238 – Elsie’s Birthday

The day after we got back from our trip to Tuscany and Umbria was Elsie’s birthday, which she usually likes to celebrate with us in Italy.  It was another beautifully warm and sunny day so we all headed for lunch at the Miramare down by Sant’Agostino beach, between Sperlonga and Gaeta.


The birthday girl Elsie






Lora and La Dolce Vita !




Lora collecting shells

That evening more friends were flying over to stay with us and help celebrate Elsie’s birthday. So that evening we all went for a meal at the Bellavista in Itri.


Paul, Amanda, Patrizia, Elsie and Andrea


Patrizia and Elsie


Andrea and Kay

On evening before Lora and Laurie were due to depart for Rome Pat and Melinda invited us to join them for a meal at a restaurant near Castelforte called Terra di Briganti. This was our first visit to this eating establishment.



Lora, Melinda, Andrea and Amanda


Paul, Laurie, Lora and Melinda


Amanda, Elsie, Kay and Pat

We were impressed by the food served and the prices were quite reasonable. I do believe we will return again one day soon.





Pat chose a buffalo steak from the menu. He highly recommends it.


Sadly soon it was time to say goodbye to our American friends Lora and Laurie as they were going to spend a couple of days in Rome before winging their way back to Wisconsin.

A last picture of all us girls together.


Laurie, Lora, Kay, Andrea, Elsie, Amanda, Louise

We so enjoyed their company and I enjoyed our trips to Herculaneum, Sorrento, Pisa, Cortona and Assisi.   Thank you so much for coming to help celebrate my milestone birthday. I dream of coming to visit you in Wisconsin one day.  Ciao for now !!!

#birthday #italy #Buffalo Steak #SantAgostinoBeach



Tre Cancelle Farmhouse Holiday Apartments



230 – Paul’s Dad and Sister Annie Come and Visit

Paul’s sister decided to take early retirement last year from her job as Head Teacher at her school in Warrington.   She had started teaching at the school over 25 years ago and had progressively worked her way up. Anne was hoping to have more time to relax and unwind after the last stressful years of her job.  She also wanted to be able to spend some more time with Dad Shap in his later years. He still lives in Bristol, and Anne visits him whenever possible.

It was also lovely that she could organise a trip for her and Dad to visit us in Itri, since in the past he has loved to come, but at the age of 87 really finds travelling on his own too much these days. It was lovely for him to be able to catch up with us at Tre Cancelle and meet up with some of our Italian friends who he has come to know well over the years.


Paul and Dad Shap – photo by Anne Bright

During their visit we had a very pleasant lunch at a little restaurant by the beach called the Miramare, the weather being beautiful at this time of year, sunny but not overbearingly hot as it can be for northern Europeans during the summer.


Dad, Paul and Louise – photo my Anne Bright


Dad, Anne and Louise – photo by Anne Bright

Also during their visit we chose to go to one of our favourite eateries – “La Casareccia” in the nearby little town of Campodimele. You may well have read some of my previous posts about this wonderful little gem of a Taverna.

Here we organised to met up with our friends Pat and Melinda and their visitors Bobby, PJ and Luke from the USA, also Pat and David, also from the US – who like Pat and Melinda, have recently purchased a property in Minturno, and finally Karen and Stewart from Nottingham who have a holiday home in Sperlonga.  We were celebrating Melinda’s birthday and Dad and Anne’s visit.


Stewart, Pat, PJ, Luke, Bobby, Paul, Anne and Dad


Melinda and Stewart


PJ and Luke


Bobby and Anne

Once again we were not to be disappointed by the wonderful spread prepared by Maria the c0-owner and cook of the Casareccia. Plate after plate came our way of truly delectable food.






Maria, David and Pat


Stewart and Karen


Happy Birthday Melinda !!!



Very seductive pose Ms Melinda !

Here are some photos of a previous visit to “La Casareccia”.


Pat and David, Melinda and Pat


Paul, Pat, David and Melinda


Pat, his brother Mike and sister-in-law Jeanne


Pat and David





Highly Recommended !!!

Please note that during the winter months La Casareccia is only open at weekends.

A previous post about La Casareccia

Trattoria La Casareccia in Campodimele

The Casareccia reviewed on TripAdvisor

Bar Trattoria La Casareccia
Stazione di servizio Repsol, 04020 Campodimele, Italy
Tel:  07715980207

All photos by me © Louise Shapcott

#LaCasareccia #campodimele #italy #Traditional  #typical #ItalianFood #restaurant #trattoria #SouthLazio

Read more about Campodimele The Village of Longevity here



Tre Cancelle Farmhouse Holiday Apartments

201 – Celebrating Pasquetta With Friends

Our friends  Pauline and Filippo, who have a house in the Migliorano district of Itri, kindly invited us to their home on Easter Monday. You may remember that we were invited there for the family feast of Ferragosto last August.

As usual Filippo’s family were also coming from the nearby coastal town of Formia, where Filippo was born and bred.  I explained that we had our special friends the White family staying with us over the Easter period. Pauline just said “the more the merrier!”  Also a new acquaintance was invited to also come along – Frank from California in the USA. (I will add more about Frank on a future blog post.)

We arrived at around Noon and we were warmly greeted by all of Pauline and Filippo’s family.


Frank, Andrew and Bethan


Andrew, Bethan and Jenny White


Bethan, Jenny and Pauline

The weather had turned unseasonably chilly this Easter in Italy.



We were told that we would be eating inside where there was a welcoming fire in the grate.


Typically the Italian women folk were already busy in the kitchen which was full of tantalising delicious aromas.


A rich sugo with clams and tomato was simmering on the hob and the pasta was almost ready to serve. There would be 17 of us sitting around the table !!!


The clam sauce was absolutely delicious.  Next some typical tiella pies were served with various fillings.  There were also omelettes and some special savory Easter breads with eggs baked in them and flavoured with cheese and pancetta. In addition there was grilled chicken, some greens – namely scarola and broccoletti tossed in garlic and olive oil,  and of course, Filippo’s wonderful roasted peppers.




Wild Asparagus Frittata


Roasted Peppers


This was followed by grilled fish.




For dessert there were several homemade Pastiera Napoletana cakes, made with ricotta cheese. Just wonderful.


Photo *






Salute – Cin Cin !!!

Here is Filippo’s mother who has recently celebrated her 90th birthday.

P1300687aThis is her close friend who is also in her nineties.  Don’t they look well on it !!!



Sincere thanks  to all of Pauline and Filippo’s family for inviting us and our friends to share their Easter celebration with us.

* photo by Mattia Luigi Nappi   cc By-Sa 3.0

All other photos by me © Louise Shapcott

#pasquetta #easter #food #itri #italy #italian #SouthLazio



Tre Cancelle Farmhouse Apartments Near Sperlonga Beaches and Historic Itri, South Lazio, Italy

183 – Aussie Cousins Come To Visit

It was an absolute delight to have my cousins Cathy and Jeff come and stay with us during the month of June. They had left Australia to visit family in the UK and spend to some time in Wales, a place Cathy loves dearly, where her parents were both born.  Then prior to coming to us they had spent a couple of weeks on a farm in Umbria visiting old friends and helping to look after their flock of sheep.  When they arrived here at Tre Cancelle they came with a wonderful Peccorino cheese which was utterly delicious.

It had been 16  long years since we had seen Cathy.  These photos were taken on her last visit with her mother. Sadly Aunty Betty is now is in her 90’s and in a nursing home.


Aunty Betty and Cathy on their last visit


Cathy doing her Boadicea impression !!!

However it seemed like no time had passed at all as we all got on so well.  Their visit coincided with that of our most frequent visitors, namely Kay and Elsie who are  always good fun to be around.

My Aunty Betty and Uncle John had decided to emigrate to Australia in the 1960’s at the time when there was a scheme which encouraged the British to relocate to Australia.  They were enticed by promises of employment and housing, a more relaxed lifestyle and a better climate.  For the assisted passage adults had to pay just £10 each and children traveled for free.  Such families became known as the “ten pound poms”.   

I can remember that they came to stay with us at Woodside before the set off on their new adventure.


Andrew, me Louise and Cathy


Cathy, Andrew and me Louise


Me Louise, Cathy, Andrew

What an incredible experience it must have been for my cousins travelling around the world by ship. 

ten pound poms emigration to australia

ten pound poms emigration to australia

The family eventually settled in Melbourne and there they made a good life for themselves.

So, back to the present …………..



Cathy is a superb cook and was keen to get into the kitchen. 

Italian Chargrilled vegetables

She produced the most wonderful vegetable lasagne that I have ever tasted.  “Delizioso !!!” “Squisito !!!”  “Brava!!!”

Vegetable Lasagna

Indeed we enjoyed some wonderful meals together out on the terrace “al fresco”.

Tre Cancelle meals

Tre Cancelle meals

Jeff is a very talented artist and he took me and Elsie up to the Bellavista, where there is a marvellous view of Itri and its ancient castle, to do some sketching – it was really enjoyable.

Itri Castle Latina South Lazio Italy

This is Jeff’s finished sketch.  Just Beautiful !!!

Sketch of Itri Castle Latina South Lazio Italy

Artist at Tre Cancelle

 This is another that he did of the view from our terrace.

Sketch of Olive Groves Tre Cancelle Italy

Cathy and Jeff, Kay and Elsie kindly helped us around the place, weeding and watering the veggie patch, even helping to bath some of the dogs.

Bathing dogs at Tre Cancelle Italy

One day we drove down to the nearby coastline and we showed them some of the wonderous delights that  Sperlonga offers.  This is one of my favourite places and I always make sure I have my camera at the ready.

Looking down to the Grotto of Tiberius

and the Roman excavations and Museum.

Grotto di Tiberio Spenlonga Italy

Sperlonga Blue sea

Sperlonga’s beautiful sandy Levante Beach

Sperlonga Levante Beach Latina South Lazio Italy

Sperlonga Levante Beach Latina South Lazio Italy

Sperlonga Levante Beach Latina South Lazio Italy

We came across a newly wedded couple who were having their photos taken in the romantic setting of the old town.

“Che principessa !!!”

Sperlonga Wedding Italy

Sperlonga Wedding Italy

Old Sperlonga in Latina South Lazio Italy

Sperlonga Latina South Lazio Italy

Window in Sperlonga Latina South Lazio Italy

Bicycle in Sperlonga Latina South Lazio Italy


One evening we all went out to our preferred little restaurant that is tucked away in Campodimele – The “Casareccia”. 

La Casareccia Campodimele Latina South Lazio Italy

Elsie and cousin “Caterina”


Me, Paul and Kay

Maria’s dishes never fail to satisfy us.

La Casareccia Campodimele Latina South Lazio Italy

La Casareccia Campodimele Latina South Lazio Italy

La Casareccia Campodimele Chocolate Dessert

La Casareccia Campodimele Fresh Fruit Salad




Bella “Caterina”

So Cathy and Jeff, please don’t leave it another 16 years before we get to see you again. 

We really hope it will be much sooner than that !!!

All photos by me © Louise Shapcott

#emigration #australia #TenPoundPoms #casareccia #campodimele



Tre Cancelle Farmhouse Apartments Near Sperlonga Beaches and Historic Itri, South Lazio, Italy

128 – Discovering The Delights of Historic Terracina

In July two very good friends from Cardiff, Kay and Elsie, came to visit us.  During their stay we decided to take them to the seaside town of Terracina which is 35 km  from “Tre Cancelle”. As it was a Thursday we headed first to the enormous general market, on Viale Europa, which runs parallel with the seafront – there were so many stalls selling a whole array of goods, they seemed to go on forever. 

Having “shopped ‘til we dropped” and having worked up a good appetite we went in search of a place to have lunch, which had been recommended to us several times by friends.

On the Terracina quayside there are a number of fishing co-operatives which sell fresh fish, straight off the boats. 

Some of these establishments also have simple little eating places  attached. We went to the Cooperativa  La Sirena, which is a delightfully simple self-service restaurant where a wide variety of typical fish and seafood based dishes are daily loving prepared. 

The cheery helpful staff instructed us to take a tray and proceeded to help  guide us through the wonderful range of fishy delights on offer.  Our selections included a salad of calamari, swordfish steak, fried mixed seafood, grilled squid and prawns.   We found the prices to be remarkably reasonable.

We munched the tasty fare “al fresco” gazing out over the fishing boats in the harbour.

Feeling suitably replenished we next drove up to Terracina’s old historic centre which is located in the upper section of the town.   Here is the ornate 11th century Cathedral of San Pietro e San Cesareo, with its elegant tall bell-tower made of intricate brickwork  and decorated with brightly coloured discs of majolica.

Here, by chance, we bumped into an old friend, Luigi.

We strolled together along an original section of the ancient Roman Via Appia (the Appian Way) where there are several interesting Roman ruins including the remains of an ancient Roman Forum

Luigi knows a great deal about the history of the city, and he explained that the Town Hall currently have something of a dilemma as archaeologists have discovered traces of yet more important Roman remains laying under certain historic medieval structures. Indeed, Terracina could be likened to an onion, where its countless layers of historical past can slowly be peeled back, piece by piece.

It was a pleasure to explore the old town on foot, browsing in the tiny shops, wandering through the narrow streets, discovering items of interest around each and every corner.

Leaving Luigi to get back to work, we then drove further uphill along the road that leads up to Monte San Angelo and the impressive remains of the Temple of Jupiter AnxurThis imposing edifice was constructed by the Romans in the year 1 BC.

It was a very hot afternoon, and in dire need of cooling refreshments we stopped at the “Piano Bar” and sat on the terrace indulging ourselves with some delicious refreshing gelati.

On a clear day, from the Temple, there are panoramic views of the Terracina: of the old town, the newer section of town with its lively  fashionable shopping centre, the harbour, the long promenade and sandy beaches that stretch for miles along the Riviera di Ulisses. In the distance can be seen the mountainous headland of San Felice Circeo and out to sea – the Pontine Islands. 

* photo by tittimi

Terracina has so much to offer – We would highly recommend a visit.

For more information about Terracina please see our Terracina webpages:


* photo by tittimi

All other photos by me © Louise Shapcott


Tre Cancelle Farmhouse Apartments Near Sperlonga Beaches and Historic Itri, South Lazio, Italy

87 – A Very Filling Day

Every once and a while we get a surprise phone call around mid morning from our Atina cousins, saying that on the spur of the moment they have decided to pay us a visit, that they are on the way and not to worry as they have everything pre-prepared for lunch !!!

On this occasion cousins Mario and Mara were accompanied by Mara’s sister Graziella and close family friend Anna. They arrived with a delicious sausage sugo and a tray of freshly made spaghetti, purchased  that morning from the “Fresh Pasta Shop” in Atina.  Mara quickly took charge of the kitchen and a large pot of water was put on the hob to boil.

After a tasty, filling repast we all elected to go for a little  passeggiata with some of the dogs to help work off some of the meal.

As our cousins bade their farewells and set off for home we realised that that same evening, we had been invited to dinner by our friends Anna and Salvatore.

As  soon as we arrived at their apartment, it was clear that Anna had been hard at work all day in the kitchen preparing an delectable meal. We chatted convivially while we waited for another friend, Pasquale, to arrive .  The dining table was already richly spread with small homemade pizzas with various unusual toppings including courgettes and squash.  Soon battle commenced as we began to tuck in !!!

Salvatore proudly explained that this evening we were to feast on the products of their recently butchered pig.  Having dispatched the pizza slices, we were all presented with a generous dish of polenta served with a tomato sugo, extremely filling as you can imagine !!!

Then came the next course of  spare ribs and homemade sausages. At this point we were struggling, however another course was waiting in the wings – sliced roast pork with contorni of peas and onions.  Then a mixed leaf salad, to cleanse the palate before the desserts, coffee and liqueurs.

By the end of this epic meal we were absolutely full to bursting, but thoroughly enjoyed the superb cooking.  Compliments to the chef !!!

Thanks once again to Anna, Salvatore and family.

All photos by me © Louise Shapcott


Tre Cancelle Farmhouse Apartments Near Sperlonga Beaches and Historic Itri, South Lazio, Italy