all about Golf and Food.  One of the interesting chapters covers Agriturismi.  He's says,  "you will l find yourself at a table at an agriturismo and realize that there are layers upon layers to Italian food, whole sections of the cookbook you haven't opened yet.  Agriturismi are not restaurants but an arrangement by which the owners of small agricultural properties can suplement their income by feeding lunch and dinner guests and housing overnight visitors, as long as half their annual income is derived from the production of some foodstuff."  Locanda Rosati was one of Merllo's favorite stops.
Another favorite was Barcola Agriturismi, near Menaggio.  A sample of the food included, two pasta dishes - simple bow tie dusted in a light tomato sauce, and a more complicated penne in a creamy curry sauce with morsels of the Barcola's own sausage mixed in.   Followed by pork cutlets served with cooked spinach and tender potatoes, and a dry hous red wine.  Most of food was either made or grown on the premises.  Can't wait!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Venice Attractions

From Attila the Hun’s invasion in the year 452 to Napoleon’s invasion in 1797, Venice has had quite an interesting history all documented in European history texts and available in picture in the magnificent city museums. Upon the last invasion Venice surrendered her sovereignty to end a period of 1,070 years of sovereignty.

With cutting edge modern art as well as the works of ancient masters Venice’s churches, scuole and museums are quite an aesthetic attraction. However, only part of these establishments has sites from which you can get information about them. The city’s heritage is the Accademia art gallery that sets a helpful context for every other tour of the city. Fiat owns the enormous Palazzo Grassi gallery, an outstanding venue for showcasing major art exhibitions. It hosts at least three exhibitions every other year.
The St. Mark’s Square hosts the Museo Correo, a major gallery for touring exhibitions. A respectably large structure with good interior lighting, the Museo Correo has quite a welcoming atmosphere for all the art enthusiasts. The home of modern art in Venice Biennale di Venezia is a cultural giant that hosts a huge yearly international festival of architecture, dance, music and theatre. These run from March to November with the annual Cinema festival grabbing the spotlight from August through September

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Studying Italian From Ex Pat Blog

                                                                                                         Studying Italian

I will try and make this article short and sweet. Before I moved to Italy I studied Italian using interactive CD's on the computer. I used the Rosetta Stone package and really increased my vocabulary fast and learned a lot in a short time. The CD's are a bit expensive $400 US approx. (I was lucky to have free access because my workplace had a learning center), but if I was to try another language course I would certainly recommend them.
Anyways, I am not trying to sell anything, just thought that if you were going to tackle Italian, this would be a good place to start. The other thing I discovered is that once I had my Codice Fiscal (like a Social Security Number), I was able to register for free Italian language lessons three times a week at a local school downtown. Any documents that show you have permission (Permesso) to study in Italy should get you into these classes. The school is in Genova off of Via XX Septembre, on Via Fieschi. I cannot recall the name of the school but it's not hard to find. Feel free to contact me through my blog (help! I live with my Italian mother in law) if you want directions.
Ok, so no, I have not mastered the language, I am a work in progress as they say, but I am able to get by and every day my mother in law comments on how I have improved. There is also a website where you can chat online with people who are looking for a language partner. I joined and chat with people who help me with my Italian in exchange for help with their English.

Sunday, December 13, 2009


One day a fourth-grade teacher asked the children what their fathers did for a living. All the typical answers came up -- fireman,
mechanic, businessman, salesman, doctor, lawyer, and so forth.
However, little Justin was being uncharacteristically quiet, so when
the teacher prodded him about his father, he finally replied,
'Okay... my father's an exotic dancer in a gay cabaret and takes off
all his clothes in front of other men and they put money in his
underwear. Sometimes, if the offer is really good, he will go home
with some guy and stay with him all night for money.'
The teacher, obviously shaken by this statement, hurriedly set the
other children to work on some exercises and then took little Justin aside to ask him, 'Is that really true about your father?'  'No', the boy said, 'He actually works for the Democratic NationalCommittee and helped get Barack Obama elected President last year, but I was too embarrassed to say that in front of the class.'

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Malpensa Airport Milan

The Travel Itinerary

You are most likely to fly into Milan Malpensa Airport. Malpensa is located northwest of Milan, and is actually closer to Lago Maggiore than central Milan. From Malpensa, you can take the shuttle to Milano Centrale train station (Malpensa Shuttle departs every twenty minutes from early morning to late at night) to start your journey or to find a hotel (there are many around the train station). If you're coming from the smaller Linate, which is east of Milan, you can take the shorter shuttle to Milano Centrale. Getting back to Milan

The EuroStar Italia makes the journey from Venice Mestre station to Milano Centrale in two hours and 45 minutes or so, which is probably faster than a flight from Venice to Milan, considering the time to get to the airport and the hassles with luggage. If you still have some time left before your flight, you can take the train to Como or Stresa on Lago Maggiore in about an hour. Malpensa can be reached from Stresa. Take the train from Stressa to the Gallarate station, then taxi or bus to the airport. Or, you can do the whole trip by "ALIBUS" which departs from Milan Malpensa Airport - Terminal 1 - bus stop number 12 every day.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

A Prayer For Grandpa!

"Dear God, this year please send clothes for all those poor ladies on Grandpa's computer, Amen."

A Trip Before or After Bellagio.

Location : Italy
Activity : Road Biking, Cultural Immersion, Biking, Wine
Price : From $3895
Departures : April, May, June, July, August, September, October
Duration : 6 days
Lodging : B&Bs/Inns, Villas
Minimum Age : 18
Group Size : 2 - 16
Interest : Couples, Solo Travelers
Biking in Italy
A bike tour in Tuscany is everything you read about. Cycle past olive groves and pastures to quaint hilltop villages on Tuscany's cypress-lined country roads. In Tuscany you feel like you're cycling inside a photograph. Each day you will be bike through vineyards and gliding along rolling fields to ancient villages. During your stay in Italy you will taste Brunello, Super Tuscan, Vino Nobile, and Chianti Classico. You will encounter some challenging hills in Tuscany, but your hard work will be well rewarded with delicious tuscan treats.