It has been nearly three solid weeks of painting and 50 gallons of paint. That’s €5,000 for just the paint we figure. Luca has become our prodigal son. He brought me fresh lettuce from his garden twice and a bag of walnuts. 🙂 The paint job looks terrific and has significantly brightened up the apartment. Particularly happy to lose the peach accent walls. They clashed with the wood I think. Before and after pictures.
For the downstairs we just need curtains, art, and, of course, the kitchen. Speaking of which, they came last week and moved the gas pipe so it was ready for the installation. They can’t give us ETA for the kitchen though. 😕
Today we picked up all our lights that we ordered. 13 fixtures in all. We have an elettricista coming on Monday to install. Big step! Photos upcoming.
We had lunch at C’era Una Volta with our dear friends Susan and Gary. It’s been a long time. They are only passing through town so I am glad we got to see them. They return to Florence tomorrow.
What a beautiful day it was today. A real taste of spring. A friend came up to visit from Perugia. She brought me gifts of food and a pretty yellow beret. I will wear it jauntily 🙂. We also took a walk. Very close to our new house is the public swimming pool (indoor and outdoor) plus tennis courts, the soccer stadium and a beautiful park. We headed for the park, Parco Pineta Ranieri e Bosco “del Macchione”.
We messed around on the fitness trail. The park is a pine forest. It is up on a hill with good views across Umbertide. There are lots of picnic tables. The park was empty save for a couple of runners. Surprising on such a beautiful day. Here are a couple pictures of the flowers along the way.
The Asian magnolias are blooming now. Here is one on our street.
I had made yet another instant pot soup in the morning and just left it sit. It stayed hot so when we returned from our walk we had a couple of bowls for our lunch.
On another note, we think we might have found the source of the bad luck in our house. In the (non-existent) kitchen we found a horseshoe hanging above the entrance. It was only visible if you went inside and looked up. And it was hung like this…
Does that bother anyone other than me, Luther and my friend? Well it SHOULD. So we took it down. No wonder we’ve had bad juju. It will be re-hung…like this…
I had to write this to tell you how much you, my readers, help buck me up through tough times. I really appreciate you. I have had almost universally upbeat and encouraging comments during this stressful move. Oh sure, one or two told me I should fold up my tent and go home. But I’m not doing that. I have been here eight years — through an international move and an apartment renovation. We had eight beautiful years in our last beautiful, home. And I hope, with work, the new home will also be nice. You guys are the best! 💕💕 thank you.
Today was a nice day. We got together with friends for a holiday lunch. Three friends, all of whom moved here since the beginning of the year. All near Spello. Roselyne and Steve live in Spello Centro Storico. An excellent apartment with great terraces which have country and mountain views and a front balcony above the main street going up the hill. Right in the action. Doug lives in a sweet house situated on Monte Subasio. I don’t know his elevation but it has views across the valley to die for. He is in the very beginning of renovations.
We chose to meet in Assisi. There is a nice restaurant there called Osteria Piazzetta dell’Erbe. It is just off of the main piazza which has the Assisi Comune. It also has the temple of Minerva and lots of cafes and shops. Today, it was empty. I don’t think I have seen Assisi as empty and quiet as today. The restaurant welcomed us. It wasn’t very busy. We have been going to this restaurant since a 2011 trip with my sister and her husband and another couple. It is still good. It is nice in summer as it has probably the only trees in Assisi. They have two menus, one Traditional and one Fusion. I love the fusion choices. Here are a few pictures. The first one is fried artichoke/carciofi in a cheesy sauce. Very delicious. It does look a bit phallic. Three of us got this.
It was a really nice get together. We won’t be doing much this Christmas. Nothing in fact. Which is kind of sad. But it is what it is. Happy Winter Solstice, here’s to longer days…if not warmer ones!
On our ride south today to lunch with friends. Brilliant sunshine.
We met up with friends in a town called Bastia Umbra. Completely overlooked by everyone but we are told there are a lot of monied folks living there. I assume it was bombed during the war since much of it was new. But the old outline of the wall was still there. And some of the old gates remained. Inside was a clothing market along the streets. The second picture below is marking the border of one of the Rioni, or neighborhoods. Most towns have a number of neighborhoods and people living within them are fiercely loyal.
Our friend Doug found the restaurant we went to. It was just outside the old perimeter, called Perl d’Oro. Unpretentious outside but pretty inside. Good service. Delicious seafood.
Here are pictures of our food. Captions under photos.
Originally we wanted to visit a huge fair on the fairgrounds there which was all kinds of vintage things, clothes, furniture etc. We didn’t allow enough time to make the entry fee worth it but I will go again in the future allowing more time…once I am in the buying mode for our new house. 😁
We had a very good meal with nine others at our table in Calagrana yesterday. They started doing a traditional turkey dinner with all the fixins a few years ago for all the Americans in the area and a sprinkling of British and Italians. Originally Susan and Gary had them cater a dinner for us since a big turkey here is too large for the normal Italian home oven. After a couple years of making the gargantuan Tom turkeys, Ely decided there might be interest in a dinner from others. And the rest is history!
The Tom Turkey which we feasted on yesterday was a whopping 17 kilograms, or 38 lbs. Here he is!
And my dinner. The turkey was amazingly moist and tender. Jane and Christie had brought two bags of real cranberries on my request. So we had real cranberry sauce — my old standby Zinfandel cranberry sauce. I have to use Primativo here which is a relative of Zinfandel.
Besides the turkey we had antipasti of tiny shrimp and a primi of ravioli with zucca puree (sweet winter squash). Very sweet with a surprise of what I thought was wasabi. It turns out it is Senape Essense. She got it at the pharmacy. It added a nice kick. Her little bottle had a skull and crossbones on it. 😄 If you’ve ever had hot Chinese mustard and eaten just a little too much on your eggroll you’ll know what I mean. I looked it up and I think I’ll order some, could be fun to experiment with!
Although I am a day late, I wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving. I hope you all had a great day! I am thankful for all I have. I wish for peace in the Ukraine and the USA. I also wish for global accord to combat climate change. 🕊 Today is the day Against Violence to Women. There is a little demonstration in the piazza. I also wish violence of all kinds would stop. Andrà tutto bene 🌈
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.
The electrician did come to install our lights on Friday, right on time. He came with the father, and owner of Sideform, the company that we dealt with to buy all our lights back when we had the house renovated. I think the older man just wanted to make sure all was well and the electrician knew what he needed to do. He installed the two lighting fixtures. I don’t think I will ever get used to how little these tradespeople charge. I am so used to paying through the nose in the US. I was prepared to pay this guy €80-100 euro. I asked him what we owed. He answered €30.
On Monday we had luck finding pellets for the stufa. It was where we used to buy pellets a couple years ago. The price of pellets has gone up 300% since last year. What cost €5 for a 15 kilo bag now costs €14. We were just glad to find some.
We are having the usual November rains now and I am happy to report the gutters are still draining well and consequently no drips inside. That fix cost more than I would have thought but it was very involved and dangerous too so we were glad to pay it. Especially since Fabio and Mario were so very responsive.
We now have an appointment with a Trasloco company in Perugia. They are coming Monday to give us an estimate for our move. They have the trucks and the equipment we will probably need to get out of this apartment, to include trucks with elevator cranes which go to the upstairs windows and move things out that way. Some of our furniture will not go down the stairs. This company is Traslocchi Zucconi. I am sure this will be quite the show for the old gent card players at Bar Mary when the Americani move house.
This morning I had a fun outing with our buyers to a furniture store. Mostly old furniture or repurposed old wood made into new furniture. The place is a huge jumble. It is really too much to take in. The eye bops from here to there and just cannot register everything.
We all loved this table. It is a pasta making or patisserie making table. It has a marble top and then there is a wooden top that slides out and was used to make pasta. It even has a place to store the rolling pin! Sophia, one of the family members told us her mom has one like it. She said that every kitchen used to have one.
Christie and Jane love the idea of a drop leaf so they can put it to the side in the dining room and save space. We loved this one but it was defective from birth we were told. Not sturdy… very wobbly, but so pretty.
I wasn’t intending to buy anything, but I loved this table. Narrow but long and versatile so it will work in our upstairs space. Very nice bones and pretty wood. It is the center table in the picture. The one with the rounded ends. It is even pegged rather than nailed. They will keep it for me until we move. I will buy chairs there as well. I want mismatched ones. They had some nice woven seat ones I liked.
Jane and Christie bought a beautiful console to hold their TV in the living room. It is a new piece made from recycled old wood. I wish I had taken a picture. It will be perfect in that space. I love these junk shops. I have my eye on some of the blanket chests. They are seating in a bedroom and great for storage of, well, blankets! There is also a nice white wood room divider I like. It would be nice on the top floor of our new house to divide the area where we will put a sofa bed to make it more private. But it can be folded, or used elsewhere. It is in the picture above next to the wobbly table.
It is always fun to shop for a new house. I need to wait to buy a lot more since I need to be there to get a real feel for it. I am a nester so I must nest. And nest I will! Ciao a tutti!
It is official. We are now squatters in our former home. Jane and Christie came over, we had wine and toasted their new ownership. They did some measuring. It is definitely bittersweet for me, but I am very happy friends of mine will be enjoying this sweet space. Later Luther and I popped the champagne he bought. We toasted to our new adventure yet to come. 🙂
Today, Saturday, was a bit gray, dreary and chilly. I went out to the market to do some shopping where I bought quite a lot of stuff for soups and salads. I noted we have a new bread kiosk which I must try. But today I visited our local forno for bread.
Our friends from Spello, who moved here in July, were coming up for lunch at C’era una Volta, a restaurant near our new apartment. The name means Once Upon a Time. But first an aperitivo in the Piazza was in order. We sat at a table and Jane happened by so we invited her to join us. Then Jim (our realtor) and four other Brits sat at the table next to us. Bar Mary is always the place to meet and greet.
We headed down to the restaurant. We pointed out our new apartment on the way. I actually love C’era una Volta. It is only one block from our new apartment so I anticipate it will become our go-to place. The people are so friendly. I think they are Sardinian. Mom, dad, and daughter. We got the names of Mom, Laura, and Dad, Giuseppe. Next time, daughter. The food is quite good. They have a menu but the specials are recited. It is a real language and memory test! Here are pictures of our food.
We had such a nice time catching up with Roselyne and Steve. They are renovating their apartment right in the historic center of Spello. Excellent location with three terraces, one of which is right over the main drag up the hill so they can see what is happening all the time. Much like our view of our Piazza. It is ALL good! We will see them again soon!
When I got home I snapped yet another photo from our terrace…our last Autumn here. I want to always remember this view.
A little later I looked up and was greeted with an amazing sunset! It doesn’t get any better!