Goings On…

Spring has sprung when the Monk’s Beard shows up and here it is!

I also decided to ask our butcher for flank steak. I know it exists and I wanted to make fajitas. One of the butchers speaks some english so I asked him if he was familiar with them. He said yes and trotted off into the back. He brought out what is the most enormous flank steak I’ve ever seen. He held his knife on it to see how much I wanted. So what I ended up with was this.

As you can see it is a very thick steak and I got a chunk of it. I grilled it in the fireplace without marinating it or anything else. It was a tasty bit of meat and worked fine in the fajitas. Always something new!

Our weather has been unrelentingly gray and wet but not particularly cold. The Tiber overflowed its banks again but not as bad as last year. All the little rivers were roaring torrents! And we’ve had some storms. This one loomed up over the mountains with the sun still shining in the foreground.

This week we finally saw some relief…So when we saw the sun was going to be out we planned a trip to a winery in the Montefalco area. We head for one in particular but as often happens ended up at another because we couldn’t find the first one. We ended up at Antonelli. This is a very big operation for that area. They were very nice and poured generously for the tasting.


Nina the dog liked attention.

Packing up the purchases.

The tasting room.


They also produce olive oil and were pruning the trees back. See the piles of branches?

After the tasting we went into the town of Montefalco and tried to visit the museum but it was closed on Tuesdays. One of these days we’ll get to see the purportedly beautiful frescoes of the life of St. Francis. We chose a little enotecca with restaurant and had a pleasant lunch. There were even two brave tables of folks sitting outside in the sun.

Montefalco piazza.

View from Montefalco across the valley to Monte Subasio.

An artist paints stylized pictures of local scenes. Here is one that was hanging in the restaurant. I want to buy one of his paintings sometime. I’ve seen them in a shop in Assisi.DSC05301

Finally, I wanted to address something that I have been hearing over and over in the US press. And this is not a political opinion at all but it does have to do with the presidential election. It is the fact that many people are looking for so called “exit strategies” if Trump gets elected. Wanting to immigrate to Canada, or Mexico, or wherever to get away. Well, as an expat who has already exited let me tell you…you can run but you can’t hide.

As a US citizen anything that happens in the US affects all of us no matter where we live. We, as Americans, still have to file and pay US taxes every year. I was surprised to get a letter with an additional tax form I have to file this year to prove I have enough health insurance over and above my Medicare. This is a new one for me. It will be amusing to see how my accountant handles it! As most of you know we are in the Italian health care system.

We also have to comply with a lot of regulations that Uncle Sam creates just to keep tabs on us and on all our financial dealings. For instance, FBAR (Foreign Bank Account Report) and FATCA (Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act). Depending on our situation we must file these before June or face fines and possible criminal charges.

Yep, the long arm of Uncle Sam will always find you. You might as well forget that “exit strategy”.

4 thoughts on “Goings On…

  1. Nancy Hampton Post author

    Hi. Monks Beard, known as Agretti or Barba dei frati here in Italy has been grown in southern and central Italy for centuries. It is considered a real delicacy in the UK where it is sought after. All the recipes I found in English are from there. I don’t know if it ever gets as far as the US.

    I totally understand what you mean by not wanting to fraternize with people who are your opposite politically. That is the truth. In fact, among the Expats here from the US I’ve not run into one that is right-leaning or identifies that way. I think it’s because most of those types of people are frightened which is why they are looking for a strong man to rule them and keep out the danger and bring back the order they so much desire. They would never, ever consider living outside the US. Too different for them.

  2. jencvt2002

    Hi Nancy! I have never tasted Monk’s beard. Is it unique to the region? Also, about exit strategies… For me, it’s not so much about the long arm of Uncle Sam, but, about walking among people who are my politically polar opposite. But, I’ve been posturing for the move for a long time.

  3. Carlo

    Hi Nancy,

    Another lovely posting. Thank you. Where did you find mole sauce in Italy?! I can only rarely find it here in the US. My Mexican American paternal grandmother used to make it from scratch when I was a kid. I love the stuff.


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