Monthly Archives: April 2015

25 Aprile

Today is the 25th of Aprile. In 1945 Italy was liberated on this day. But as the Germans moved northward up the country much damage and many lives were lost including citizens of Umbertide. Also on the 25th of April but in 1944, one year earlier than Liberation Day, Allied bombers, attempting to hit the bridge over the Tiber, killed 72 people in Umbertide. The square, since called Piazza 25 Aprile is now a parking lot but where the walls of the houses were is delineated in red brick with openings where the doors used to be as well as the house number. There is a plaque on the wall with the names of the killed.

We knew something was up yesterday when the Kilometer Zero market set up on an unusual day of the week, Friday. This morning the street cleaners made the Piazzas pristine and I noticed all the police were wearing their spiffy dress uniforms. Then, at 9:15 am the bell in the old church tower on the piazza began to ring. I wondered at the significance of the time. Later I read the bombing started in the morning, probably at 9:15. I didn’t count but perhaps they rang it for each person killed. Then the Umbertide band marched through town.


We ventured out a while later and they were giving speeches in the Piazza 25 Aprile. I noticed a number of old men about. I wonder if they remembered the day. Later when I was talking to Susan about it she mentioned that she felt guilty and avoided the celebration because the Americans did the bombing. I had not felt that way at the time. Perhaps I was being insensitive.

Last night I took this picture of the Tiber. It was a pretty sunset.

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.


This was my appetizer at lunch at Ristorante Taverna del Lupo. It was a truffled egg. Looked better than it tasted.



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.




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.


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.
Yes that is snow on the mountain tops! Today, Sunday nearly a week later we have this.
Last Sunday was Easter. We had a fantastic meal at Calagrana. Here are a few mouth watering pictues!



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.

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!
We had some lovely food.


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!

Ceramic table arrived!

Yesterday was Venerdi Santo or Good Friday. You may remember we purchased a ceramic table top in Deruta, world famous for it’s ceramics. We have been dealing with Ceramiche Artistiche Gialletti Giulio. They are friendly, helpful, and seem to treat us fairly on cost. In February I ordered a 100 cm table top and iron base. They promised to get it to me by the end of March before my sister visits. They got close. April 3 they delivered it. It was only one person, Michele whom we deal with and he asked Luther to help bring it up the stairs. It weighed around 70 Kilos so it was HEAVY. All is well. It looks beautiful on our patio!


Close up of the artists work.

Last night was the Good Friday Fish Evening at Calagrana. They had a packed house. I think everyone there was British. That is the one disadvantage of Calagrana. But Ely is British and her husband is Italian. I believe Ely is the one who dreams up the dishes and Alberto makes them. They are a pretty good team.

Here is what we had.
First course was Spicy fish cakes served with garlic dip. Forgot to take a picture. It was fairly spicy and I would have liked more of the garlic dip.

Next was Prawn and aubergine Millefoglie. The eggplant was like potato chips! Really crunchy and the prawns were sweet. My favorite dish of the evening.

Then we had Creamy risotto Frutti di mare. Perfectly cooked, crunchy arborio rice and mixed seafood to include mussels, shrimp and squid. High on my like list.

Next was the main or Secundi. This was a Mixed grilled fish. By this time I was pretty full. It was not a really exciting dish either. But the fish was well prepared.

Finally dessert of Panna cotta of white chocolate and raspberries on a crumble base. Very good even after all that food. A fun evening.

We got back and the streets were crowded with the faithful who had just finished carrying Christ around town. I went into the church before we left for dinner and saw the “coffin” type wooden box with a glass top inside of which was Jesus. There were poles that stuck out of the ends for carrying. Interesting.

Happy Pasqua!

Spring has sprung just in time for the Easter festivities (called Pasqua here). Tomorrow is Venerdi Santo (Holy Friday). I am told they carry a cross through town playing dirge-like music with all the religious town folk following. It is not, however a holiday here unlike in most of the rest of Europe. We have planned to take part in an all fish dinner on Vererdi Santo evening. This is the tradition. Then on Easter Sunday we will go for a traditional end-of-Lent lunch. We will be going with Gary and Susan and I will post about it afterwards. The big celebratory day is Monday. We are told all the Italians go to the seashore…at once! And party all day.

Yesterday I went on a photo shoot and gathered some pictures of the amazing eggs that are all around town as well as Easter cakes. We heard the Italians will spend 400 million Euros on chocolate and cakes for Easter!

This is the window of the little pasticceria down the street.

These next two I took in the wine shop where we buy our wines. They obviously sell other stuff besides wine. Here are eggs bigger than my head!

And the shelves are full of cakes (bottom) and eggs (top)

Next I took a few pictures to show that spring is on the way all around town.



Here is the town plan of the Centro Storico.

Here is a tiny alley, one of my favorite streets. It parallels one of the streets into the Piazza.

Here is a view of the Reggia river (yeah, it is a very SMALL river) along with the walking path that winds into the Centro with La Rocca in the background.

We actually got a few more errands done yesterday. We bought and I installed our “rabbit” fence for the terrace. This will allow the cats to go out but still with supervision. I think it looks pretty nice.