Category Archives: Visitors

Great visit with recent guests!

We had been anticipating our upcoming guests, Chuck and Terry. Chuck is Luther’s cousin and Terry is his wife. They live in Knoxville. I had only met Chuck once or twice and very long ago. We had a superb time with them. It is always a pleasure to have guests who so obviously enjoy everything we show them and are always up for anything.

We went to Montone the evening they arrived for a dinner at Antica Osteria. It was good as always. The next day we had planned to go to Assisi which is always the top site to see in Umbria. Terry bought a pretty purse at Michaelangelo Leather shop right in the main piazza. I also was interested to look at the briefcases they had which were quite plentiful. I have a friend coming soon who will be looking for this item.

The day was amazing. The mornings in Umbertide are always very foggy starting in about September. It is like clockwork every year! It burns off in an hour or so. The sky was brilliant blue. Here are some Assisi pictures.

The Rose Window on the Basilica of San Francesco.

The lower church in the Basilica. It is made up of the upper church, built on top of the older, lower church, which is above the crypt where St. Francis’ remains are interred.

Street. I like the blur in the background on this one.

I was captivated by the dog who looked to be chained beside this window on the first floor.

Fortress above Assisi. See that sky!?

In the main Piazza is this fountain. The water droplets were shining in the sun. I had never noticed the top tier on this is a mushroom.

One of my favorite stories is about St. Francis and the Wolf. The legend took place in Gubbio. St. Francis also is known for preaching to the birds. 

After all that sightseeing we took a break for lunch. We ate at Piazetta dell’Erbe as we almost always do. My favorite restaurant there. I had the octopus and the black gnocci with truffles and parmesan cream.

After lunch we visited Deruta where Chuck and Terry bought a beautiful bowl for her table. I hope they got it home safe and sound.

On Wednesday we were expecting the Stufa serviceman so we had to stick close. But then, it is market day with plenty to do right in town. I introduced Chuck and Terry to the Porchetta Panini. Makes a decent breakfast. We wandered the stalls and afterward we went to Patrick’s Enoteca for lunch.

That evening we had my World Famous Bolognese sauce on Strangozzi. 🙂 Everyone seemed to like it.

Thursday we thought we’d go wine tasting. It was overcast and showered on and off but not too bad. First we visited DeFilippo Winery. They are Bio-dynamic and use natural pest control…geese! and horses to plow.

We had time for one more winery and ended up at Pardi in Montefalco. This winery, where we’ve been once before, is owned by a pair of brothers. They are trying interesting things with wine.

Next was…what else? Lunch! We had a reservation at L’Alchimista in Montefalco. We did sit outside despite the sprinkles which we had to shift a couple of times to avoid under the Umbrella.

The visit passed too fast but we did get in three full days with them and we hope they come back to visit us soon. They are always welcome.

While they were packing up to go I was making a gazpacho with a bunch of itty bitty vegetables that my friend Angela had given me. All kinds of things and only a little of each so I though they would work well for a Gazpacho. It did smell wonderful while cooking and nearly got Chuck and Terry to stay a while longer…

Raw ingredients…

Finished product!

Our company has gone :-(

Well we had a terrific visit with Lenny and Mary. They arrived a bit late for lunch and we had Pasta Amitriciana for dinner. Little did we know then that the small town, Amitrice, where that pasta was invented was to be mostly destroyed by an earthquake just a few days later. We were awakened by our beds shaking in the night.

On Sunday we had been invited to a pre-wedding celebration lunch at Calagrana and we figured Lenny and Mary, being fun-loving folks wouldn’t mind going. The day was beautiful and we drove up to Citta di Castello beforehand for some photos. There must have been 25 people there and Tom and Carol, the honorees, were late. By the time they arrived the Prosecco had been freely flowing and most were buzzed a bit. That was OK, it was a celebration. The food was good and the people nice and there was even dancing.

On Monday we went to Gubbio. It is such a gorgeous medieval city. One of the best in Italy.

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It is difficult to reach by public transportation so not as crowded as most towns around. Lenny snapped away. He is a big photographer. We also both bought lovely Etruscan style pottery. Mary and Lenny got a pitcher with pretty gold etching. Very elegant. I went with more austere – I was drawn to the shape of this one.

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Afterwards we drove to Montone to Erbe Luna for lunch outside. It was very breezy all day and quite pleasant.

Tuesday we drove to Assisi. Of course it was very crowded, being August and such a sacred site. I tried to hurry us along to the Basilica because they now have a metal detector you have to go through. I knew the line could be long. We didn’t get there quite as fast as I tried to but it was only about a 20 minute wait. Next visit, if it’s in the summer, I will insist we walk quickly through town, see the Basilica and then shop and photo to our hearts content afterwards. That said, by the time we left the churches the line was amazing! It was probably at least an hour wait…and in the hot sun too. We had lunch at Piazetta del Erbe. We had been before and very much like it. They didn’t have our reservation for some reason, but were sweet and set up a table in the shade for us. Here is my food, grilled octopus in a lime mayo and seared tuna on a caviar base. The octopus was tender with the tips crunchy from the grill. Yum!

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On Wednesday we visited our market and picked up stuff for dinner. Then headed to Tiberini for a wine tasting. We had to insert ourselves into a group of ten so it wasn’t as nice as usual. Then we headed to Montefalco for lunch at L’Alchemista. Good as always and sat outside in the Piazza. Next up shopping! We went to Deruta where we bought pottery. Here is my new bowl. I love the vibrant colors and the handles!
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Alas, Thursday arrived and we took our guests to the train station to head down to Rome. It had been a fun trip which could have turned out badly as JUST before they came we decided to get the car all cleaned up. Nice of us huh? But it turned into a fateful encounter with the washing machine which pulled the entire nose piece of our car off. One side hung down onto the floor. GEEZ. Well we tied it up with a bit of string and went to our auto-body guy. He proceeded to put in bigger screws and managed to secure it. All you could see were a couple of scratches. We did order a new part but this worked for taking the four of us around. We have no idea what we would have done if not for this quick fix. Thank you Senore Auto Body guy!

On Monday we are off to Portugal – Rome to Lisbon RyanAir – to re-connect with our Australian friends. We will drive to the villa they rented and spend three nights and then drive to Lisbon for three nights. We have never been to Portugal and it’s been on our bucket list for a long time.

Rockin’ Umbertide

We saw our most recent guests off yesterday. Ron and Linda live in Florence. We picked them up at the train station. It was a spectacular day. We headed to Castiglione del Lago for lunch at the Monna Lisa restaurant. We sat outside. The food was good and we enjoyed watching the piazza. We headed back to Umbertide over the mountain pass above the lake.
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The next day we went to Gubbio. Again a spectacular day. Ron and Linda travel by trains and busses and Gubbio is darn near impossible to reach that way. Here are a few pictures in Gubbio. It was such a perfect day I snapped quite a few.
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The night before our guests left we were treated to a concert.
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Friday was the beginning of the annual Otto Cento celebration in Umbertide. (last year Otto Cento post) Preparations had begun…
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The town was really rocking last night! Our friend Michelle volunteered to be a “lady of the night” at the Bordello. She was cute in her bustier and flowers at her throat and wrists.
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More to come… Otto Cento is four days long.

American guest

I know I have been quiet but we have had some company. His name is Gene and he stayed for about a week. We went to Assisi, Perugia, wine tasting and Bevagna for lunch and Luther took him by train to (very crowded) Florence. I am glad I opted out of the later! We also took a trip to Isola di Maggiori in Lago Trasemeno. This last was a first for us. We had been meaning to go for some time. It is a nice, down kind of day after a lot of climbing up and down hill-towns. We had lunch at Da Sauro on the porch. The food was not notable. Still a nice day trip

This is a picture of Bevagna. I was liking how blue the sky was and the big white cloud.
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Lunch at Trattoria Oscar. They have a nice terrace. Gene and Luther.
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I couldn’t resist taking a picture of my Gaspacho (italian spelling). It was sooo beautiful and cool.
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Stairway in Bevagna
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Here are a couple of pictures from our excursion to Isola di Maggiori. First a couple of the main (and only) street.
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View of the town from ferry pier. It is a 10 minute ride from Tuoro.
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You can walk a good distance around the island, but not all the way. Here are Gene and Luther during our walk.
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We said Ciao to Gene on Sunday.

Yesterday we visited a winery. The Wine Guy is getting backed up on his posts so be patient. This winery also offered many other products like sausage and prosciutto, and olive oil. I visited the future prosciutti housed nearby.
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Finally two in a series of another sunset. Sometimes they can be pretty spectacular.
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We are getting ready for another set of visitors from Australia so I will be writing about that soon.

My sister’s visit

Well, all things must come to an end. My sister has flown away home. She brought the best weather with her and we enjoyed it completely. Here is a brief recap.

On Monday we went to Gubbio and walked our socks off. It is very hilly.
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This was my appetizer at lunch at Ristorante Taverna del Lupo. It was a truffled egg. Looked better than it tasted.

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Next day, Tuesday we were off to the Montefalco wine region. First stop Di Filippo winery. It is a bio-winery so they use no chemicals, let the geese free in the vineyards to help fertilize, and even cultivate with horses.

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Lunch was in Montefalco at Locanda del Teatro. A new place for me right in the town square. They have a lovely terrace out back where we ate. I tried out the pasta with tiny, wild asparagus and fresh fava beans. Yum! and it was as good as this picture looks.

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Bye Cindy and Bill! We really loved that you came to see us in our “native habitat” as you say.

Eventful week

What a difference a week makes. Last Monday we woke to this.
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Yes that is snow on the mountain tops! Today, Sunday nearly a week later we have this.
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Last Sunday was Easter. We had a fantastic meal at Calagrana. Here are a few mouth watering pictues!
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The best thing though, by far is that my sister came to VISIT!!! I am sooo happy to have her here with me! We drove down to Rome and spent the night prior to their arrival in Fiumicino at hotel Pascucci Porticciolo. Luther enjoyed the bright green bath. We dined in their one star Michelin rated seafood restaurant. Very wonderful experience.
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The next morning we picked them up at Leonardo da Vinci airport after their overnight flight. All went smoothly. Since they, Cindy and her husband Bill, are our first guests in our own house and we had not picked up anyone from the airport yet we were doing this for the first time. Parking was easy. Finding the international arrivals was easy and after watching several thousand people exit the doors…there they were!

We drove home and they visited the kilometer zero market, did a little Umbertide stroll, unpacked and we headed to Montone for lunch at Erba Luna. It was so beautiful we could sit outside! Wow. Here is my sis!
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We had some lovely food.
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Today we headed for a couple of hill towns in northern Umbria and very eastern Tuscany. Such a perfect day. We walked the towns and took pictures. Then we headed for lunch at Calagrana. I knew Cindy and Bill would love that place and the food was outstanding as expected. Everyone had a lot of fun.

Unfortunately they are only here for a short week but we have planned a number of excursions and the weather is going to be perfect all week. Yay!

Great visit!

Well we dropped our guests off at the train station around noon today. We had a great visit. They brought great weather with them. Now that they are gone it is pouring rain.

As you know we had toured Assisi a couple of days before where we learned about St. Francis who was said to be able to talk to animals and once preached a sermon to the birds. Anyway, Kaye was taken particularly with a story about St. Francis and a wolf.

Seems a wolf was eating the people and animals in a town. The desperate citizens asked St. Francis to help. St. Francis went into the woods where the ferocious wolf lived and convinced him that God wanted him to stop hurting the people of the town. The wolf bowed his head and placed his paw in St. Francis’ hand and they went together into the town. The townspeople were astounded and agreed to feed the wolf from then on so he wouldn’t be hungry. He lived two years that way and was buried in the churchyard.

We decided to visit Gubbio yesterday. I did learn a couple of lessons with our first guests, do some research! So I downloaded info on Gubbio. A happy coincidence! Turns out Gubbio is the town where the wolf incident occurred! Kaye said she thought the wolf and St. Francis were her favorite things from her trip. Here is a link to the Wolf of Gubbio Legend.

We tried to visit the Chiesa di Pace where a wolf skeleton was found in the 1800s corroborating the legend. It was closed. Too bad. We toured the upper town, took in the view and visited another church. Here are pictures in the church. One is a fresco of St. Francis and the wolf.

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Another coincidence – we had made reservations at Taverna da Lupa (Tavern of the Wolf) so we were all excited that our theme was ongoing. It was a nice place. Not as good as our previous restaurants though. We sat outside. It also turned out to be a Buon Ricordo member. This is a group of restaurants that each have a specialty dish and if you order it you get a ceramic plate (I have probably 6 of them from many vacations – indeed a Buon Ricordo (good memory)). Kaye and I ordered Faraona al ginepro – roasted Guinea Fowl with Juniper – and got our plates. The dish was very good.

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The Plate!

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All in all a nice day. Last night we went outside so Luther could smoke a cigar. HORRORS! Bar Mary was closed! What was this! Even Cafe Centrale was closed. This morning we found out it is now considered the winter season so they close early on Tuesday. We went back up and got wine and glasses and sat outside. Susan and Gary and Mr. Luca dropped by to meet our guests.

Renovation news

We met with Manuele last evening after our sight seeing. It was good to see much progress. The air conditioning units are installed in the living room and the bedroom. We discussed covering the pipes on the patio. Manuele wants to uncover the old ceiling in the hallway where they installed the new stairway. It is now covered with wallboard but under that is the old vaulted ceiling. Of course we agreed with that! He also discussed with us the fireplace. He wants to change it so it doesn’t look like a Tuscan fireplace (who knew!). It has brickwork and he says they only use stone in Umbria. So I was fine with that as well. I believe he is not charging extra for this as he said “I will do this for you”. Also that Zona di Notte thing was again brought up. Manuele made a pretty good case for it and I think we will have him move a glass door which is at the head of the steps into the hallway. He will tint it which will make the master bedroom and bath more private. He said we could probably start moving in in a couple of weeks! whoo hoo!