A Travellerspoint blog

7/8/08

Last blog for a while...

Today I am in the English Library in Castglione Del Largo. Suzy volunteers here several days a week and Im blogging from the free library computer while she works. The view from here to the lake is beautiful! I dont know when I will get to post again. Stay tuned, dear friends!

Posted by Allegra51 03:19 Archived in Italy Comments (0)

7-7-08

Market day in Chuisi

Ive enjoyed market day in Chuisi on each of my other visits and today was no exception. I met Suzy in Moiano and she drove in. They have changed the location and it is a lot shadier than the other location, We wandered around for several hours and among the treasures we found were 2 blouses for Suzy, jewely for gifts to go home, a replacement O ring for Suzys coffee pot and a serrated knife for Bettas for the bread from Napoli (not a job for a sissy knife). I also bought caprese makings in anticipation of the arrival of my first guests, Constance, Lylaine and Danny (oooooo) tomorrow evening. After market, Suzy took me up to Chuisi storico. Its a wonderful town with a stately Roman facade Etruscan Museo. The air was fresh and the breeze welcome as we strolled around a bit. We visited a church and the tourist center and Suzy pointed out a good coffee bar if my guests might want to pass an evening in a Chuisi piazza. The views from the area where we parked were lovely. It was a little hazy, but still, you can see for many miles. After that, we went to Mareska Ristorante in Po Bandino for a late lunch. They have a special dish called "Rosa di Vitello" a rose of veal.......beautiful and delicious.

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We ate and chatted for quite a while-they were getting ready to close before dinner- and on the way home, we decided to see if Suzys friend, Jenny was home and if she had any olive oil left for sale. Jenny lives in La Costa, a preserve of many hundred acres. There are 13-17 residences, 2 pools, a centro where activities occur, wildlife, paths and beauty abound. Jenny was home and graciously rose from her riposo to have a visit with us. We were treated to her home made cherry juice (yummy) and she found a litre of her wonderful oil for me. Everyone is proud of their olive oil, and Ive tasted plenty of great oil here. Jennys is among the very best! She said, "Yes. It is good on caprese." I said, "If I had a straw, Id drink it!"

Suzy continues to be unfailingly generous with her time and support. So many of the special memories I have from each trip are related to her sharing her friends and finds with me. I am now eager to share them with my friends and family. From Jennys oil to Mr. Petumis honey to the beautiful doorway in Chuisi for a photo- the joy is passed, like ripples on a pond.

PS-JOSH-Molto etruschi! Jenny has and etruscan artifact on her wall and I trod an etruschi road that goes through Jennys yard. Just another day in the suburbs of Gubbio!

Posted by Allegra51 03:00 Archived in Italy Comments (1)

7/6/08

Im sure you saw it on CNN...or at least on the travel channel...

It was "Lunch in Paciano Day" today. Apparently lunch goes from 11-7 in Paciano.

First, I guess you should know Pacianos main street is about 2 blocks long and just over 500 people live here. Still, they had both a town band and a town choir performing today. I realized that the band and choir couldnt perform together because about half were in both. That may expalin both being 1/2 good and both being made up of sincere and earnest performers. The youngest looked less than 11 and the oldest pushing or pulling 70. Strains fo Santa Lucia and other familiar Italian songs, both instrumental and vocal filled the piazza below my balcony for most of the aftenoon. I decided it as probably a cultural faux pas to suggest tuning the accordian...

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At the end of each vocal performance, one of the tenors could not resist shooting for a soaring high note ending. The key phrase here is "shooting for". Whilst he never quite got there, I looked forward to each attempt. The same could not be said of the accordian -playing conductor who shot disapproving looks at said tenor. Between selections, he had a private cautionary talk with the ambitious singer. The tenor, finally acquiessing in body language and nodding his head reassuringly in concession.

Sa an ta ah Loo oo Cee ahh............San tah...........Loo Ceee ah....................................AH! He couldnt help himself!

After the musica, there were games for the children, most involving dancing. When it got down to the last 2 girls, and a winner was chosen, the adoring crowd was sure to cheer just as loud for the little girl that did not win so that she would not feel less special. So celebratory of each other and their children here. So genuine their delight in each other.

There were several "fata a mano" (handmade) booths of jewelry, paintings, photos and some market wares and the restaurants had special "take aways" for the day, antipasti misto, pasta pomadoro, biscotti and almond cake. The mood was festive and carefree and though over for some 2 and a half hours now, the piazza is still liely with locals recounting the splendor of the day. Given the choice of Madi Gras in New Orleans or Lunch in Paciano Day, I think you might guess my choice.

Notable in their absence today, ringing cell phones, Crocs, Blackberries and anything resembling impatience, rudeness or crudeness. I havent heard anyone swear since I got here. Even the teens are most often heard repeatedly welcoming of bidding goodbye to each other. "Ciao, ciao, ciao." Is considered the briefest of adieus. The can ciao 10 times over! So hard here to leave a friend.

Posted by Allegra51 02:42 Archived in Italy Comments (0)

7-5-08

Boring day

The trip caught up with me a bit today and I decided to take it easy. I woke late, sat in the sun for an hour and then had a caffe at the bar net door. 2 local teens wanted to practice their English, so I obliged. Their English was good, but their pronouns were a little fuzzy...."Please tell-ah to her-ah, heem-ah, they sayng it wrong-ah." I said, "Tell him? Tell her? Tell they?" Big laughs. After coffee and pronouns, I took a long walk around and through this jewel of a town. Even after many visits and stays, I still expect to hear "Quiet on the set!" Its is that perfect in appearance. As they say here of evocative places and sighet, "Molto suggestivo!"

I had just enough time for riposo (rest) before Suzy called to see if I wanted to go to Deruta, a ceramics center for the late afternoon. I should tell ou here, that Suzy and I are dish whores, especially Italian majolica dish whores.

LEARNING NOTE: Majolica is majolica because it is red clay based and the glaze is white. It is different from the type of ceramics done in Venice and the North....that type is "much less precious".

The artisans are fiercely proud of their craft and with good reason. Each stood ready to help us to appreciate the history of their art and their passion for quality. Marcella, a lovely woman with the MOST intricate designs, invited us to watch her paint. When Suzy asked if she got nevours when people watched, she said, "No. It gives me joy." Another shop keeper explained how the jobs for the shop were divided among the family members. He prepared the pieces for painting and did the firing, his wife and mother in law painted, his brother, father and cousins all also worked for the family business to keep it alive.

Their livelihoods are in jeopardy now, though because of the American economy. May shops stood empty of touristi, some shops closed early, some had gone out of business. It is a sad thing to see and most of the shopkeepersand artists remrked about it.

The drive from Moiano to Deruta has spectacular Umbrian views. The landscape view are panoamic and diverse. The valleys are patchworks of golden fields of grians, silver green olive groves, verdent vineyards gay sunflowers an other produce, each with their own color palate and textures. As the earth slopes higher, the scenery gives way to a kalidescope of greens and slver grays dotted with the quintessential colors of Italian buildings...shades of tera cotta and umber. In the distance, the deep purples of the mountains form a wavy horizon below the bright blue and white sky. Every direction, a treat for the eyes. "It is an emotion".

As I write this, I am sitting in the kitchen sipping the gas pump wine bought yesterday, a symphony of Italian language and passion and laughter rising from the coffee bar tables below. The air is fresh and crisp as it blows the curtain that Rina (my land lady) crocheted and the inky midnight blue (it is actually midnight) sky is alive with stars and the sliver of a crescent moon.

Id like to take the opportunity to thank Ben for taking Latin in grade 7. If he hadnt, I would never have had this perfect day in Umbria ith my friend Suzy. I would certainly never have met Rina and Betta to have made friends of them, which allowed me this time in this place to share with loved ones. And they say Latin has no place in the modern school system. I'm not sitting in Umbria because of ALGEBRA!!

Posted by Allegra51 02:20 Archived in Italy Comments (1)

OOPS...

...forgot 4th first

Im driving in Italy! Right now Im all shiney and new about it. This is likely because I hae only driven about 10 miles and knew exacto where I was going AND because there was an easy parking place sort of near the upper gate. Check back with me once Ive tried an unknown route, white road (dont ask), the A1 or parallell parking uphill in reverse!

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Posted by Allegra51 02:17 Archived in Italy Comments (0)

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