Monthly Archives: October 2020

Weekend – Out and about – Photos

The weather wasn’t so nice. We had lots of rain off and on, wind and cool temperatures. Some of the storms were downright scary looking. I love watching the weather approach from our high position. I can see the rain marching towards us, eclipsing the mountains.

Montone on it’s hilltop.
North in the direction of Citta di Castello.

I went to visit a friend and see her new pool on Friday afternoon (it is amazing!). She lives in Castel Rigone on top of the mountains between here and Lago Trasimeno. I took a couple of pictures along the way.

Olive grove. The picking season is nearing and it’s going to be a whopper.
View of Umbertide down in the valley.

Things are not going well with Covid-19 in many places now. France, Spain and the UK have lockdowns in parts of the country. Their new case numbers are skyrocketing. Italy has not been as bad as them but the numbers are steadily rising and a new proclamation is due to come out from the National Government on Wednesday. The early intel says they will mandate masks all the time both inside and out for all the country. Many regions have already done this on their own. I also heard there will be an 11PM curfew for Bars. Maybe this will help. Our schools have been back in session for two weeks and I haven’t heard any bad news from that. Of course the US is way out of control. I look at the maps of the new infections growth and the whole north of the country is red with higher cases daily. Now that school is back in, and the weather is cooler, people are inside more so the cases grow.

Be careful everyone. Wear those masks and avoid crowded situations. 🌈 Andrà tutto bene!

Bar Mary

Domenica mattina. Umbertide is silent in the dark before the morning light makes itself known. The days have gotten noticeably shorter. The mornings darker. At 6:30 almost every day of the year, I hear from my bed, the sound of the metal gate on Bar Mary being thrown up to open for the day. Irene (pronounced Ear-RAY-Nay) is the designated opener. Mary, the closer. Saturday night was a raucous party. Sunday morning, is calm. The next thing I hear is the sound of chairs scraping on the stones. Everyday, Irene and Mary, the sister owners, spend an inordinate amount of time repositioning the chairs around the tables. And then the customers come and move them all again. 

Morning on Piazza Matteotti

Once Bar Mary was Bar Patsy. And who knows before that? It is owned by the Catholic Church who inherited it from an old woman who lived in the building. The sisters pay their rent to the church. Our first day in Umbertide, we had driven straight here from Rome after our overnight flight for our house hunting trip, we met Jim, our realtor, who, first thing, took us to Bar Mary for a beer. And it has been our “go to” place ever since.


The first customers arrive shortly after opening. I can hear Irene talking to them. And then a laugh that rings across the Piazza. Both Mary and Irene laugh easily, heartily, and loudly. I affectionately call it a cackle. Esspressi are made, and within seconds have been downed while standing at the bar. Sometimes a customer will linger at the outside tables over a cappuccino and a cornetto. The Sunday bells peal, calling people to mass.

Not long after opening, the old men begin to arrive. Every town in Italy has their cadres of old men, pensioners, kicked out of the house by the wife or coming to the Bar for company if they live alone. They sit, and read the sports page and have arguments about the teams.  Before long the Briscola begins. Also called Scopa, but not here in Umbertide. Here, it is only called Briscola. It is a quirky card game played by Italians. The games can get loud and heated. There were four tables going last evening, each surrounded by the inevitable kibitzers. The men always go home by seven for dinner. The old men never buy a thing from Bar Mary. They just take up table space. And they expect the bar to provide the cards! I wonder at this. What is in it for the Bar? And, as far as I can see, nothing. But it is tradition. And no one will complain.

The passagiata usually begins around five in the afternoon. People begin to stroll through the Piazza. Families with strollers and kids in tow. Grandparents with their grandchildren, showing off the bambini proudly. Then the teenagers and young people come through in packs. All seeing, and being seen. An evening ritual throughout Italy.

Passagiatta, evening stroll.

Not long after the old men go home, the tables will be taken by families, couples and young people. They will order an affogato, or gelato. Maybe a drink or two. An aperol spritz perhaps. The little kids run wild screeching and spinning across the piazza. Chasing the pigeons. The parents pay them no mind. They are perfectly safe. And out of control 🙄.

You won’t see them blond like this one very often. Cute ragazzo.

A day in the life of an Italian bar – Bar Mary. 💕

Stupidly happy…

We have a list a mile long of things to get done. We have been trying to work our way through them. This week and last, we made MAJOR progress!

Last week we had our stufa cleaned. This is our pellet stove that warms our living room. Now we are ready for winter. We also finally got a plumber to come to our house to fix a bunch of things we’ve had for, literally, years. Today the plumber came back. He fixed everything! I am stupidly happy. I have new toilet seats for both toilets. I have a toilet that flushes again. I have a new rain shower and a shower door that no longer leaks. I have a new faucet outside on the terrace. It has leaked for all the time we’ve lived here. First time it will be dry out there.  My small table is no longer wet, and I hope the mold goes away now. It makes me crazy happy.

We also visited our primary care doctor for an introductory appointment. And to get flu shots. I really like our new doctor. She is so accommodating. She will email our prescription refills rather than make us return every month. We changed from our old doctor because we were not happy with her.

I also have an appointment with my knee surgeon on Saturday. Looking forward to asking him about my ongoing knee issues.

The only thing not working out so far is mailing our absentee ballots. We have tried twice and so far have not managed to mail them. We want to use DHL so we can track, and also so we can avoid Poste Italiene and USPO. Next week for sure. Piano, piano…