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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.

Pizza night!

I will thank the Coronavirus for one thing. PIZZA DELIVERY IN UMBERTIDE. Unheard of previously. The pizzeria we call (Degusto) is still delivering. But I keep expecting them to stop now they can have guests and take away. Anyway, tonight I tried another type. Pizza Noci e Pere. Nuts, pears, and Gorgonzola. All my favorite things 🙂.

Pictured. Mine first. Luther’s second. Mmmm. Buon Appitito!

First Pranzo!

We decided to go out for our first lunch since March! March 11 to be exact.

Yesterday was cool but bright sunshine. We had reservations for two tables of two as they won’t combine tables. But when we arrived there were two tables together but the seating was at either end with the other seat at the corner putting maximum distance between the couples.

We decided to have his stuzzicheria. A platter, a beautiful array of meats and cheeses. This is Patrick’s claim to fame, aside from his wines. He puts a lot of thought into the cheeses, how they go together in a tasting plate. The hams were beautiful. Prosciutto crudo, a cooked pork sliced paper thin, a bresaola, a pancetta. It had been so long since we’ve had this we fell on it like ravenous animals!

My plate … mmmm

Covid 29 – Phase 2.1 – Day 7

229,327 positives in Italy. Up 0.3% – 32,735 total deaths since beginning of the outbreak.

There are 1,430 positive cases in Umbria. 74 total deaths.

1,613,476 cases in the US – 96,662 deaths.
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Domenica – pretty-ish day today. A little overcast. We will drive out to Calagrana In a few minutes to pick up our meals. 
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While out and about yesterday it felt like old times. Only real difference is the masks. At least everyone wears them. And the one-at-a-time rule for stores and businesses. We are happy to see the businesses back. Last night the youngsters were partying like there was no tomorrow. Hope this doesn’t cause too big of a spike. 

As of June 3 Italy is open again to cross border travel from other EU countries. Not the US though. We, who are here, can travel freely within Italy. There is plenty to see that we haven’t yet seen.  I was talking to a friend who mentioned she hadn’t realized how much of her time was spent traveling, researching and planning travel, anticipating travel, etc. For myself, I am trying to make some day trip plans. But I am having trouble getting started. Why? This is my question…I don’t know. I just can’t seem to take that first step. Luther has a significant birthday in July I need to plan something for that. He wants to go to the beach town with 2 really good restaurants. Not sure I’m up for that yet.

We had our big trip planned for Germany end of July and first part of August. We had found pet/house sitters for this trip from Nova Scotia. They had taken a year off and were traveling Europe. A mix of Airbnbs, working holidays, house sitting etc. Started in Portugal. Then went to, and through Spain. Got locked down in the Dordogne in France. Finally just got loose. They are supposed to head to another part of France and then Italy. I don’t know whether our trip will happen so we will have to let them know as soon as we do. I’m sure they can find a place to stay in Italy cheaply. But they had also hinted they wouldn’t be coming anyway, so we will see.
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As promised yesterday…photos…Here is Rocky. Studying the water…

Rocky. Toe in the water.

Finally, drinking the water.

The olives are amazing this year! This means a huge harvest may be coming this November. I will be ready to go the distance and help. Look at the flowers! Now, I’m told only 3 or 4 olives come from each cluster, but this still means a LOT of olives.

Poppies along the road to Calagrana. 🥰

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Buona domenica a tutti! 🌈 Stay safe!

Covid 19 Phase 2 Day 9️⃣

219,814 positives in Italy. Up 0.3% – 30,739 total deaths since beginning of the outbreak.

There are 1,412 positive cases in Umbria. 71 total deaths.

1,340,643 cases in the US – 79,935 deaths.
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A new week. Pretty,  if windy, day. Luther had grocery shopping duty so he went this morning. No waiting! We have new more comfortable masks…I don’t even mind wearing them. He tried his and liked it better too. He accomplished the shopping and brought it home. I promptly put all the dry goods into our decontamination room to wait 72 hours. Way easier than trying to wipe everything off.  The cold goods I did disinfect before storing them. So we are set for another week or two. Of course I will supplement with trips to the markets for veggies. The next grocery shopping
 trip we will go together as we used to.  Maybe even to the big IperCoop! If it opens back up.
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Tuesday. Gray and rainy but pretty warm. Perfect for growing plants. I made a big pot of soup today. Tonight I’m planing coniglia braised in white wine.  Otherwise quiet here.  

My friend Joseph wrote a journal entry today. It really got my attention. He is having difficulty acclimating to this new Phase 2. I completely understand. Maybe this will sound weird to many in the US but we will miss our lockdown. First, the lockdown in the US was never anywhere near what our lockdown was/is. We could not even exit our house without a written reason of necessity. The polizia patroled. We learned to just stay home. Only food shopping, medical needs, or medicines were allowed. Otherwise we had to stay HOME.

So we all got used to it. We even embraced it. I would awake in the morning. I would think of my day ahead. Empty. Serene. No obligations. No errands. Bliss. The days ran together. Each just the same as the one before. Alas, that is coming to an end. I know that sounds strange…but we can love a thing, and hate it too, I think. Our markets returning have again, bookended our weeks in Umbertide. We again have anchors so the days no longer run on in an uninterrupted line.  We must get used to the new changes. But we must be very careful. We will take no chances. And we will wait to see how this re-opening affects the numbers. Here are some pictures from Jill…

This iris is called Lemon Ice! Makes me think of gelato.

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Stay safe everyone 💕🌈 

Covid 19 Phase 2 Day 7️⃣

218,268 positives in Italy. Up 0.5% – 30,395 total deaths since beginning of the outbreak.

There are 1,407 positive cases in Umbria. 71 total deaths.

1,300,079 cases in the US – 78,320 deaths.

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Hi everyone! Sorry if you received two post emails yesterday. Operator error!

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One of our favorite activities during this enforced inside time is….

As you know I bought artichokes. I cleaned them for a salad I was going to make. These are local. I’ve never had artichokes like these before. They are MEAN. Look at these stickers! The second pic is after I “processed” them.

Tonight we had a salad made from raw artichokes sliced very thinly, with fava beans, fresh spinach, toasted almonds and soft cooked eggs. It was inspired by the book “Six Seasons”, which I mentioned before, although I made a lot of changes. I served the salad with salmon. It was tasty. I took a picture but, sadly, it was blurry. 😔

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Sunday morning. Beautiful day. The bells are ringing. One day they will, again, call people to Mass. Today I have to pick up our weekly meals on wheels! 🤣 Just kidding. The meals are from Calagrana. This time I won’t get caught by the cops as it is now legal to go over and pick them up. Whew.

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Buona domenica to all! And happy Mother’s Day! Take care of yourselves…and stay safe!
🌈 Andrà tutto bene!

Covid 19 Phase 2, Day 4️⃣

214,457 positives in Italy. Up 0.7% – 29,684total deaths since beginning of the outbreak.

There are 1,404 positive cases in Umbria. 70 total deaths.

1,216,739 cases in the US – 72,233 deaths.
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Today is a very special day. The Mercato or Market has returned after more than 2 months. Sigh. A semblance of normality. It is a lot smaller but that’s OK.

Of course, I went out to explore. It’s kind of a gray day. There are six slots in the Piazza below. A cheese truck, a cured meats truck, 3 vegetable dealers, and a fish truck. All of the vendors are the ones we had before. You were required to wear a mask to enter. Everyone had one on. The town police were there to enforce. But they didn’t have much to do since everyone complied. I enjoyed saying hi to everyone.

My “favorite” neighbor Josapina. She yammers away at me and I seldom understand her. It doesn’t seem to bother her though.
Lemone from Sicily
It is strawberry season. I seem to have missed the spring peas entirely — very sad.
One of the big veggie vendors.

The fish lady that I usually buy from was in her normal spot just outside the piazza. Out there were the Porchetta trucks (2), the fish lady, my favorite vegetable vendor, and a cheese stand. I was very surprised that my favorite Porchetta truck had run completely out of Porchetta!

SOLD OUT!!!

Beautiful pesce. Fish! I have missed this.

Spigola – sea bass
Orate (Bream) and octopus

While I was out I bought a nice Spigola from my fish lady. Dinner tonight. I decided to grill it. And I figured, with the grill hot I could grill some vegetables. I have a lot from our market basket from Ely. So here is my dinner tonight! It was very yummy.

On the grill.
Grilled vegetables. Zucchini, tomatoes, asparagus, and peppers. The peppers turned out to be very spicy! I hadn’t known and ate a big bite 😳
Dinner. The skin on the fish was charred. Crispy and yummy with the tender moist inside,


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Stay safe at home my friends. 🌈

Day 51 – Covid-19

189,973 positives in Italy. Up 1.4% – 25,549 total deaths since beginning of the outbreak.
There are 1,362 positive cases in Umbria.  61 total deaths.

856,209 cases in the US – 47,242 deaths.
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I finally got through the grocery ordeal. The only good thing was the weather. First I visited the pet store for cat food and litter. The store is much nicer now that it has been expanded.

Then I headed for the shopping “mall” here in Umbertide. It is a far cry from a mall in the American sense, but it has two hallways of shops culminating in the Coop grocery, the biggest food store in town. Most of the other shops are closed now.

The first hurdle was getting a carrello. Shopping cart. Since the lockdown the store took away over half of the shopping carts. So you have to wait around outside until someone returns one. I think it’s to slow people entering the mall.

Once inside I joined the queue down the hall. I was amazed to see someone had opened a new shop inside, it sells coffee and coffee makers. I thought to myself, who the heck opens a shop in the middle of a pandemic!? An optimist, Luther said. Hookay. They DO have a captive audience snaking past the shop waiting to get into the supermarket.

I am in the queue.
New shop!

Once inside I did my shopping. People must wear masks. They have sanitizer and free gloves at the entrance. Plenty of food. Plenty of everything. I was in the market for mostly dry goods. Also staple items like dried legumes, pasta, canned tomatoes, chicken broth. I got some salad greens, and spinach. And some blueberries. A friend made a blueberry cake that has my mouth watering so I’m making one too!

Anyway, that chore is done and I am glad my turn is finished. Luther goes next. I stopped at the ATM. I greeted Angelo downstairs as he stood outside of his alimentari. He was more cheerful than he usually is lately. Probably the weather. I saw Josepina, she is an older woman who lives alone next door. I had worried some about her. She seems good. And there was a black cat meowing to get into the Commercialista office next to our door. Josepina said he wanted though the office to get to the orto (vegetable garden) in the back. Hah!

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My amazing, wonderful, heroic niece Rachel, who is a front-line nurse during this horrible pandemic, recommended a book to me when we last spoke. Rachel and I go way back cooking together so I trust her recommendations implicitly. I right away put in an order at Blackwells bookshops in Oxford England for “Six Seasons” by Joshua McFadden. It won the James Beard Book Award. It arrived today and I am over the moon with excitement about trying some of the recipes. Seasonal. Vegetable focused but not totally vegetarian. I’m sure any of them could be totally vegetarian. But Luther will like them too. I will share with you as I try them.

Dinner was a quiche. I had a TON of eggs from my veggie boxes from Calagrana. Also used some of the potatoes. It was bacon (pancetta), potato, onion and Emmental cheese. I am a very bad pastry maker, it tasted good but was butt-ugly. 🙂

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Picture from my friend Joanne looking through her pergola at the very blue sky through the blooming wisteria. Wish I could see it!

Wisteria!

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Stay home and stay safe everyone…  🌈 Andrà tutto bene…