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 🙂 ~~~~~~~~ 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.
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. 😢
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.
~~~~~~~ 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. ~~~~~~~~
Tonight we are having a pasta primavera. Sautéed pancetta, peas, asparagus, fave. Mmm perfect for this time of year.
217,185 positives in Italy. Up 0.6% – 30,201 total deaths since beginning of the outbreak.
There are 1,406 positive cases in Umbria. 71 total deaths.
1,273,887 cases in the US – 76,475 deaths. ~~~~~~ Hi everyone! Today, I am on my blog pulpit a bit. If you don’t want to read it scroll to the bottom of this post to read my bellissimo news about our Kilometer Zero Market.
~~~~~~~ US News. I can’t resist reprinting this little tidbit.
With polls showing most consumers still afraid to venture out of their homes, the Trump administration has intensified its efforts to soothe some of those fears through a messaging campaign that relies on tightly controlling information about a virus that has proven stubbornly difficult to contain.
So…they are controlling information (i.e., deep sixing the CDC report because it recommends waiting)…this is the information that people NEED to be able to make an informed decision on their OWN health and safety. When they intentionally delude the populace into believing it is OK to resume life, knowing full well that it is NOT safe yet, they are WILLFULLY putting (intentionally misled) people in danger of catching this virus. I am astounded at the very audacity of this! And the cold calculation by trump to allow people to get sick and perhaps die, all because he wants to get re-elected. Words don’t convey…
NY Times….A useful — if chilling — way of thinking about the new phase: It’s the “trial-and-error” phase, in which different countries take different approaches and the world witnesses the results.
Human guinea pigs. Sorry for all those who will suffer and die.
~~~~~~~ European News. I just read an interesting article in the Daily KOS about Sweden. I had been wondering how they were doing since they had taken an opposite approach to most everyone else. Herd immunity. No shutdown. It has not worked out well. We must also take into account more than half of Swedes live alone. And they have top-notch universal health care…unlike in the US. Nonetheless…
If nothing else, Sweden’s alternative response to the virus was … a good control group. And what we’re learning now is that failing to shut down hasn’t just led to more deaths, but—surprise surprise!—it also didn’t prevent its economy from tanking. In fact, Sweden is poised for more economic pain than its neighbors.
Some pretty big differences between stay-at-home strategy and let ‘er rip. And remember…the economy is no better for this choice.
It is good to have a “control group”. Maybe the Swedes would not be happy being classified as such. But there you have it.
~~~~~~~ Saturday! Bright and sunny! Exciting day as the Kilometer Zero market is here today. Yesterday I observed they had painted more marks in the piazza. It was confusing to me but I see the vendors figured it out. There are 13 tents. No crafts allowed. Only food. I am so so glad to see most of the farmers have survived. It must have been hard for them. And I note many are a bit sparse in what’s on offer. That is to be expected I suppose, since you can’t hurry the plants. Here is the view from my window. Next are the Polizia Municipale watching. Finally, the posted rules for entry.
The beautiful vegetables of early spring. I’m pleased I did not miss the peas. They will be in soon a woman told me.
Then the cheese stand with the Pecorino Staggione pictures. This is aged pecorino. Excellent and sharp flavored. They also had fresher pecorinos of course.
Here is the stand for Blassi, our closest winery. They sell their wines but they are also famed for their porchetta. Here It is!
The people. Everyone is excited. The farmers and the customers. The stated rule is one meter distant from each other. Most were doing that. There were some couples shopping together. Of course we all wore masks.
I came home with carciofi – artichokes, spinace – spinach, 4 fresh uova – eggs, fava beans, and some of Luthers favorite crackers. I’ve surely missed this market more than anything except maybe freedom to walk. Happy days.
~~~~~~ Signing off for now. Have a great weekend but keep yourselves safe. 🌈 We are the keepers of ourselves. No one else.
Things are heating up in Italy, as everyone knows. Thanks for the comments and well wishes from all my friends!
Here in Umbria, as of yesterday, we have 24 cases a jump from 16 the day before. The schools are closed until April and all gatherings and events are canceled. This includes weddings, funerals and masses! We went grocery shopping yesterday and all seemed normal. No crazy panic buying. There did seem to be more people than usual but it was Saturday so… and Otherwise the bars are open. Restaurants open. The poor parents are going crazy I’m sure with the kids home.
As for the national news. Italy has formally locked down more than a quarter of its population.
More than 5,800 cases have been confirmed in Italy, after an increase of more than 1,200 in a single 24-hour period. Two hundred and thirty-three people have died.
Italian prime minister Giuseppe Conte signed a decree enacting forced quarantine for the region of Lombardy – home to more than 10 million people and the financial capital, Milan – and multiple other provinces, totalling around 16 million residents.
Affected provinces include Venice, Modena, Parma, Piacenza, Reggio Emilia, Rimini, Pesaro and Urbino, Alessandria, Asti, Novara, Verbano Cusio Ossola, Vercelli, Padua, and Treviso.
And on the US front I hear my native Virginia has a case. Washington DC, and Maryland all have cases. As I suspected the strategy of the government was to pretend it wasn’t there. What you don’t know can’t be counted. Therefore it looks like the US is safe. But like a little kid, hiding behind his hand, because if he can’t see it, it isn’t there, the US plan is dangerously flawed.
Strange days for us all. Stay safe everyone!
Stay tuned for updates.
We had to visit the big Perugia hospital today. Luther needed some stitches removed. While we were waiting the entire hospital went on lock down. We were in a waiting room but all the internal doors were auto-locked. Turns out there was a hospital wide meeting to explain all the new corona virus protocols to the staff. After 3 hours Luther got his stitches out. I admit, as the waiting room got more and more crowded I got more and more uncomfortable. So I left Luther to wait and I went to the car. I was so glad to get outside in the cold crisp air. I breathed deep. I’m sure it was all in my mind but I couldn’t wait to get out of there!
Things change quickly. Today they closed all schools in all of Italy until March 15 at the earliest. All soccer games and sports matches, concerts, conventions, gatherings of any sort are cancelled until further notice.
On the radio we heard them suggest all elderly people (in the north this means over 65) remain in their homes. Also in the north (in the areas with large outbreaks) they are mandating one meter distance between customers in bars and stores. Also they have a four person limit in stores. So people line up outside keeping one or two meters between each other. And worst of all…no double kissing, hugging, or handshaking. This is darn near impossible for Italians! Un disastro.
Still, life goes on here in Umbria. Now, no gatherings, no school, but here it’s business as usual in Bar Mary downstairs. 🙂
We now have a few cases of the Virus here in Umbria. A family self quarantining itself in Città della Pieve on the far west side near Tuscany, one in Todi, to the south, one in Foligno, and two others in small towns south of Perugia. I do not personally know of any closures.
We are starting to feel it here in other ways. The Questura is not processing the Permessi di Soggiorno that we need to stay here. Supposedly we will get extensions. This is impacting the fact we were going to try for the long term permits. Not sure what we will do now.
Airlines are not flying into the northern airports near the red zones but Rome and Naples are fine. The people who are flying places, so far are not hitting any problems. But many people are canceling their trips here. It will have a devastating impact on the Italian economy 😢. The news from the US makes me think it will be no safer there than here as this thing runs its course.
I posted this picture in Facebook but it is just so amazing, and I know a lot of people aren’t on Facebook, so I decided to post it on here too. It was like the world was aflame. And on Facebook everyone anywhere near here seemed to be posting their own pictures. Here is mine!
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.
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.
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!
So… this week we did several things in pursuit of our Cartas.
Monday we visited the Agencia il Corriere. It is advertised as an auto and boat agency to facilitate all things legal, like titles and registration. It also helps with drivers licenses and we could have probably used them to convert ours had we known about them. We had thought we’d need to go to Perugia for this Police report. But the nice Policeman we visited last week told us about this agency and that they also do things like help get police reports! Who would’ve known that!? So we initiated that process. I’d pay just about anything to avoid going to the madhouse that is Perugia. We should get them next Monday.
Then Luther wrote to our Commercialista to get proof of our having paid our taxes since we’ve been here. That arrived in an email on Wednesday.
Today, we went to the Anagrafe in our Comune to get the CERTIFICATO CONTESTUALE, or family status certification. That was super easy and cost two €16 tax stamps or Marche da Bolla. Plus €1.04.
Since we were there we decided to convert our old style Carta d’Identite to the new electronic cards. This cost €27 each plus photos, fingerprints etc. We should get them in the mail.
So that’s three out of four things we need. The last thing is a Housing Certification or a certificate of habitability. We had thought this “could” be the long pole in the tent as they say. We noticed our deed mentions we do not have this certification. And it says, due to the age of the building. (!) Uh oh. So I decided to write our realtor, who knows just about everything real estate related, and ask him. Well, he replied that this is true, our house is in the Centro Storico, or historical center of town. This part of town is ancient and because of this it gets a pass. I guess we will highlight this passage on our deed and hope they accept it.