A couple of things going on here. First is the week-long Pitulum music festival. Everynight we are serinaded by an orchestra or band. All are different. Thursday was the Madonna del Rega holiday, which is an Umbertide holiday. They had a procession through town on Wednesday night and church services on Thursday. On this day, since it is a special Umbertide day, the orchestra is the local Umbertide one. It draws quite a crowd!
Then, yesterday, I kept hearing applause and went to investigate. Looking out the window I see it is a wedding. But I could not find the bride. Then I realized it was two men. Our first same sex union here in Umbertide! It was just legalized here in Italy a few months ago. Handsome couple. And congratulations to them!
Starting this coming Thursday is our Otto Cento festival. It will be my third. I will not be here to photograph the antics of the Briganti as I have the last two years. My sister is arriving early Sunday morning and we will pick her and her husband in Rome.
Last week we saw our first wedding of the 2016 season in the piazza. This little girl was so cute.
Some of the guests. These Italian men are perfetto! Don’t you love the artfully untucked shirts? Cigarettes and sunglasses are the finishing touch. Italian men wear blazers with jeans all the time.
There seemed to be a big Muslim group of guests.
And finally the bride. That must be the Mamma fixing her hair.
Later that day the Vespa Club had a rally. Actually it went on all weekend but this day was a slo-mo motorcross or something. They went v-e-r-y slowly through the course.
The piazza festivities have begun!
I think I am going to have to start a separate section for weddings. Last Sunday I heard the sound of the Wedding March and took a look outside. The bride was surprisingly wearing orange. And I noticed there were a large number of Vespa motorbikes in the Piazza. Days later I finally made the connection. Orange is the color of the Umbertide Vespa Club. I surmised that the bride and groom are members. It was reinforced by the fact that she sat astride a white vespa to have her picture taken. Sweet.
Our latest guests, Steve and Shiromi have gone on to new adventures in Turkey. We very much enjoyed their stay. After our visit to Gubbio we decided the other big town to see would be Perugia. We did some shopping and explored what is left of the fortress built after the Salt war. It was commissioned by the Pope as a symbol of Papal power and was built in 1540. They rased an entire borgo (over 100 houses plus churches and monasteries) to include the houses of the Baglioni family whom the Pope hated. It is eerie to wander what were the streets of the borgo and see the remains of all the houses, which were built of stone as opposed to the brick of the fortress. Here are some photos. It is hard to show the scale of the place. the ceilings are very tall.
This is a street sign (!) underground.
We also visited the enormous Etruscan gate. It was built 2,400 years ago and used no mortar. Impressive.
When Cesar Augustus conquered the city he carved his name into the gate.
Relaxing in the main piazza. Note the little buzzer in the center of the table to call for service. I’d never seen this before.
We had a lovely lunch at Ristorante Antica trattoria san Lorenzo. We had been here before and enjoyed the very innovative cuisine. Steve and Shiromi enjoyed it too. We all had the lunch special. This first picture is the little “gift” from the chef before we got the appetizer.
This was the rabbit.
We bid Steve and Shiromi goodbye on Thursday. Since then we have been relaxing a little. Right now Umbertide is having the week-long concert festival called Rassegna Bande Musicali Citta di Umbertide. The concert bands come from towns all around us and are very good, most performing excerpts that are very familiar like the march in Carmen. Sorry for the blur!
I also learned an interesting factoid. Here in Italy you are buried on a Friday, married on a Saturday, and christened on a Sunday! I enjoy watching the weddings from our window. Yesterday there were two that I noticed. The first had an impressive Lincoln stretch limo. The picture below is of the second wedding. This bride was really rocking it out! They had a very loud sound system set up and a DJ spinning the tunes. And note her red shoes!
Tomorrow we greet Ron and Linda, Americans who live in Florence. We met them in Virginia before they moved to Italy about 5 years ago. We were at that time just dreaming of moving here so we picked their brains about how they were accomplishing it. They don’t have a car and use the rails to travel. We’ll pick them up at the station and visit some places they can’t reach by train. I am looking forward to seeing them.
We have been having summery weather with some storms and pretty sunsets. I thought I’d share a couple of photos from the last week or so. This one is a gorgeous sunset.
Our weather comes from the west and our terrace faces that way so we are treated with seeing the storms approach. Oddly this one loomed up and over us and then disappeared. Here is one of the storm with the sun behind the cloud.
On Sunday we planned to meet Shirley and Frank over in Montepulciano for lunch at our favorite place, La Grotta. Before we left home however, I glanced out and there was a wedding in progress. They had four of the classic Fiat 500s with white bows on them awaiting the wedding party. (the fourth one got lost, was red, and showed up later) I wished I could have seen the bride, in her voluminous dress, get into one of these babys!
It was kind of cloudy and cool. We decided to visit a winery on the way to MonteP named Tenute del Cerro. I will only post one picture of the countryside from the winery here as we have to wait for the Wine Guy to write his post about it. It was a fantastic place.
Lunch was great, and to make your mouth water, here is what I had. First an interesting salad with shaved, raw asparagus, shaved parmesan, and a poached egg.
Next Tagliatella with goose ragu. YUM!