Monday, February 28, 2011

5D5M #3, Lunch at Il Feudo del Vicari

We woke up the other day with not a plan on the schedule and not a cloud in the sky, but with an itch to get out of the house. But, we’d woken up a bit late, so without enough time to do any serious exploring of a new town. Enough time, however, to do some lunchtime exploring of somewhere that didn’t demand a drastic drive, so we headed to Anghiari. Anghiari is a hilltown just into Tuscany, about 15 minutes at most from Citta di Castello, and across the highway from Sansepulcro, where we’d stopped a few times on past trips but hadn’t been yet (except to take folks to the shoe outlet on Anghiari’s outskirts) during the pre-tirement. Perched literally on a hillside, Anghiari is (I believe) a lovely spot--so much so we wondered why we hadn’t been spending more time there and are determined to go back again before leaving. But this time, we were on a lunch mission, and a Five Days, Five Meals mission, and focused in on finding the right spot. And the right spot was: Il Feudo del Vicari. We were taken upstairs into a cozy little room (except that the chairs were of the looks-good-but-kills-your-back straight-backed medieval style), where we ordered wine and a host of intriguing dishes. But first, check out my mysterious wine-drinking lunch companion:
We started with a dish that instantly rose into the precious “top ten dishes I’ve had this month list”—a cheese dip topped with truffles:
I mean, really, isn’t that amazing? Melted cheese (I believe it was a parmesan variant) with shaved truffles and light extra virgin olive oil on top? Fan-freakin-tastic. For my main, I had a lush ricotta-stuffed ravioli topped with butter and sage:
For her main, the mysterious lady above went to the pasta forest (in a way) with a tagliatelle porcini (and between us, it was better than my ravioli—even though the ravioli was tasty. But the porcinis were mushroom-y, teeth-y, and full of flavor):
As much as I love good pasta, my side dish may have been the finest post-cheese-dip part of the lunch though. A simple patate arrosta (or roasted potatoes), they were crisp, buttery, parsley-y, and perfect:
I saved the bottom one to be my last bite of our Anghiari lunching adventure.

*See more Italian restaurants: Capponi, Nestor's,Nonna Gelsa, Le Capannine di Sommavilla, Calagrana, Trattoria Il Saraceno, L Enoteca Wine Club, Mastro Dante, Bar Fizz, Da Cesari, al Frantoio, La Balestra, Lo Strattoio, Mencuccio, La Fortezza

*See all Italian restaurants

Sunday, February 27, 2011

5D5M #2, Cielo Chiaro Special: Artichoke Piadina

I haven’t had a lot of recipes here on the Six Months lately, not because we haven’t cooked at all, but just because I’ve forgotten to take pictures, or had time to write up said recipes. But I thought a recipe would fit in well in to Five Meals, Five Days and luckily we’d recently made an absolutely delish (and easy-to-make) dish for lunch the other day: artichoke piadinas. Piadinas are the lesser known (in the states, at least) Italian sandwiches (trailing their pal the Panini), utilizing a thin bread that’s somewhere between a flour tortilla and Indian naan, though that’s not doing the piadina justice, because they have a wonderful chewiness without losing sponginess that's hard to explain. If that makes sense. They’re usually available in bars, but usually with meat a-poppin', so for us veggies making our own is best. For this version, we used the artichoke skills picked up in our Calagrana cooking class. First, we cut off the stems to about 1-1/2 inches from the bud. Then, we shucked the outer leaves, all the way until we got to the tender inner leaves (with just a few layers of leaves left), and then we peeled the rough outer skin off the stem and leaf-to-stem-connecting-area (not sure what that’s called). Then, we cut off the top inch or two of the remaining leaves (just the top of the leaves). Then sliced the artichoke, leaf top to stem, into half inch or so slices. Nat added tomato to her sandwich and said it was “the awesome.” I disagree, since mine was obviously the best (just look at it):
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 artichokes, peeled, shucked, sliced
2 piandinas (or tortillas, or naan even)
1-1/2 cups cheese of your choice (one that melts nicely)
Five cherry tomatoes sliced in half (optional)

1. Add 1-1/2 tablespoons of the olive oil to a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the sliced artichokes and sauté for five minutes or until just tender, stirring often.

2. Remove the artichokes from the first pan. Add the remaining olive oil in equal parts to the original pan and to a second large sauté pan, with both pans over medium-high heat. Add one piadina each to each pan.

3. Distribute half of the artichoke onto one half of one piadina, and the other half of the artichokes onto one half of the other piadina. Do the same with the cheese, and the tomatoes if you want.

4. Cook the piadinas until the cheese is nicely melted, flipping over to ensure browning on both sides.

*See more specials: Penne e Noce, Zuppa di Pomodoro e’ Fagioli,Torta Vegetariana, Lasagna Vegetariana con Tartufo Crema, Homemade Tagliatelle e Gorgonzola, Orzo Vegetale con Crema, Four Italian Drinks, Capellini Aglio e’ Olio con Porro, Ginger Ice Liqueur

*See all Cielo Chiaro Specials

Saturday, February 26, 2011

5M5D #1: Lunch at La Fortezza

I was browsing the blog the other day (and yeah, I browse my own blog--what of it? I’m looking for comments--maybe you should leave one?) and realized with all our visitors, and with enjoying the unexpected February sunshine (as it snows in my other home, Seattle), and with reading  the new Steve Ditko collection I received for my bday, that I haven’t had much in the way of food on Six Months lately. This also means I’ve missed talking up a few restaurants that are worthy of mention. So, welcome to (drum roll—using grissini drumsticks naturally): Five Meals, Five Days (or, for short, 5M5D). I won’t wax as foodly poetic as perhaps I’ve a want to do, just to keep the courses coming, but will be serving some delish pics (I hope, at least), and won’t have any repeats of restaurants or recipes. First up: La Fortezza. We were recently in Assisi again, dropping off my mother and her gal pals Judith and Shelly at a nunnery (not for good, just for two nights), after driving some of the leanest streets in Italy, which happened after we took a quick stroll through this lovely Italian hilltown and stopped for lunch at La Fortezza (we had thought about going to al Frantoio, but it was closed. And now we know two great restaurants in this wonderful town). I started with a very thick strangozzi, topped with olive oil and fresh black truffles, and it was yummy, chewy homemade pasta matching well with the earthy truffles:
It was a blustery chilly day (even St. Francis might have shivered), which led Nat to ordering up a zuppa verdure that was packed with warming goodness (in the shape of a host of veggies):
I ordered a second course off the contorni menu, which had a surprising eggplant parmesan on it. The eggplant p doesn’t show up much on central Italian menus, so I had to order it—and it was a great choice. Cheesy, gooey, goodness:
Nat also had a somewhat surprising second course: crepes with a creamy, cheesy sauce. A melt-in-your-mouth delight:
A lunch to take the chill off, and have us dreaming of it as we drove away from Assisi—and into the first day of 5D5M.

*See more Italian restaurants: Capponi, Nestor's,Nonna Gelsa, Le Capannine di Sommavilla, Calagrana, Trattoria Il Saraceno, L Enoteca Wine Club, Mastro Dante, Bar Fizz, Da Cesari, al Frantoio, La Balestra, Lo Strattoio, Mencuccio

*See all Italian restaurants

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Our New Italian Home*

*Not really our new house, if you didn’t guess that. But, with the way prices have risen since our first visit to the Upper Tiber Valley, perhaps this is what we could afford. The dogs would surely like roaming the forest. And, the view’s pretty spectacular. And, we could shot boars all the live-long day. Maybe it’s looking more appealing. And for our guests, there’s a tree house:

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A Visit to Sparkly and Dante-y Ravenna

Ravenna is an interesting city, and one that’s had one of the more interesting histories, though it’s not told as often as some of the more tip-of-the-tongue Italian cities (consider it more Myrna Loy against starlets such as Marilyn, Carole Lombard, and Greta Garbo—the latter being Rome, Florence, and Venice in this set up). But look it over: beginnings in Umbrian times at least, home of Caesar’s largest fleet (the East Mediterranean fleet, that is), capital of the Western Roman Empire starting in 402 (which is much cooler than, say, the West Coast Avengers), the royal seat for Barbarian king Odoacer, seat of Theodric, farthest western city of the Byzantine empire and a favorite of playboy Empire Justinian, hangout and eventual resting spot for a forced-from-Florence Dante, crumbling into only an outlying suburb of Venice, and then, after WW II, emerging like a phoenix from its ashes to become both a business and industrial power and becoming a rediscovered art center due to its singular mosaics. Now, even in a completed truncated one-sentence version, that’s quite a history. And I didn’t even mention that its now the bicycle capitol of Italy (maybe even Europe), with streets designed for bike riding and the citizens taking full advantage of it. With the above said, was it any wonder that my mom and he friends Judith and Shelly wanted to visit Ravenna when they were recently visiting? Luckily, Ravenna’s only two hours (well, with Nat driving we made it in 1.45 hours) away. We started our Ravenna-ing, after tracking down a parking lot and having a quick glass of coffee, tea, or wine (depending on who was drinking—why don’t you guess), at the Basilica of San Vitale, which is covered in mosaics in the main area:
San Vitale is, after visiting a whole host of western-style churches in Italy, quite different. Very eastern, it’s a large octagon (it has a mystical feel, and if it wasn’t a church could be the headquarters of an evil legion looking to take over the world) with a dome and core area. It’s named after a mysterious (in that his actual history is somewhat of a mystery) Roman soldier who was a Christian martyr way back in the early days of the religion. The intriguing shape, and the story of the churches namesake take a quick backseat however, to the mosaics. They are massive, golden, glittering, colorful, and intricate, telling stories, showing portraits, and covering all different shapes. Walking up to them (two nice things: it’s more possible to walk right up to the mosaics and see them closely, and see how they were put together, then in many spots, and it’s also possible to take photos) you can only imagine the meticulous crafts-person-ship that went into creating them. There are more snazzy ones on the walls and ceilings (with traditional religious scenes and shots of Byzantine celebs like Justinian and his dancer-turned-wife Theodora) but also more daily subjects on the floor, like this duck (which I loved):
In the same complex (another nice Ravenna tip: you can get a ticket the covers the three main art spots I’m going to mention, making it simpler to get in them) is the Mausoleum of Galla Placidia. Galla was the daughter of the emperor Theodosius, and she eventually ruled Ravenna herself (meaning she ruled a lot of the West of Italy) as empress, then as regent for her young son, Valentinian III (who then was an emperor after her). She also had a Barbarian first husband (the death-metal-singer-named Ataulf). Her mausoleum is much smaller than San Vitale, but well worth a visit--just don’t be suckered into believing she's actually there. She’s with the other heavy-hitters in Rome. The mausoleum was built in the 5th century and is in the typical Latin cross shape and snuggled in to the complex under a large tree:
 It’s dark inside, with light only filtering in gently through windows made of thin marble (really—it’s quite a ethereal effect), but once your eyes adapt to the dark, and once you get around the student group giving speeches, the mosaics are enchanting. More organic  than San Vitale, these mosaics featuring doves, sheep, grape vines, flowers, birds, cows with wings, and deer:
Also, there’s a mosaic of San Lorenzo, who was burned to death on a grill (handily pictured next to him if you wondered). He was a tough martyr as the stories go (he's carrying a bat for gosh sakes), who supposedly gave his torturers the business while he was being literally grilled, saying things like “you should be turning me over now dorks, cause this side’s done”:
That was a lot of mosaic-ing for our morning, so after the mausoleum, we wandered the streets a bit (always watching for on-coming bicycles), had some lunch (it was tasty—hopefully I’ll catch up to it in another post, but for now I’m going to, gasp!, skip lunch descriptions), and then headed towards the non-mosaic reason I wanted to visit Ravenna: Dante’s tomb. On the way, we stopped to look at the simply charming San Francesco:
where (it was starting to turn into a poetical stars tour) we came across this plaque in honor of Lord Byron, who lived and wrote in Ravenna for a while, and who was said to have said he liked the peasants there best in the world and thought the women (which probably meant more to him) the most attractive:
Dante is (friendly enough) buried right around the corner. Dante was exiled from Florence for political reasons in the 1300's morning, wandered a bit, ended up in Ravenna, and died on September 13/14 in 1321. For many years, his remains weren’t fancied up, first being in the above-shown San Francesco. Then, in 1483, a portrait/sculpture was commissioned, which is still in the tomb today:
but the tomb itself was fairly mundane until the Legate (guessing that’s like the mayor) commissioned a new neo-classical temple for Dante in 1780. Now, he (Dante, that is) has his own lane, leading to his serene, appealing, resting place:
The poet’s remains did have a few more side journeys before being in the temple, however. See, the Florentines decided, years later, that they wanted Dante back (go figure: incredibly famous person gets kicked out of one city before he become famous—naturally they’ll want him back after he's famous.) As Florence was a powerful city, they convinced a pope (Leo X) to give them permission to take Dante back to Florence. However, when they showed up in Ravenna with permission slip in hand, Dante wasn’t where he was supposed to be (and it’s not like he walked away). Turns out, the friars where he was buried made a hole in his burial chamber at night and snuck him out the hole and hid him. From there, he was re-buried, moved a bit, lost when the friars moved, and then re-discovered in 1865 when someone was doing some earth moving. That’s quite a find.

Our next stop on the Ravenna mosaic tour came after Dante: Sant’Apollinare Nuovo. Less fantastical than Galla’s mausoleum, and more airy and removed than San Vitale, Nuovo (which is what I’m calling it, cause it’s cool and easier to say) dates back to the 5th century and was built for Arian  emperor Theodoric, before being Catholic-ized and renamed. The main structure is very columnar and long:
with mosaics along the side as you walk closer to the alter, small scenes along the top and larger scenes below, with the below being series of the virgins on one side and martyrs on the other (which is quite a dichotomy—always facing each other, longingly after all these years I'll bet):
Because of the shift in faith-focus (Arian to Catholic), and because people generally want to change history to match their own world view, Nuovo has some odd, funny, and strange revisionisms. In one hard-to-photo mosaic of the wedding of Cana (where Jesus made everyone incredibly happy by changing water into wine—now, anyone who says booze and church don’t mix, go back and read the story) where the wine jugs were changed into bread baskets. Also, along the lower level at one point a number of figures were mosaic’d over because they were too Arian. No one thought that the scenes would look weird, or to remove the hands (some older artists weren’t as, um, careful as others I suppose):
After leaving the Nuovo, we walked to the main square, the Piazza del Popolo, to check out the haps (as the hip Ravennans say). But when we sat down, we checked the clock:
and realized we’d better call it a day and start the drive back home, day-dreaming of small golden squares and hungry dogs.

Monday, February 21, 2011

A Cooking Class at Ristorante Calagrana

I’ve mentioned the restaurant Calagrana on the blog multiple times, going on in effusive terms about how delicious it is, how friendly the folks working there are, and how if you come to this area (the Upper Tiber Valley, that is—but really, you can sub in “Italy” for the area if you want, or “Europe”) and don’t stop by for dinner or a Sunday brunch, well, your taste buds must be dulled. I fully figured that we’d stop by for eats there at least, oh, once a month while here, but never thought we’d be lucky enough to enjoy a cooking class there with Chef Alberto Chiappa (sometimes going as Alberto, or even Albi if one is trying to type quickly). Stars recently aligned however, thanks to a gift from my awesome sister Jill and brother-in-law JD, who gave me, Natalie, and my mom Trudy a class at Calagrana recently.  We went in early-ish for coffee, jaw’d a bit, and then headed into the kitchen to make lunch. The class was, in a word: fantastic. We made an assortment of dishes, but had to start by chopping vegetables for stock:
and dicing vegetables for one of the courses (julienning carrots, zucchini, and onions):
Along the vegetable way, and this is how it was when doing anything in Albi’s class, we learned about the best way to chop, cut, mix, and do whatever it took to put together our Italian meal. This included him teaching us how to peel and thinly slice eggplant:
After grilling said eggplant, Natalie rolled it up cozy around delish Italian ricotta (an aside: why can’t we get good ricotta in the States? Creamy but firm, tasteful but not overwhelming, yummy and yummy—why?) for eggplant cannelloni:
Once the veggies of various sorts (one I don’t have a picture of, but got the most out of learning about, was artichokes, for those completest readers) were sliced, diced, frying, and fried, mom put her lessons on puff pastry to good use:
After a little dessert-ing (we learned how to make the famous Calagrana molten chocolate cake, or “the Devil,” along with picking up a trick of two involving freezing--but hey, I can’t tell you everything. Take the class yourself pardner) we moved on to one of the key parts of the class, or any class at Calagrana I think: pasta making. Starting with just flour, eggs, and a stitch of oil, we went to mixing it minimally, and then on to using the pasta machine to knead and create pastas. All the while, Albi gave us pointed and hints and insight into how true Italian homemade pasta is made--and always made the learning fun:
For today’s class, we were making ravioli (beet for most, veggie for beet-allergic me—cause no-one wants to see me explode in red welts at the luncheon table). Look at Nat’s skill in crafting the ravioli:

Nat was so influenced by the pasta-making that she wrote a whole pasta post at Bella Cinghiale and promises to make homemade pasta as much as possible (which is darn fine news for me). After the above (and let me tell you, it’s an abbreviated version, cause this is a blog of course, and my posts tend to go on too long anyway, but we learned oodles during our three hours of cooking with Albi) the best part of any cooking class happened: we were able to eat our work. Think about how much better school would be, and how much more excited students would be to learn if after ever lesson they had a delicious chance to eat what they learned? Before the final dish pics, naturally, we had to go out of the kitchen and sit down at a table in the restaurant proper. Look who was waiting for us:
Albi and Ely’s son Oli (or, Oliver). Isn’t he cute? We could have played with him for hours, but he was as hungry as we were, so on to the appetizers. We started with puff pastry topped with sautéed veggies and a gorgonzola fondue (or cheese sauce) so scrumptious I ordered it again the next time I was at Calagrana:
Next, we had the ingeniously flavorsome eggplant cannelloni mentioned above, where eggplant takes the place of pasta, rolled around that rich ricotta filling (the pic is in pre-bake stage, due to photographer fluxuations):
Following up the antipastas (though many might think the first two stops would be a full lunch) we moved into the ravioli, which had the various fillings and pasta made with our own little hands (by the way, we did an admirable job):

Now here’s the one downside of the whole day, the one smudge on the menu, the one sour burst in the biting—I forgot to take a picture of the artichoke risotto. I mentioned missing taking a picture of the artichokes above, but how could I also forget the risotto? The risotto? I love risotto. It’s one of my favorite dishes on the planet and I believe Calagrana’s is among the best I’ve had. And I learned some key risotto-cooking-tips to boot. But no pictures. So, take the darn class yourself and you’ll learn what I did, then take a picture and send it to me. I did, however, take a pic of the deluxe Devil dessert, which may help make up for the lack of risotto:
Now that, cooking lovers, is quite a class: five courses, lots of inspired learning, lots of laughs, and wine to boot. You know what’s best? Calagrana does cooking classes for everyone, not just pre-tirees like us. So you can sign up, take a class, make some tasty food, and learn a bunch of helpful cooking secrets. Because that’s the only way you’ll learn them—I’m sure not telling you.

*Want to set up your own Calagrana cooking class? Click right here.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Sookie and Rory and Their New Toys

Different dogs, like different people, enjoy different toys (even in Italy), and enjoy their toys in a different ways. That’s a lot of difference for two dogs who spend a good amount of time smelling each other’s butts. But hey, difference makes the world spin even for dogs. Just look, for evidence. Here’s Sookie with her new Ratt-Ratt, cuddling up after just a little chewing and chawing:
On the other side, here’s Rory, with his new toy (after not being as interested in his own Ratt-Ratt):
Looks almost vicious, doesn’t he? Only to plastic bottles though.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Five* More Pictures of Florence

Earlier, I posted five pictures of Florence, and talked some about wandering around this city that Nat and I are both really fond of, both for its art treasures, its food, and its streets and atmosphere. Since then, Nat’s been once more, but I hadn’t until we stopped in a few weeks ago to give our pal Shane (who you may be sick of hearing about—then again, how could you be?) a one day Florence overview before he headed back solo, and to meet up with Angela and Bobby, some pals of our pal Jeremy Holt who just were lucky enough to move to Florence. Before meeting up with them for lunch though, we walked Shane around a bit, starting with the Duomo and strolling down Via dei Calzaiuoli to the Piazza della Signoria, one of the main piazza’s in the city, where the Palazzo Vecchio sits, as well as where the horses who buggy folks around Florence stop for snacks:
Also, in the same piazza corner as the Palazzo Vecchio and on one edge of the Uffizi (which is just off the piazza) is the Loggia della Signoria. The Loggia is a sort-of covered porch, where at one point city officials would sit when ceremonies and demonstrations and jugglers were in the piazza, but which now houses an incredible outdoor sculpture museum (the art’s been there since about the 18th century). There aren’t a ton of sculptures there, but the quality is out-of-hand, and the collection includes two favorites of mine, Cellini’s (who features prominently in the title poem in Want, by the by) Perseus and Giambologna’s last work, the spiraling, forceful, Rape of the Sabines:
Florence, naturally, is famous for a number of things: art and culture, leather goods, the Negroni, Dante and the lack of Dante, and much more, but also for fashion. With the latter in mind, and as we often end up walking by the Ferragamo palace (usually on our way to Procacci), Nat and Shane and Bobby and Angela (we met up with them at lunch) decided to stop by the Ferragamo shoe museum. I skipped it and up the street, but Nat was kind enough to take some awesome pictures and I wanted to put one here, because fashion has played its part in Florence history, and because I think this picture of shoe forms (which Ferragamo was famous for) is awesome:
From there, we wandered over to the Oltrarno, or east of the Arno river, side of Florence. The Oltrarno is a charming place to walk through, with bigger sites (Pitti Palace, for example), but also with winding streets with small shops where artisans and craftspeople work, tasty restaurants tucked away in corners, and more. I also love the view over the river, either looking at one of Florence’s bridges, or just at the apartments, hotels, and homes (while dreaming of living there myself of course):
But maybe when considering all of Florence’s beauties, both smaller and larger and gigantic, nothing is as enjoyable as sitting down with a glass or two of wine with friends old and new. Luckily, though we saw a good part of the town this trip, we still had time for this very undertaking--sitting down in a cozy bar in the Oltrarno neighborhood with Angela and Bobby (they were nice enough to introduce us to the bar):
Another fabulous day in Florence—hopefully not our last before the pre-tirement ends.

*Okay, okay, there are really six pictures here. But through the magic of computroning, I combined two into one. Which makes six five. Right?

Thursday, February 17, 2011

A Pleasant Morning in Citta Della Pieve

Earlier, I detailed how Shane (who has, sadly for us and Italy, returned to the Pacific Northwest of the United States—happily for those living there) and I went all street style in Citta Della Pieve, while standing in one of its leaner streets. But if I stopped at only detailing that particular road it’d be giving short shrift to a particularly nice, mid-sized Umbrian hill town. We (Nat, Shane, and I) had headed to Citta Della Pieve originally looking for a restaurant owned and run by pals of our pal Gaetano (he of Da Cesari fame). Unfortunately, the restaurant wasn’t open (and honestly, we couldn’t find it anyway, as it is a ways out of city limits, and though the day was pleasant and blue-skied, a little much for our walking minds). Fortunately, Citta Della Pieve itself is charming, and very welcoming to visitors, with easy-to-follow signs, detailing where artistic, historic, and culinary stops are and in what direction, as well as where small attractive alleys were located. In addition, the town is the home of Perugino, who many consider the most famous, and best, Umbrian artist in the 1500s. It's somewhat of a surprise we hadn't yet stopped there (not to mention that pal Veronica told me that a famous Italian soap opera is set there).

We stopped first at the town’s cathedral, with its tall tower and red brick walls (the red brick being everywhere in Citta Della Pieve, due to it not having a large amount of local building stones):
The Duomo was a quiet and lovely spot, with two later paintings by Perugino, loads of interesting marble, and a calm, contented, comfortable feel that many larger churches miss (no pics inside naturally). From there we skipped across the road to the Palazzo Della Corgna, a large place which was for many years the home of the town’s leading family and which is now the Biblioteca Communale (and which also has handy communal bathrooms). It’s possible to walk up a series of stairs almost to the top of the palazzo (once you pass an Etruscan sundial from the six century—B.C. that is), with each staircase, and some walls, decorated by birds, faces, more traditional portraits, and babies riding dragons:
At the stop before the top floor, you can get a fantastic over-view of the town, seeing the traditional red rooftops flecked with green moss, a small grape grove, and rolling hills and larger houses in the distance:
Back outside of the palace though, we quickly founds ourselves just wandering the very streets we looked down on (after sadly missing entrance into the Oratorio di Santa Maria dei Bianchi, where another famous Perugino resides, by about five minutes since they close for lunch at 12:30 and we showed up at 12:35). I love wandering Umbrian hill town streets. The closeness, the colors, the sunshine—or rain—trickling down, and a slight weight in the air from the history contained (if not always recorded) in every step:
A pleasant morning indeed.