Category Archives: Umbertide

Home, and enjoying summer weather!

What lovely, hot weather we are having. It is in the 33-34C range or around 93F. I went out yesterday morning and enjoyed a coffee with a friend at Bar Mary. I’d call her a new friend except we’ve known “about” one another but never had a face to face chiacchierare (chat). Her name is Elizabeth. She wrote a book called Sustenance which I really enjoyed. She just managed to return to Umbria from San Francisco where she has been trapped for months due to Covid. What an ordeal. 22 hour flight with two changes! Only because she has a Permesso di Soggiorno and a medical reason was she able to return. And then she had to quarantine for two weeks. She is just freed. She said she would never leave Italy again! She used her quarantina to plant her garden, which is going gangbusters already, she reported. Anyway, it was lovely to get to know her and I’m sure we will meet again soon.

I went out to the Saturday local market today. Pretty day, a bit cooler with a nice breeze. The early summer produce is abundant now. I got beans, fennel bulbs, zucchini and zucchini blossoms, and lots of tomatoes which I “hope” will be good since it is coming onto the best time for them. I also took a few pictures 🙂

Bar Mary is always busy on market days.
Cafe Centrale too.
There is always this man with his Prosciutto. He cuts it so thin it’s almost transparent.
Market
One of the streets in Centro.

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A friend posted these two graphs from Worldometer. Excellent way to see the differences. Pretty scary.

So, there is danger out there, everyone be careful. Safe Fourth of July to you all. I miss that here! 💥 🧨

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. 🌈

Market day and Summer Solstice

Happy Solstice! I think it starts at 5:30-ish tonight. It is a beautiful day for the market. It is finally starting to get warmer.

I visited the local market this morning. Then I took a turn through one of the town parks for a walk. Look at this picture My friend Paul took this morning of a bouquet of squash blossoms! Really beautiful.

And this one is a street in the Centro part of town near our house. Flowers and sunshine were pretty.

Finally a couple in the park that cuts through town. It is a green swath next to our small Torrrente, or creek.

Yesterday, I was sitting on the terrace in the afternoon, and a bird flew in and I shooed it away, thinking it was a pigeon. But once I had, I could see if was definitely not a pigeon. So a while later, when he returned I sat very still and he landed on the railing a few feet away. He looked at me and I, him and suddenly he popped up this most magnificent orange crest. He had a very long beak and was about the size of a red bellied woodpecker in the US. After he flew away I looked him up and he is a Hoopoe. Or in Italian, Upupa. They are migratory and fly up from Africa to breed all over Europe. I copied a photo since I didn’t have a camera while he was there and I posted it on my Facebook page. I apologize if you are a friend and have seen this. Here he is. Is he not beautiful? 💕

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Have a nice weekend everyone! 🌈

Beautiful sunset

Friday morning…such a pretty day. My poor flowers have been beaten about face by the relentless rain we’ve been having. During our lockdown, everyday was perfect. Dry and warm and sunny. Soon as they let us out, the heavens opened. I’m hoping things will dry out so the flowers can recover.

The weekend looks to be nice. Saturday, of course, is our local mercato. And Sunday is our anniversary. I remember last year which was our 50th. This year, it’s just us and I think we are having Pranzo at San Giorgio. 

Last night we had a beautiful sunset. Check it out!

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This was an interesting comparison. I’ll let you draw your own conclusions…and don’t say it’s because of more testing… that is an overused convenient excuse.

I’m sorry for the loss of all the good work the US did by locking down. Of course there were some states that didn’t do that… I still really don’t  want anyone coming to Italy to ruin all the hard work we did. That includes the potential  U.K visitors. They also don’t have this under control. Two travelers from the U.K. to New Zealand tested positive there. And New Zealand was virus free.😢

I know the Italians really DO want the tourists back. Friends of ours in Florence said they went to a restaurant and the proprietor heard them speaking English. He got very excited to have American tourists back! Sorry, they had to tell him, they lived there. So the Italians want the Americans back…they’ve just got to get that pandemic thing under control.

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Stay safe everyone! 🌈 

Umbria numbers

I am happy to report that the numbers in Umbria are holding very steady. Since I stopped posting the daily numbers three weeks ago, there have been 6 new infections, and 2 deaths.

As of yesterday, June 15, we have entered Phase 3 here Italy. This means that; Cinemas and theaters will be allowed to re-open from June 15th. With a limit of 200 people. Amateur contact sports, including team sports, are allowed from June 25th. Nightclubs – either indoors or outdoors – will be authorized from July 14th.

But many of Italy’s regional authorities have brought in their own rules on reopenings which could be different from the national rules.

The decree confirms obligatory quarantine for visitors arriving in Italy will continue, except for those entering from the EU and members to the passport-free Schengen zone.

Social distancing and face mask requirements will be the same. You must wear them in enclosed public spaces. Schools will not open until September.
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One thing that has gone by the wayside is any semblance of spontaneity when traveling. We are planning a road trip in two weeks. Normally, Luther and I would toss the suitcase in the car and off we’d go. We’d see a likely trattoria beside the road or a cute village where a nice place to eat is likely, and we would stop for lunch. No more. Now, I’ve got to know what time we will leave, so I can calculate where we will be at lunchtime. Then figure out what is nearby, find a restaurant, determine if they are open (many did not reopen) and then obtain a reservation, which are now mandatory. When en route, you can’t just stop if you see anything interesting along the way because it will impact your progress, perhaps making you miss your lunch! A sad thing. Alternative would be to pack a picnic 😁. Might be easier.

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Market day. Today, I was in search of cheap cotton clothing to make masks from. I found out those house dresses the old Italian women wear are not cotton, but some sort of nylon material. Wouldn’t breath. BUT, I found the cutest pair of capri pants.😍 All cotton, nice waist with a really well made sleeving for the elastic. They have drawstrings. I brought them home and tried them on and they fit nicely. I love them so much I must go back next week to get more! Thing is there is no guarantee any will be left. They had lots of colors and patterns. Hope they still have them next week.

Otherwise, I did my errands. Dropped by the farmacia. And shopped and bought in Libri ai Cani. Books for Dogs. They have been doing well since re-opening. Good for the rescues they support. Of course I bought some produce. It looked very nice.

Pictures below are the non-food part of the market. It has been dispersed in a larger area so the tents are not too close. But the competition could be fierce for the bargains! This first table had nice things for €3 — anything on the table. 

Til next time…stay safe miei amici 🌈

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!🌈

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. 

Buona domenica!

Sunday in Umbertide. Hard to stop posting when it has become part of my life! But at least I don’t feel like I must, which takes the pressure off. 🙂

I went up to Calagrana to pick up the food I ordered. It is kind of gray but I’ve never seen so many motorcycles and bicycles out as I saw today! On my way I saw this cool little car. It was in perfect condition and I love it’s drop top.

Calagrana was all set up for its first lunch since the shut down. It looked beautiful. Ely was very nervous and hoped all the guests would abide by the rules.

When I got back to town they were having the mass. But it was outside. Excellent idea.

Hope everyone is staying safe. With the loosening of everything it feels dangerous to me. I am just waiting for the spike. 😢

Sabato!

Today, Saturday, dawned gray but cleared by midday after rain all night. Last night the young people partied into the night at Cafe Centrale. The rain made them pack into the cafe. Maskless. I guess we wait a week or two to see if we get spikes in the virus.

I had errands. First, we visited the market where I bought fave beans, tiny zucchini, the crisp cucumbers, rucola, and fresh eggs! The last five uova! I also took some pictures. Then we paid a bill for my friend. On the way back we visited the newly opened, Carrefour supermarket for the first time. There were far too many people in there. All masked but still… I didn’t feel very comfortable. The store itself is OK. Better than the old Conad but still nothing much different than all small Italian supermarkets. It does stay open all day, unlike the old Conad. We recognized all the checkout women from the old store 🙂. Finally to the farmacia. So much for our errands.

The last thing was to see if the Porsche would start after it’s dead battery issues. We had received our battery charger a couple days ago and it had been hooked up and charging for a couple days. Crossing our fingers we started her up. Vroom! We took a spin. Luther added air to the tires. All is well. It is due for a servicing so that’s next.

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We went to Bar Mary for Aperitivo. I complemented Irene on her pretty flowered mask. She said she got it at the Tabacchi. Next thing I know she had bought me a mask…just like hers! She is so sweet. We are gemelli! Twins.
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Tonight we are having a pasta primavera. Sautéed pancetta, peas, asparagus, fave. Mmm perfect for this time of year.