Category Archives: shopping

Perugia, more on reno, market day in Umbertide

A lot has happened in the last couple of days. Yesterday morning I said we were headed for Perugia. We left and it was pretty sunny but by the time we got there it had gotten blustery and cold with glowering skies. It did not really rain though, just spitted a few times. I need to get some warmer clothes!

We were headed to scout out the MiniMetro. We found it with no problem. It is small with only 6 stops and goes from the bottom of the hill near the stadium to the very top of the hill town in the center. We purchased our ticket and boarded. It’s fun to watch them operate. They attach themselves to a continuously moving cable. When they reach a station they unhook and small tires convey them to the platform and stop. Then they propel them forward until they hook back onto the cable. They run about every 2 minutes so no waiting. They reach the end of the line then spin around on a turntable and go back. Very steep trip up to Perugia. Takes about 15 minutes to go from end to end with free parking at the bottom and it drops you right at the top in the center of town.


Arriving in the center on a spectacular overlook of the countryside from up there we head up just a short way to the main area of town. We visited two churches. First was Chiesa di Filippo Neri. I had heard it was incredibly ornate. And it was. I was sorry to see huge cracks in the domes which could have just been in the frescoes, but who knows.


We walked up the steep narrow streets. It is really a beautiful town with hundreds of tiny, almost cavelike streets.


We visited the Duomo, or the main cathedral. It was enormous.


Then we visited the National Gallery of Umbria. If you want to see pre and renaissance art this is the place to go. The works start in about 1230 AD and work up to the 18th century. It is almost all religious in subject matter. Many of the works were beautifully rendered, the colors vibrant. But it was all meant to scare the crap out of the people. Their lives were dominated by the church. I never saw as many “Adoration of the Christ”, “Escape to Egypt”, “Annunciation”, “Cruxifiction”, “Flagellation of Christ” and “Christ going into Heaven” as I’ll ever need to see again! The subject matter varied little. The saints changed over time. I did enjoy it, but I was very done at the end. The first picture is the Griffon which is the symbol of the city. Reminded me of Buckbeak for any Harry Potter fans out there.




We spent 2 hours in the museum! Then headed out to find lunch. We tried two of Luther’s recommended ones, both were closed, either for good or for lunch that day. We fell back on Da Cesare where we had dined with the Gang on our last trip to Umbria. We ate inside since it was so cold outside. The food was classic Umbrian and we split a mixed Bruschetta antipasti and both had pasta. It was good. Since we returned we have gotten a good recommendation for our next trip for Bottega del Vino from our friend John in Montone. It sounds great and we look forward to trying it.

We headed back on the MiniMetro and then home where we had a meeting with Emanuele at 4:30 at the apartment. We met up with him and his partner Paolo and the Electrician and the Plumber. I had sent a rather curt email in the morning about the fact that the sofa was STILL uncovered which may have lit a little fire under him because they covered it while we were there. We had discussions about the pantry space. It will be a nice big space and he has good ideas for shelving across one whole wall and then on the otherside for part of it. We explained that we wanted some floor space dedicated to the cats which is always a priority. So all is well at Via Grilli – for now.

Today we did a bunch of errands. We first had Cappuccini at Bar Mary and did people watching at the market. Then I did my shopping to include tomatoes, potatoes, onions, arugula, and those red and white beans that are so good. Look at all these peppers!!


Then we got our porchetta pannini. That stuff is like CRACK! I thought about it all week since last Wednesday. This time Luther didn’t make the mistake of not getting one. Don’t you love the pig face!? Poor pig but I have to see he was much appreciated in his final form.




Next we hit our favorite seafood stand to buy fish for dinner tonight. We got whole sea bass to try.

Then we split up with Luther going to the barber to get his first haircut. It cost €8.00 (!) It looks way better than the scalp job he got just before we left at the hair cuttery. I went over to the shopping part of the market to see if I could buy some warmer clothes. I scored two nice hoody shirts that are more like sweater material, one has a zipper and is black, the other purple. They cost €3.00 each (!) This stall, like many, you just dig through piles of clothes to find stuff. Then I hit a nicer stall. Everything was hung up and it was nicer quality. I bought a quirky pair of pants with a tweedy look and rolled up bottoms. It is stretchy material, snug in the legs. And a pretty sweater (beige) with a matching infinity scarf. It is very long tunic style. Maybe now that I have an Italian haircut and Italian market bought clothes they won’t immediately know I am foreign! Nah, it’ll never happen 🙂

We headed to the bank next to put down a 50% deposit on the lighting for our house and dropped it off at Emanuele’s office with Paolo. Whew! all done and glad to get back to the apartment to eat our Panini, get out of the cool weather and read a bit.

Concert, food touching, buying envelops, and IKEA excursion

Saturday evening we went to the Brahms 3rd Symphony concert in the Chiesa di San Francesca here in Umbertide. It was a 50 piece orchestra who had only played together for a couple of weeks and they were from all over the world. It was very good. The church acoustics were lovely. The 3rd movement was especially lovely.

Before the concert we tried out Inferno e Paradiso (hell and heaven) which was across the street and situated in the old vaults under the street. They served grilled meats and pizzas only. Also they specialized in beer. What we had was not good but if you stick to beer and pizza I think you would be happy enough.

Sunday we had a lovely lunch at La Chuisa. It is an agritourismo a couple of miles from Umbertide. The food was very homey and tasty. We sat on the porch. The weather was beautiful. We actually had 3 courses. We split an antipasti and we all had a pasta and a secondo which was their special braised chicken. I was amused that the chicken came on a plate with a small bowl of salad and some potatoes. Italians never let their food touch. Everything was well spaced. Susan had mentioned that she had a bunch of Italians for Thanksgiving and they all got up and got one thing at a time and ate it, then went back to get another. They were appalled that the Americans just piled everything on a plate together! Too bad, they miss that wonderful medley of mashed potatoes, dressing and turkey smothered in gravy!

Yesterday we did errands. I purchased 5 envelops. Yes 5. They sell them individually! I would have never guessed. I also got some sticky labels and fixed our doorbell which still had the wrong name on it. Also fixed our mailbox label which had Luther’s MIDDLE name on it but that didn’t bother the mailman as he still brought our mail to it. We also signed onto the Italian police website and checked our Permessi – it said they are in progress. Well I guess that’s good. I also took a picture of the cat “ladder” in the small street behind us. They built it specially so their cat could come and go to their second floor.


Today we went to IKEA! It is on the Adriatic coast about 1 1/2 hours away. We stopped into a winery that Luther had chosen on the way. There was a beautiful old church just along the driveway – the word for country church is pieve. A stylized version of it is also the winery logo. It is not normally open but a photographer had come that day and they had opened it up so I was lucky to get some pictures. The young woman is Sylvia who did our wine tasting for us.







Before we visited IKEA we had a wonderful lunch at Hotel Cristoforo Colombo. We had had trouble finding anywhere to eat. It was an industrial area we just happened upon this hotel. The food turned out to be great with lots of very fresh seafood. I had the Taglietelini with clams.


I did some recon at the IKEA for future purchases but did buy a cushion, two pillows covered in linen for the couch and a cutting board which I had been sorely missing in the apartment.

Sofa and Spello

We woke to a rainy Tuesday. Reminded me of our January trip but warmer. We decided to go visit Divani & Divani which is the Natuzzi store down between Assisi and Perugia. I was not expecting to buy anything, but when we arrived we realized it was their July sale, one of two sanctioned by the Italian state. No one is allowed to have a sale other than in January or July in Italy. Many of their sofas were on sale for 50% off. I really loved some of the sofas and even though we really can’t use it until our house is done it was such a savings we decided to go ahead and buy one. I toyed with the idea of leather as we had in Alexandria but remembered the damage the cats claws caused to it. In the end we went for a nice big beige fiber (cotton and linen) one. The covers all can be removed so I assume they can be cleaned. Here is a picture:


It will be delivered next week.

I am pretty excited about it. It is my first nesting thing and I feel very good that I have done at least one thing towards the furnishing of the house!

After that we had planned to go visit Spello which is a pretty hill town we have never been to and to a winery Luther wanted to try called Sportoletti between Assisi and Spello. We had a nice tasting and purchased a mixed case of 3 of their wines.


Next we drove the short distance to Spello. The densely inhabited town, built of stone, is medieval, and is enclosed by medieval walls on Roman foundations, including three Roman gates (Porta Consolare, Porta di Venere and the “Arch of Augustus”) and traces of three more, remains of an amphitheater, as well several medieval gates. Spello boasts about two dozen small churches, most of them medieval. The town is famous for the Infiorate which includes a whole night of work to create over sixty flower carpets that adorn the streets for the Corpus Domini feast. Here is a website with some pictures from the Infiorate in 2014. It is important to note that these are all made from wild flower petals that are gathered in the hills. It is incredible. I plan to go next year!

Here are some pictures I took today:






We went to Enoteca Properzio in the center of town. It is a wine store and restaurant. It was a hoot. It was a lot of show but fun. We didn’t know what to expect so just went with the flow. The father, Roberto, son, Luca, and daughter Irene were all present. They had the show down pat. They poured wine by the glass and we had bruschetta to start with a Grechetto white Umbrian varietal. Excellent. The bruschette were, two with olive oil from two local producers to compare and contrast, and one with lovely fresh tomatoes from their garden. Next we had a Sangeovese also an Umbrian varietal red. We had it with the two pasta courses, one with the black summer truffles shaved liberally over and the other with tomato sauce. Last we had a very expensive, jammy red, also Sangeovese but 2011 vintage. Excellent wine and paired with two cheeses and balsamic vinegar. Everything was good but I could have made any of it. It was notable for it’s fresh local ingredients that blended very well with the wines and were appropriate for the summertime. Pictures!






A really weird “small world” thing happened in the restaurant. The person we met a number of weeks ago at the wine bar across the river from us in Umbertide, Geoff was at the table next to us! How strange is that? Like we know a lot of people here (not) and one of the few should be in the same restaurant that is about 30 miles from where we both live.