I’ve known Bruna Green from Bruna’s Italian since I was little. She’s one of my mom’s best friends, so I’ve grown up with her and her children, and regularly spend time with her and her husband Chris at their home in Muckleneuk.
Which is one of my favourite places in the world. A double-storey home on the hill next to the Telkom tower, overlooking the high-rises of downtown Pretoria.
I think growing up in the flatter part of the Pretoria East suburbs, In Brooklyn, it was always such a novelty to see a view, and to be reminded that I actually live in a city (with many parts of Pretoria being obscured from one another by a series of hills).
I like visiting their house so much that I often take a photo of the view from the upstairs balcony, with the big palm tree in the foreground, and wish I could capture how much I appreciate it. (And all of the freshly made pasta and other delicious Italian food that I often eat there, downstairs).
But that was before I had a blog, and before Bruna’s Italian was a formal business, so I’m going to spend a bit of time in this post telling you all about it (both the view and the food), and why should you should, and can, enjoy it too.
Why You Should Eat Bruna’s Italian and Stay at Her Airbnb in Muckleneuk
As I mentioned, the view of Pretoria from Muckleneuk hill is pretty awesome. You can see all the way across to the Union Buildings on the other side, on the opposite hill, and all of the other hills in the background towards Pretoria North that begin to merge into the Magaliesberg.
From the Green’s vantage point, you can also see all of the city’s tall buildings, including the Reserve Bank.
This perspective is so great to me because I feel like it gives me an insight into parts of the city which I don’t often visit, mainly because most people who live in the suburbs are too scared to venture into “town”. I can’t say I’ve escaped this conditioning, but I do fight against it, and still feel so fascinated and drawn to the energy of the CBD.
However, the best part about being up there on that balcony is that even if you’re not that keen to venture into the CBD, you can stay upstairs in one of the Green’s two guest apartments, and appreciate the view too.
A full Italian lunch/dinner isn’t included in the Airbnb price, but as a guest, you can arrange for Bruna to cater for you (which I recommend that you do anyway even if you live nearby and never stay in the Airbnb).
To give you a bit of perspective, Bruna has catered for several of our family events, including my grandmothers’ 90th birthday, and most recently, my sister’s bridal shower, which both took place in the garden of my childhood home (another favourite place of mine).
While a lot of Bruna’s Italian’s offering is centred around pasta classes, which I’ve done a few of, I feel like Bruna’s creative talent and love for sharing good food really comes out when she puts together antipasti platters and secondi for an event.
To give you an idea, there were grilled grapes with ricotta, honey and walnuts, a spread of cold meats and Italian cheeses, freshly baked artisanal bread, and fried Luganiga sausages with lots of garlic as the starter for my sister’s bridal shower (which was appropriately themed since she and her fiancé got engaged on a family trip to Italy, obviously).
If that didn’t get your mouth watering, you clearly don’t like Italian food, or in my opinion, you haven’t eaten enough of it to know how good it is.
(So good that it makes me regularly ignore my slight gluten intolerance).
My childhood home is an incredibly special place, but Bruna and Chris’ home was always an interesting change from “965”, with a façade that was once painted in a variety of different colours.
Growing up in a neutral, more 50’s style conservatively designed big family home, their seventies-style hilltop house was my version of an eccentric getaway up on the hills, with wall to wall mosaic tiling in the bathrooms and a pool with a view.
I think growing up, as much as you love your own home, and I do, it’s always interesting to learn more about what you like from other people’s houses.
Especially when you’re exposed to a whole different culture while doing so, as well as some very memorable artworks, in particular, the Battis that hangs in their entrance hall.
One of my distinctive memories of Bruna, and I think something that endeared her to me forever, was looking up at her from the bottom courtyard of her house as a sullen, moody and hormonal teenager, and her throwing Vitamin E oil capsules down to me from her upstairs balcony.
I think I appreciated both the care and the strong suggestion to sort my shit out that was being presented to me at that exact moment, and my admiration for her as a person, with everything she has gone through, has only grown since.
While we all might have our own families, my family was so big that I think it was easy or natural to incorporate other families into the fold, or just try to integrate yourself into someone else’s family, as a family, to create an even bigger family.
Or maybe that’s because, without even knowing it, all of us Van Schoor’s and Martins just became more and more Italian the more of Bruna’s Italian food we ate. Or there’s just something about Italy that we all crave, especially now after having celebrated an engagement there (and having been to an artichoke festival).
So from my family to you, or yours, if you’re looking to learn more about the connective benefits of making, and eating pasta, as well as a variety of other Italian food, or if you’re looking for somewhere to stay in Pretoria, I definitely recommend giving her a call. Or visiting her website.
What are your favourite homes to visit in Pretoria, if you live here? Or wherever you live? Do you also feel like you’ve ingratiated yourself into another culture through friends? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.