Majelleta, PassoLanciano Ski Resorts with Lunch at Mamma Rosa

This March we headed to Roccarasso for our usual weekend ski trip but decided to make a detour to Pretoro.  Slightly easier to get to from Pescara airport, it makes for a perfect day skiing if you arrive on the early morning flight from Stansted.  Leave Stansted at 625am, Lunch at Mamma Rosa at midday and hit the slopes for the afternoon ski. Or just hit the slopes right away.  After a very winding road through tall beautiful ash trees we climbed 2000 metres above sea level to the resort.  Free parking awaited and various facilities Lo Chalet restaurant and ski hire.  A 2 hours ski ticket cost 15 Euros with all the slopes to cater for all skiers.  It’s not the biggest ski resort in the world and this particular Sunday it was busy, obviously all the locals are hitting the slopes on their weekends off work but its the perfect ski resort for a quick stop and ski.  There is a small jump park and I do believe that you can ski all the way down to the Passo Lanciano another resort lower down the mountain.  It’s great for small children and young skiers learning.

We headed to Mamma Rosa hotel and restaurant,  with views over the Adriatic Sea, it was a clear day and the entire coast line could be seen.  Where else can you ski and see the sea at the same time.  It was quite warm so really you could have spent the morning at the beach and hit the slopes in the afternoon.  That’s what is so great about Abruzzo. It has many hidden spectacular places.

We arrived at Mamma Rosa in a very busy lunch time service. The restaurant is quite big, typical abruzzese style with the waiters & waitresses all smartly dressed.  Even though it was busy, we were told we could have a table in 20 minutes and a drink was offered in the bar.  Tables were re-arranged and large group arrived and left for lunch.  The management swiftly seated customers and the service was exceptional in such a busy place.

The menu was typical abruzzese food.  Polenta and Arrosticini, Truffle, lamb.  The menu was just right, we ordered the Mamma Rosa Antipasti arriving full of delicious cured meats and artichoke, olives and sun-dried tomatoes.  It was delicious.  The waiter service was very good, leaving enough time between courses, so you didnt feel rushed.

Tagliatelle with Truffle and funghi, was so yummy, It was polished off before we could even take a snap shot, hand-made gnocchi with pomodoro and mozzarella too was gone in seconds.  The second plate was probably the best lamb i have ever eaten in my life.  I’ve eaten a lot in Abruzzo, it was sweet and absolutely tasty.  Also was the Arrosticini di pecoro, which are small meat pieces on a skewer, a national dish of Abruzzo.  Served with Spinach, it was a taste sensation.  The house wine was a juicy Red.  The cost…very very reasonable indeed.  The service was exceptional!

So if you find yourself in Abruzzo, then take a drive up to the Majella National Park to the 2 ski resorts and the Mamma Rosa Restaurant.  You wont be disappointed.  It’s a great weekend for everyone.


Ski the Abruzzo Dream 

A very picturesque snowy San Buono. Last year on the 9th March Pescocostanzo Abruzzo became officially the snowiest place in the world with a record snow fall of 2.56 metres in 18 hours. An hours drive from Villa Martini is Italys 5th largest ski resort of Pescocostanzo & Roccarasso.

Daily ski passes for the entire Ski Alto Sangro 28 lift systems for 38 Euro’s its cheap as snowflakes. 111 km of slopes to ski, the more days you ski the cheaper the day rate.

Snowboard & boot hire, a 2 hour lesson, will set you back about 40 Euros. A pro snowboarder before you know it.

With easy access to the base lifts you can choose from Pescocostanzo a nice smaller resort ideal for total beginners and great views for Apre Ski

Monte Pratello is  ideal for stepping up to longer runs with no crowds or queues.

With Roccaraso for experienced and beginners.

See you on the slopes.

Hair Today Gone Tomorrow! 

Being an Essex girl we are what some might refer to as “High Maintenance”. When it comes to our hair we stop at nothing to keep our manes looking in tip top. So since when did dabbing blue mixture on your hair and trimming up some unshapely hair ends become beyond expensive. 

Lets compare; The average cost of a Junior solicitor for an hours work is around £100 per hour. After all they have studied for 6 plus years have on average £35000 worth of debt from their studies to repay. 

The other day I read in the Daily Mail how full time hard working mums were struggling in todays economic climate to even afford a hair cut & colour. One a bank manager, another a Director. Both certainly not earning £125 for an hours work but more £125 for a days work as a comparison.

So why do hairdressers charge so much money? 

Why is a hairdressers hourly rate boardering on the insane £180 per hour. 

I did my homework today, calls to various local hairdressers not “Trendy London Hairdressers” but just plain average boring “dont even get asked if you want a cup of tea” nothing to write home about local hairdressers to get an average cost. I think on 4 occasions I had to ask “that includes a cut & blowdry right?” “No… It doesnt” …. “Oh”. One even sounded rather put out that I had thought £180 expensive!

For a full head of highlights, cut & dry the average cost was £180. Wow… £180. How long would you have to sit at work to earn £180? Probably a couple of days right? Maybe even a week? How do you analyse value for money? For me I always look at what I could buy for the same amount that offers value. 

So I have come up with a unique idea. 

Hair Today Gone Tomorrow to Italy! 

If its £180 just to get your hair done in one of those extortion hairdressers that “Dont even ask if you would like a cup of tea”  wouldnt you rather spend that on 

A weekend away in a beautiful medieval hilltop Italian Village and get your hair done?  

Hair done by the style & class guru’s of the world “The Italians”? They ouse trends!  They are colour masters. They make UK hair dressers look like amateurs! 

Imagine. 2 nights in a beautiful medieval village. Return flights to Italy, transfer, full head of highlights, Cut & blowdry, italian coffee & brioche breakfast, Pasta Amatrice lunch, Napolese Pizza Supper, washed down with as much red wine as you can consume… All for £170.

I know where I will be in January… Getting my hair done at Hair Today  Gone Tomorrow to Italy. 


What is normal?

Thinking of buying a house in Abruzzo Italy.  This is the first blog of an Essex girl from Thurrock, well not so young now,  who took the jump into the Italian unknown. With a cheap flight App on her phone and a few years experience of travelling around the globe tucked under her belt. Working hard on that hamster wheel of life to achieve that dream of Italy, sure it is not everyone’s idea of heaven,  the good thing about having something that yours is that no one can take it away from you, you remove the fear of the what if?  What happens if you lost your job, or say you got sick? Sure buying in Italy is not for everyone, but if Spain and its mobility scooter society just does not cut it for you then buying in Italy takes only modest dedication, broad minded determination and an elfin amount of magic fairy dust.  Anything is possible and I am the proof.

Not everyone gets to buy that million pound villa but instead eveyday Joe Bloggs like you and me get to buy a little peace of paradise, that escapism from the norm, all on a tiny budget. No more than the cost of a second hand car.  Budget buying of property need not be daunting.  If your considering buying a place in Abruzzo or any area of Italy to escape to then go for it. It could be the start of an amazing adventure.  Abruzzo has it all on offer.  Where else can you Ski and see the sea ?  Almost a third of the region is National Park.  Abruzzo in my eyes is so rich, rich in culture, its warmth of people, its beauty and its just unspoilt. Close to Rome and Naples, Abruzzo with its central Italy location is ideal for exploring all of Europe.  In the summer why not take a the short ferry trip to Croatia, the world is your oyster.

This blog will be about everyday things, stories, food, experiences and our restoration process, how we fitted in working full time jobs, managing to grab that time, make that time, find that time to renovate and bring to life an old run down place in Italy, that had been closed up for over 30 years. A place we call home and Villa Martini. The blog is also going to explore the journey of helping my son invest in Italy.  In the words Ellen Goodman “Normal is getting dressed in clothes that you buy for work and driving through traffic in a car that you are still paying for – in order to get to the job you need to pay for the clothes and the car, and the house you leave vacant all day so you can afford to live in it”.  The days of popping to see your Barclays Bank Manager, sitting down in front of him and saying.. “Can I have a mortgage please” are over. So what options does an 18 year old have in these days and times?   Do I encourage him to lead the life of “Normal” or be a little untraditional. I hope you enjoy my blog of Adventure Abruzzo.