The Little Parish Church of Caines

We wanted to drive from St. Leonard towards Merano and therefore in the morning I had a look on the map if there is anything interesting on the way we could visit before. I saw a recommendation for the parish church in Kuens. So we decided to stop by and have a look at it.

Kuens (the German name) or Caines (the Italian name) is located above Merano and at the entrance of the Val Passiria. It is one of the smallest municipalities of South Tyrol which we could clearly see when driving up the hill to find the church. There were only a few houses.

The many vineyards and fruit orchards surrounding the village are so typical for the region and the gardens are really lovely. Flowers everywhere and a lot of ‘greens’.

The Nature Park Gruppo Tessa is located right here and offers a lot of hiking possibilities.

But back to the church. We eventually found it and parked on the little parking ground. We found a small graveyard attached to the church.

The church itself is in the Romanesque style. It is believed that it was built in the 12th century on the rests of another church. That one would be built by S. Corbinian himself and dedicated to S. Valentine and S. Zeno. Today it is dedicated to S Corbinian and S. Mauritius.

In the 15th century the nave got a Gothic choir, with lancet windows and net vault. Later, around 1615/16, the nave got a different ceiling: a pointed barrel vault. And in the mid 19th century the nave was extended on the west-side.

On the south-side on the outside wall we found interesting frescoes from the 14th century and a sun dial.

The view from here, over the mountains and the cultured landscape, is amazing. It is not far away from the little town Tirol and of course from Merano – our final destination today.

I recommend this little church as it is a wonderful example of the religion in this area. Also there are no crowds and you will be pretty alone to visit. Maybe you can stay for a while and relax in the simple but overwhelming inside.

Kuens, South-Tyrol/Italy:

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A Spicy Apple & Grape Chutney

Chutneys are so yummy and for me they are one of the best side dishes or sauce for meat or fish. Friends of mine like a fruity and spicy chutney on a piece of cheese and I like them also on a nice cracker or just as a dip with not-so-paleo corn chips. They are also a great spread on a sandwich or for a tortilla.

Now is the season of grapes here in Italy and of course my two wines are so overloaded that I don’t know how to eat them all. I decided to preserve a good part of them in a chutney.

So yesterday I was in the garden to harvest a whole bunch of grapes. With more than 100°F I was cleaning them in the kitchen. Peeling apples and crying with the onions while chopping them, tears running.

All in the pot, heat on and then waiting for the chutney to cook, every now and then stiring well.

It was a sweaty work with the hot weather but when I tried the chutney to see if the taste is right, I was more than satisfied. I could clearly distinguish the sweetness of the maple syrup and the hot spices. I filled the chutney in the jars and labeled them so I know which will be the one with grapes and which the one with rhubarb from last year.

BTW: grapes are super healthy. I do currently a kind of grape cure. Every day I eat as many grapes as I can eat, with seeds. I put them in the blender so I smash the seeds well and have all the benefits of them. It’s one of the best cleansing diets I know. It helps a lot the digestion system and the kidneys.

There are more benefits of grapes. The antioxidants are important for our bodies and perfect helpers when you go very much on the beach. They can prevent heart disease, help with weight loss if needed, they are good for your vision and they regulate your blood pressure and blood sugar. But most important for me is the cleaning effect of the colon.

They are best to eat when they are in season! And please try to get them organic, best out of your own gardens. What do you think about a new project and build a grape pergola for shade and health?

apple & grape chutney
Apple & Grape Chutney
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
4 medium jars 30 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 medium jars 30 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
apple & grape chutney
Apple & Grape Chutney
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
4 medium jars 30 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 medium jars 30 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Servings: medium jars
  1. Take the grapes off the stem, wash them and put them in the blender. Blend them for 60 seconds as you want to be sure that the seeds are well broken.
  2. Put a pot on the stove and add the grape juice. Bring to a boil.
  3. Meanwhile peel the apples and chop them into medium size pieces. Do the same with the onions. Add apples and onions to the grape juice.
  4. Add the juice of one lemon and the maple syrup or honey or any other sweetener you prefer. Stir well and let it all simmer.
  5. Mix all the spices in a small bowl and add to the grape mixture. Stir well from time to time and let it simmer for around 50 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile prepare a couple of mason jars. Put them in boiling water to sterilize them together with their lids.
  7. After 50 minutes take the chutney off the fire and fill into the jars. Close them well and leave the upside down for 5 minutes. Then flip them on the right side up and let the jars cool out before you store them. The chutney will get more firm and dense when cooling.
Recipe Notes

You can store the chutney up to one year in your pantry.

Chutneys are great with meat or fish and a perfect bbq sauce. A friend of mine likes chutneys on cheese. But it's also great just as a spread on a piece of bread.

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Da Peppina di Renato – One of the Best Restaurants in Ischia

Pizza – the symbol of Italian cuisine. Together with noodles, or spaghetti. I was trying to bring my sweetheart to all my favorite places in Ischia. Especially in Forio. Because this is the place I am from. That’s why we couldn’t miss to visit one of the most well known and best restaurants in Ischia: da Peppina di Renato.

It is located in the mountains, going up to Montecorvo from Forio main road, which is just opposite the hotel Villa Melodie, where we were staying for several nights.

I know this place for around 30 years and more. A place where VIPs go for a perfect dinner. But also very loved by local people, whole year round. I have a lot of memories here, dinners with colleagues, with friends from abroad and local.

The restaurant is unusual. First it’s not easy to find, you have to know where it is. Even though there are some street signs.

It has a big parking place, but best to come here is by motorbike (like we did). The restaurant has a nice garden surrounding the all covered terraces and the inside rooms. Many chairs and benches are made with old bed frames, some of the the tables are the wine barrel lids.

Real table clothes and napkins (no paper) and a nicely set table.

We were sitting on one of the terraces with a view on the sea and the sunset. Very romantic!

My sweetie had the pizza I always liked so much; white with potatoes, onions and Gorgonzola. I had a mixed salad and oven potatoes. The local wine is great, just ask for some open white or red wine. We both didn’t take a desert but I had a bitter Ramazotti and my man a Rucolino, also a digestive.

Later after dinner we had a small walk to see more rooms and the ‘cantina’. I had a talk with the owner whom I know very well. He was happy to see me after many years I was missing here. And I was happy to be here again.

(this is NOT a sponsored article!)

Restaurant Da Peppina di Renato, Forio d’Ischia/Naples, Campagna/Italy:

For further information:
Restaurant Da Peppina di Renato (in Italian)
Via Montecorvo 42
80075 Forio d’Ischia/Na

phone: +39-327-739.59.68

Comments on Tripadvisor

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A Walk in Tirol

Merano is a well known city in South Tyrol. Most of the year the climate is very mild, that’s why you find palm trees here too. The Mediterranean embraces the mountains. But in summer sometimes it can be hot too and so many of the inhabitants try to escape in a cooler place. And that would be Tirol.

We came to ‘Dorf Tirol’, like it is called in German, because it was on our way to Merano and I wanted to see it. In addition there is a castle I would have liked to visit: the castle Tirol. But that will be another article later..

We arrived from the north after our one night stay in Walten. We passed San Leonhard in Passeier and a few other villages, all very suggestive.

When I saw the sign to Dorf Tirol I turned on the right and drove up into the center of the village of about 2.500 inhabitants.

We parked at a big parking place and walked into the town center.

We got some information at the tourist office near to the parking place and then took the road to the castle Tirol. The road is also part of a hiking trail Merano-Tirol-Merano.

We were so lucky to have bright, sunny and warm days here. We visited the castle and after we came back to have lunch in a typical restaurant where we could sit outside under big parasols. My sweet sweetie could not resist the dumplings – regardless of the heat (dumplings are a winter dish).

We decided that the place is nice and we would not like to sleep in Merano. So we got the car and looked for a hotel. We found one for a good price and with breakfast: the Hotel Ortswies.

After resting a while in the evening we were strolling in the town center, visiting a church and participating at the mass, sitting for a while to listen to a concert (orchestra) and then try to find an open restaurant. At 9 pm it was already a challenge, all was closed or at least the kitchen. In the end we found a place near to our hotel and we had a nice dinner sitting outside.

We left the next day after a breakfast in the garden and to see the Trauttmansdorff Gardens in Merano.

I enjoyed the stay in Tirol a lot. A completely new experience and curious to stay in a place I have heard of already so much. My sweetheart? Oh, he would love to have a house there! The mountains, the food, the friendly people.. he loves it. This is one of the very few differences we have, I prefer the sea and don’t really like the mountains more than a few days every – let’s say – 10 years. The food is not what I like but I totally agree about the friendly people.

Tirol, South-Tyrol/Italy:

For further information:
Official website of Tirol

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Discovering the German Part of Italy – South Tyrol

Very often when I talk to people about South Tyrol they don’t know what I am talking about. Even though Sudtirol or Alto Adige is famous like California in the United States. It seems to be relatively unknown in the world. And still it is a place that is very much visited and has a huge tourism industry.

The northernmost region of Italy is a part of Italy I always wanted to visit. For two reasons: first I am writing about this region now for more than a decade and second it is a place where gluten free in Europe ‘was born’. The company Schär produces gluten free products already since 1981 when first problems with gluten appeared. Today they export all over the world.

But back to the region South Tyrol. More than 2.000 years ago the region was conquered by the Romans Drusus and Tiberius. It was a transit area from east to west and north to south through the Alps. Still today you can find the Via Claudia Augusta crossing the mountains from the Po river to southern Germany.

After the Romans the region became part of the Ostroghotic Kingdom. There were some slowly growing cities like Trento, Merano, Bolzano, Bruneck or Sterzing.

Later it was ruled by the Holy Roman Emperor. Napoleon had a short influence in the 19th century before the Austrian Empire included the area in their territory in mid-century.

After the 2nd world war it became part of Italy which resulted in a problematic dispute for a long time. More than 60% are German speaking (23% are Italian and 4% is still Ladin speaking, an old Rhaeto-Romance language).

Today it is an euroregion which means it is strongly working with Tyrol in Austria. It is nearly completely autonomous, self-governed and includes Tyrol, South Tyrol and Trentino (which is mainly Italian speaking).

Enough about history. It has a long history with a lot of interesting facts but too much for this article.

The decision to go to South-Tyrol came in the car when my sweetie and I were driving south from Northern Germany. We had planned a stop at Sonthofen in the Allgäu region in Southern Germany but that friend had family problems. We skipped it. So we wanted to visit another friend in Graz/Austria, but he had to go somewhere right those days. A friend in Vienna had visitors until the end of the week and was also not available. What to do? Let’s go to Meran in South-Tyrol.

And that’s what we did. We left the motorway at Vipiteno and crossed the Alps with their peaks and valleys until for the night we finally stopped at a small hotel somewhere on the way to Meran.

We enjoyed a great dinner made only for us and the morning after the breakfast, typical Tyrolean with many different kinds of bread. The air was crispy early in the morning but during the day it became hot like I am used to in South Italy.

We had two more nights in the area, all in different places. That way we have visited a lot of villages and castles, I finally could walk through Schloss Traumannsdorff and the Touriseum and could experience the Dolomites.

My ‘complementing part’ loved to be here, he enjoyed every single minute, every meal (I just say dumplings!) and the whole atmosphere. He always loved the Bavarian area in Germany, now this was Germany in Italy! And he was right when saying: “You are in Italy and I feel like I am in Germany.” So we both had our part (I like Italy more than the northern country). I am sure we will come back many more times. I am curious and he enjoys…


For further information:
Official website of South Tyrol

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