Posted by: Debra Kolkka | December 26, 2014

A year in Italy

I spent several months in Italy this year. There was lots of work to do in the garden at Casa Debbio and the renovation of our little balcony at the apartment in Ponte a Serraglio.

This took up quite a lot of my time and we didn’t do as much travelling in Italy as we would have liked, but we did manage a few trips.

There were a few stand out destinations.

The Chianti area of Tuscany always calls us and we love to drive through the beautiful hills. We went in spring and drove along our favourite road near Siena.


Chianti sheep

Spello was a delightful discovery. It is a beautiful pink hilltop town in Umbria. It is quite small, but has an excellent collection of lovely buildings, sophisticated shops and restaurants.




I returned to Spello again for the Infioriata when the streets are decorated with gorgeous floral murals which only last one day.

Spello Infioriata

Spello Infioriata

Spello Infioriata

Spello Infioriata

Spello Infiotiata

Massa Marittima was a delightful surprise. It is not really on the tourist trail, but was recommended by a friend. It is southern Tuscany in the Maremma region and is a very interesting ancient town with magnificent buildings, a lovely park and some great views over the surrounding countryside. We will definitely return one day soon.

Massa Marittima

We stayed in a stunning hotel at Punta Ala on the Maremma coast. It really is one of the loveliest places I have visited. The garden inspired me to rush back to Casa Debbio to do more work.

Punta Ala

Punta Ala

I was very lucky to be invited to Rome to stay at the amazing Baglioni Hotel in the Via Veneto. I joined a group of bloggers and we were taken on the Great Beauty tour of Rome, following in the footsteps of the main character of the movie.

Baglioni Hotel Rome

Great Beauty tour

Great Beauty tour

A trip to Venice is always wonderful. We had 5 glorious days there discovering and rediscovering the delights of this watery city.

San Marco Venice

Torcello Venice

Later in the year I visited Sant’Anna di Stazzema, the site of a horrific massacre in WWII. There is a tragic, but excellent museum that should be visited to remind us of the dreadful things that happen in war.

Sant'Anna di Stazzema

2015 is not far away and I will return to Italy soon to continue with the garden. There will be a bit more time next year to seek out new adventures.


  1. Merry Christmas Deb. hope you had a good one.

    • Christmas was a quiet affair at home. I hope you have a great New Year with perhaps a trip to Italy.

      • Am going to Italy on 11th January for my son’s wedding in Orvieto

      • I will be in Italy from 16th February. Will you still be there?

  2. You are so lucky to live in one of the most beautiful places on earth, I feel 🙂

    So rich in art, architecture and incredible landscape…

    Wish you and your loved ones a Very Happy New Year 🙂

    • Italy is very beautiful and I am indeed very lucky to be able to be there for several months every year. I hope you have a wonderful New Year with lots of travel.

      • Thank you so much Debra 🙂

  3. Have a great 2015, hope you get to visit some more interesting places in Italy!

    • I think I will have to make a list and try to cover as many as possible. There is a small problem as I also like to return to favourite places. Whatever happens it will be good.

  4. Thanks for sharing a few touches of 2014, and cheers to your 2015 trip. The small towns of Italy as so captivating … and you do a great job of capturing them.

    • Thanks you for you kind comments. Italy is very picturesque. I think it is not possible to take a bad photo.

  5. A great post – as usual – Deb, to remind everyone of what you hace been busily doing during the year. Perhaps, you did not travel as much as In recent years, but Ponte a Serraglio and Casa Debbio have kept you very busy and the results are great. We look forward to seeing you in the new year!

    • I am very keen to get back to work in the garden, but there should be less to do in 2015 as several terraces have been planted. Next year I will be working on the one below the house where I want to plant a cottage garden full of lavender, roses and peonies.

  6. Deb, what a perfect post. I fall in love with Italy all over again when I see your photos. Just a perfect little place on Earth. I will return someday to Florence and travel around Tuscanny. It would be lovely to meet you.

    • We could meet at my favourite cafe in Florence, Giacosa, and then do a little tour of Florence…what fun!

      • Perfect 🙂

  7. Stunning photos, Debra. I especially loved the one of the sheep. Wishing you a very happy and successful 2015. 🙂

    • I love the sheep too. I had just been complaining about the lack of sheep while taking a photo of the view when I looked behind and saw them.

  8. Another lovely post Debra, and a reminder for us all to look back at the past year and our wonderful experiences. Looking forward to a new year of your adventures and wishing you and Jim all the very best for 2015.

    • 2014 was a good year. We achieved a lot at Casa Debbio and I plan to do more next year. I hope you have a great 2015…and thanks for the great card.

  9. What a nice wrap-up of your time in Italy, Debra. I wonder what 2015 will have in store for you?

    • Whatever happens will be good. I will put together a list of places I would like to visit and see how many I get to.

  10. Dear Debra – have read so many of your comments especially with Celia! I would like to wish you a very Happy New Year and all the best for 2015! Somehow had not ‘cottoned on’ to the fact that you live at least part of your year in Bagni di Lucca: well, just happened to have a daughter with that married name and two grandsons who I know have been ‘investigating’ the area 🙂 !

    • How amazing! If I can help with anything please let me know. I will be going back in February for 4 months. Thank you for dropping by and taking the time to leave a comment.

  11. The infloriata is amazing – stunning flowers, beautiful designs and bright colours. Fabulous photos Debra.
    In Brisbane

    • Infioriata was an incredible event. I am so glad I made the trip to Spello. I will be seeking out other festivals in Italy, they do them very well.

  12. Looking forward to every one of your posts for 2015. May you revisit special places and discover new ones as well. x Di

    • I am going to make a determined effort to see some new places in Italy next year…there are many to choose from.

  13. Beautiful images and weather in Italy! Thank you and happy holidays!!! Simple Cherishes

    • The weather was a bit patchy through spring and summer, but September and October were delightful this year.

  14. That is such a lovely virtual wander through Italy. I think you have been bitten by the gardening bug.

    • I think so too. It is so exciting to see something you have planted one year spring to life the next. I can’t wait to get stuck into my garden next year. It will be beautiful.

  15. Aaaah….Italy, the land of visual delights in architecture, landscapes and local cuisines…. For a tiny country, it packs in a good punch in terms of tourism! I love the way you share your memories with us, always a continual delight to see what’s ‘around the corner’ or ‘up the hill’. We will certainly visit again. Bagni di Lucca beckons…. Have a marvellous 2015, Debra, especially with your garden at Casa Debbio.

    • I think Italy has more beautiful things per square inch than any other country, there is a delight at every turn.

  16. Those floral mural look good, it’s a shame they only last one day.

    • When you watch the incredible amount of effort it takes to create the carpets it is a real pity they can’t last longer. Thousands of people walk past and then over the carpets not long after they are finished.

    • Yes, the murals are amazing! And I really enjoyed browsing through your photographs, absolutely beautiful, thank you.

  17. What a nice look back into your year in Italy. I love that picture of the sheep. They look well insulated!

  18. Reblogged this on Tiffani Leon's site "In Search of Lost …".

  19. Beautiful photos Debra! Wishing you the best in 2015 and looking forward to more of your lovely posts!

  20. Wow. Love love love Italy!

  21. Do you like the wine? Id love posts from wineries! Had a merlot from Villa Teresa tonight just cuz Im infatuated with Italy!

    • I did a post called Sunday lunch at a Tuscan vineyard. If you type that in the search box at the top it will come up. I probably should visit more vineyards.

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