Friday 31 July 2015

Thursday 30 July 2015

Città della Pieve

We have been to Città della Pieve several times but that didn't stop us going again today. 

This ancient town is best known as the birth place of Pietro Vannucci, known as 
'Il Perugino', a local painter of frescoes of great note, and several of his works can be seen in Città della Pieve. 

 In recent years the production of saffron has been reinstated for the spice trade and also for use in art and fabrics.

What sort of gelato do you have when you visit Città della Pieve? Zafferano, of course!

Being Thursday it was music in the piazza night in Panicale. As usual we had a table at Il Gallo nel Pozzo with a good view and enjoyed an extremely tasty meal and an evening of popular folk indie music. All five eating establishments were kept extremely busy and tourists and locals alike enjoy these evenings.

Castiglione del Lago market day

Wednesday is market day in Castiglione del Lago, our nearest big town. Being a big town it has a big market. Unlike Australian markets, the Italian markets are a genuine form of shopping rather than a tourist and social event.
The stalls include fruit and vegetables, cheese and cured meat products, bread and plants. But they also are the place to buy shoes, ladies and men's clothing, underwear, toys, kitchenware (oh, I wish I had space in my case for the cooking pots on sale!), sheets & towels, books and dried goods such as herbs and spices, fruit and nuts.

We did some shopping - pears and grapes, some sesame nibbles biscuits and a whole salami with truffles. We looked at ladies sandals with bling and men's shirts but resisted.

We visited the Palazzo and also the Rocca. The rocca, or fortress, is now an open air movie theatre and we considered going to see a movie. In a few weeks time there is a comedy so we will probably go to that. Comedies are easier to understand than serious content.

Before returning home we sat and did some people watching whilst enjoying our daily gelato.

For a change we weren't the oldest things around ... these olive trees are far older.

Wednesday 29 July 2015

A Visit to Urbania and CSI

Back in March I posted a post entitled Coincidence is a Wonderful Thing.  If you don't recall it have another look before reading today's post.

Today we re-visited Urbania in Le Marche region and visited the school Centro Studi Italiani, and met with some of the family who feature in our text book Ci Siamo.

To get to Urbania from the west side of Italy you have to drive over the Appenines. The road winds incredibly up the range doubling back upon itself time after time. The many cyclists we saw were having their own Giro d'Italia experience. The scenery is magnificent, if you can take your eyes off the road!

We had contacted Giovanni and planned to arrive at Centro Studi Italiani at 11.30 am. We received a very warm welcome from him and also from Carlo and Anna. They remembered us from when we stayed at their home and we had lots of talk about their tree planting, their pets and of course, their children. Donatella was on holidays unfortunately but Alba arrived to meet us. Carlo and Anna are grandparents many times over and await the arrival of two more this year.

It was interesting hearing about the other people in our text book and how the photos were taken by Elio Guarnuccio so many years ago. 

Giovanni organised for us to have photos taken with them in the school foyer. Here we are: Giovanni, Alba, Anna, Carlo, Eleanor and Kelly/Rinaldo.

We were so pleased that we had made the big drive to visit Urbania again and to meet this lovely family. From small children in our text book to teens when we stayed in their rental accommodation to adults with growing families of their own, it was a happy visit.

Similar to the language school in Carlton, CSI was abuzz with people of all ages and nationalities keen to learn to speak Italian. Singing classes for opera singers could be heard and we were invited to their next opera singers' concert next week. They no longer hold these concerts in their own court yard but use the beautiful Teatro Bramante nearby. Unfortunately it is too far to drive there and far too scarey to drive home in the dark!

This is the front of the school.

We were trying to take a selfie when a Dutch student came along and offered to take the photo.

This is the Teatro Bramante in Piazza San Cristoforo.

A view down Corso Vittorio Emanuele. The school is to the right a little way down.

The Centro Storico of Urbania is very pretty. 
As well looking at all the places that feature in our text, we visited the Temple of Peace, a memorial built upon a bombed out church of Spirito Santo from WWII. It commemorates the civilian lives lost in the war. On 23 January 1944 Urbania was bombed many times and a substancial section of the city was destroyed. On the 25th anniversary this memorial was dedicated and the focal point is a very impressive mosaic by Urbino artist Augusto Ranocchio.

Monday 27 July 2015

Buonissimo! ma un pò grande.

Whilst driving around the area today we stopped at the bar at Sant' Arcangelo for a gelati break. It is too hot to order a cono as we can't lick fast enough, so we always order a coppa.

Just look at the size of the serves!

After twenty minutes of furious eating mine still looked like this.

One of us finished and one didn't. Guess who!  

Sunday 26 July 2015

Palio delle Barche at Passignano sul Trasimeno

Summertime is festival time in Italy and every week-end there are multiple options for the festival goer. Yesterday our plans to go to the Pievecavallo in Città delle Pieve were washed out but today we had better luck.

Passignano sul Trasimeno was our destination today for the Palio delle Barche. The festivities started this morning at 9.30 with a Patronal Mass and procession. We didn't go to the other side of the lake until about 2.30 pm as the next event, the historic parade, wasn't until 4 pm. It is always interesting trying to decide where the best vantage point might be when we don't actually know what will happen. Today we chose a shady spot which turned out to be the perfect spot. Once again the rione were competing for the honour of the palio. There are always several sections to the competition and today the parade was a part, followed by a small historic presentation, a boat race on the lake and a race carrying the boat along the street. There was much  chanting and team spirit and the locals proudly wore their rione colours.

Here are some photos from the historic parade.

For the boat race on the lake each rione had three people in their boat, a rower, a steer person ( Venetian style) and a female runner. The lake had become quite rough and the rowing looked like very hard work. As the boats rounded the pier there was a lot of jostling and once by the steps of the pier the runner jumped out with her flag and ran ...

Having been standing for several hours (with lots of waiting) we decided to head for home. The crowd was dense and we were battling our way through when we came upon the races with the upturned boats that involved 40-50 people in each team. One advantage of a point and shoot camera is that you can hold it above the crowd and sometimes get a reasonable photo.

A note regarding cameras: we left home with three cameras and unfortunately only have one operational now. My big Nikon had a hissy-fit on day two and Kel's little Canon couldn't take the pressure and has refused to open.