Luther and I decided to have Sunday lunch in a restaurant right next to us that we love. We lucked out and got the last table. Note to self: remember to reserve next time. C’era una Volta is the name of the restaurant. It means Once Upon a Time. It is a family run place with no menu. They just come and read what they’ve got. They are known for their antipasto platter so we got one to split. And then we each got a pasta. I got tagliatelle with cinghiale (boar) ragù bianco. Luther’s came with guanciale (pork cheeks) and potatoes. It was all good. First three pictures are the antipasto, next my pasta, then Luther’s.
It was good to get out for a bit without having to get something done!
On Saturday we picked out a stufa. We have a chimney sweep coming to clean and then they will come to install.
It is Monday. New week. New things to get done! Ciao for now!
Today is a good day. I am finished with my procedure and I am fine! A relief. I seem to think the worst will happen and at the worst possible time! Like now. In the middle of the big move. I went to the hospital in Città di Castello. They have a very nice new hospital with all modern facilities. People around here call the town just Castello. It is about 20 kilometers and takes around 25 minutes using the good, old E45 super strada that runs north and south through our valley. Once it was part of the Via Flammina. An old Roman road. But I digress. They were super efficient and fast. Even mindful of my modesty…many are not here. And the doctor and nurse were friendly. So, now I am done with that…I am dusting myself off and going back to the business of living here.
You all must know of my little lemon tree. I had always wanted to be able to have a lemon tree. One of the first things I bought was a small one from a local vivaio or nursery. I wrote a post about this little tree way back in 2020 when we were in the strictest lockdown because of Covid. It was titled Day 46 Covid 19 and I had a bit of fun with my lemon tree. At that time I was trying to keep myself entertained while being locked down. This post was just one day…I blogged for 83 straight days. You, my reader friends, helped me keep sane. This blog helped keep me sane. What a time it was. Anyway. If you’d like to read that post, here is a link — Day 46 Covid 19.
My tree is still flourishing. I am still pinching off all the leaves on the one side. And this year I got 19 —yes! — 19 lemons. She is doing very well and she is coming on our move. I will take off all the lemons to make her easier to move and take the weight off. She will love our new terrazzo and she will be getting a bigger pot. 🙂
As for news of the move, we are making forward progress. I’m making copious lists. Lists of things to leave here for Jane and Christie, things I need to keep away from the packers that I many need first at the new place, cat stuff (of which there is a lot), some clothes, our computers, wires, chargers, remote controls…on and on. We are using up all the food in our freezer. Sadly I’m going to have to throw away most of my frozen peppers. But I’ll just grow more! And we have a meeting with our sellers this coming Friday. We are bringing our agent friend Jim along. We have many questions and much measuring to do.
It hasn’t been as cold but, boy! has it been rainy! The Tiber got very high and jumped its banks, but it has subsided. It is still running fast and muddy but staying behaved in it’s banks now. This morning I woke to sunshine. Nice for a change.
Out and about for a nice walk and visit to our local market. First I bought the vegetables I thought I would need. I got one of those beautiful romanesco broccolis. So pretty and so alien looking!
And I got beatole, the big meaty and leafy green I use in soups a lot. Along with a couple nice leeks. Now I have to decide how to use them.
I dropped off the veggies inside our door and went for a walk. I always like to have an aim for a walk and this time I wanted to replenish my depleted bay leaves. When I first came here I tried to buy bay leaves in the store. There were none. I was baffled. Eventually I learned that bay laurel trees are everywhere and you just pick off a leaf or a branch when needed. I went looking and sure enough, I found the town bay tree. You can see that the whole bottom of the tree has been sculpted as people pull off a branch or two.
Just next to the tree are a series of orti or vegetable patches. There are still a few hardy winter veggies like cabbages, but not much else.
I turned up-river and took a couple pictures. Tiber a bit high.
You can tell when we have had a lot of rain because this small “river” called a torrente, which is normally a trickle actually lives up to its name! Here it is joining its bigger brother the Tiber.
Last night I went to the Christmas open house at Books for Dogs – Libri per i Cani. I think everyone who reads this journal knows about this charity which supports two local canile which care for abandoned dogs. It was a nice little gathering. I saw some folks I knew, and met some I didn’t know. I snapped a couple, pictures in the town as I went home.
A very pretty, tall and stately tree. We walked through the little Christmas fair for the kids and also small booths selling things. The first picture is where Babbo Natale awaits visits from the children. He is inside La Rocca, our fortress.
Today we had a pizza lunch at Calagrana. Albi had fired up the wood oven. Delicious.
It was all delicious. The day was mild and I didn’t have to wear a coat. Our friends Jane and Christie are just here until next Tuesday. They return to the US and their adventures there until next spring when they will return and move into our apartment. Big adventures to come for us all.
What a day. It has turned sharply colder. Today was the day we celebrated with our buyers, Christie and Jane, and our former realtor Jim and his wife Jill. Jim was our original realtor in 2014. He knows the system and we just give him power of attorney and he handles the rest. So easy. We all went to Calagrana. The day was incredible the sky brilliant blue and the slanting autumnal sun made everything starkly clear.
There was a new addition to the Calagrana family. Here is Tallula. She is 50 years old and is entirely original. She has only 60,000 kilometers on the clock. An original Fiat Centocinque.
Here is the group with Ely in the foreground.
It was a lovely afternoon. Lively conversation and great food. When we got back to Umbertide, the Castagne man had his fire going and the chestnuts were a-roasting. I love this! Every autumn this man and his family come and roast their chestnuts just next to the Piazza. This farmer is one of my favorites and comes to both of our weekly markets. He has the best tomatoes of anyone…but now is not tomato season…it is castagne season!!
So good. Sweet. I ate well today…Ho mangiato bene oggi! And it was lovely to spend our day with friends.
First I want to mention that we had a good hard rain Thursday night/Friday morning last week. First rain in weeks. I was up checking the gutters and all looked fine. Draining, no more waterfalls. And best of all, no leaks inside. Whew. Glad to have gotten that done thanks to Fabio and Mario. Excellent workers in a difficult situation. ~~~~~~~ Our friends and buyers of our apartment, had a bit of a mishap. Jane fell off her bike hitting her chin and cheekbone on the ground and breaking her thumb. She and Christie walked over to the Pronto Soccorso (emergency room) where they gave her a temporary cast and made an appointment to visit an orthopedic doctor in Citta di Castello yesterday. Meanwhile, our signing of the Powers of Attorney was scheduled for Tuesday.
We did manage to get the signing done, even with Jane’s right, and main, hand in a cast. It was somewhat amusing. The Notaio’s office is in a former Palazzo built in the 1600s. It is just next to an enormous green space which Jim told us it was once the main Piazza of Castello, and a formal garden. Now it is just an immense lawn. The office is just as I remember it. Grand but threadbare in a pleasing way. I took a couple photos.
So, Jim can now sign for Christy and Jane to close on the apartment. And he can close for us on our new place. That way we don’t need a translator. Saves a bit of money. The deal is not quite sealed…but a step closer.
Because we weren’t sure what they would do at the hospital in Castello I drove them up for the appointment. We went to the hospital and found the orthopedic department where Jane was seen pretty quickly. But she had to endure the pain of resetting her thumb…no anesthetic. The norm here. She said is was REALLY painful. Then they put on a cast and we went to get an X-ray to see how the set was. It took us 45 minutes to FIND the Radiology department. They are very short on signage. On the good side, we got our steps in. We returned to the orthopedic docs who viewed the X-rays and told us to make an appointment to come back in a week. Making the appointment at the ASL (Azienda Salute Locale).
To give ourselves a reward for our ordeal…more for Jane than Christie and I, we decided to have lunch! We tried a new place called Grace. It opened in the space where Patrick’s Enoteca used to be. It is a bit of a sad story. Grace was the wife of the chef. She was a 28 year old American. She and her husband were involved in an accident in which she was killed. The restaurant was opened in her name.
We had a delicious lunch. They have half portions of almost everything, so we decided to do three half portions each. It was a lot of fun. Here are some pictures.
This week we also got our guy to come to arrange to replace two window screens, the electrician is coming to replace two lights, and Luther had a hearing test today. I gotta say…I am OVERWHELMED at all the progress we are making! So un-Italian! 🙂💕 Ciao a tutti!
I bought some pretty greens for my next soup. They are called bietola here. When I put them in the translate app they say chard. But they also have what I call Swiss chard here, in red and yellow varieties which is different — chisa! Here is a picture of what I used. I am sure you could use the colorful chard as well.
I cooked a batch of dried cannellini beans yesterday. Today I used them with the greens. You can also use cans of cooked cannellini. It was a truly delicious soup. I will make it again.
Here is the recipe which I will also include on my recipes page.
Bietola and cannellini bean soup
2 carrots chopped 1 large stalk celery chopped 1 medium onion chopped 4 cloves garlic minced Handful of dried mushrooms (like porcini), soaked and chopped, saving the liquid 2-3 cans cannellini beans or cooked dry beans 1 sprig rosemary 1 bunch bietola, washed and chopped, including stems Water with 1 vegetable bouillon cube or vegetable stock Salt and pepper A little vinegar (optional)
Sauté carrots, onions and celery in oil until soft. Add garlic and sauté for 30 seconds. Add chopped mushrooms and their water, strained for grit, beans, rosemary, bietola, water or stock and/or vegetable cube and salt. Cook 30 minutes. Taste and adjust salt and add pepper. Off heat. Add a splash of vinegar to brighten it a bit if desired. Buon appetito!
I make a good deal of Mexican food and Asian food. Limes are something that I use often. To me, they have a distinctly different taste from lemons. Italians seem to think they are interchangeable. In fact, I have a very difficult time finding lime juice too. Only a couple of stores seem to have it. The last two times I went shopping I spied piles of nice limes. Of course I bought some and both times I got fooled.
You would think they were too, wouldn’t you? Well, it turns out that they are…
Yep! Tangerines. Green tangerines. I looked them up and they are Miyagawa mandarines. They are successfully cultivated in Italy in the citrus groves of Sicily, Basilicata and Calabria. Originally thought to be from China and/or Japan they thrive here. They ripen in September and October so they are the earliest of the citrus fruits. I don’t know why this is the first year I have seen them, but they are everywhere. They are sweet and good. It is not that I don’t like them, but they don’t work in my salsa or my chili.
🎶 And to top it all off, now I have that old song stuck in my head…you remember? ”My green tangerine 🎶 ” 😉
Short post – not much going on in Umbertide. One of the bars out in the piazza was closed this past week so it was quiet. The weather has been spectacular. One of the best Octobers I have seen here. The light has gotten that beautiful slant which makes the autumn so beautiful.
We went out to the market today. There were fresh porcini mushrooms so I had them for my lunch. Scrambled eggs with sautéed mushrooms.
We have finished a number of the chores on our ”to do” list. We still have a number of things to get done. We had our caldaia (heating system) inspected, mandated by law yearly. We still wait for the stufa (pellet stove) cleaner. We got our booster vaccines this week. We did some financial stuff. We need to buy a new light for our bathroom. And we need to see if we can get two screens replaced. This week we expect the gutter cleaners back to finish the job. I think they will build a scaffolding in the street to get to the top of the house. I assume they will need police permissions to block the street. I will report on the work as it continues.
Yesterday was a beautiful day! In fact, we have had a nice long run of beautiful September and October days. The Germans call it Goldener Oktober. We, in the US, call it Indian Summer. No matter what it is called…I am loving it!
We had a planned lunch with our friend Doug who just moved here a few months ago. We were meeting in Gualdo Tadino, a town in eastern Umbria which lies on the slopes of the Apennine mountains. The really big ones that run from the top to the toe of Italy. I had not visited this valley. It runs north and south along the mountains from Foligno to Gubbio.
The restaurant is Terrazza di San Guido. It sits high above the town on the mountain. I would have thought it would take advantage of it’s position to showcase the view. But it does not. It has an unpretentious interior dining room, and a few tables outside. The service was good. They have an unusual offering on the menu which I had not seen before. A whole section devoted to Crescia. It is a flat bread specialty of Umbria and Le Marche which they use to make sandwiches. I think it is the same as what I know as Torta al Testo.
Doug ordered one as his starting course. It looked tasty. We also had a chance to sample the bread as they brought out bags of it, soft and warm. I had Caprese insalata to start and it was good. The October tomatoes were still decent. Then we had pasta, and Luther, ever the meat eater, got the mixed grill. Doug got the Tartuffi Lasagna — Lasagna with truffles. I got a taste and it was great. I ordered Cannelloni al Sugo di Carne. It was good…but not great. Here are pictures.
On the way home I took a couple of pictures of the bodacious day and the beautiful scenery.
We will continue to enjoy this wonderful weather for as long as it continues. I am now seeing many pictures of the olive harvest which is just beginning here. Umbria is known for its oil. It is robust, grassy, and peppery in your throat. I am smitten with it. To me it is the best of all. Love the green green color of the new oil. Photo from my friend James Lupori.