Life in the Borgata – an update

christmas blues

Such a lot has been happening here in the Borgata since I posted last.

A New Project – The Loft Apartment

We have been keeping busy in the lead up to Christmas with work on the guest accommodation in the main house. Sam has been working non stop pulling out the old bread oven, creating a new space for our winter wood supply, extending the porch area, and now onto creating a entire new space.

luca wood dblbatch

It’s a little hard to explain but basically we are pulling out the guest bedroom and making the space into a self contained unit adjoining the main house. It will have a kitchenette, living area and bedroom.

Then next year we will continue to work on ‘Casa Bianca’ once the weather warms up enough to host workaway people. I can’t wait to share our life here in the borgata, it really is unique and I know you’ll love it .

The new year will bring many changes for our little family and our life here in the Valley.

Christmas is only two more sleeps away and we still haven’t been near a shop, and I am surprisingly stress free about it. Normally by now I would be fighting disappointment that everything wouldn’t be perfect, I am yet to have that perfect magazine style Christmas that I dream about.

We are missing our family in Australia and that is one of the down sides of an expat life, I’m hoping to skype with my Mum on Christmas day.

Xmas dec dblbatch

We have had glorious weather, sunny days and no sign of snow yet. The valley is alive with the locals making the most of this warm start to winter. I’ve been out today moving our mountain of wood into our sheds before the snow comes.

It’s funny how natural it all seems now, to light the fire for showers, to make pancakes on the weekend with eggs from our chickens, we have six baby rabbits and the dog has adopted the kitten.

Carina and Luca finish school for the holidays tomorrow, they get two weeks. Carina came home today super proud that she got a nine out of ten for maths, and she did well with her other subjects as well. Maths has always been her least favorite subject.

I’m seeing so clearly the true gift of Christmas, it’s spending time together with those you love, giving the gift of your full attention, being present not giving presents.

Thank you all for your friendship and love throughout the year, I hope you know just how much I value this.

We’ve been through many ups and downs together.

We wish you a joy filled Christmas, be gentle on yourself, relax and take some moments to really enjoy it all.

Signatureand the gang x






Christmas in Italy – just to thank you

christmas in italy

“Our Christmas in Italy has bought us unexpected gifts and moments to treasure”

Lisa Chiodo

Natale, or Christmas in Italy taught us many lessons this year. A peaceful Christmas, one without stress, with simple moments and even greater joy. The spirit of Christmas felt alive for me for the first time in many years.

Not about grand gifts or massive meals that take days to recover from. Just about enough….filling our hearts not our stomachs and seeing our children happy with a gift each rather than mountains under the tree.

The true gift of Christmas in Italy I am finding is the gift of time. Sharing this with you all has been a joy with your beautiful Christmas cards and wishes surrounding us, these were my gift and one I’ll treasure for years to come.

luca minion dblLuca found his ‘minions’ in a store window and we had to return to take photos of them all the next day. This is his current love and last Christmas it was ‘Star Wars’. He made little minions to hang on the Christmas tree and I love them.

christmas in italy

Sam had the excellent idea to get the kids a sled for Christmas, we tried it out early and now we are waiting for more snow. Not to be outdone on speed or lunacy Sam then decided he should make a sled from the old ski’s we found. A trip to the local ‘op shop’ and we found a seat for  the rocket sled. A few bolts, some blocks of wood and voila….the boys (Claudio and Sam) have gone up the mountain as I type to try it out. I’ll let you know if they come back in one piece. It was met with much head shaking and amusement by the Italians but I bet it will fly!

A few trips to the shops and lots of fun checking everything out, yes these are fireworks and New Years Eve is going to be a blast literally!

kids christmas dblThe best part of Christmas day was Sam and Carina doing some cooking together, Sam was on the phone to Australia to get the recipe from my Mother in Law for these little Sicilian biscuits. They taste delicious according to the rest of the family…..blahhhh.

Claudio and his family came over in the afternoon and we shared panettone (not for me either) and a few drinks to finish the day. Once the kids were in bed Sam and I sat up and watched a movie called ‘Saving Mr Banks‘ which I highly recommend. Total relaxation…..bliss x

carina xmas spoon dbl

Thank you all for reading along this year and always sending me encouragement, love and your belief in the dream that is Italy…..enjoy Christmas in Italy with us

Without you all our Christmas in Italy would have been less joyful……Buon Natale and here’s to the New Year ahead may it bring you closer to your own dreams xx

I’d love you to share your favorite Christmas moments with us xx





Christmas in Italy – send us a card per favore

‘You may have the Universe,
if I may have Christmas in Italy’

The arrival of our first Christmas card had me thinking as I lay in bed last night.

How will I make this Christmas special for the kids, and all I could see was them opening cards like I did when I was a kid. Mum would always save them for me to open and my brothers always got to keep the stamps.  I love Christmas cards, sending them and receiving them in the mail. That one card arriving at our house up in the mountains made my day, it took me back to my childhood and all the excitement of Christmas.

christmas in italy

Friends and family could tell you that I have a bit of a Christmas card tradition. Since my teen years I’ve been saving my favorite cards each year. I have them from as far back as the 70’s and any that included a letter I always kept. Each year at Christmas I put out some of my favorites usually the ones from Nana, Brad, Auntie Billie, Auntie Iris, Uncle Stan, ones from my Mum, just ones I love. This year they are safe and sound along with all my Christmas decorations at my Mums house in Melbourne Australia.

So I was thinking that this year it would be wonderful to get a Christmas card from you, perhaps with a little story, or thought about the season, maybe a drawing, a little note about your dreams and hopes for the New Year. I’m already imagining them hanging along the beams in the lounge, the beginning of a new collection, a special way to bring each of you into our home this Christmas and beyond.

Imagine the look on the postman’s face if hundreds of Christmas cards start arriving in Malpertus…..

…..leave me a little note in the comments,

send a Christmas card if you are able – ho ho ho love Lisa xxx

 please note I’ve now taken our address down so if you’d like to send a card you can contact me privately though our contact form xx


christmas in italy

 Christmas in Italy could mean writing my cards in Italian x

Lisa signature 2








Merry Christmas – Buon Natale

I am a Melbourne girl at heart, I grew up in the house my parents helped build in East Burwood. We lived at the bottom of a steep hill which was perfect for the numerous billy carts my brothers would build. It was also perfect after rainy weather as the crossroad outside our house would usually flood which meant we would all be out there in our flippers and togs. I grew up with a Summer Christmas, school holidays and hot weather which meant  beach!

My Mum made Christmas magical for us, we were the only ones in the neighborhood to have a white Christmas tree which she made herself from chicken wire and tulle. When she and my Dad first married he surprised her with a Christmas tree full of decorations…the fragile kind that are now antique and come out each year from their layers of tissue. Putting up the tree is a ritual, each ornament placed in a particular spot with it’s own little story.

As I grew older I came to appreciate the love she showed us each time she put up that tree. My Dad died just before Christmas aged thirty nine. As an adult with my own children I can’t begin to imagine how she got through that first Christmas without him. She never made Christmas a sad time, even though for her I’m sure it was often heartbreaking.

Every Christmas when I lived at home Mum and I would wrap the presents on Christmas Eve. Always with the Carols by Candlelight turned up loud! Mum would wrap and I was in charge of the curling ribbons, I think the most I got onto one present was twelve different colors. It’s impossible to be a Melbourne girl and not have been to the Carols. My best friend Carolyn and I would go in on the tram, get off at Flinders Street and walk down to find a good spot. It was an unspoken tradition with the crowd to keep your candle burning as long as possible after the concert finished. So there would be a sea of candles heading back to the city with teenage boys trying to blow out the candles of the girls they liked.

Now we have our own children, my tree is filled with precious ornaments from all over the world. Each one has a story which I tell the kids as we decorate the tree. The angel on the top was given to me by my Aunt on a present when I was about twelve. Each year we add some more, in fact just today while at the shops there was a stall for children to paint a gorgeous ceramic ball. Now there are two new ornaments on the tree with childish paintings of Santa and snowmen. It’s such a special time of year, one that always invites me to light a candle for my Dad and our little boy and listen to the carols on Christmas Eve.

traditions which are created from love….so I’d like to take this opportunity to wish each of you a magical Christmas filled with moments of joy!

With much love,

Lisa Sam Carina * and Luca xxx

This month at Across the Cafe Table  we’re discussing: If you HAD to spend the holidays away somewhere, where would you go and what would you do? I’d be at with my Mum and family at Carols on Christmas Eve.

Life’s Postcards