Saturday, February 20, 2016

Project Rome: follow the VW beetle

Project Rome:  Tiburtina Tuesday

How a Beetle Bug, a British expat and her team of volunteers make a difference in Rome through Project Rome.

Love-Bug Beetle announces the volunteer's arrival 

As often happens, an on-line comment lead me to a website or article where I discover something new about Italy.   Finding a reference to Project Rome led me to contact Mary Stuart-Miller to learn more about how and why she started Project Rome. 

Since I have not met Mary in person, just through emails, I asked her to share her story with me.  You can also read a great back story on Silver Travel Advisor to learn how Mary relocated to Rome. 

Mary and her volunteers generously give time and effort to feed and cloth the homeless in Rome with Project Rome.  From the groups FB page I found very moving comments on how the project began and what they offer the homeless of Rome.    But something else too.  

photo courtesy of Google
There is true caring and concern for the people she meets every week.

                                                                  The homeless are not invisible to
Project Rome.  
Travel books and articles warn tourists to be alert on the metro, in the train stations and on the buses.  It is not uncommon to find solicitations for funds in any city you visit.    But I was unaware that Rome also has a large population of immigrant and Italian homeless. 

As in other cities, they can be invisible as you hurry to an appointment or to catch a bus.  We often chose not to see them.   Not Project Rome.  From their FB posts and a few email exchanges with Mary, I have learned a little something of the groups goals but what shines through all the words is the deep caring these volunteers have for the people they care for. 

They are people not just homeless, they have names.    

'Herbie" was out on the streets of Rome again in the last few days, firstly to deliver dinner, candles and hugs to the residents of the `Project Rome' abandoned school, and again last night to serve up hot stew and soft drinks to those living in the Chiesa dei Santi Angeli e Custodi in Via Tritone.   

What Project Rome offers:*

"Triburtina Tuesday may be one of the better known events Project Rome sponsors each week and how I 'stumbled' on this web site.  On Tuesdays volunteers with Project Rome take home cooked meals, new and used clothing and shoes to the street outside Tiburtina bus station where they are met by over 80 hungry ad desperate men and women."

Since I have not attended a Tuesday event I am posting the following online summary of one Tuesday: 
"Tiburtina Tuesday was just awesome last night.
Around 150 homeless men and women stood in the bus station square eating home-cooked chicken and vegetable stew, and beef with vegetables in tomato sauce, with rice and fresh crispy bread, on plates with serviettes.
Everyone was greeted by our wonderful Project Rome team, which last night included Jim, Sandra, Lupe, Luigia, Fabrizio and Bruno and a fabulous group of new friends who ran a soft drinks and tea `bar'."

Mary knows the names of the people Project Rome helps and offers a hug along with food and warm clothing

"Clothes and shoes were handed out to fulfill the `orders' taken last week.
Steve offered a beard shaving service and Mary cut hair (another first for Tiburtina Tuesday) and we played our `Project Rome' playlist, compiled from suggestions sent in during the week. (Thanks to all).
We gave out shampoos (hotel sized) and we took orders for next week.
The atmosphere is friendly and relaxed, everyone got a nourishing hot meal, some take-away a second, everyone had the chance to `order' essentials, or a shave or hair-cut, to stop for a while and enjoy company of others (homelessness is very solitary), to listen to music and to feel part of society and a happy group of people, even if for a short while."

"Thank-you to the hundreds of people who are in contact with us. We've started something that is going to get bigger and better week by week, we do need more drivers, people to collect donations of food and clothes, volunteers to ask supermarkets, bakers, restaurants etc. for left-over food... we can do a lot, with your help we can do a lot more."


"Last night an elderly man wandered up to us outside Chiesa Santi Angeli Custodi where we were serving up hot meals, mostly to those who sleep overnight in the church.  We'd not seen him before, he was cold and frail. He asked if he could have a small plateful of the chicken stew, he ate it standing beside the car, then came back and asked for a second portion."

"When he'd finished, he said in Italian "Why do you do this kind and generous thing?" It is a beautiful question, and the answer is simple, because we can."
Sunday evening with Project Rome - Tiburtina Tuesday

"Donations requested. 
  • Lentils, borlotti beans, cannellini beans, ceci, chickpeas, or mais.
  • Tinned tomatoes and jars of passata (+catering tins in Emi Piu, just 3 euros)
  • Dried pasta, especially penne, spaghetti and fusilli
  • Trainers for men and women, new or second hand
  • Jackets, jeans, t-shirts & fleeces
  • Paper/Plastic plates or forks"

How you can help:

"We are looking for sponsors. People who share our passion to support the homeless and disadvantaged in Rome and who will donate 10 euros, 25 euros, 50 euros,100 euros or more each month."

"Every small, regular donation will add up to helping us become more sustainable, enable us to start new projects and will extend our kindness and care to more and more really desperate people."

"Each person that we help receives a new pair of shoes every three months, new underwear and socks, meals and toiletries. That's the equivalent of around 15 - 20 euros per person, per month.
We buy sleeping bags for those that need them, at a cost of 15 euros each."

"Other costs are gas bombole to fuel the stufe that we install in abandoned buildings. Each stufe costs approximately 25 euros per month in the winter."

"Each week we spend around 200 euros on food, and that produces nearly 300 meals that we cook and deliver to three locations."

"Thanks to the generosity of many, we don't need to buy jeans and jackets as these are donated, but it's essential to give these people good footwear and clean socks and underpants, nourishing meals and when we can, items to keep them warm.

"We have some very positive and ambitious plans for Project Rome to help the city's disadvantaged, including a `coffee credit' service, hair-cutting, a mobile library, more food distribution while we'll continue what we do each week, while building on what we've achieved so far. Please ask if you'd like to see a copy of our business plan."   Contact Mary for more details

*All the photos are from the Rome Project face book site who have given me permission to post here.  Quotes are from FB and emails we have exchanged and are believed to be accurate.

To read more or contact the group:
Mary Stuart-Miller from Project Rome - Tiburtina Tuesday a personal project to help the poor, homeless and disadvantaged. 
All photos used in this post are from the FB pages of Project Rome and are the property of Project Rome.   

Photos can be found on the FB page for Project Rome.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Announcing a Vegetarian/Vegan Tour in Puglia, Italy

Are you a vegetarian or vegan and dream
of a visit to Italy?

Enjoy a special new adventure with Puglia travel expert, Yle Sambati and

A visit to her cooking school is an experience that is special and two new adventures are being offered this fall:
                        September 1 to 8

                                     *  7 nights at a B&B or boutique hotel in Lecce and a stay
    at a Masseria
*  all meals and wine
*  welcome Drinks and aperitif
*  3 Italian language lessons
*  3 day cooking courses
*  market shopping tour
*  4 guided tours
*  guided winery visit and picnic
*  lunch at a historic Masseria
*  round trip private transfers to all events

                           October 22 to 30

*  7 nights at a B&B or boutique hotel in Lecce
*  5 day language course
*  1 day cooking course
*  4 guided tours
*  guided winery visit
*  1 afternoon conversations class in a cafeteria
*  breakfast daily
*  4 lunches and 5 dinners
*  1 free day

Thank you for offering these great events with Home to Italy.
For more information contact Yle Sambati at   
A special Puglia Travel and Lifestyle Expert

Note:  all photos are the property of and posted here with their permission

Sunday, February 7, 2016

2016 Italy Colours Calendar by Margaret Cowan

It is not too late to enjoy wonderful 

photos of Italy with a

2016 Italy Colours Calendar

by Margaret Cowan

You may have visited Italy before, are planning 

your next trip or enjoy arm chair travel,  the 

photos Margaret features in the calendar may 

transport you.   


2016 Italy Colours Calendar

Calendar January 2016 (12 Months) 
2016 Italy Colours Calendar
Love Italy? Immerse yourself in photographs of some of Italy's most beautiful, colourful wine hills, coasts, beaches, food and architecture in Tuscany, Amalfi Coast, Bologna, Piedmont, Puglia and Sicily.
2016 Italy Colours Calendar-

Every day enjoy a view of Italy from your home or work place and dream of your next trip Home to Italy!


Saturday, February 6, 2016

Experience Italy with Locals in Puglia


Ylenia Sambati is the owner/operator at COOKINPUGLIA, PUGLIA WINESCHOOL and YLTOUR PR.

With an extensive experience of over 15 years in the tourism and culinary fields, she designs some exclusive cooking and wine experiences and programs in Puglia that showcase the most authentic lifestyle of this incredible area.

Her cooking and wine school in Squinzano (in the Salento area which now proves to be the trendiest part of the region) is unlike any cooking school you will have encountered in Puglia. If you are looking for a partner to create unique cooking and wine experiences, rich in cultural and lifestyle insights, she could be a great fit.

Ylenia is also the curator of bespoke trips in Puglia and experiences for local 5 star Hotels and Masserie: once you get in touch with her, she works with you to create a perfect cooking lesson and wine + olive oil experience, creating exceptional cooking lessons and wine tastings unique and crafted with just you or your clients in mind.  She is also famous for her special picnics in an olive grove with a country chic flavor.

Her cooking and wine school is just 15 minutes from Lecce and from Brindisi, a perfect place to include in a Puglia program for a half day experience.   The school is located in the magnificent northern Salento area with spectacular vineyards and olive groves around.    It is a unique in style venue that can welcome from 2 to 40 people comfortably accommodated. The Palazzo with spacious rooms for cooking, tasting or just relaxing on the sofas enjoying the view, overlooks an almost cinematographic square which is a postcard of the most authentic Salento slow life with colors, architecture, great atmosphere and old men still playing cards.

Learn with a mamma in Puglia
A view from the school window
The cooking class is hands-on with the preparation of a four course meal, an informal wine tasting and lunch or dinner to follow, while listening to Opera music and getting to know the many aspects of this magnificent land.
As a lifestyle expert,  passionate in fact – she also writes on a lifestyle blog on her website – she shares with the guests all the most incredible information and insights not just about the food and wine, but also about the region, traditions, local culture.

 Wine tasting parties are arranged with the presentation and tasting of a great selection of not commercial wines and paired with great local foods, cooked on spot by the local women of the town.

Ylenia Sambati also works with travel agents and she designs exclusive travel experiences to craft any specific vacation: your Puglia trip planning begins the minute you send her your private enquiry.

You tell her the dates and preferred ingredients of your exclusive cooking class or wine experience and she develops the perfect program for you, your small groups, your clients. Her cooking and wine school can be a wonderful addition to your Puglia program.

Visit her websites and contact Ylenia Sambati: