Category Archives: Eating

Our first trip since Lockdown

Sunday, June 28
It was a birthday celebration. The plan was simple. We were driving on our first road trip from our house in Umbria to a hotel on the Mediterranean coast to a town called Castiglione della Pescaia. It would not be a long drive, only 2-3 hours.

We drove the Angelo Giallo for the first time since lockdown. We had taken it to the dealer for it’s annual servicing and it had a coolant leak. So we were all set. We left at 1:30 and drove from our house to Siena on the decent four lane road and then went south and slightly west to our destination. A pretty and interesting route.

We arrived at about 5pm, just after our friends Susan and Gary. It was Susan’s birthday trip and Luthers birthday is July 5 so kind of a piggyback. Hotel L’Andana is a few kilometers from the coast. From certain parts of the property you can see the sea. It is over 500 acres of land. They have hundreds of olive trees, all regimented and perfectly shaved. They look like they have all had the exact same flat-top haircut.

This is the driveway and gate. It was 900 meters long.
Maremmana cattle. Amazing horns. Nearly went extinct. Mussolini drained the swamps where they were adapted to live and work.
Our room. Great AC!

The next two are pictures of the property.

We rested and changed for dinner at the hotel. They have two restaurants, only one of which was open. The more casual of the two. Nice spot outdoors. Lots of spacing between tables. Everyone wore a mask. Unfortunately for me my main course was inedible. Grilled octopus on mashed potatoes. The octopus was a Goodyear retread tire. Almost impossible to chew. I rarely have an experience like this, and never in Italy. So I sent it back and got chicken. Susan and Gary got the Branzino cooked in a pouch which they loved. So, it was a mixed result. I might also mention, this restaurant was EXPENSIVE. 

Monday, Susan’s birthday. And today was to be her day. Beautiful sunny weather but would be hot. We had breakfast outside under the trees. Near our dinner spot from last night. They’ve got loads of help here, so service was great. Not always experienced, but always someone there. I had scrambled eggs. There was a big buffet but they had to serve us. Buffets aren’t allowed since Covid. Luther had smoked salmon. There were croissants and bread and butter, yogurt, freshly squeezed OJ. Eggs, any way. Just fine.

Outside dining area. Breakfast and dinner.
Outside dining area. Breakfast and dinner.

We left after breakfast and headed for the beach. Castiglione della Pescaia is the pretty town nearby. We drove through, turned towards the beach and ended at a dead end. Finally extricated ourselves and headed down the main highway that parallels the coast. We drove through a big park. It was a huge forest of umbrella pines. Quite amazing. Campgrounds were in and among the trees. At the end, I saw there was a town called Marina di Grosseto. I peered down the first road we came to and I saw umbrellas and a big parking area under the pines. Not looking a gift horse in the mouth we parked and walked to the beach. Tre Stelle, a little Bagno, or beach restaurant with its own umbrellas out front. We rented two, and four chairs and even finagled towels. The beach was beautiful. Maybe 40% full. Lots of empty chairs. And all the umbrellas were well spaced with at least six feet between them. Felt very safe. Nice breeze. Susan got her birthday wish to sit on the beach, go in the water. I did too but since I had no suit I got my pants good and wet but didn’t swim. The water was a perfect temperature.

Our beach.
Our beach.
Our beach.

After a few hours enjoying the beauty. We headed back to Castiglione della Pescaia. We had reservations at Bagno Tito. Right on the beach. We found a free on-street parking place and walked to the beach. Just 3 blocks. It was a really nice little beachy place. We sat under umbrellas on the beach. The food was good enough. Not great but fine. We had nice local wine. A nice breeze. What else could you wish for.

Lunch. Bagno Tito.
The view from our table, right on the beach.
Luther got Alici…fresh anchovies. Cracked pink pepper cornes perked it up.


We visited the local Coop grocery store where we bought food for a picnic in the room. Then, back to the hotel for showers and a nap. The picnic was fun. Nice conversation. Later, Luther and I sat outside while he smoked a cigar. I listened to the night noises. Owls maybe? Or small creatures? Horses neighing. Long soft sunset like we get during the longest days of summer. 

Tuesday — We met for breakfast at nine. More scrambled eggs with salmon. A good breakfast. We had to get out by ten because we had an appointment to taste Bolgheri wines an hour away, up the coast. A place called Fornacelle.  As always it was a wild goose chase to find it but we persevered and with the help of google maps finally found it. These wineries are all on the flat lowland between the beach and the bluff rising to the mountains. And the area is networked with little one lane roads. 

Our hostess, Sylvia, was a member of the family which owned the winery. A small operation. She showed us the cellaring room with the oak barrels. And an art installation along with art upstairs in a gallery. They use this on their labels. We finally settled on a pretty patio outside to taste. We had a 100% Vermentino Zizzolo white, a 100% Semillion white (aged in oak), a Rosso Zizzolo blend of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. These two are named for a small fruit tree which produces an apple-like fruit. They had a tree next to the patio. Next we tried a Red made from Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon. And finally a 100% Cabernet Franc called Erminia. This last one was a beautiful wine. My favorite. She brought crostade with their good oil. A very fun tasting which lasted longer than expected. We had a second appointment but couldn’t keep it and make our lunch reservation.

The cellar.
Zizzolo tree and fruit.

Next few are of the patio where we tasted the wine and some of the wine bottles we tried.


Off we went to Agriristoro La Cesarina. Another exciting adventure in tiny one lane roads, eventually going up the bluff to the top where the restaurant was situated. What a view. Small, casual, place. Obviously their home as we interrupted their lunch. The whole family was there. Turns out Nonna was the cook. Very traditional Tuscan cuisine. But all good. We had antipasto for all four of us plates of meats with melon, cheeses with figs and fig jam. Bruschette – red pepper and liver. All good. Then we had main courses. All the choices were very long cooked meats. A roast pork with carmelized onions. Roast cinghiale, roast beef. Everyone liked theirs. The wines were Bolgheri wines and good.

La Cesarina dining area.
La Cesarina dining area.
The view.
After lunch digestivo. Anise and something else I couldn’t place.

Driving home was another hoot. Up and down the mountains through the valleys. But we got home in time for Susan’s conference call.  
We again gathered for snacks. Watermelon, a little cheese was left and some mortadella.

I rose a bit early and tried to sit outside but the humidity has risen and there are millions of gnats and tiny bugs. So I had to retreat. I did take a shot of the long morning shadows which I thought was pretty.

We breakfasted and got on the road. Home in 2 hours 10 minutes.
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Impressions for our first trip. Restaurants were generally doing well with good distancing. Bagno Tito, the beach restaurant had no paper towels. That was bad because after you wash your hands you don’t want to touch handles etc. All other places had immaculate and fully equipped bathrooms. The hotel was very nice, clean and had great beds and linen. No worries there. The two beaches were sparsely populated and all umbrellas and chairs widely spaced. Unless in the great out of doors, everyone wears masks. So I’d give Italy an A.

During the trip we saw 2 German tags, 3 Swiss, 1 UK, 2 Monaco, 1 Lichtenstein, 1 Netherlands, and one Austrian. Every other tag was Italian, so Italians far out numbered everyone else, very few crossing the borders.

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I see things aren’t going so well in the US. The EU decided not to let travelers from the US into Europe. The benchmark scientific metric used was new cases over the past two weeks per 100,000 people. The average among the 27 European Union countries was 16 in mid-June; in the United States, it was 107.
Please everyone, wear your masks when not in open countryside. It would slow the virus to a crawl and the economy could come back without drastic shutdowns. It’s really not hard…I hate the masks, but I wear them.🌈

Road trip!

So, tomorrow we are off on our first excellent adventure since total lockdown here in Italia. A heady time! Also, a little nervous-making. 😳  But you have to put your toe in the water sometime as I say.

Today was all about packing, ironing, doing last minute errands, and buying picnic stuff. All of which we have finished. We also went out for an apperitivo at Bar Mary. Almost all the tables were taken. We sat at a table next to a guy alone at another table. Heard him talking, British. But I recognized him….then I finally got it. Ralph Fiennes. I knew he had a place here in Umbertide but never I had actually seen him. Wow. I had a drink next to Lord Voldemort! 😳
 
I have friends who are avid bikers. They took this picture on their recent ride. One million happy Umbrians – thanks James and Virginia Lupori!

Permesso di Soggiorno #7

June 25 is an auspicious day for us. On this day, we flew from the US to Italia to begin our excellent adventure! Here is my post from the day of our flight — June 25, 2014 —  Our journey is Accomplished. 

Picture  from our first summer here…

Since we had to get our Elective Residency visa to start on the day we planned to go to Italy, it expires on the June 25 date every year. It just so happened that our appointment at the Questura was today. This is the appointment where we get ourselves fingerprinted and turn in more paperwork and our photos.

The experience was a little different. The former waiting room was devoid of chairs and the old disused windows in that room were now open and functional. So we didn’t ever enter the building. Our old favorite police officer, Latizia, whom I had missed for the last two appointments was back. She’s super nice and after seven Permessi, she knows us. Only the two people at the two windows were allowed inside. We waited outside until our turn. The horrible fingerprint experience ensued. I hate that part the most. But we always get through it. Piano, piano as Latizia said. Another bureaucratic hoop has been jumped through. Maybe next year we can again try for the long term permit. Sigh. I hope so. It’s not terribly hard to renew yearly but it’s just a lot of time and tedious work. Plus, now that our Permessi are officially expired we can’t travel within Schengen. People think they can with the postal receipt, but it is not true as that is not an official EU document. If we get the long term permit we won’t have this issue. 
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Dinner tonight was something new. Pizza from the wood oven at Calagrana. The downside, I had to drive there to pickup. The upside, the pizza was excellent!

Excellent pizza! Mmmm.
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I am so sorry to be watching the numbers in the US on TV. It is frightening to me. Everything seems so out of control. Anyway, please, all my friends, keep yourselves safe…stay home, if you must go out wear your mask. It is a no brainer…it saves lives. 🌈

Anniversary

Today was our anniversary. It started as a lovely day. We had reservations for Pranzo at San Giorgio. It is just across the piazza from our house…maybe 50 meters. Gosh. I sure wish I had had my camera. They have been here since before we moved here and they have been getting a lot of recognition from Michelin and Gambero Rosso (Italian food and wine publication). We haven’t gone often for a couple years because I had a problem with the fact they never had a seasonal menu, any specials, nor did their offerings change. I got a bit bored with them. So we stopped going. Today, we decided to try them again.

They have maybe 6 tables outside. Very small. Their offerings are different from the last time we went but that was long ago. I am so sorry I didn’t take photos! I ordered fried sweetbreads with cherries and a small salad with almonds to start, and a ravioli with shrimp. Luther got paccheri (pasta) to start, and tagliata (steak) as a main.

After we ordered they brought plates of different breads. All sorts. Cheesy muffin. An anchovy one, a tomato one, a couple seeded ones. And really good breadsticks. Then they brought the gifts from the chef. Pretty amazing. There were two tastes of each one. One was a sort of jello that I believe was made from Campari and lemon peel. Very bitter but very good. It came on a little spoon. Then two peanuts, well they were shaped like peanuts in the shell. They weren’t peanuts though. But filled with a creamy peanuty filling. Essence of peanuts. There was a tuna lollipop with a red casing of tomato. And finally parmesan crisps on a stick. They were all very amazing. So sorry no pics. We will have to go back! 🙂😋

While we were there a thunderstorm messed up the pretty day. We had wind and some sprinkles but we stuck it out and it didn’t get worse. All in all a nice Pranzo for our anniversary.
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Last night – sunset.

Last evening we had aperitivo with Joseph and Paul at Bar Mary. They have begun serving nice little pastries and prosciutto wrapped bread sticks with their drinks. I guess it is the competition with Cafe Centrale across from them. They have very nice appetizers to go with the drinks. It was a nice evening and we caught up with them about their recent 4 day trip to Rome. The city was empty. They had the place to themselves. Most hotels have not reopened. Many restaurants have not either. They have pictures of themselves at the standard sights — alone. The Spanish Steps, the Trevi fountain, the Pantheon. Amazing and a bit sad. I hated Rome for its frenetic bustle, but I don’t think I’d like it any better this way. They heard no languages other than Italian. No tourists are there. 😢

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Here is the latest information about travel to Europe.
 
Updated: 19 June 2020
 
Italy has dropped its travel ban on European countries, but for people hoping to travel from the US or anywhere else outside Europe the news is less positive. (This article was last updated on June 16th.)
 
As of June 3rd, Italy is once again allowing international tourism from within Europe after closing to almost all travelers for months. However, non-urgent travel from outside the EU bloc looks unlikely to be allowed until the beginning of July at the earliest.
 
While the EU rolled out a plan to loosen travel restrictions over the summer holiday season, it too was only talking about travel within Europe.
 
So what’s the situation for people who want to travel to Italy from the US, Australia, India or anywhere else outside the EU or Schengen zone? 
 
European travel ban
 
Currently, Europe’s external borders are effectively closed to all non-urgent travel, while the US is also advising citizens against travel to Europe.
 
The EU in March brought in a ban on all non-essential travel from countries outside either the EU (which for this purpose still includes the UK) or the Schengen Zone.
 
Italy, along with other EU member states, is limiting entry to EU citizens and residents. US citizens who are not residents of the EU and do not fit into one of a handful of “essential travel” exceptions may not be able to travel, and/or may face quarantine measures upon arrival.
 
Here is a full list of the current restrictions and possible exemptions for all travellers from outside the EU.
 
It’s possible that non-essential travel from the US to some European countries may be allowed again on or after July 1st,  but this has not yet been confirmed by any authority.
 
The European Commission is recommending that countries consider a “progressive and partial” reopening to non-EU travelers from July 1st.
 
No details have yet been given as to which countries will be included in the move to lift restrictions. Each EU nation’s individual response depends on how the coronavirus numbers in the United States change for the rest of June.
 
What is essential travel?
 
The EU’s definition of essential travel is stricter than many countries’ individual restrictions and does not contain any exemption for visits for family reasons.
 
People who can travel into the European bloc include:
 
—Citizens of an EU country
 
—Non EU citizens who are permanent residents of an EU country and need to come home
 
—Healthcare workers engaged in crucial work on the coronavirus crisis
 
—Frontier workers and in some circumstances seasonal workers
 
—Delivery drivers
 
—Travel services
 
Some flight connections have been reinstated in June, such as Alitalia’s Rome-New York route. Yet this does not mean that the restrictions for travelling into Italy have been lifted.
 
The US Embassy in Rome and Consulates General in Milan, Florence and Naples remain closed for their usual routine services, and only offer limited emergency services on a case-by-case basis.
 
Quarantine
 
Currently, Americans who enter Italy for essential reason – for example returning residents – will be subject to quarantine for 14 days, according to the Italian government’s latest decree.
 
This also applies to those who are entering Italy via another European country on a connecting flight, such as via Germany or the UK, if they have been in the US (or anywhere else outside of Europe) within the past 14 days.
 
Many readers have written to The Local to ask if a 14-day stay in another European country before arriving in Italy would allow them to avoid the Italian quarantine requirement and/or allow them to travel for non-urgent reasons.
 
It seems that any traveler from the US could still be asked to demonstrate that they have an urgent reason for travel in order to be allowed to enter Italy. The Local has asked the Italian Interior Ministry for clarification on this.
 
On travel from the US, the Interior Ministry’s offical FAQ states, “the basic rules remain similar to the previous ones. Travel continues to be allowed only for proven work needs, reasons of absolute urgency or for health reasons; in any case, you are still allowed to return to your home or residence.”
 
“Those who enter or return to Italy from states or territories other than those listed above must spend a period of 14 days of health surveillance and isolation at their home or in another residence chosen by the individual, or failing that, determined by the Regional civil protection authority.”
 
US Official advice
 
At the time of writing, US authorities are warning against travel to Europe.
 
Anyone planning to travel is advised to check the latest updates from the US State Department, and to find out whether they are covered by their travel insurer.
 
The US Embassy in Rome directed us to the following advice for any US citizens planning to travel to Italy:
 
Visit the COVID-19 crisis page on travel.state.gov for the latest information regarding foreign countries’ quarantine requirements and other global impacts.
 
Have a plan to depart from Italy that does not rely on US government assistance.
 
Check with your airlines or cruise lines regarding any updated information about your travel plans and/or restrictions.
 
Visit the Embassy webpage on COVID-19 for information on conditions in Italy.
 
Visit the Department of Homeland Security’s website on the latest travel restrictions affecting travel to the U.S.
 
Review the Italian National Institute of Health’s website (available only in Italian).
 
This also applies to those who are entering Italy via another European country on a connecting flight, such as via Germany or the UK, if they have been in the US (or anywhere else outside of Europe) within the past 14 days.
The rules change frequently in both Italy and other countries. Anyone with specific questions about travel to Italy at the moment is advised to consult the Italian embassy in their country.
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I will try to update as often as I hear anything.
 
Buona domenica! 🌈

Weekend!

Well, here we are again at another weekend. It will be a quiet one for us.

This morning I went to the market and bought tomatoes! First ones. Now, I don’t have any real expectations of greatness or anything, but I thought I’d try them. Also I bought artichokes. They are small so should be tender.

After that, I took a walk. Along the river then I cut across the fields to the farm roads that crisscross out there. I took a couple of pictures of the wild flowers in the wheat field.

On the way home it occurred to me that I would be passing right by Tortetcetera, a bakery and gelato shop which moved last year to a location in the new apartment buildings behind us. They make the most amazing cupcakes. And the gelato is made everyday in the shop. It is the BEST I have ever had. I asked for a box so I could take it home. Then I chose salted caramel (my favorite), pistacchio and cioccolato.

The news from the US isn’t good on several fronts. The Corona virus numbers are really jumping in many places. Sorry to say. Opening up so soon has negated much of the progress made there.

In Florida, Jacksonville has said it will host the Republican convention with no masks required and no social distancing. Some people in the city are not happy about this.

From the Washington Post — “It’s irresponsible,” said Jacksonville City Councilman Garrett L. Dennis, a Democrat. “It will increase the number of covid infections and put the locals at risk.”

”Anyone who is a thinking person would have concerns,” said David Miller, a Jacksonville business leader who opposes the move. “It puts our community in harm’s way. And it values political spectacle over sound decisions being made with the best interests of the health of our community.”

Florida has seen a recent spike in infections as the state has relaxed restrictions and reopened businesses. On Friday the state reported 1,902 new coronavirus cases, a record high. Cases in North Carolina, Arkansas, Oklahoma and other states also have continued to surge.

President Trump is said to not like the idea of looking out during his address at a room filled with masked people —

The president also insisted: “I don’t want to be sitting in a place that’s 50 percent empty.”

Alas, he is putting spectacle ahead of the health and safety of US citizens.
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News from Italy is rather good. Our numbers remain low and manageable. Everything has reopened. But many things are different. Still one at a time and masks required in the small shops and the pharmacy. Restaurants and Bars are open with many safeguards. Tables 6 feet apart. Masks required when you stand up, etc. You must reserve at restaurants. No spontaneous stopping when you see a trattoria on the road. Means you’ve got to plan ahead. Hairdressers open. One customer at a time inside. None of this bothers me. In fact I welcome it. It is best to still remain careful. We are enjoying our freedom. Italians and other people who reside here are taking advantage of the few tourists by going to the major sites which can be enjoyed without the crowds.

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Now I’m sitting on the terrace with the tende di sole or sun shade extended. It is threatening to rain shower and I would like to keep the terrace dry for tonight if I can. We are halfway through a movie!

Be careful over there!🌈

Wine Tasting!

I read this in the Post:

The coronavirus would have infected nearly one in five Americans, 60 million people, in the first few weeks of the outbreak without shutdowns or social distancing, according to a peer-reviewed study led by the University of California at Berkeley. The paper credited quarantine policies with preventing hundreds of millions of cases globally through early April, and a separate study estimated that shutdowns saved at least 3.1 million lives in Europe.

This is incredible. And so worth it. I know it was hard. On us. On the world economies, but just look at all the lives saved! Yay us!
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Every 2 weeks we get a new proclamation here. I know many people really want to come here to Italy, for a vacation, or because they own a second home here. And I completely understand. But, as of now, there is no provision for anyone from any non-EU member nations to be allowed in. Unless you are a registered resident here, or have family to tend to, or a medical issue. And can prove it. And then you must quarantine for 2 weeks. In a hotel, at your expense, or a home you own. This may loosen up sometime in July or August but we must wait for the next proclamation, which is June 15.

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Now for some fun stuff! Today was a nice Tuesday. We had reserved a spot ahead at a winery for a tasting at Arnaldo Caprai. Near Bevana and Montefalco. Nice day. Not hot at all. Skies full of all sorts of clouds and blue. It was our first “outing” other than the 2 Lunches we’ve had. We arrived and Camilla, the nice person in the tasting room told us we could sit on the terrace and she gave us the wine menu. Last fall, when we were here it was packed and there was no way to sit on the terrace. Today, it was only us. Quite nice! We chose a white wine each. And she brought a nice plate of meats and cheese, along with crusty bread with good oil drizzled on it. It was a perfect repast. We had another white, then switched to Rosso. Camilla said it was nice without all the buses full of Germans and Swiss. She said all they have had lately is Italians. But we did spot a car from Luxembourg. They were a ways from home. Anyway, a perfect little trip. Some pictures.

Luther on the Terrazzo.
First white
Our meat and cheese plate. One for each.
View from terrace
Behind winery. Grapes!
Behind winery. Olives on top.
Behind winery
Private patio. The family lives in the winery building in a separate wing.

Take care everyone…alla prossima! 🌈

Tuesday – Day of the Republic

Today is a national Holiday — Festa della Repubblica. June 2nd. In 1946, it was the day Italians voted to abolish the monarchy, and the Republic of Italy was born. So it’s called Republic Day.

After an 85 year monarchy, which had for the most part been very popular with the people, a referendum resulted in the end.  All male members and future heirs of the ruling House of Savoy were deposed and exiled.

The monarchy had ruled since Italy’s Unification in 1861. Its final monarch, Umberto II only got to be king for a month, earning him the nickname ‘Re di Maggio’ or ‘the May King’.

Umberto had actually been acting as head of state since 1944; after Benito Mussolini’s fascist regime – to which the monarchy had been allied – collapsed, King Victor Emmanuel III transferred his powers to his only son in the hope it would give the monarchy a popularity boost. It didn’t work.

The constitution now forbids a monarchy. In 2002, The House of Savoy family formally renounced their claim to the throne so they could return from exile. Umberto refused the right to return to his homeland, dying in Geneva in 1983.

There you go! Your Italian history lesson for today 🙂
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Last night I made a new recipe from “Six Seasons” cookbook. It was a faro salad with salami, cheese, and fave.  I added new peas, arugula and basil to the mint called for. Lots of good Umbrian olive oil. Very yummy. Luther loved it. 

Day 54 – Covid-19

197,675 positives in Italy. Up 1.2% – 26,644 total deaths since beginning of the outbreak.
There are 1,368 positive cases in Umbria. 64 total deaths.

961,983 cases in the US – 54,400 deaths. 
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Sunday night dinner, prawn salad with Harissa dip. Thank you Calagrana! So good. Luthers favorite.

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US news…
”The resumption of public life is poised to accelerate across wide areas of the country in the coming days and weeks — mostly in Republican-governed states and despite warnings from health experts as Covid-19 cases in the United States near 1 million. You’ll be able to eat out at a restaurant in Tennessee starting tomorrow, potentially congregate in an Idaho church next week and go shopping in Missouri next week”
Face palm.
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I also read the epidemic has begun to move outside of the major Metropolitan areas where it has been prevalent until now, into small towns, small cities, and rural areas. Places where there will be more difficulty dealing with due to lack of facilities.
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Such a perfect day here today. Here are a few of my own flowers and herbs on my terrace. Also one of the view. It has gotten so green!

Sage in the upper left survived the winter. Just below it is the regrowing tarragon my friend Joanne brought me from Germany. Tarragon is not a “thing” here. Happy it’s coming back. And that’s mint on the right.
My new oregano is happy! Old rosemary behind. It will probably renew but I am considering replanting.
Chives. Cipollina.
I don’t know what this is but it is so pretty, and very purple. My friend Rosemarie will like my terrace this year. Much purple.
This is rhododendron. It is never blue. How do I help it be blue?
Is this GREEN or what?! Since just a week or so ago. I adore it.

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Today is day 7️⃣ until the loosening for us prisoners here. We are all looking forward to a small bit of freedom. At least to walk and jog. If not much else. 🌈

Corona Virus 7

New count for Umbria as of yesterday…38 positives.
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Last night I watched the news with pictures of empty cities across Italy. Florence, usually chock-a-block with tourists, totally empty streets. Rome and Venice the same. St Marks in Venice … a vast empty space but for the pigeons. Sad. Lonely.
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Our Piazza is empty. There is no market today. An unheard of occurrence. Even in the case of a holiday they usually move the market forward a day.

A photo showing people are taking the edict to keep a meter distance between individuals seriously. These three just randomly met in the Piazza.

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Today we took a break from our enforced solitude and had lunch with friends at a nearby restaurant, L’Abbazia di Montecorona — named after the virus…kidding! It is just near Umbertide,  at the foot of Montecrona next to the Tiber river so it was within our Comune and legal for us to visit. Lunch is all you can do now since all restaurants are closed after six. It was a gorgeous day. Just like spring. Brilliant cloudless blue skies and temperatures in the 60sF.

Samantha, the proprietor. She said it was un disastro. So many bookings canceled. It’s hard for a restaurant to survive on lunch trade alone.

Look at the size of our table. It felt like we were miles apart. That one meter thing is a “Thing”.
N

It is a beautiful space in the old Abbey.

I ordered two custard flans in Gorgonzola sauce for my first course.

Outside, you can see the whole complex with the attached church and crypt. The upper church was consecrated in 1105.

The octagonal campanile, it was perhaps adapted from a pre-existing defensive tower in the 14th century.

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Stay safe everyone, and…wash your hands! ☺️

Springtime walk and Kilometer zero market – late February

I’ve been taking advantage of the beautiful weather we’ve been having by going on walks and (of course) visiting our little Saturday market. It has been brisk but sunny and blue skies. Late afternoons feel like spring. Too early but I shouldn’t complain. I snapped a few photos. First the walk.

Sky is so blue with stark branches.

Reflections. Our little town – Umbertide.

A small road heads along The Tiber river. It was the ancient Roman road through this valley. This is a quintessential Umbrian view. Umbrella pines, cypress’, brilliant green winter wheat in the fields.

And the kilometer zero market today.

Apples.

We have a baker who comes every week from Panicale. It’s a sweet hill town south of Lago Trasimeno. They love the whole grains and lots of seeds! I struck up a conversation with the woman, who is German.

The winter greens abound.

There are two local cheese makers. This one makes fresh ricotta and yogurt.

Primroses.

Winter salad. I bought some. We’ll see how it is.

March is usually when the spring flowers really pop out here. I’m looking forward to it!