What To Know About Visiting Proceno, Italy

Our stay in picturesque Proceno is winding to a close. We’ve been here for 30 days, spent a quiet Christmas and rang in the New Year with style. Our Homebase and hosts have been gracious, generous, and helped us feel right at home.

Proceno, Italy

If you’re planning an Italian getaway and you enjoy the country, rolling hills, and the peace and quiet of nature, Proceno is an excellent place to visit. We have spent nearly every day exploring the immediate area. There are trails aplenty with paths for walking or hiking through the fairytale forests, some people even mountain bike or dirt bike. Coming from Denver, Colorado where the elevation is a mile high or more, hiking here has been a dream. At home I feel like I could drop dead for lack of oxygen at any moment despite the fact that I’m a Colorado native. Even though the area is very hilly, they’re very doable hills. I’ve definitely felt my fitness level improve since we have been here. If you want to relax and unwind, have a quiet place to work remotely, or enjoy the surrounding nature, I highly recommend Proceno, located in central Italy.

We got here in Mid-December and it’s now Mid-January and the temperature has been so mild. As I mentioned, we came from Colorado and the temps there this time of year are usually in the 40s-30s (F). Here in Italy it’s been anywhere from 60 as a high to 40 as the low. There has been a fairly significant amount of rain, which is novel for me since it rarely rains in Denver. If you like rain as I do, it’s the perfect atmosphere to snuggle up inside with the pellet stove on and read a book and make some soup with crusty bread. The downside is the streets get pretty slick with moss so you do have to exercise caution if you venture to the bar or grocery store. However, once the rain stops you can go outside for a walk and see how the plant life has unfolded, mushrooms, flowers, moss, lichen, birds flitting about, and the cats return to their posts. Photograph opportunities aplenty.

If you’re not such a fan of soggy weather, summer might be a better time for you to visit as the trails are drier and there’s more opportunity to sit out on the balcony or explore the countryside without getting sucked into the claylike mud.

Proceno’s beautiful landscapes and Olde world charm have been absolutely delightful.
However, a word of caution to you Traveler, if we could change one part of our trip it would have been to have a car and we would not recommend coming out here without one. In the summer the public transport might be better but I wouldn’t bet on it. We have found the bus wholly unreliable so we have had to employ a taxi or rely on our gracious host on several occasions which is a bit costly and/or inconvenient by comparison. If you do rent a car, remember you need an International Drivers Permit in accordance with the Italian embassy. (There are many countries where you need this permit! Plan accordingly!) People do rent cars here without one, but the consequences can be costly if you get caught. Also, remember to get your permit before you leave your home country!

The small town of Proceno, Italia
This is an old town, full of old Italian heritage. There are very very few English speakers here, so you would do well to learn some basic Italian before you arrive!
This is good practice for any country you visit.

If you’re a history buff, obviously Italy as a whole is the perfect place for you to visit! I particularly love that Proceno has placards with town history written in both Italian and English. They’re famous for their Red Garlic here, so don’t forget to pick some up! I’ve used it in nearly every recipe I’ve made and it’s so tasty. It is mellow, not overpowering, with a delicious, light garlic flavor (in my opinion!) The papery skins on outside are white, but the skin covering the bulbs is red. In pre-covid times, they had a garlic festival each year in August. Hopefully it will return again in the near future.

We didn’t know how far from public transport we would be when we booked the adorable home in this castle town, but I can honestly say that’s the only downside to being here. After our whirlwind craziness of getting here, this was the perfect spot to slide into our vacation, and settle into life in Italy, the slower pace, the culturally accepted and encouraged midday naps (YES! My People!) and everything staying closed on Sundays. This easy pace is wonderful, and I’ve been super content and happy here. Now that we have found our footing and our rhythm, it’s time to move on to the faster pace of city life in Firenze (Florence).

If you find yourself longing for an Italian getaway in the Tuscan countryside, feel free to reach out to me and I would be more than happy to put you in touch with our hosts. They’ve been incredible, going so far as to lend Gabe a coat when our luggage was lost, and bake us tasty Christmas treats. We’ve truly felt accepted and welcomed here, I hope you’ll come experience this place for yourself! Learn some Italian, Rent a Car!

Happy Trails
Sentieri Felici ,

What’s Your Crutch?

As I’m sitting here typing this, I am actively avoiding two of my crutches.
The TV and it’s enchantments pull at me to come sit on the couch and binge watch some mind-numbing, soul numbing, streamed in, curated just for me, content. Guaranteed to make sure I don’t have time to think any uncomfortable or unsettling thinks, or do anything productive.

My other crutch is more stealthy because it comes disguised as productivity. House Tidying.
I have a tendency to clean when I am angry, upset, anxious, or avoiding things. Things like marketing my business, for instance. Sometimes, the act of cleaning is therapeutic and for sure is a necessity, but I catch myself more often using it as an excuse to avoid the thing I should actually be doing.

These two things can even be combined to create a big, fat distraction, ensuring I get nothing actually done.
Why am I telling you this? Because blogging is something I have been actively avoiding, while cleaning and TV have led me astray with their sultry siren song. Also because I was challenged to figure out what my crutches are. The very first things that come to mind. The thing that you find yourself making excuses for.

For you, maybe it’s wine, whiskey, laser tag, social media, weed, shopping. I don’t have to tell you because you already know. It’s tickling the back of your brain right now, rattling the chain that’s looped around your self control, holding it captive. Wine & whiskey certainly have their place on my list of vices, but I don’t turn to them the way I turn to TV & tidying.

Why are we looking at crutches today? Because they no longer work for me (us?)!
Bringing awareness to the problem is the first step.
I see you, clutter & entertainment, you have no power over me!

This dysfunctional relationship no longer works for me because you suck hours of time out of my life & kill my productivity. There is a time & a place and you’re taking up too much of both.
There are uncomfortable feelings and thoughts I need to confront without my brain numbing out on me. Also, I want to be a committed blogger! I’m so sorry, but we have to break up.
We can still be friends. Maybe more like work friends – we see each other for allotted periods of time and then go our separate ways. Thanks for understanding.

This week I’m committed to tidying my home in the mornings before, during, and after coffee (another vice, currently unwilling to give it up) and before work (not a vice or a crutch).
TV will be limited to two hours or less per evening, giving me time for a good movie or show to wind down for the night. The point is making realistic goals that I can stick to, and not self sabotage!

What are your crutches? What baby steps can you take this week to move away from them?
Would love to hear in the comments or you can join me on Instagram.

A Vulnerable Conversation with Your Horse

In your most vulnerable moments, are you afraid that if you really show up for your horse, he might not like you?

Are you afraid that if you own up to your fear, lack of knowledge, or lack of experience, or other perceived short-coming you might have to give up your horse, and by proxy, give up your dreams?

Have you already at times visualized loading him in the trailer and waving goodbye?
Have you maybe even resigned your heart to the idea that you may never ride?

Have you come to these conclusions all in your head, on your own, without even talking to your horse?

Before you lose all hope, try this:

What if you go spend some time with your horse, and crack your heart open, let just a little vulnerability seep out. What if you lay your fears at the feet of your equine friend; spill your guts. Tell him that you feel like an imposter, or you’re afraid he wont like you. Tell him that you’re terrified to ride, or scared to get hurt or worried you might hurt him. If you find that you don’t trust your horse, tell him that too.
Be as open and honest as you possibly can. Allow your emotions and tears to flow freely.

Our horses are authentic with us 100% of the time. We owe it to them, and to ourselves, to give the gift of our authenticity and congruence. That is where they live, that is the language they understand.

Once you have spoken your truth to your horse, take a deep breath in through your nose.
Exhale slowly, and fully, out through your mouth. Take a moment to reflect.

What insights came to you while sharing with him? What insight has he shared with you in this time together?

No decisions are necessary at this juncture. There is no pressure to “do”.
Simply be present in the moment.
Once you feel complete, thank your horse for holding space for you.

With Love,
From the Heart of a Mare

All Else Will Follow

Dear Woman,
My wish for you, is that you are able to stop breaking your own heart.
Stop seeking out others who are undeserving of you.
You look in the mirror and you see someone who is mean and impatient, awkward, unworthy. You listen to the lies of spurned lovers like its the gospel truth while their hate drips into you like poison, slowly eating you alive.

Pick someone in your life, someone you admire, someone you trust, a good friend, a best friend, and take a moment to see yourself through their eyes. See the goodness that is your truth, the sense of humor that lights you up from the inside, the compassion that compels you to care so deeply for the welfare of others, the kindness you extend to small children and animals, the warmth in your smile, the quick wit in your speech, the inner and outer beauty that is uniquely you.

I hope you will learn with a down-to-your-bones knowing, that society’s rules and standards of beauty and perfection are not real. They are not real. The “standard” changes in the industry with the seasons, the only goal to make us insecure so we buy their products and they line their pockets.

Real beauty comes from accepting your authentic self. As long as you like you, no one else’s opinion matters.
This inner knowing and acceptance sparks in others the permission to accept themselves.

My hope for you, dear woman, is that you embrace your inner spark, your uniqueness, your joys, your sorrows, and all that makes you you, and you commit yourself to a lifelong pursuit of crafting the life you desire.

I hope that you become the person of your dreams. All else will follow.

With deep love from,

The Heart of a Mare