Monthly Archives: July 2013

27th July: “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?” At Malaspina Castle

As I’m at a loose end tonight and as the long list of comic accidents that have befallen me recently (you can read up on one of them here) seem to be abating, I thought I might go to “Who’s coming to dinner tonight?” a live culinary and theatrical event as Malaspina Castle.

Although the title is reminiscent of the panicky feeling you get when an unexpected (and usually unwelcome) guest has been invited to dinner last minute, the reality of the show sounds a lot more fun. Set in the rather lovely castle, the audience is invited to sit round a table with actors from the company The Garden of Words. The actors will reenact scenes of historical drama whilst the audience are served historically correct food from the century being reenacted.

The menu includes veal and wild boar soup all cooked onsite and served with local wines. Tickets cost €38 and include shuttle bus service to the castle at 7.30pm from Piazza della Rocca, dinner, wine and an optional late night tour of the castle after the performance. Tickets are almost sold but you can order them by phoning 0585240063.


19th July: More Free Art Events in La Spezia

Continuing it’s summer of culture, The Centre of Modern and Contemporary Art in La Spezia will be playing host to print art specialists Lab 43Whilst my artistic talents leave a little to be desired, this sounds like an interesting opportunity (especially as this particular workshop is for people of all abilities).

Lab 43 are famed for their collaborative workshops, attended by artists from all over the world, usually held in their open plan studio in Venice. Artists are encouraged to explore the various facets of print making, using techniques such as intaglio etching, lithography, screen printing, woodcut, relief and bookbinding. They pride themselves in fostering a sense of community amongst attendees of their workshops who are encouraged to share ideas and compare notes on the progress of their work.

Workshops will be taking place on July 27th and 28th 10am-1pm with all ages and abilities welcome.

18th July: If I Didn’t Hate Confined Spaces I’d Actually Be Quite Excited About This

Unfortunately, as a massive claustraphobe with a hatred of anything even resembling a cave or a mine, I will not be able to participate in the series of events taking place at the Miniera Pietra del Fuoco, a disused mine in Corchia.

Those of you whose stomachs don’t turn at the thought of being underground, have the opportunity to explore the mines during a series of events taking place every weekend until the 14th of September. These will include night walks, geology talks and nature hikes.

The events start this Sunday night with a picnic at sunset, where you will be led up the mine trial for a picnic in the woods at dusk followed by a stroll in the woods with torches.

12th July: Cinghiale 1, Expat Englishman 0: A Rant About Olive Groves

And so my battle against the local wild boar continues. For those of you that have been lucky enough never to encounter the cinghiale they look like this:

cinhaileI’ll admit that at a distance they do actually look quite sweet but that’s as far as I’m willing to compliment them.

Anyway, being the over optimistic fool that I am, I thought it would be nice to plant some olive trees on my land. There I was, imagining planting a few trees, watching them grow and then harvesting a veritable multitude of olives. Unfortunately, that has not been the case thus far. It would appear that my friendly local wild boar have decided that there is no activity as singularly fun and rewarding as wrestling in my olive grove and uprooting the trees.

Normally I don’t catch them in the act, only knowing that it was them from the hoof and tusk prints left beside the mangled remains of a tree or two. A few days ago however I noticed them brazenly uprooting my trees and proceeded to (very rashly, considering how vicious they can be) run at them with the closest thing to hand, a gardening fork. To my delight, all but one ran off, the remaining one however seemed a determined sort. I got within a few metres of him and waved my fork angrily whilst yelling various obscenities at the top of my lungs. He looked at me blankly. I continued to yell. He continued to look at me as if I was a complete fool, before turning his back and walking off at a leisurely pace. I lost a staring contest with a wild boar.


10th July: Events at Museo Amedeo Lia, La Spezia

Throughout the summer, the Museo Amedeo Lia in La Spezia will be hosting variety of free events. The museum is famed for it’s varied collection of over 1200 works of art. These range from paintings, miniatures and statues made from bronze, copper and ivory, with works from Titan, Raphael and Lippo Memmi  on display. Set in a abandended convent that dates back to the 1600’s, the museum also has wonderful cloisters and a garden boasting 30 different botanical species.

Starting this Friday and ending on the 9th of August, the museum will be open till 8pm and serving a selection of aperitifs for you to try whilst you take in some of the paintings. The museum has also opened some extra space to children and young adults who wish to create their own works of art until September.

photo Davide Marcesini


5th July: The Return of Music on Tuesday at the Villa Marigola

Once the holiday residence of the Marquis Ollandini, the Villa Marigola is a beautiful stately home in La Spezia. It’s sprawling grounds play host to a variety of botanical delights with a view of the sea and the house itself is a testament to the grandeur of 18th century architecture.

From the 9th to the 30th of July, the Villa Marigola will be hosting weekly concerts, celebrating new talents as well as featuring established names such as Andrea Bacchetti, Alessandra Gentile and Galina Garben Chistiakova. You can expect renditions of Wagner, Stravinsky and Chopin amongst other classical household names. The concerts start next Tuesday with the Imola Chamber Orchestra, an orchestra established at the International Piano Accademy of Imola and made up of 24 of their brightest pupils, playing Elgar, Mozart and Dvorak.

For more information email or phone 0187 258617

villa marigola

29th/30th June: A Weekend Well Spent

I spent last weekend merrily eating, drinking and dancing at Filattiera’s Festa Della Fame E Della Sete, or the Festival of Hunger and Thirst to you and me. It was incredible fun, with open air bars dotted around the beautiful historic center of Filattiera and food stalls in the square next to the castle. In the evening the square was cleared for a ballroom dancing lesson, in which my two left feet were even more obvious than usual as elegant couples with perfect timing waltzed around me.

At every turn, there were live music events and a huge mixture of people enjoying them. From classical orchestra’s to rock bands, Filattiera was filled with music and people dancing. Later in the evening there was even karaoke, strategically timed so that everyone was filled with enough delicious local wine to participate (I may or may not have sung a heartfelt if slightly off tune rendition of ‘The Eye of the Tiger…)