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Puglia in the fall

Ciao, ciao,

Come stai?
Spero che stai bene, molto bene!

I have been here for a week now, to enjoy the Puglian food, the sun, the quiet way of life and to work in the yard a bit also. My friends Habiba and Marie – who took most of the photos – joined me.

If I think of it, I have never been here in the month of October. The first five days, the weather was very nice, we could still sit outside by the pool. But now it is getting more changeable, temperature is dropping and we get more rain. I started working in the yard, cutting the hedges of rosemary and lavender. I also did some crochet.

While walking through the yard I discovered new fruit – it has always been here of course, but I never saw them cause they are ready to eat in October. You know kaki? Here’s a photo, they are so juicy and sweet.

There are plenty of gorbezolli and the pomegranate are shiny and ready to be picked.

All the beautiful little towns are easier to visit now, less overwhelmed with tourists.

We went to the coast nearby, at Santa Sabina. Did you read the book by Paolo Giordano ‘divorare il cielo‘ (it is not translated in English, I have read it in Dutch). It is an amazing novel, and parts of the setting is right here, at Santa Sabina. Also the area of Ostuni is part of the book.
The beach was deserted and there was a lot of wind, but so peacefull.

We discovered a few nice restaurants, I ll share them here with you. Coffee and more is located in the middle of the centro storico of Ostuni, it is great to sit outside in the little yard, under the trees. But then they have a nice terrace with view on the sea. One evening we sat inside, and that was cosy too. The homemade pasta ‘Enigma’ is delicioso.

Taverna della Gelosia stays one of my favorite restaurants in Ostuni. I ate the risotto with red beet!

Daughter went to the Masseria Salamina  a few weeks ago. We didn’t get in there anymore, but this is certainly also a must-do!

We cooked a lot at Casa Vita, all the ingredients are here to make all kind of yummie meals.

Casa Vita is the ideal spot for yoga, on the roof or at the patio.

Did I tell you we have six cute babies here? They are born under the olive tree, and now start hopping around the house. They are too beautiful: three white ones with clear blue eyes, two striped ones and one shy black one with orange spots. I wanna give them italian names, like Giulia, Matteo, Leonardo, Francesca… All ideas welcome!

Well, I will come back in the Spring, for the month of April. That is the plan, one month to paint, work in the yard, prepare everything for the guests next Summer.

To be continued.

Arrividerci, Sophia and the six cuties


Wine Tasting in Puglia

Yes, there will always be wine… That is a comforting thought. We did a wine tasting here in Puglia in July. But more on that later.

We are back here now, at Casa Vita. And it has been so relaxing so far. The weather is perfect. I really prefer this time of year. The days are not too hot, and in the evenings you still don’t need a sweater. The days have been slow and easy.

September is perfect because all the fruit has ripened: grapes, gorbezolli, figs, pomegranate…All the yuccas are in bloom.

The first week I was accompanied by my sweet friend Habiba. We visited some towns, went to the Ionic coast. I will bring you in the atmosphere with some photos.

In July we were here with the family,e and visited I Pastini. It is located in the Valle d’Itria (the Valley of the trulli) here in Puglia.

A very knowledgeable guide walked with us through the grapevines and explained about all the types of grapes and the wines that are made out of it. They make wine out of native grape varieties such as Verdeca, Bianco d’Allessano and Minutolo (white grapes), Susumaniello and Primitivo (red grapes) to get a typical and authentic wine.

At the end of each row of vines, there is a rosebush growing. By the state of the roses, the farmers can check whether there are damaging insects getting into the vineyard.

About twenty farmers are trained in the art of harvesting. The grapes are harvested by hand in the early hours of the morning and then placed in small boxes, after the best bunches are carefully selected.

In the buildings we could see the high technology that is used in the whole process of making wine from grapes.

After the tour–the sublime moment of wine tasting. We were welcome to taste a big range of wines, with Pastini’s Spumante Brut as a finale. This sparkling wine grown and processed locally from Verdeca grapes was conceived to stun the nose and the palate!

Cheers to lovely Puglia!









Family time @ Casa Vita

Hello there,

Yes we are having quality time now. How wonderful it feels to be here all together.

Days are warm and slow. But we enjoy every bit of it.

Hubbie and I drove here, over Germany and Switzerland. We spent one day in Bologna. What a pretty university town! I loved all the galleries with their mixed stone floors (terrazzo before it became a hype).

And then from Bologna straight to Ostuni, another thousand kilometers. It was pretty hot back then, but the plants in the yard of Casa Vita were in great shape.

Wednesday we made a boat trip from Monopoli to Polignano a Mare. We went into some caves under the cliffs.

A walk through the streets of Monopoli.

Yesterday we went to the Ionic coast, on the other side of the heel in Puglia, south from Taranto.  You can find beautiful sandy beaches there. On this side, the Adriatic, we have a more rocky coastline, beautiful too. On our way up there, we stopped at Grottaglie, the city of the ceramics!

At the beach.

You know I always like to add little things to the house, to make it more cozy. This time we brought a rattan swing (no, that wasn’t a small thing). Hubbie hung it under the porch with some help from all of us 😉 It will surely become the most romantic spot of Casa Vita!

And do you want to know where I am writing right now? I am in my green corner in the living room–it was a bit rainy this afternoon–while I am getting a free refill of Gin Tonic by Daughter’s boyfriend (he is scoring!). Now it’s off to spread out the fresh pizza dough. Yes, pizza night! I will share the recipe again here.

Well, dolce far niente brings peace of mind, surely!

Ciao, Sophia






Bloggers at Casa Vita

Hi there!

It has been a while… Still busy with many different things. Overall most of my time is being consumed by the refugee center in my hometown. But I love to work with people, and it is still exciting to see so many new faces and to get to know them.

But I am also totally ready for a Summer trip. And yes, we will go to Puglia again. It is the first time we will go with our whole family: Hubbie and I and the kids with their partners. Oldest and his girlfriend will leave for a trip around the world in August. So this is going to be quality time with our family.

Puglia is popular these days. And also Casa Vita has had some creative and well-known Belgian visitors in the past months.

First we had the pleasure to welcome Joke Peeters with her team. She is the woman behind Olá Lindeza: a Belgian label and globally inspired home decor and women’s clothing brand. Everything is handmade in limited edition by artisans from around the world. Each piece is authentic, natural and unique in its own design and color with little imperfections unlike mass produced alternatives.

In the picture above you see me in an Olá Lindeza dress, it is called the Pompei. It is a natural and very light fabric, perfect for those hot summer days.

At the end of May the famous Belgian bloggers, Bart Deroeck and Eva Goris, visited Casa Vita, with two of their three children. Amazing what they did in only four days time! You can check out all the photos on their blogpost: Roeckies World.

So in a week we are leaving for Puglia, and I will write my next post from there.

Stay tuned, ciao!





Blooming Business

Buongiorno Tutti,

Yes, I am in the South of Italy right now. And I am in my green velvet chair, with view on the pouring rain outside. It is the perfect time to write this post and brag about how beautiful the yard is when everything is in bloom.

It wàs really beautiful the past three days. My friend Leen came along, and started to make flower arrangements the first day already. Wonderful: all those colors you find in the yard of Casa Vita.

And yes, our cacti are sprouting too:

Thursday we paid a visit to Polignano a Mare and had lunch at Mint, an exquisite vegetarian restaurant.

Yesterday started out beautifully, we took our breakfast outside, on the front patio. Then we decided to drive around and do some sightseeing in the nearby area.

First we stopped at the coast town nearest to Ostuni, Villanova, which has a little port.

Then we drove to Torre Pozzella. It is a region near the coast with an old tower, sandy beaches and rocky bays. You can walk along the coast in between the flowers and typical plantation you see in the dunes.

Alla prossima!

Ciao, ciao, Sophia





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