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Travel & Holidays in later life


After two years of desperately cold winters, roads constantly blocked by snow, enormous heating bills and spiralling food costs, many Britons are opting to winter in milder climates abroad. Hugh Taylor and Moira McCrossan decided to join them and after some research moved to the little town of Capena 35km north of Rome.

January and February in Britain are long, dark and dreary months. The weather prospects are dismal, whether grey and damp or fierce and frozen. We may be blown away, drowned or simply depressed by the cost of keeping warm. This is the time to take off for brighter skies and less turbulent days.

Capena, Provence of Rome, Lazio Region, Italy


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Casa Capena Villa Rentals

Getting there.

Many scheduled and budget airlines provide direct links to Rome Fiumicino Airport. From there it it possible to travel onwards to Capena by a combination of train and bus or by taxi.


Italian State Tourist Board

Lazio Tourist Board


Travelsphere escorted holidays



Capena, a small town to the north of Rome is an ideal escape from the British winter. The weather is mild and clear most days, the pace of village life is leisurely and we forget about supermarkets and shop every day for fresh produce; beautiful bread in the corner shop, huge chunks of parmesan, prosciutto cut from the ham to order and a cornucopia of fruit and vegetables at the market. We breakfast sociably on coffee and pastries in the bar in the piazza at the end of our street.

Piazza, Capena, Provence of Roma ,Lazio Region Italy

The town is set on a rock, in fact our rented villa is built right into the rock. To one side of the village is a great gorge, impassable with an undergrowth of thorns and bushes, while on the other side is a series of rocky hills. We investigate a different direction each day, as the hills provide us with aerobic exercise and panoramic views of glorious countryside. The village itself is a mediaeval warren of streets, steps and alleyways, with sudden turns from a dark corner to a sunlit vista framed by an ancient stone arch or a green piazza with a cafe in the corner.

Arch, Capena, Provence of Rome, Lazio Region, Italy

The other surprise as we explore the village is the plethora of ceramics adorning the streets and walls. A beautiful blue  bench, decorated with plants and animals, sits under a tree overlooking the gorge. Above the new car park is a whole series of witty ceramic sculptures, decorations and seats. Pottery snails, laying trails of mirror tiles, crawl up walls and across the ceiling of the cafe. These are the work of the artistic family of Rosina Wachtmeister.

Ceramic, Snail, Capena, Provence of Rome, Lazio Region, Italy.

We are very happy to relax and enjoy the pace of village life, but we want to do some exploring and there are several picturesque villages within an hour or so walk from Capena. The surrounding countryside is a joy to walk in, even though most of the walking is on road. The drivers are very considerate and give pedestrians a wide berth. We pass olive groves and orange trees, red roofed villas, lone cafes and assorted do it yourself and builders' merchants, all with the backdrop of the snow-capped Sabine Hills in the clear blue distance. We pass the time of day with a man on a bike, who keeps passing us, stopping at every bin along the road to investigate recycling the contents.

Ceramic Seat Capena, Provence of Rome, Lazi o Region, Italy

Our next venture will be to Rome. We are just 45 minutes away by public transport from the centre of Rome. The efficient Italian train service will take us for day trips to Naples and Siena. Then we intend to hire a car and explore a little further afield. Lake Bracciano, the Sabine Hills and Abruzzo are easily accessible by car and we might take a longer trip to Vesuvius. I wonder if January and February will be enough time!


For other viewpoints of Italy, read these articles: 

ITALY CUISINE - Finding your way around the menu

TRENTINO - on sunny side of the Alps

TUSCANY - Tasting the flavour

VENICE - City without wheels

"Books to read - click on cover pictures" or click on the links below

"DK Eyewitness Travel Guides: Rome" - Doesn't kill you with details, but features superb photographs which can recapture memories of Rome.

"Italianissimo: Beginners"   A language pack of book and four CDs by Denise De Rome - a highly-rated BBC publication which introduces the Italian language,  background culture and lifestyle. Worth studying a few months before your departure, to gain extra pleasure from a visit to Rome.

The Rough Guide to Rome - Ideal for a short break, with colour illustrations and good maps.

Masterpieces of the Vatican - This selection of 100 masterpieces gives the reader a profound insight into one of the world's greatest collections.


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