El Marsam Home & Studio

Umbertide, Umbria


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Email: rooms_withaview@yahoo.com


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This website grew out of my Rooms with a View project, a collection of my writings and paintings of particularly beautiful hotels in historic locations in Italy and eventually beyond – to include Europe, Asia, and Africa. As I traveled, I of course had to eat. So I began writing about the restaurants in Italy.

Travel, for me, is always a journey of the senses and when I follow where they take me, I am always rewarded with a delightful meal and a new memory. What makes me choose one restaurant over another? Sometimes it can be as simple as being drawn to the wisteria-covered pergola on the terrace, or being beckoned by a potted geranium onto a sunlit patio. Sometimes it is the splash of a nearby fountain is the music that will accompany my  meal at the outdoor table or a roaring fire in a grand old camino on a cold winter's day. It could be a whimsical hand-written menu posted outside a modest osteria or the fine printed script of a menu illuminated on a podium like some illustrious manuscript. It could be the scent of truffles wafting from the trattoria's open door in autumn, or the wood-burning pizza oven that pulls me, unresisting, inside. Dining out in Italy is seldom disappointing. Often present, the owners are welcoming and the chefs justifiably proud of their cuisine. The biggest challenge is deciding what to order. Frequently, I let them choose for me and it always turns out to be a good decision.

And this is how menus become part of the memory.  

Menus and Memories

Ginda Simpson ~ artist & writer

Born in Baltimore, Maryland in 1948, Ginda Simpson is one of twelve children.  She has lived in Italy, Germany and Egypt and has traveled in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, India, Russia, Southeast Asia and China.

Educated in the United States and Italy, Ginda has degrees in Italian and French and an Associate of Fine Arts Degree. In addition to private art studies for many years, she also trained at the Glassell School of Art in Houston.  

Ginda resides with her husband in the Umbrian countryside where she is daily inspired to record the beauty that surrounds her adopted home - with her pen or with her paintbrush. Ginda is a past member of the West Bank Art Guild, the Degas Pastel Society and the Cairo Art Guild.  She has written travel stories for Travel Today Egypt, Travel Today Arabia, Horus Magazine and writes monthly for BCA Magazine, Cairo. Learn more on her website.