Posts Tagged ‘travel’

Vicolo scooter

THE SAGA CONTINUES… (Read Vicolo Wars here).

Since declaring war in my little alley things have gone from bad to worse. 

Remember the plants that I couldn’t water when motorcycles were parked underneath the windowsill? Not a problem any longer – my flowers pots disappeared one by one by one…

Flowers and sign

Rough Translation: “For the person who stole my vase of flowers. Shame!”

When the cold winter weather arrived the scooters moved out and the dog walkers moved in… 


Rough Translation: “Someone lives on this vicolo. It’s not a bathroom for your dogs.”

**(Note: Sign disappeared 5 minutes after I posted it).

Oh, how I miss the days when young girls only sat on the stoop and smoked. Now drunk teenagers scream and barf on my doorstep at 2:30 a.m. leaving broken beer bottles to step on in the morning. I admit it was sort of amusing listening through the door as a group of confused offenders discussed the sign. I think the sarcasm might have gone over their inebriated little heads…


Rough Translation: “To be young is a beautiful thing. Please be young somewhere else.” 

Vicolo War is hell.


by Toni DeBella






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Perfectly warm, sunny weather; crystal-clear blue skies with not a cloud in sight; fighter pilots creating sonic booms in shiny blue and gold jets above the Golden Gate Bridge…It’s Fleet Week, baby!

I think the Blue Angels are the rock stars of the skies.  That navy pilot who flew the United Airlines jumbo jet at a dangerously low altitude over the San Francisco Bay has nerves of steel.  

If the Blue Angels soaring into the wild blue yonder at the speed of sound doesn’t make you jump up and down and squeal like a little girl, then there’s something seriously wrong with you!  Good day. Sunshine. Jets.


by Toni DeBella

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60 days, 8 weeks, 1440 hours, 86,400 minutes and 5,184,000 seconds…

Everyday I obsessively enter my impending departure date into a duration calculator, but strangely the “days remaining until I arrive in Italy” number never seems to decrease. Time is not just dragging, it has come to a screeching halt and I’ve begun to wonder if my new life in Orvieto will ever begin? I fear I could be trapped in some kind of weird vortex or bizarre Italian space-time continuum!

Harry’s touching sentiment in the film, When Harry Met Sally echoes my own:

“…when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with someone (or, in my case, somewhere), you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.”

Unfortunately like a pot, a watched country never boils.

by Toni DeBella


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There’s a mind-set you adopt when you’re about to move far, far away.  You become a short-timer drawing an arbitrary line in the sand – a sort of invisible cut-off date after which you won’t be forming any new relationships.  Now when I meet someone I’m tempted to say, “Hi, my name is Toni and you can’t get attached to me.”  I’ve put into place a “friend moratorium” because I just can’t like any more people – it hurts too much to leave them.

A perfect example is Reggie. I met her just under the wire at a Starbucks on Union Street about a month ago.  She is hysterically funny, super smart and very cool. Now I’m going to miss her, damn it! 

When it rains, it pours…

Wouldn’t you know it?  The other day on the ferry a handsome man smiled at me PAST THE DEADLINE!  

I was thinking…perhaps some rules are meant to be broken?

by Toni DeBella

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Leaving San Francisco isn’t going to be easy.  I love this city and will miss everything about it.  I remember the first day I moved here.  I stepped out onto the stoop of my apartment building, looked around and decided there was nowhere in the world I would rather be…then I found Orvieto. Italy.  In the next three months I am going to enjoy every single minute of my life here, appreciate all the things San Francisco and Marin County have to offer, and say good-bye with no regrets…

….Goodbye deYoung Museum.

August 4, 2012: Jean Paul Gaultier at the deYoung Museum, Golden Gate Park

I exited the Jean Paul Gaultier Exhibition at the DeYoung Museum today flabbergasted.   I am shattered by Gaultier’s genius.  I’ve never seen clothes so beautiful, expressions so unfiltered, gowns so outrageously sublime, outfits so over-the-top delightful.   Each one was lovely and funny and smart and more incredible than the next.  His masterpieces are astonishing.  I wonder if Jean Paul Gaultier knows how brilliant he is?  I think so.

Tartan Man


Madonna and his iconic bustier

by Toni DeBella

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It’s already bad enough that I have to be so far away from Italy right now, but on top of that, I’m completely tortured by the separation from the food in her restaurants!

San Francisco is a big, big foodie city known for its fine, cutting-edge dining, exquisite winemaking, and a strong, Italian-American heritage.  Whenever possible, I eat in Italian restaurants but honestly, lately there seems to be something missing.  The Olive Garden just isn’t cutting it for me any more.

Dining in Italy is the sum of its parts; a package deal where food and wine don’t tell the whole story – relationship, personal connection and graciousness are also part of the equation.  When I am in San Francisco it’s not so surprising then, that the places I feel the most comfortable and want to frequent are those owned, operated and staffed by native Italians. Ristorante Ideale in North Beach is one of my favorites. (Read 7 Tastes of Italy).  Owner and Chef Maurizio Bruschi creates a scene that makes the walk through his door, a walk into Rome. 

…and then there was dinner last evening at Ristobar in the Marina District.  The food was amazing in taste and presentation, but the icing on the cake was a personal visit to the table from the new Chef de Cuisine, Michele Belotti from Bergamo – young, talented and an artist with food.  I was transported again…this time just a little farther to the north.

Ristorante Ideale: http://www.idealerestaurant.com/; 1315 Grant Ave, SF 94133 (415)391-4129

Ristobar: http://www.ristobarsf.com/; 300 Chestnut Street, SF 94123; (415) 923-6464 

by Toni DeBella 

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Background and Education:

University Bachelor of Science Degree in Human Performance (Physical Education – don’t get any funny ideas), Graduate Degree from School of Hard Knocks.


Prior Work Experience:

Freelance Legal/Executive Administrative Assistant (yeah, Secretary), Single Mom (yes, it’s a “real” job), Mural/Faux Finishing business owner since 1991, Government Affairs Regulatory Assistant (really), Commercial/Television Actress (yes, really).


Recent Work Experience:

Blogger, Freelance Travel Writer, Copywriter, Editor (knows the difference between favorite and favourite), TEFL Certified English Teacher (who isn’t?), Personal Assistant, Olive Oil Sales Rep, Relocation Coordinator, Vacation Concierge, Video Travel Host, and International Pet Escort.


Hobbies and Interests:

Italy.  Available Immediately.

by Toni DeBella

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