Monthly Archives: September 2021

The Americans are coming!

I am amazed at the numbers of Americans arriving here in Italy right now. I guess many people waited until fall to come on the much wanted trip after the lockouts and lockdowns. I heard Florence is back to the teeming crowds of tourists, so long gone. I’ve seen pictures of other tourist destinations which are also very crowded. It is all good for the Italian merchants, restaurants and all the tourist oriented industries who have all suffered so much from this pandemic. They are all very happy to hear American voices again.

We have been meeting some of them. For a meal or a drink. Some are virtual-friends through my blog. Some already have places to live here and have returned after a long time of not being able to come. Many are looking for a property here. It looks like the property market is finally heating up somewhat.

We had a nice dinner with a couple who own an apartment in one of the many reconstructed borgos around here. Purpose built from old farms or small abandoned villages into vacation home enclaves. For my foodie friends, this was my Primi course last night. Pasta with a duck ragu, figs and nuts. Unusual and very good!

We just noticed there is a cannon in the Piazza outside! Along with the Italian banner. It is time for Otto Cento! For those who don’t know, Fratta ‘800 or Otto Cento has always been our town’s biggest and most fun festival. It was always held about this time of year and lasted for four days. A quasi recreation of the beginning of the Italian republic in 1861.

People dressed in period costume, re-enactments abounded, the cannons boomed, the horse Calvary were here, the briganti hid in their lair along with the ladies of the night in the brothel until Saturday night when they overtook the town. Garibaldi turned the tables and order was restored on Sunday. Four days of mayhem. 15 or more popup restaurants serving period food. Entertainment in keeping with the 1800s. Alas, since Covid it has been a shadow of its former self. But some people are keeping it going with restrictions. Hopefully in 2022 we can get back to our normal one.

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Today a decree will be signed to mandate vaccination to all workers in Italy.

From TheLocal
“Italy is expected to become the first European country to make its Covid-19 health certificate mandatory for all workers in both the public and private sector from October, as the government tries to speed up vaccinations and keep the infection rate down.”

Apartment for sale

Hi everyone. I thought I would take this opportunity to mention again that we are selling our nice apartment here in one of the most convenient little towns I’ve ever encountered here in Italy. Literally anything you could need or wish for is within walking distance of our apartment. You go to the normal little medieval towns in Umbria, or Tuscany, or to a pretty hill town, and they steal your heart. But there is no “there” there. There are no services. You have to drive everywhere. But not here. It is all close by, reachable on foot. In a flat riverside town, surrounded by mountains. You will get integrated into the Italian life. You will know the shopkeepers, and they will know you. This is not to say Umbertide is not pretty with historic sights because it is also that.

We have the best of both worlds in our apartment, a town view of our main piazza, and a bucolic view of the mountains, river and fields from the back. We LIVE on our terrace in the summer. The people here in the Centro, which is like a town within a town, are super friendly. There are two nice bar/coffee shops just downstairs and the two weekly farmers markets are just out our front door. Here is a link. Umbertide Apartment.

Vino on our terazza
Misty sunset
Moon over the Tiber
Summer flowers and sunset

If you dream of Italy. Maybe my apartment will make your dream come true! Nancy22314 at yahoo dot com. We can do the sale directly without a realtor’s fees. My real estate agent from when we bought will handle all the legal paperwork and obtain a Notiao. 🌈

Pizza night at Calagrana

Every Sunday is pizza night at Calagrana. Fun and casual. Albi mans the wood burning outdoor pizza oven with his assistant. We ran into many longtime friends we hadn’t seen in a very long time. All were in good spirits and have weathered the pandemic. Also we saw newly returned friends Linda and Evan. They will be here enjoying their apartment and the pretty autumn weather. We brought along our friends Jane and Christie who now own the little apartment overlooking the square where we stayed while renovating our apartment. We all tucked into our pizzas, hot off the fire. So good! Thanks Team Calagrana.

My pizza bianche with ham, funghi, olives and artichokes
Luther’s more traditional with salsiccia.

Madonna del Riga

Today is Umbertide’s patron saint day. Madonna del Riga. It is a holiday in Umbertide. It also coincides with the band/orchestra concerts in the piazza. We have had five nights of lovely music. Bands and orchestras from all over Umbria have come to perform. I generally enjoy the music from our apartment. It is one of my favorite things. Here is the program.

Not all of the bands are super good but it doesn’t matter to me. I just love that normal life has returned to our world. We have been through a lot. We didn’t have this traditional series last year, due to Covid. We went through a three month super strict lockdown last spring. Then a summer of loosening and fun. Only to be slammed in the fall. We didn’t leave our Comune, Umbertide, for FOUR MONTHS from Christmas to after Easter. Finally, things are a bit more normal.

Tonight is Umbertide’s own. Our town band. I have to say it is pretty darn good, for a town our size. As a friend says, from 7 to 70, all ages. Tonight the band was all inclusive with the adolescente band as well. I can’t tell you how much I enjoy this return to normalcy. I think of this as Umbertide’s living room. 🙂 Look at the turnout. I think I’m not the only one craving normalcy!

A curiosity — Monte Ruperto

I tell you there is always something new to learn! A couple of days ago I was looking up a place in Le Marche on Google maps. I noticed, to my surprise, a chunk of Umbria completely surrounded by Le Marche. Like it was a little island stuck in the next region. Of course I was curious and so went looking and found out it is a Frazione, or a part, of Città di Castello, next town north from us. It is called Monte Ruperto. It is an Umbrian enclave surrounded by Pesaro and Urbino. It is 30 kilometers from the center of Città di Castello. So, how did this happen? Enquiring minds.

It is described as a historical curiosity. The mayor of Città di Castello can claim the noble title of Baron of Monte Ruperto while he serves as mayor. The story goes like this…during a time of famine, caused by a heavy snow, the Baron asked for help for his citizens. Only Città di Castello responded, sending a mule train with supplies.

The Baron was grateful and decided to donate his territory to Città di Castello, along with the title which was bestowed on the sitting Mayor. He can wear the period dress and has the dual role of Mayor and the Baron of Monte Ruperto.

The story is an old one. The inhabitants of Monte Ruperto had tax benefits. A document dated 1274 and reaffirmed in 1574 established that they owed the municipality only five soldi, in usual currency, per hearth (per house), to be paid on 27 August.

There is not much left in the little Frazione. It is about 500 hectare and once had four towns. They are gone or they are ruins now. There are only mountains and forests left. Photo borrowed from Città di Castello.

Piazza

Something I have avoided posting about. Since the curfews were lifted, the bar in our main Piazza, called Cafe Centrale, has gotten increasingly popular with the ragazzi. This is the perfect Italian word for young guys (and girls). It is a nice bar. He regularly hosts musicians, and has good cocktails and food. August, as most know, is the party month when people vacation, no work is done and much is closed. In the Piazza, as the month progressed the crowds got worse and worse. They stayed out there until dawn sometimes. And need I say they were loud? OMG. They were loud. And they were drunk. The bar owner, Diego, eager to recoup all the losses of the lockdowns, stayed open until the customers left…so, until around 4am 😳. Needless to say, this encouraged the crowds. Luckily for us we sleep in the bedroom in the back of our house. So we didn’t really hear it that much and if we close the window in our office it pretty much cuts the sound completely. Thanks to good windows.

In the morning the wreckage of the night is evident. Trash, broken bottles, vomit, the smell of pee in the small streets. Things came to a head when an article was published in the newspaper about it and it turns out one of the residents swore out a “denuncia” on Diego. The court said he needed to control the crowds. He appealed, and they said, no go. Fix this. Diego spoke to the Mayor and agreed to close at 1:30 am.

I bet you’re thinking we should have just called the cops. What cops? Our cops are in bed asleep. The Carabiniere are awake, maybe, but they can’t be bothered with a group of noisy kids.

So the saga continued. The first night, a Friday, that he closed early, I was up at 2am. I noted very loud crowds of ragazzi. The bar was closed. I was amazed to see packs of people, five or six strong, coming from all directions to congregate in the Piazza. They stayed even though he was closed. I suppose when other bars closed the people came to Cafe Centrale because they knew he was serving. The following night the crowds were also large. But the next day, a Sunday and the last weekend in August, things were calmer. And so it has continued. There are lively crowds which give our Piazza life. We love this. But now they are normal crowds of people sitting, eating and drinking. Music plays. It’s hard to tell if this is because it is September now or because the word is out that it’s no longer party central. Tomorrow is Friday. We will see what happens then.
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Always an adventure in the Big City!