Polly and I spent two wonderful weeks in Italy, starting in Rome (above) and travelling to Lido di Ostia, Sienna, Firenze, Assisi, Spello, Norcia, Ortona, San Giovanni In Venere, L'Acquila and Ostia Antica. I will be putting up pictures and maps and points of interest. I fell in love with Polly (below) a little over ten years ago. Italy is my second love. This country is so diverse visually and gastronomically. Each town has its own look, feel and food much of which is based on the region and the history.
Take Spello, for example. It is a medieval town with its protective wall intact. Perched on a small hill, it has narrow, steep streets - barely the width of a small car - some only wide enough for a "Vespa," the most common form of transport. Between noon and 3pm the country takes lunch, except in areas heavily visited by tourists. We visited a shop that features the foods of the area: truffles, cheese, wine, salami and olive oil. (Click this link for pictures and a product list.) We dropped by and were treated to free sample of wine - ROSSO di Assisi, cheese with truffles - FORMAGGIO al TARTUFO, olive oil - OLIO D.O.P CIPOLLONI, green olive spread - SALSA OLIVE VERDI, plus the local salami and bread. The site is built over an original Roman wine press which can be seen through glass squares in the floor of the main showroom.
The beautiful scenery...
Here is my sweetie, Polly, who has obviously been seduced by the magnificent country side. The four regions that we covered - Lazio, Tuscana, Umbria and Abruzzo - are essentially the center of the country. Most of the medieval portions of the towns are still intact. Some have the protective wall removed but the entrances remain. Most of the more modern areas keep with the theme of terra cotta roofs, shuttered windows (to keep out the heat of the day) and stone work. Apparently, one has merely to dig in Italy to find materials to build a house.
In June (giugno) you can get blasted by the heat of the day and the narrow midieval streets offer much appreciated shade. We swam the warm and salty Adriatic Sea near Ortona (birthplace of mia nonna, Maria). Unlike the Jersey Shore of my youth, the "mare" is a striking acqua-marine with minimal waves. Not more than an hour or so away is L'Acquila, a high mountain town which features a farmer's marker every day in the town square. "Porchetta" sandwiches are the specially and even non-meat eaters like my cugina Elena could not resist. Actually, Polly and I rarely eat meat but we indulged ourselves in Italy. Everything tastes so good!
Real Culture: Michealangelo-in-hiding
Faux Culture: Italian TV
Ciletti Family in Bagnoli Irpino Avellino
Well. that's al for now. There are lots more pictures and stories to tell.