Monday, December 31, 2012

The Earth has another three billion years

A new year begins soon, in spite of the end of the Mayan Calendar which finishes on December 21st (or 12nd), 2012 ... and nobody seems to be worried about the theory and its hypothetical cataclysm :) The prophecy was a mistranslation that has been portrayed in the media. As you know, people tend to be sheep! The planet is going to go on and has another three billion years. But we will have to deal with other issues: unemployment and pollution in Western countries, human rights and wars in the muslim part of the world such as Syria, Egypt and Nigeria. We, people who live in the Northern emisphere of the world, have taken everything for granted, particularly fuels, commodities, environment and that sort of things. Anyway, I am reasonably optimistic although we have got to be careful: the ecological footprint of nations shows that humans are horribly depleting the world, but I think there's an optimistic future!
The photo above was taken two weeks ago when I went to Rome for shopping. It shows the big Christmas three which was set up in Vatican Square.
Happy New Year to Everyone!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Happy Christmas

Since yesterday  Santa Claus has been hitting the bookshelves and since then we have seen a pleasant Christmas atmosphere in our living room. We have planned a short vacation this month from 22nd to 27th. We will spend Christmas time in  Naples, where my mother, my two sisters and their families live.
There is a small town called Tolfa and located in the hill, 20 km North from my town, where I went yesterday for job. Children made a Christmas tree on the main square of Tolfa using recycled plastic bottle. 
Happy Christmas to all my blogger friends! 

Saturday, December 08, 2012

Monterano Nature Reserve

Today, December, 8th,  it is public holiday here in Italy, as we celebrate the feast of the blessed virgin Mary. It is celebrated by the Roman Catholic Church as well as a few other closely related Chistian churches. The weather here in Central Italy shows that Autumn is going to an end: this week, on Wednesday, 5th, I went to Umbria for job and the main part of the freeway was covered with icy snow. Really dangerous, as you can see in photo above. The weather changed gradually as we drove west, across the valleys, where there wasn't any snow and we could still enjoy an autumnal scenery as you can see below. that photo shows a very quiet place located 80 km north from Rome, where we could hear birds singing. It is the Canale Monterano protected area.
It's a beautiful valley without rubbish, advertising billboards, supermarkets and McDonalds. There are very few cars. Sometimes there is only one: yours! That place offers beautiful scenery, fascinating archaeology and, first of all, wonderful paths to run.

In the meanwhile, I am running three times a week and I haven't planned any race. I'll probably run the Christmas race on December, 16th, which will be held to help charities.
Nice weekend and happy running to all my blogger friends!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


I've just heard the  official weather information source  and I'm afraid I can't run this afternoon because of downpours. This morning the town is on its knees: roads closed and bridges under water.  Lacking light in two neighborhoods and a lot of children haven't gone to school.
I hope the weather will be better soon!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Exciting morning

This morning my son, Fabrizio, got the engineering degree from Sapienza University of Rome ...  my wife and I are very happy. And my two daughters are proud of their brother!

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Piancastagnaio and Abbadia San Salvatore

I am not running the Fiumicino Half Marathon which starts on November, 11st. Although I planned to run that race I couldn't follow a training schedule: since the second week of  October I've been busy for job and family issues and now, as a consequence,  I am not adequately trained for a 21 km race. I'll probably try to run a 10km Christmas race in December which will be held here in my town.
Yesterday I had a nice trip  in Tuscany where we visited old villages. From November, 2nd, the Chestnut Festival has been held in Piancastagnaio and, along its old streets, visitors have had chestnuts and glasses of warm red wine, cooked with cinnamon, orange, apples and cloves. The first photo shows one of the big pots where chestnuts are cooked.

An old square in the historical area 
We visited also Abbadia San Salvatore, which is another small village situated in South Tuscany. There are beautiful old streets,  medieval buildings and particular shops. In one of those shops  all kind of pumpkins are sold, as you can see in the photo below. Maybe those pumpkins hit the shelves because of Halloween holiday. 

Different kinds of pumpkins

That's  a picture  of my wife with a small bat on her head. She wore it with my daughters on October, 31st and it was just a joke :) Although we don't celebrate Halloween here in Italy, a lot of shopkeepers sell some items related to that great U.S. holiday and it  seems that children enjoy the event.  

While I was walking along those Tuscanian old streets  I observed a beautiful sacred image located between two windows.

And what about supper in Tuscany? It was soup of mushrooms! Really delicious!

Happy weekend to all my blogger friends!

Saturday, October 27, 2012


 Yesterday I enjoyed  running 55 minutes through a soft rain. It was really pleasant because the weather is still warm enough here in Central Italy, where such weather conditions are unusual in October.
The photo shows a particular of the beautiful farm and its well maintained ground, where I bought two pumpkins this morning. That farm is located 15 km North from my town, but I didn't buy the pumpkins because of  Halloween history and traditions :) We have planned to  cook an easy soup with pumpkin puree. As you know, people who live on the edge of the Mediterranean sea don't celebrate Halloween. Its origin lies in the traditions of the Celtic people although that festival takes place mainly in the U.S..
I've just heard good news with regards to my post about the Italian politicians, which I wrote on  November, 8th, 2011.  A judge convicted former Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi for tax fraud. Mr. Berlusconi faces a year in jail, but he is unlikely to serve the sentence, as prison terms in Italy aren't carried out until the lengthy appeals process is exhausted. What a shame! I hate those politicians who pretend to be pious and break the law!

Do you celebrate halloween in your country?

Saturday, October 06, 2012

Water pollution

As request by Christina  I show  the picture of the water pollution mentioned in my previous post. The pollution was caused by two pottery factories which had discharged waste water containing zinc, cadmium and plumb into a small river. The photo below shows the illegal emission of waste water into that Italian small river located at 60 km North from Rome.  
That illegal behaviour above mentioned causes significant risk to the environment, human health and economy. The polluted river has been significantly altered and it flows across the Treja valley which is a protected natural area:  
In addition to this, illegal emission of substances into water provides for very high profits for perpetrators. Criminal law in the field of environment  needs to be implemented in an effective way.
I hope I haven't bored you with these ecological posts. In any case, I think that most runners love environment.

Nice green weekend to all my blogger friends!

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Awareness about water resources

Since last week I haven't been running as much as I should! I did on Monday 1 hour relaxing run and on wednesday 45 minutes tempo run instead of 4 x 6 minutes repeats. Yesterday I did 15km long run on my own. I'd like to go back to the pool and swim at least once a week because it might be a good stretching exercise.    
I was really delighted to read my  blogger friends' comments about  fast food: with regards to my last post, most friends wrote that if they were abroad they would want to try the local food.  For instance,  Christina explained that people go to fast food when there are lot of local restaurants to choose from. In my opinion typical restaurants are more beautiful and cheaper than fast food chains.
As I mentioned in my last post the weather is hot and humid here in Italy and I'm still compelled to drink a lot of water after running. I always change water's brand although the tap water is drinkable and the water bill is half the typical cable TV bill. People who live in developed countries still think that water is unlimited, while water bill in European countries is going to increase slightly. In the meanwhile, millions of people, who live in the third world countries, every day walk to get water.
People who live in developed world don't care about water resources.
The photo below shows a water pollution crime that I discovered last year. Unfortunately, the Italian Environmental Code contains only few specific penal provisions regarding activity dangerous and the environmental liability in case of  water and  soil contamination. What's missing is political will!
Do you usually drink tap water or bottled water?

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

slow food

I've been working  in the port of Civitavecchia since Monday, 24th, and it seems that the air tells us that Autumn will be good. The weather is really sunny and hot as you can see in the photo below. Yesterday,  after I had run 1 hour I drank the same water as I drink in July and August:  a liter for an adequate rehydration,
considering these weather conditions.
The photo on the left shows the port above mentioned.
My 8-week training schedule goes well and tomorrow, wednesday, 26th, I'm running 4 x 12 minutes repeats after the warm-up.
In the second photo you can see two advertising messages which provide very different levels of food: fast food and slow food. People who walk along the port can see those two pictures and, fortunately, most tourists choose to support traditional and local trade.  They think and act for the benefit of local people, producers and the environment. In the town there is a market that offers visitors a selection of home baking, crafts and garden produce.

What I'm trying to say is that global branding causes damage to local trade and traditions!      
Do you like eating fast food when you're abroad?

Sunday, September 16, 2012

8-week training schedule

I’ve took a little blogging break since September, 7th,  although I've been reading your blogs last week. This week was very busy for me. I've been dealing with environmental crimes as you can see in the photo. How can someone deteriorate a forest with dangerous waste?
I can say that I've just planned my next two races: they are, firstly, the Fiumicino Half Marathon on Novermber, 11st, and, secondly, the 10km Liberty Christmas run, which will be held here in my town on December, 16th. Consequently, since Wednesday, September, 12nd, I've been following a 8-week training schedule for running the half marathon above mentioned and I will be running  4 days a week (Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays): repeats workout on Wednesdays,  long runs on Sundays and easy runs on Mondays and Fridays.
This Morning, Sunday, September,16th,  I did 14km long run at an average pace of 05:40 min./km.
Nice week to all my blogger friends!

Saturday, September 01, 2012

Valmontone's roller coaster

Last week my two daughters and their friends went to the Valmontone Rainbow Magicland, which is a big theme park located in a town that's a hour and 20 minutes drive away from home. I had gone there on the night, at 11pm, and after a while I took them home. Unexpectedly, when I met my two daughters they asked me to ride the roller coaster. Obviously, I couldn't show how I was scared of roller coaster and I didn't pretend I had to go to the bathroom in order to get out of the line. Although I tryed to stand fifty feet away from the ride entrance they asked me once again the same question. So I decided to give it a try ... rather I was compelled to ride it!
In the photo below you can see me sitting last on the right with my astonished expression. My two daughters are on the left side.
The park is part of the integrated tourism resort of Rome which offers its visitors 35 attractions of various kind, such as powerful wizards and skilled adventures. It is in part fueled by the photovoltaic panels whch produce clean energy.
Happy weekend to all my blogger friends!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Running in vacation mode

I haven't run any race since July, 14th, although plenty of races are held here in South Italy in Summer. The weather is hot enough and I like hiking and swimming. On the running front, I am trying to maintain my running shape with three training sessions per week: 1 long run, 1 tempo run and 1 relaxing run. In other words, I'm running in vacation mode. I wrote my last post last month, after I had run the Santa Marinella's 10km race with the International running flag of friendship. It is now in Phoenix, Arizona and last Saturday Christina  ran a 21km race with  the International flag that will be probably  sent back to Europe soon. She will send it to a French running friend as soon as possible.
The water isn't polluted  here in South Italy, because this year some beach resorts aren't at capacity. Along the beach one can meet people from Nigeria who sell everything: toys, balls, goggles, swimming caps, nose clips, swimsuits. There is also the possibility of walking or running by night along the beach and to see the sea illuminated by the moon. Wonderful! 
In the photo below you can see my daughters and I and a cart with beach items, such as life belts and small rubber dinghies. Other people sell ice creams along the beach and I think that next to Naples we can probably see the most unusual beaches of anywhere in the world.

And how can we forget to pick blackberries? After my daughters and I had picked blackberries we made four jars of delicious jam.
In the main square of the small town of Itri, 8 km from the sea, I saw that old Italian motorcycle, which brand is "Moto Guzzi". It was built in the 1950s. The last photo below shows my niece, Nadine, in my mother's garden. She's 5 years old.

I hope my blogger friends will have a great  running, hiking and swimming weekend!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

International running flag of friendship

On Saturday, July, 14th, The "International Running Flag of Friendship" was here, in Santa Marinella, Italy, about 60 km North from Rome. Yesterday I ran the Santa Marinella's 10 km race with the Italian flag (You can see it on my blue running shirt, above the number 260) and crossed the finish line after 46 minutes and 6 seconds. After I had run that tough race I was honoured to put the Italian flag on the "International running flag of friendship", which will  be quickly sent  to U.S.A.  The International flag, which  was created thanks to Johann's stroke of genius, is now considered as  a symbol of our great blogger community. As soon as possible I'll send the International Running Flag to Christina from Phoenix, Arizona.  

Nice week to all my blogger friends!  

Monday, July 02, 2012

10km race on July, 1st ... which started at 09:30 am!

Yesterday I realised that during the Summer I can only run races in the evening. On a hot and sunny Sunday a 10km race took place in my town. Unfortunately the race started at 09:30 am and along the track there wasn't any tree: it was terrible! As you can see in the second photo below, the whole track was undulating.  Lesson learned!

Moreover, after the race there wasn't any loot :(  
On the other hand, I have to say that volunteers did a good job and along the running track, which surrounded the industrial area of the town, there were three refreshment point.
And what about the time taken? I reached my goal and ran under 4:30 min./km!

I was so sorry to see that Spain football team won the Euro 2012 final against Italy.
The score was 4 - 0 and it all felt somewhat unfair considering that Italy played almost the last half-hour with 10 players. Italian football team may not have won this tournament but pride has returned.
Nice week to all my blogger friends!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Water with apple juice

I had a beautiful time this past weekend: first of all, on Sunday I ran 16 km long run with the group from 08:00 to 09:30 am.  Summer is going to begin and the weather  is hot enough here in Italy. In fact, if we had begin our training one hour before the weather conditions would have been better ... next Sunday we'll meet at 07:00 am.
After the run, I spent all the rest of the that sunny Sunday on the beach, where the water was pleasant. In the evening I enjoyed the football match Denmark vs Germany for the 2012 european championship on TV. On Monday, 18th,  Italy advanced to the quarterfinals after winning the final match aganist Ireland :) Italy will play on Sunday, in Kyiv, against England.
As above mentioned, the hot weather is increasing sharply and it's time to be careful about hydration. Today I've drunk water and apple juice (more water than apple juice), which doesn't contain any sugar. I think it is a simple way to put more water into my body ... of course I have to eat more fruit and vegetables.
After I had done a long run on Sunday, I ran 45 mins relaxing on Monday and today at 06:30 pm I am doing repeats (5 x 4 mins at 04:30 min/km average pace). I'm making the registration for a 10 km race that will be held in my town on July, 1st. Unfortunately, the race starts at 09:30 am and this isn't a good thing, considering the weather conditions ... but how can I avoid  a race in my town?
Happy running to everyone!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Formula Run Cap

This morning, once again, the most challenging part of the track was situated next to the finish line. I would have never thought that the  Formula Run Cap race was tough, considering that we ran through the Southern part of Rome.
Anyway, more than 1500 runners ran that 10 km race which was held in support of  the children's Hospital of Rome (Bambino Gesù, that's its name). The organization was good, The volunteers were all great and really nice, the weather was perfect.
 The photo shows the starting line 1 hour before the race and  behind the starting line you can see the Square Colosseum, which is considered an icon of Fascist architecture.  
Despite the hilly track I enjoyed the race and was delighted enough with my time taken: it was 45:43, although my goal was under 45 minutes (04:30 min./km).
The chart above shows the running track's altimetry

Stefano and I before the race

Runners before the race

Along the track there were two refreshment points, after the race we had yogurt, milk, tea, cakes and water and ... the loot was good too :) It was a nice and good running shirt (see photo below).

          Nice week to all my blogger friends!

Saturday, June 02, 2012

Finish line up hill

In my last post  I described the tough race which I ran around the old village of Ceri  on May, 26th. I mentioned the last 400 metres of that hilly track, where some runners walked along that up-hill. The picture below shows that challenging part of the track situated next to the finish line. I was running with the number 22 and, of course, black outfit :) 
Last week I saw in my town an old car with a small house on wheels.
I hope you all will have a nice weekend!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Race around the village of Ceri

Yesterday about 150 people ran the 1st edition of the Village of Ceri's race.Less than 9 km of a hilly track through vineyards and olive trees: beautiful landscape but challenging running path. The finish line was situated on the top of the hill which you can see in the photo. Really! Most runners had walked along the last 400 metres of the track before they crossed the finish line.
Stefano  was angry because the organization's website  didn't mention how difficult was the running path (please, see the chart below)... and  the loot was really ridiculous: 1 apple and 1 bottle of beer! I have never got such a poor loot! However, a "Pasta party" was held after the race but we quickly left the village and decided to go to Cerveteri (30 km North from Rome) where we had a pizza.
Anyway, my goal was under 5 min./km and I ran at about 4.55 min./km.  I didn't run fast down-hill because I was afraid I could get injury and  I was delighted with my time taken, considering that  the running path was challenging enough.  
Nice week to all my blogger friends!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Next 10 km race

Thanks to all my blogger friend for the kind words and the support about my daughter's accident. As you know, everything is fine and no major injuries.
Unfortunately, I haven't written any post since April, 30th. Life has been busy! First of all my daughter's accident, then my wife was hill and last week I went to Naples where my mother lives (she's dealing with a legal matter about real estate and I am helping her).
That's why I'm running less than three times a week. However, I haven't put on weight and this is a good goal :) and I've planned to run a 10 km race on Saturday, 26th, although I am not adequately trained for it. Next Saturday  the 1st edition of the Village of Ceri's 10 km race starts at 6 pm.
Political snapshot: Centre-left and protest parties have made gains in Italy's local elections, amid widespread discontent with the government's austerity drive. In France, last Sunday socialist Hollande defeats Sarkozy for Presidency.
This week an article titled "A big fat zero" was  published by the economist. The title's meaning is related to Europe's GDP stagnated in the first quarter although we've seen an unexpectedly strong German economy. Official data showed the German economy expanded faster than expected in the first three months of this year.
Last year while I was in Germany I took this unusual picture below. I took it from the Sankt Peter Kirche's tower in Munich.

Tomorrow I'm doing a long run although Sunday weather forecast looks bad!
Have a nice running and hiking weekend! 

Monday, April 30, 2012

Mayor election

Last Saturday my daughter Laura and her friend Demetra had an accident. They had planned with other friends to go to "Subway" to eat something and they decided to go by motorbike. At 12:50 pm, while they were going to the pub above mentioned, which is located next to the port, a car driven by a silly lawyer hit their motorbike and they both fell. My wife and I were afraid she had had an injury but the doctor of the Civitavecchia's hospital said that there wasn't any problem. Her right knee is in good conditions but this morning she still had shoulder pain. Now she feels better and her friend Demetra is in good conditions too.

A well organized 7.8 km race was held yesterday in Grosseto (Tuscany): beautiful environment, soft and flat running path, good loot (wine, rice, honey and biscuits), great post race refreshment point and about 150 runners.  The scenery was interesting and we ran along green fields where we could see a lot of brown horses. The time taken was  4.55 min/km and I did't run that short race with  my competitive spirit because I was not (and I'm not) adequately trained for it. Stefano ran that race as training too and I have just known that he have got knee pain. I hope that he will feel better soon.

Local Politics: Civitavecchia’s Mayor election will be held on Sunday, May, 6th. I can't predict who will win and with how many casualties but I have seen that most election candidates are lawyers and doctors. Consequently: lawyers + doctors = Italian local politicians  :)
That gives me the opportunity to share with you the following joke which is titled “The doctor and the lawyer”:
A doctor and a lawyer were talking at a party. Their conversation was constantly interrupted by people describing their ailments and asking the doctor for free medical advice.
After an hour of this, the exasperated doctor asked the lawyer: "What do you do to stop people from asking you for legal advice when you're out of the office?"
The lawyer replied: "I give it to them! And then I send them the bill."
The doctor was shoked, but agreed to give it a try. The next day, still feeling guilty, he prepared the bills. When he went to place them in his mailbox, he found a bill from the lawyer

I hope all my blogger friends will have a nice 1st May holiday!