They call this Mimosa and it is everywhere right now. I guess a very early bloomer. The leaves look like the mimosa I know from the states but the flowers DEFINATELY not. They are like little yellow puffballs.
We also visited an old church in a town called San Guistino. We had aimed to visit the castle there but it is open only on weekends. It purportedly has a gorgeous garden which would be better visited in the spring. We will return. Meanwhile I took a picture in the Church crypt. It was built in the 7th century and completely unlit except for candles.
I just finished reading a book called “The Consul” written by Walter Orebaugh. He was a diplomat in France in WWII and was captured by the Facists in Monaco and spent 2 years in Italy, first as a prisoner and then fighting with the Partisans in the mountains very near where we now live. He had a harrowing escape down the coast. The first house he mentioned in the book where the partisan group he was with were headquartered was called San Faustino. I googled and found that it is now a resort. I found it on a map and we went on an exciting trip trying to find it. We were on all sorts of roads. Mostly gravel through very mountainous terrain. We did in the end find it. The resort is closed for the winter but it is unmistakably the same house as there is a picture in the book and the bell tower is the same. I could easily imagine the Partisani in these remote, forbiding mountains. Here is a picture. We will have to go back in the summer.
On Thursday we headed out to class in Citta di Castello. We got almost to our exit and came to a stop on the superstrada. It was closed and everyone was detoured off. It was a stormy morning with really strong, gale force winds and rain or snow depending on where you were. We ended up only five minutes late but the roaring wind blew around the building. There was a lot of damage and a number of people killed and injured throughout central and northern italy. Hence the closing of the road.
On Friday we had a planned trip to a town called Forli (accent on the i so emphasis on the last syllable). It was about 100 kilometers north near the Adriatic coast. Along the way we saw numerous trees down and the big highway signs either blown down or folded in half by the winds. I guess that was the reason for the closing. The reason for the trip was an art exhibit at the Musei San Domnico. [website] The museum was in a former convent and lovely in it’s own right. The show was the art of Giovanni Boldini. He was an artist during the Belle Epoche in the late 1800s and early 1900s which was a dynamic period. He started out in Florence Italy but eventually moved to Paris where it was all happening. He had money so was not a starving artist. He had epic skills and his works are captivating. He mostly did portraits of beautiful women in the most amazing dresses. All of the women were so beautiful! Hard to imagine. He is not well known but should be. I could stand looking at some of the pictures for hours. He painted in impressionistic and realistic regimens and conveyed the magnificence of the gowns the women wore with amazing brush-work. Minimalist but when you stood back the dresses shimmered with gold, sequins, lace and satin. Amazing!
After the show we went to lunch at Salumé which was recommended in our Slow Food book. It was on a nice Piazza not too far away. It was very small. In summer there would be outside tables. The wait staff and chef were very nice. Both very young and enthusiastic. We had a stuffed cuttlefish antipasti with a pea purée to start. Then assorted pastas. Mine had squid with big rigatoni type pasta. Luther got classic ragu. Susan and Gary got pork cheeks with roasted cauliflower in an unusual green, leaf shaped pasta from Liguria actually called Olive Leaves. Very yummy. The chef and waiter stayed and talked to us for quite a while. They are very proud of their place. And they should be. Not that most tourists will go to Forli but if you do, try Salumé.
After lunch we visited Eataly. It is a store that celebrates Italian Food and Wine with branches worldwide and it just opened a store in…Forli(!) in February. It is right on the main piazza. It is four floors of all Italian goods, mostly food. A lot of fun and we made a few purchases.
Forli is definitely not a tourist destination but it was actually much nicer than I had imagined. Very walkable, lots of trees so summer must be lovely there. It was heavily bombed in the war by the Germans. Some of the city was able to be restored. We stayed at the Hotel Michaelangelo which was nice enough. Walkable to most sights. If there is another good show at the gallery I would go back for sure.