A Visit to Italian Villages That Inspired the Term ‘Riviera’

Finale Ligure, a sun-baked town at the edge of the Ligurian Sea, has no symphony orchestra or opera house. But it has a maestro of its own: Franco Morasca, the manager of Bagni Est Finale, a no-frills, private club on the beach that pulls in generations of Italians each summer for a reminder of what it means to be Italian.

The term “Riviera” was born on this region, on this crescent-shaped stretch of coast known as Liguria, which runs from the ancient town of Ventimiglia, just over the border from France, through better-known destinations such as San Remo, as well as casual beach spots like Imperia and Finale Ligure. And just inland are some tremendously appealing mountain towns like Borgomaro and Apricale.

What unifies each of these destinations is the unpretentious collection of bons vivants who descend on them annually, many of them from Milan, who embrace traditions and a family-centered way of life that still predominates here.

Romanesque Church of San Michele Arcangelo, Ventimiglia. Credit Susan Wright for The New York Times

That is where Mr. Morasca comes in.

Bagni Est Finale, the spot he runs, is just one of dozens of mini clubs that line the beaches along the Ligurian coast, each with its own collection of beach chairs, a small restaurant, espresso bar, family changing rooms and lockers, among other decidedly simple accommodations.

There is a magic at Bagni Est Finale, held together by Mr. Morasca and his sister, who work out of a shoe-boxed sized office overlooking the beach club, a perch from which they have watched young children turn into teenagers, then adults, then parents themselves, as they bring their own children back to be part of the extended family that comes back here each year. I found myself remembering that now-ancient Garry Marshall film (starring Matt Dillon), named “The Flamingo Kid,” about a Brooklyn beach club in the 1960s. Except the clock stopped at Bagni Est Finale and stands still today.

After an afternoon on the beach, wading in the azure waters of the Mediterranean, lunch in the patio tables, families move en masse for a nap under their umbrellas. The children often awaken before their parents, playing tag, football or random other games in the sand. Mr. Moresca, ever the maestro, has a large table in his cramped office with a floor plan that looks like seating for an orchestra, though the names penciled in next to each seat are family assignments for chaise longues.

Much about traveling is about finding places like this: spots of unvarnished beauty where you can vacation amid locals who are embracing their own way of life, which is different from yours. This beauty inspires you, months later and back at work, to stare blankly in the distance, past your monitor and into your memories.

The Ligurian coast is certainly one of those spots. Its simplicity is like a time warp. It has none of the pretenses of Saint Tropez or big crowds of Cannes or even Cinque Terre or Amalfi Coast. But village after village offers an illustration of a kind of a slow-food world, delicious, worth savoring.

Literally. A new generation of young chefs, inspired by the mix of cultures and flavors, are helping reshape the Italian palette along this coast, grabbing the local seafood, as well as meats, fruits and vegetables produced from the nearby mountains, to produce some of the best food coming out of Italy today yet largely ignored by foodies worldwide.

My wife and I, and our two young children, spent a week in Liguria, deciding that we wanted to try something different beyond the well-trodden pathways of the French Côte d’Azur, to towns that for the most part, we had never heard of, or even heard anyone mention, other than perhaps San Remo.

We stayed in a hotel just above Morasca’s club called Hotel Punta Est, built atop a cliff that juts out into the Mediterranean, offering tremendous views of the Ligurian coast. The hotel, while luxurious in an Old World way, with compact, but comfortable rooms, a sprawling cliffside patio where breakfast and dinner are served, and a grand living-room-like common area, was actually one of the few places on our trip that we had a mediocre meal.

OUR journey started in the Roman-era town of Ventimiglia, just four miles from the French border, where we stayed in a tiny bed-and-breakfast named Casa Fenoglio, built inside a 500-year-old home.

The town — whose historic core is only a couple of blocks long — is overlooked by most tourists but as you walk the cobblestone streets, you can’t help but marvel at how much history took place on land that was occupied by the Romans in the Punic Wars in 181 B.C., and later was home to Christians who in the 10th century constructed the Romanesque Church of San Michele Arcangelo, which remains intact.

Nowadays, on Via Giuseppe Garibaldi, the main street, which is closed off to cars during the day, the shopkeepers are busy in their stores, while their children ride bikes in the street, laundry hangs from the clothes lines above, the ancient marble cistern still bubbles with water, and the bells from the San Michele church keep the time, marking moments in days that pass with nothing of much of consequence happening.

We stayed just a few doors down from the church, in a tiny inn that had just three rooms, each of which opened into a large common living room, decorated with books and Italian Renaissance prints. (The owner’s father was a professor of Italian literature at a local university.) Centuries ago, the inn was home was apparently owned by a family with ties to the prince of Genoa, hence the balcony for observing the assembled residents of the town, now used as an open-air patio where the fresh fruit and just baked pastries for breakfast are served.

Just down the hill is a collection of restaurants, and, of course, a small beach club (with small stones, not sand) facing the Mediterranean. It was in Ventimiglia, on the “modern” side of the small town that we had perhaps the best meal of our trip, at Il Giardino del Gusto.

As is typical in these small towns, it was a run by a chef who also owned it, in this case Emanuele Donalisio, 32, who once worked alongside Michel Roux, the London-based French chef, while also doing stints in Monte Carlo and on cruise ship, where he tried out different flavors, from Latin America to Asia. That career history is apparent in his tremendous food, like the San Remo shrimp, caught nearby, which he prepared in a mango, fig and lime sauce, with olive oil and a special Sri Lanka pepper that had almost a grapefruit smell. Or in the locally caught sea bass, with trout eggs, carrot coulis, pine nuts, mushrooms and a dried, caramelized lemon. Ventimiglia also has a tremendous farmers market, with a display of fresh produce, locally made cheeses and pastas, meats and fish that offers a hint of just why the food is so tremendous here. Everything is so ripe and perfect.

THE nearby town of Imperia has a restored port, lined with small fishing trawlers and luxury yachts, and also features a long row of restaurants and casual nighttime entertainment, including, the day we were there, a festival of jugglers, clowns and various children’s games.

Nearby was another collection of small, special restaurants, including Ristorante Sarri, right on a waterfront road and owned by Andrea Sarri, who recently served as head of a national alliance of young chefs. Some of the standout dishes at Sarri included the ravioli with pesto sauce, calamari with zucchini, baby lamb with artichokes. The fish, he picks from local boats, the artichokes, tomatoes and olive oil comes from his uncle’s farm, and meat from an adjacent town. The way the Maritime Alps meet the sea here — creating a combination of fresh game, produce, fruits and seafood — explains the raw materials with which all these local chefs work, generating little international attention, but tremendous results.

We headed inland from Imperia, into the mountains, where we found a collection of sleepy villages, staying for three nights in Borgomaro, a postage-stamp sized medieval-era village, where we did not encounter a single English-speaking tourist. The town, population of about 900, is built on a hillside, with a mountain-fed stream running right through it, and again, narrow streets, bordered by ancient homes, many in disrepair, but others that have been turned into what is known as an “albergo diffuso” which is a hotel spread among various buildings, in renovated townhouses, now collectively called Relais Del Maro.

There is next to nothing to do in this town — other than enjoy quiet afternoons, with local kids scurrying around the nearly empty streets. You can fill your days breathing in the pristine mountain air, going for a hike in the nearby hills, or heading down to the beaches below, on the Mediterranean. And the need for no urgent agenda is what makes it just perfect.

The nearby hillsides are overflowing with wildflowers. Many locals here grow Taggiasca olives and other local specialties to make their own olive oil, including Ugo Vairo, the owner of a small mountaintop restaurant called Il Gallo Della Checca, at the outskirts of Ranzo, another tiny town — this one is so quiet it almost seems like it has been abandoned. The restaurant is frequented by bicyclists who ride the local quiet mountain roads pausing at the house where Mr. Vairo has lived for decades — and where he also serves on the first floor a tremendous (but rich) risotto with his truffles, as well as a buffalo mozzarella, and a collection of other dishes.

Just how fresh is all this? After we ate lunch, he walked us out to an adjacent field, to show us his olive trees, freshly grown tomatoes and his nero pregiato, the prized truffles, which are hidden in underground mounds. He shuts his restaurant down for a few days in November to harvest his olives, and then bottles his own olive oil, selling just 800 bottles each year. Again, life is defined by its slow pace and the permanence of its routines.

NOWHERE was this more apparent than in Finale Ligure, our last stop on this trip, a town that most American tourists have never heard of. The town has its own museum-quality, walled-in medieval village, named Finalborgo, which is so well preserved it looks almost as if the Middle Ages wrapped up a week ago. But for us, the prime attraction was the beach club, and way of life there.

As we entered Bagni Est Finale, the beach club run by Franco Morasca and his sister, the clinking of the plates, and wafting smell of garlic pulled us into the patio restaurant — serving up fresh but simple seafood and pasta. There is nothing luxurious about this place. It is more spartan than high end. But it does not aspire to be anything else.

About the only commotion of the day was the small scrum at the espresso bar, as lunch time turned into afternoon. Mr. Morasca milled around, greeting the different families, handing out antique skeleton keys, which still open the lockers where summer guests store their bathing suits and other gear, for sojourns, after drying them in the sun each day on the community clothes line.

“It is so simple here,” said Andrea Galli, who has been coming to take the same spot, with her family, for two decades. “The beach, the sea, the sun, and the flow of life in Liguria. What else could you want?”

Article source New York Times


Stainless steel crowns: A cost-effective choice for severe decay

Why would a parent choose a crown for a child? Here are some possible reasons:
If a cavity is not caught early, the decay can destroy so much of the tooth structure that there is not enough left to support a filling. A crown will save the tooth.
If a child has a root canal, which will leave the tooth more susceptible to fracture, a crown is recommended.
A crown can restore a tooth with a developmental defect or a tooth fractured in an accident.
If a child is at high risk for cavities and compliance with daily oral hygiene is poor, a crown will restore the decay while protecting the remaining surfaces of the tooth.
If a child’s cooperation is affected by age, behavior or medical history, a stainless steel crown is likely to last longer and possibly decrease the frequency for sedation or general anesthesia with its increased costs and risks.
Stainless steel crowns are more cost effective and are the treatment of choice for large areas of decay.
Stainless steel crowns have been used over 50 years to save teeth that otherwise would be lost or when other treatments would fail. One of the strongest and most durable services in dentistry, they last longer than fillings and cost less than other types of crowns. Their greatest disadvantage is that stainless steel crowns are not the color of teeth, but the color of polished silver.

Thanks to http://www.paidoodontiatros.gr/ for their help

Exclusive: DirecTV in talks with Disney on deal for Internet rights

A Direct TV dish is seen outside a home in the Queens borough of New York July 29, 2013. REUTERS-Shannon Stapleton
The entrance gate to The Walt Disney Co is pictured in Burbank, California February 5, 2014. REUTERS-Mario Anzuoni

DirecTV is in talks with Walt Disney Co to license the rights to offer Disney’s broadcast and cable channels as part of an Internet-based product, DirecTV said on Wednesday.

The deal would mirror a first-of-its kind agreement that Disney and satellite rival Dish Network Corp announced earlier this week.

The Internet rights being discussed are part of a large-scale programming agreement that would replace a deal between the companies that expires in late December. Disney and DirectTV are in negotiations but the timing of the new deal could be not be learned.

“The deal and terms are not unexpected as the Dish contract was the most recent in the Disney timeline to expire,” DirecTV spokesman Darris Gringeri said on Wednesday. “The DirecTV contract is up next and we’re in the process of working with Disney on a similar long-term agreement of our own.”

A Disney spokesman declined to comment.

A new pact could give both Disney and DirecTV, the No. 1 satellite operator, an additional revenue source as consumers gravitate toward online video services such as Netflix Inc and watch more television online.

The agreement between Dish and Disney marked the first time that a U.S. pay TV operator has been given the flexibility to offer its content over the Web through smartphones, tablets and computers outside of a pay TV subscription.

In that agreement, Disney allows for Dish to stream linear and on-demand content from ABC broadcast stations as well as cable channels, ABC Family, Disney Channel, ESPN and ESPN2. Dish has not revealed plans for its streaming service.

DirecTV, which has 20.3 million subscribers, is expected to secure better rates on programming than Dish, which has 14.1 million subscribers, because of its size. Both companies have complained about the rising cost of programming and have been involved in high-profile blackouts over the past few years.

DirecTV Chief Executive Mike White has previously said the company is working on an “over-the-top” video package to suit niche audiences featuring Hispanic or kids programming, but has not yet given details on that offering.

(Reporting by Ronald Grover in Los Angeles and Liana B. Baker in New York; Editing by Matthew Lewis, Lisa Shumaker and Richard Chang)

Mykonos party

Mykonos is the center of PubClub destinations, a place where the afternoon scene exceeds the nightlife at many other destinations, where nights roll effortlessly into daybreak and where meeting people is as easy as seeing them.
It's nightlife is so active and the people so friendly, it's impossible not to become intoxicated from its lively atmosphere and, oh yes, the endless amounts of alcohol.
Beach-lovers and super-budget travelers should consider Paradise Beach. It's sparse but livable, right on the sand (8 Euros a day in summer). It's a bit inconvenient for the in-town revelry but buses run until 4:30 a.m. (1 Euro). The bars at the beach also are holding more night parties to not only keep the backpackers at the beach but also to pull people from town. Clearly-marked vans provide transport from the ferry and airport.
Finding social activities on Mykonos is as easy as going to the beach. In fact, that's the place to start. The revelry starts late afternoon and goes until you decided to call it quits. It's not quite morning, noon and night, but more like afternoon, night and morning.

Paradise Beach is both a quiet, sleepy patch of sand and water and a seaside fraternity party. It has a pair of restaurants (go to the cafeteria because the fruit is refreshing, the Greek salad is fresh from a garden and the chicken soulvaki is very tasty), grainy sand, a few small thatched trees providing shade and topless bathers stretched out on rented lawn chairs (2.5 Euros).
About once a month in the summer, Paradise Beach hosts a Full Moon Party at night. Blow off all other forms of nightlife for this beachside bash. The other almost-nightly beach parties make a nice change of pace from the town; it's basically the same beach party under the stars. Look for flyers around town for information.

Late at night at Mykonos

Mykonos - and all of Greece - is thankfully incredibly safe and free of crime. However, Mykonos can present challenges to small groups of girls in the wee hours.


One of the fun things about Mykonos is the never-ending party where all of a sudden it's 5, 6 or even 8 in the morning. But this can also pose problems for inebriated girls walking through town. On weekends, Greek males come in from Athens and other places and pray upon what they perceive are easy pick-up targets. And the drunker, the easier, they believe. They are as persistent as flies at a picnic and try and take girls to "private parties" or a late club. In Hawaii, these people are known as "mokes,"which means the punks on the outer islands. So ladies, use your common sense, keep some wits about you and be forceful. Eventually, they will give up the chase, like a lion giving up on a gazelle.

Mykonos accommodation

If you want to see the best Mykonos hotels, apartments and get the prices rom the best accommodation sites at once compared visit: Hotels in Mykonos, Greece

Milos | Greece

Milos is the fifth largest island in the Cyclades with an area of 151sq. km, positioned on the SW of the county. It is one of the lowest islands in the Cyclades.

Its highest point is Prophet Elias with at 751m after which follows Hondro Vouno. Milos island’s particular characteristic is its natural harbour known as one of the largest and safest in the Mediterranean.

Milos is special because of  its volcanic earth and for its mineral rich subsoil. Its geological composition is primarily volcanic. The volcanoes were active during the last 3,000,000 years and are now dormant. As a result of past volcanic action, Milos is characterised by numerous geological forms and golden-white beaches which captivateall visitors.

History Milos island has been a very important center of the Cycladic culture and has undergone a great deal of development due to its safe natural harbor and its rich subsoil. Plentiful obsidian deposits were found all around the island, which the inhabitants of Milos sold to Crete and the rest of Greece for the construction of weapons and tools. During the Hellenistic period is flourished once more, at the time when the famous Aphrodite of Milos was constructed. Today the famous statue of Aphrodite is situated in the museum of Louvre and you can find a copy of it in the archaeological museum of Milos at the capital Plaka. Village of Milos Milos has a population of 4500 inhabitants living in 8 villages on the NE part of the island. Plaka, the island’s capital, Plakes, Tripiti, Triovasalos, Pera Triovasalos, Pollonia, Zephyria and Adamas, the island’s port.

There are also smaller villages which are visited during the summer. These are Paliohori, Provatas and Klima.

Adamas: This village was built in 1835 by Cretans who fled to Milos after a failed attack against the Turks. With its large natural harbour, Adamas is the island’s tourist centre where a visitor will find restaurants, cafes, shops and a news agency.

Pollonia: Pollonia is a picturesque fishing village built around a natural gulf. It is a popular tourist destination where the visitor will find restaurants and small cafes. Boats depart daily from Pollonia to the neighbouring island of Kimolos.

Plaka: Plaka, the island’s capital is built at a height of 220m above sea level. It has retained the traditional island architecture with its narrow streets and a view of Milos’ harbour. From here you can visit the Archaeological Museum, the Folklore Museum and the church of Panagia Thalassitra. Walk up to the remains of the Kastro built during the 13th century by the Venetians.

Tripiti: Leaving Plaka, vsitors come across the traditional village of Tripiti. It is a beautiful village with a spectacular view of Milos’ harbour. This is where the visitor will see the picturesque wind-mills, the church of Agios Nikolaos, the Catacombes and the Ancient Theatre.

Klima: Klima is a small fishing village with few inhabitants. Here visitors will see the ‘sirmata’ or boat-houses. The statues of the Venus de Milo and of Praxiteli were found in farmland near this village.

Triovasalos – Pera Triovasalos: These are the first two villages that visitors come across after Adamas and are built amphitheatrically on two facing hills. Restaurants and cafes can be found here as well as many shops. It is worth visiting the churches of Agios Spiridonas and Agios Georgios with its famous mosaic.

Zephyria: Zephyria is a small village with 150 inhabitants.  In the past it was the island’s capital and is positioned 5.5 km SE of Adamas. It is worth visiting the church of Panagia Portiani built during the 17th century. It is the oldest church in Zephyria and the old metropolis of Milos. Milos beaches The 60 Milos beaches of the island are truly magnificent, full of unbelievable colors and shapes, caves, rocks, white sand. No matter how demanding visitors we are, many of them will overwhelm us. Sarakiniko beach is probably the star of all beaches in Milos, Greece. For photos and details about Milos Beaches visit here

Milos airport  Milos airport is about 4,5 kilometers away from Adamas and it is easily reached by bys or taxi. From International Airport of Athens- Eleftherios Venizelos, at Spata, there are flights to and from Milos, during all year. Check out more at Milos airport

Milos accommodation If you want to see the best Milos hotels, apartments and get the prices rom the best accommodation sites at once compared visit: Hotels in Milos, Greece

Source: Milos

Five wishes

Below articles is taken from Five wishes . Feel free to read all of it there.

Today more and more families are protecting their loved ones from the painful burden that end-of-life issues cause. As part of our dedication to serving your community we would like to extend two free special offers which include invaluable information on helping your family at these most difficult of times.
The Five Wishes ® booklet is a Living Will that lets people document how they want to be cared for if they become seriously ill and unable to make decisions on their own. It addresses medical wishes, while taking into consideration emotional and spiritual needs as well. The Five Wishes booklet also touches on the importance of preplanning funeral, cremation and cemetery arrangements. It was written with the help of The American Bar Association’s Commission on the Legal Problems of the Elderly, and the nation’s leading experts in the end-of- life care. Because of increased public awareness in Living Wills and the direct tie-in to preplanning, you may wish to provide complimentary copies to your family and community. It’s also easy to use. All you have to do is check a box, circle a direction, or write a few sentences.

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