10 years of Giuliettas dot com

I am touched to see so many nice comments on recent posts! Life has gotten interesting (and very busy) for me – whether it’s gaining the perspective that comes from being a father, blowing through 45 and rapidly approaching 46, or wrestling with the whole “what do I want to do with my life” question, which seems like it ought to have been settled by now, and maybe is, but I don’t recognize it. In any case, the weird thing is, I can go to giuliettas dot com, and see that I did something once, something creative, something funny and meaningful to a few people, and then I realize, it is not over, I am just in the midst of a rather lengthy pause to catch my breath and think of something else to say.
My family in a tree in Costanoa Ca. Sometimes you get lucky and take a decent picture.

Tomorrow at noon I leave for 17 days in Europe, 13 of which will be in Italy. I have a fantasy that I will find a 1964 or 65 105 series GT in some falling down stone barn in Gubbio or one of the other towns we visit (though I am pretty sure it will not happen in Cinque Terre), I’ll buy it and ship it home, and will suddenly be back to enthusiastic about classic Alfa sports cars and post all the time here. Could happen I suppose, I’m about due for a change of distraction.

Anyone in central Italy want to meet the Hamiltons? We are flying in to Geneva, spending a few days in Annecy, driving to Gubbio, then backtracking through Florence, Tuscany, Cinque Terre and ultimately back to Geneva and home.

Rufus is a happy fun little guy.



20 thoughts on “10 years of Giuliettas dot com

  1. I am going to use the old “I’m not looking” technique, with my eyes covered, but cheating, and peeking out the side. I’ve been practicing Italian for two months, 2 hours a day during my commute, so I may even be able to talk to the old farmer who has my future GT.


  2. Hello. Don’t know if you have been to Italy before but one destination not to miss is the Alfa museum near Milan. I visited two years ago and is fantastic. Lots of cars and history. It’s a beautiful place very well done.
    Best regards

  3. Matt- at 45 you’re just a youngster. I’ve got 20 years on you and in the past few years have “re-discovered” my passion for Alfa’s after it went dormant for a time. Even my SS went undriven for a few years when I didn’t feel like attending to some of the work it needed. Maybe life got in the way. But now I’m restoring a second SS and just bought a beautiful ’69 GTV. That make 5 Alfa’s in the barn currently. I hope you come across an Italian barn find on your trip to keep your interest alive. But if not, relax and enjoy life. Cute kid and beautiful family. Hope you at least keep the registries or if not, turn them over to someone competent. Best Regards. Have a Fun Trip.

    • 45 is the oldest I have ever been – trying to adjust to the old guy that looks back at me, or at least avoid his gaze. Relax and enjoy. Yeah, trying.

  4. Ciao Matt, my passion for Alfas started when I was around 25 when I drove a friend’s SVZ. I mentioned my interest to him & 15 years on he called me one day & asked if I’d like to have it, by the evening it was with me. 26 years on the car is still as is. Determined as ever now to restore it to former glory, even went to the Padova show to scout for parts & inspiration. You have a long way ahead my friend, may your fantasy turn into reality.

  5. I hope you and your family have a great vacation and do not worrying about finding a car. I rode in my father’s 1958 Giulietta Spider in 1959 and have been driving Alfas since 1968. He gave me his 1961 Sprint Veloce in 1968 and it was completely restored in 2014. I have owned eleven Alfas and have never vacationed in Europe.

  6. Je te souhaite un bon voyage en Italie ,superbe pays culturellement si riche :alfa Romeo et Michel Ange.
    Jean-Charles Quiniou.

  7. Happy travels, Matt. You’re sure to enjoy Italy, even if the Cinque Terre is sure to be crowded. Best of luck with the barn finds. The only classic Alfas I saw during a four week stay were in the Alfa Museum, apart from a Giulia Super outside a wrecker’s yard in Bolzano, home of Otzi the Iceman – and that was over a decade ago. Oh, and the drool-inducing Alfas in the Mille Miglia as it crawled through Florence. But there were lots of Fiat 500s!

    • I spotted a decent assortment of old Alfas when I’ve gone. A Super in the Trastavere neighborhood of Rome with mis-matched color doors; a 2600 Sprint in a Cortina D’ampezzo garage, and others.

      It hadn’t occurred to me we could try and see Otzi on the trip. Next time I guess.

  8. Ok let’s practice Italian right now
    Gubbio non è lontano da dove io lavoro: se mi dici il giorno preciso del tuo soggiorno lì, potrei venire a trovarvi :)
    Hey Rufus, such a lucky boy :)
    Have a good trip!

    • I have not been writing Italian at all, just speaking and listening while driving.

      We will be in or near Gubbio the 15, 16, 17. My wifes great grandfather came to the US fro Gubbio. Going to try and find her relatives. I would enjoy meeting up with you!


  9. If you are going to Gubbio to see Umbria, I could suggest you use my house in Umbria. Near Todi, 35km south of Perugia. 3 bedroom, 2 bath. Only 875 years old. I’ve enjoyed your writing. Offer is gratis. Let me know if you are interested.

    • That is such a kind offer! It never occurred to me to post my intentions to visit Italy here, and see if anyone had a place for us to stay.

      We have booked everything already, and Gubbio is as far south as we are going to see if we can find any of my wife’s distant relatives.

      We plan on going back next year for a longer stay, and I will definitely reach out to you then.

      Thank you so much!

  10. We did Cinque Terra a few years ago. The only way we got parking was because we were on a motorcycle. You have a good itinerary. I’m going next month to Florence and we are renting a MC and going through Tuscany and Umbria.

  11. Umbria, visit the uppermost part of Perugia, park at the Piazza Partigiani parking lot (https://www.sipaonline.it/perugia-piazza-partigiani/ ) and walk through the Rocco Paolini
    ( https://www.viadelvino.com/story-of-perugias-rocca-paolina/ ) onto Corso Cavour have a prosecco or espresso at Sandri, or eat a pastry or chocolate, ( http://www.sandridal1860.it/ ). At the top of Corso Vannucci ( https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g187907-d196144-Reviews-Corso_Vannucci-Perugia_Province_of_Perugia_Umbria.html ) is Pizzeria Mediterranea (https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g187907-d1508818-Reviews-Pizzeria_Mediterranea-Perugia_Province_of_Perugia_Umbria.html ), great Neopolitan style pizza. Review their hours before going. There are some good clothing shops so bring blinders for your wife.

    Nearest winery to Perugia is Lungarotti, their restaurant is great but expensive (I was a food photographer for 20+ years, worked with Joyce Goldstein of Square One, Wolfgang Puck of Spago, and Nancy Silverton of Mozza among many). I have found even their inexpensive wines are delicious. There is also a small wine museum in Torgiano.

    Montefalco is the prime wine district of Umbria. The walk into town is nice, eating in the main square is charming. You can taste wines, find some you like and go visit the wineries for more tasting. I like to patronize the merchants in town, my favorite for wine tasting and lunch is Alchemista ( http://ristorantealchimista.it/ ). There is also a deli in the piazza. They have had a very good wild boar (cinghiale) salami. I’m going on a wild boar hunt in Umbria this winter. After I’ll learn how to make salami, molto rustico.

    Todi has, arguably, the best gelato in Umbria at Bar Pianegiani (Corso Camillo Benso Conte di Cavour, 40) That is why there is usually a line to order, and you would be the only tourists. Their refrigerated cakes are superlative, I bring them as gifts to Italians to show them I think they are special. They look almost as good as they taste. Up the street from Pianegiani there is a very good Crepe stand (they won an award a few years ago as the 2nd best fastfood restaurant in Italy. Your son could not dislike their food. And, for your lunch, if you eat pork, Il Grottino in the Piazza Giuseppe Garibaldi, 9, makes absolutely delicious porchetta sandwiches. Their hamburgers are great also, but the flavors are almost unrelated to American hamburgers. I would suggest you call first to see if they have porchetta. 334 722 85 65, Georgio and Anna are the owners. Their son and daughter are better with English. Tell them John from Minnesota is sending you.

    A town southeast of Todi and Spello is Norcia. This is the pork capital of Italy. It did suffer earthquake damage in 2016, but is still interesting. The main street looks like it is out of the 1800s, because it is, and packed with delis and butchers. There is an activity for your you and your son there, the Marmore, the largest waterfall in Italy
    ( http://www.umbriatravel.com/arriving_in_umbria/en/cascata_marmore_norcia_cascia.htm ). There are two parking lots, one at the ‘source’ and one at the base. I would suggest the base. Check online for the hours, for several hours each day the water is diverted to a hydroelectric generator. Also close by the marmore are river rafting tours, https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attractions-g187904-Activities-c61-t193-Umbria.html. Good for a hot day.

    Many shops and other activities close from 1:00 to 4:00 in Italy. Lounging in the morning is relaxing, but you will miss a lot. Leave your abode at 12:00, you may be bored after lunch until 3:30 or 4:00. Families really gather to eat at 1:00. Even school buses bring kids home for lunch.

    I’ll look up a restaurant in Firenzie where you might eat the best steak dinner of your life.


  12. If you’re in the Siena/Poggibonsi/Monteriggioni area, drop in to Amerigo Bigliazzi’s garage. He repair/restores/races Alfa Nords. Lovely guy, no English but we got by Ok with ‘evening-class’ Italian
    Alfa Romeo Officina Autosprint Di Bigliazzi Amerigo & C.
    Telefono 0577310062

    Have a great trip, Chris Whelan (UK)

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