Places to Go

Matterada (the good life…)


It only takes an instant to feel completely unsettled and yet completely at home in this tiny little town…  Even though this is only my third visit I recognize every curve of the narrow gravel road and every stone in the old walls instantly – that must be partly from poring over the photos whenever we feel wistful!  This is the kind of place that captures both my heart and imagination.  It is older than Canada (that thought comes up often on this holiday), and exists in a timeless place in history that doesn’t need my approval and yet generously welcomes me in…


(Photo by Miss G.)

After the long and winding trip my children are exhausted and in tears, but the familiar smell of “Nonna’s House” brings a sense of calm instantly.  Along with old wood, lavender and geranium leaves, there is the distinct sense that Nonna Pina is very much here with us in spirit.  We are happy to be here, and I think she is happy too…



(This is the view from the bathroom window!  Everything here has a sense of beautiful, and I am wearing giant, oleander coloured glasses…)

Nonna's Room

(Photo by Miss G.)

Everything is exactly the way I remember it.  And different.






A place for everything and everything in its’ place…


Even the stacked wood is lovely to see – a fact that my four year old pointed out right away. (“You should stack our wood like this Mama!)


(This is how we know we belong here – our name is on the sign.)




(This photo is for Mimi… We were shocked to find a Bernese Mountain Dog – “Best” – living next door on this trip, until we realized that this is actually a lot closer to Switzerland than Pinantan lake…  Stay tuned for more Berners as apparently Italians are huge fans!)



For me, every inch of this world is wonderful – perfect and charming and filled with stories.  I am looking in from the outside.  For others, every inch of the village is filled with complicated and challenging emotions tied to history and experience.  For centuries culture and tradition have changed with the tides of evolving politics.  This tiny peninsula has been in turn Illyrian, Roman, Venetian, Austro Hungarian, Italian, Yugoslavia and Croatian and yet many of the people whose lives have seen so much transition and hardship are still fiercely and proudly Istrian… The cousins and neighbours willingly and generously share the simple abundance of their daily lives with us – a great gift to my own children who have found so much joy in their heritage and this family history…








Recently, as we were returning from this trip, a friend and colleague asked this challenging question: “What does it mean to ‘live a good life’ ?”  I knew in that moment that I had seen it in action, but I needed to think about what it meant to me…

For four short weeks, in spite of rain and wind and heat and traffic, we had a slice of time firmly planted in the good life, and if I can do anything in my daily life to recreate it, this is what it requires:






Gratitude and


Simple!  And if a good life is what you desire you can have it!  It is waiting there, just for you…



One thought on “Matterada (the good life…)

  1. Beautiful pictures. I am so looking forward to the windows and doors. Love the flowers, and the view from Miss G.’s camera. When I scrolled down and Best popped up I thought I had strayed to another blog. Yes, you are much closer to Switzerland, but the Berner Sennehund are loved by everyone! The rooster at the end was the “piece de resistance”


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