Saturday, June 30, 2007

Return of the Pig and wine fetching

30 June
To recount the story of the return of the pig. I finished serving breakfast to our guests and then loaded the baby pig food into the Doblo' and took the cage which is about pekingese size to the "pig area" and tried to get Bacco inside. Unfortunately in 4 days under my expert feeding program, he had just about outgrown said kennel, so i had to take the top off, put him inside and then relatch the top. Poor thing didn't have much room during the 4 hour drive to Culatello country, but he arrived safe and sound and his previous owner unceremoniously grabbed him by the hind legs and tossed him back in with his bro's and sisters and cousins. This being near Colorno site of my university, I drove over to break the bad news to all our wonderful classmates who brought the pig down to us and then since it was Betsy's birthday in the other master's class, several of us visited the old haunts in Parma on via Farini and I caught up with my old amico Diego at his enoteca "Tabarro" , a must stop for anyone who visits Parma. The following day was for wine fetching and I bought 45 wines on ebay italy from a private cellar but failed to notice that they wouldn't ship them, so I drove to Venice to pick up the wines and they took the pig's spot in the back of the Doblo' On to Peschiera for lunch with la mia amica Claudia and then 5 hours back to Nascondiglio di Bacco. All told for those who lament the cost of driving in america, I filled up the car with 14 gallons twice for a cost of 160 dollars. The tolls for the roads came to 100 dollars. That for the equivalent of driving from KC to Estes Park.
On the way back, being Friday, the roads were packed as everyone escapes to the sea here. I saw an accident ahead and hit the brakes rather abruptly and thereafter i could smell wine in the car. Sounds like a terrible thing except when I got back to Nascondiglio di Bacco, I found the culprit bottle was a 1967 Barbaresco with a hole in the shoulder. I strained the wine into a carafe and after 40 years, I must say, it was INCREDIBLE. My reward for all that driving. I shared with Raffaele and his fidanzata, Elsa, of course. The other wines are from 1959 to 1977 and include Barolos, Barberas, Brunellos, and a few French thrown in. Can't wait to try some or serve them to guests with interests in old wines.
I am off to work in the vineyard. Have a wonderful weekend! d

Thursday, June 28, 2007

The Return of Bacco

28 giugno
It is with of course a heavy heart I must report, after a lot of thought by the 2 proprietors of Nascondiglio di Bacco, our mascot will be returning to the peaceful forest where he was born to spend a short but sweet life gamboling about beneath the oak trees, eating acorns and playing with his brothers and sisters and waithin for our amico to open up the electric fence so they can eat up the corn field, stalks and all! He is of course quite cute now and has learned that I am his key to the food sack, so he runs after me squealing and making a general nuisance of himself until he gets his baby pig food. He eats 3 times a day and if not fed on a proper schedule will start eating my computer, my shoes, my belt, my watch, my elbow, etc. He can now jump up on the outdoor chaise lounge to really get my attention. When he weighs 200 kg in 7 months, I am not sure my computer can handle that. My friends who have raised pigs have all warned me about the days ahead and I thank them for that. We feel certain Massimo Spigaroli will do a better job of raising him than we will. He has promised us another Bacco in the future when we are a little less stressed with getting the B&B started and can have a little area perfect for porkers built under the oak tree at the border of our property.
It was a wonderful idea and a great present from our friends from the Master's program! We are sorry to let them down, but promise to seriously consider Bacco II in the future.
I am already starting to pack for the trip home and plan what to bring back to Italy, I am sending a container back to Italy with things like my bed, and various furniture and stuff for the walls here to spruce up Nascondiglio. Then, off to Estes Park with a load in a UHaul I imagine and the rest is for sale. I am sure you all can provide me with lots of empathy and stories about horrendous moves, but I need hands and strong backs, not empathy!!! Come on over and we can make a dent in the 400 bottle wine refrigerator (for sale} and then afterwards relax in the hot tub (for sale). Ahh,, you get the idea.
the pictures are of the Adriatic coastal town of Grottammare and furthur San Benedeto in the distance and Nascondiglio di Bacco from the hiill to our east.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Offida, Rosso l'Offida, cute town, good wine

26 Giugno
As you have followed along may know, we are located near the cute little town of Offida which is inside the province of Ascoli Piceno and of the many DOC wines from here, the one we are primed for 1st is called Rosso l'Offida which if I am not mistaken, requires 50% of the grape Montalpuciano d"Abbruzo, 30% Cabernet and 20% other which could be Sangiovese or Merlot. We had set up an appointment with an enologo but he has rescheduled for next week. Hopefully with an eye to our climate and soil, he can give us good recommendations how to proceed with our planting this winter. We have a permit to plant 3 hectares or a little over 8 acres this year and then hope to plant the other 3 next year. The wines from our little zone "Ciafone" hopefully will be famous someday; there are wineries nearby who make some nice wines!
Offida is a little town where we officially have an address and it has many ancient structures (in US terms). There is Santa Maria della Rocca which is a church seemingly perched on a cliff. Many of the older ladies pracitce lacemaking and make truly incredible works of art and if you can afford them, they might even make you a custom outfit. It would probably take a year to make and cost a year's salary for most of us. They have many wonderful festivals including a sort of running of the bulls like in Spain except with a man with a bull's head on ... evidently it is a hoot and a little like mardi gras in New Orleans as to the partying. That takes place during Carnival which is really big there. As I may have written, they had a really neat little event where there were 13 different spots in the city where one could try the traditional sweets and desserts of the region and at the same time see the museums, private gardens and churches on the little private streets where you might miss them otherwise.
The week ahead we are getting a little busier which is nice.
I am trying to figure a way to sneak Bacco back to his mother, hopefully day after tomorrow! I have arranged movers for Italy, but need to do the same for Estes Park and I still have a 400 bottle wine refrigerator for sale, a wonderful hot tub which I have never used and a beautiful jacuzzi which will go to Estes if I can't find a buyer in KC.
Now, tell me, why are there NO COMMENTS under my pig postings. Isn't he cute? The picture today is of Offida at night from the mayor's office before a thunderstorm. d

Monday, June 25, 2007


25 June
The pig "Bacco" or is it Arnold or Babe? and I are bonding big time! I bring the food and water, he moves out of my way, he dumps the water out, I bring more water, he moves out of my way, etc. He is pretty low maintenance at present, but I forsee the day when he will weigh more than me and will have more requirements. There is a lovely 50 y.o. oak tree at the border of our property which will be perfect for him with a water trough, some food, an electric fence... in other words, all the comforts a pig could want including shade.
Our friends all left last night leaving a quiet void here. It was great to see all who could come down and I hope those who couldn't make it this time will try and find us soon! It is almost less work for me when everyone is here, because everyone pitches in to cook, clean, rearrange, etc. We got good suggestions from all the "girls" about how to make the place more cozy and elegant and will begin that transformation soon.
We enjoyed a great bbq, lots of good wine, and special foods from Campania, Parma, and Tuscany including pastas, sauces, cheeses and wines! Time to get on the bike and ride off the calories!
We have a couple tonight and will cook dinner for them and then this weekend we will have 4 rooms rented which will be our personal record, not counting this weekend when we were completely full. One couple will have a little girl who is bringing her pet rabbit and I think we can set the rabbit up with a potential mate from our property as I have seen some telltale signs indicating their presence!
Last night I went to bed listening to the sounds of the Italian version of a Whip-or-will which here is a succiacapre (goatsucker). Very peaceful and relaxing
Finally, off today to finish up our brochure and hopefully we are getting close to a complete website at or .eu or .it! Stay tuned! d

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Senza parole!!! Without words!!

what day is it?

i told you there would be chaos and fun when the gang came to visit. I am going to save the foto for the next posting, but imagine this city boy's surprise when my friend brought us a Pig!!!! as a present... we all know not to bring our nieces and nephews and grandkids a bunny for easter, right. Well now I am the somewhat reluctant father of a suino nero baby, who must be fed baby pig food at present and is expected to eventually weigh around 180-200 kg... that is not pounds, folks that is kilograms, which is 2.2 lbs/kg. i will leave you with your computer's calculator to figure that one out... I am thinking big feast for xmas if anyone of you wants to come to Italy for Natale!
We have had a nice quiet weekend otherwise and the highlight was the outdoor cookout on our built-in bbq grill tonight. Helped unbelievably by the garlic, onions and zucchini provided by our gardener! unbelievable!!!
Good bruschetta must have quality garlic and tomatoes.
We had 28 people tonight for dinner so it can be done, with patience from all involved.
I come back to the US the 5th of July which of course interferes with the pickup of my car from Rotterdam. I asked Delta if I could change my flight originally scheduled from America to Ancona, to a flight from KC to Rotterdam and 1300 dollar tickets are evidently not changeable!!! I then said, well I will just get off in Rome instead of flying to Ancona and take the 1st plane to Rotterdam and the response was" that is not allowed" I then asked what the punishment was and they just kept saying, "we must tell you that is not allowed".. Since I will probably not be put in prison and since Delta needs my business, I will disembark with just hand luggage at Rome and fly on up to Rotterdam. See you there! dds PS, fotos to follow, stay tuned!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

20 giugno

Time flies when you are working or having fun. Kim, my sister-in-law, told me to get my butt in gear and post another update, so here goes. My friends, perhaps you wouldn't have recognized me tonight wearing blue jeans , and ORANGE t-shirt (but with a pocket) and eating bologna and cheese on crackers and drinking a 2 euro red wine for my dinner. Granted, our bologna is really mortadella from Bologna where the industrial meatpackers got the idea for US bologna and the cheese was a wonderful Gorganzola, but still the idea is the same.
Today, my photos were finally framed and ready and we hung about half of them in the rooms.. they really did a nice job and I hope you can come visit and enjoy the views, everything from Mill's Lake in RMNP to the Grand Canyon, Venice to Genoa and a few nice cows and flowers and of course grapevines thrown in for good measure.. we also started hanging full length mirrors in each room for the girls and put ecological shampoo and soap in each room. The big shopping day at IKEA left me somewhat poorer and I have been putting together all the furniture ever since. TV table, 2 bookshelves, work table for the kitchen and 2 cushioned seats. Also candles for every room and vases and nice bathroom extras.
This weekend will be a time to relax as many of our classmates and tutors are coming to the Marche to celebrate a kind of grand opening. We will be full! Hopefully not for the last time!
We cooked a dinner as a trial for our guests from South America and will do that now and again for guests who request it. 4 courses , antipasti, pasta, 2ndo and dessert with wine. and a bargain at that!
What pictures should I put today? my classmates, forse! Take a look at these faces and you will understand the havoc and chaos which will ensue this weekend. d

Monday, June 18, 2007

18 giugno

Hello everyone. I hope all is fine in america. An argentinan won the US Open, so maybe indeed Armegeddon is near. Poor Jim Furyk. Here, I have survived a weekend not unlike the call weekends of old. I worked 8 hours Saturday and 16 on Sunday. I am nearing a true farmer's tan even with the 30 sunscreen. The vineyard is now completely finished and having spent 20 hours pruning 1.2 acres, I know either I am too slow, too much of a perfectionist or non so un cazzo come di fare questa cosa, which i won't literally translate, but roughly means I need to learn more. Anyway, the 19 acres won't be planted until winter, so I have plenty of time to learn. The vines are almost as old as me, here, but are more vigorous than me in many cases. Some of the vines are old and withered and not producing any grapes while others have 20 grape bunches, the soil here is perhaps to rich, so we will have to choose rootstock which will slow the graft down a bit and make it less productive.
I am ahead of you several hours of course, so I will let you know the crescent moon and venus make a beautiful couple tonight.
Tomorrow the 2 shopaholics are heading back to Ancona to the IKEA to buy all the things the previous owners moved away today. It should be both fun and impoverishing! Thanks to Larry, my grammatical guru and Lynn, my marketer 101 back home for helping me with my brochure and website ideas... Hopefully all will be completed by next week. This week, a big festa occurs to inaugurate the B&B with many of our classmates from Italy and our tutors coming to spend the weekend. No money, but lots!!! of fun. Today's photo is Nascondiglio from the back from 200 years ago. Scherzo!!! d

Saturday, June 16, 2007

World's Best Painter

june 16,2007
Last night I had the pleasure of being in the company of the Universe's best painter and I include realism, abstractionism and all other types! It was truly a joy to watch the sunset here and while normally I can't capture what I see on the camera as well as I like I have included 2 of the 30 pictures I took which were giving me pelle d'oca again this morning.
I haven't started taking my antipsychotic meds yet, but I swear I am a little paranoid about my little car which supposedly took off from Newark yesterday on the boat for Rotterdam. I tried by email and phone for 2 days to contact the shipper and the receiver in Holland and finally reached the shipper yesterday who assured me all was on track for delivery in Europe in 8-10 days! We will see.
We have 4 guests right now and one couple is on a belated honeymoon which is sweet. Today my photos are ready at the enlarger/framer so we have some work to hang 20 photos of sizes ranging from 20X30 on up along with full length mirrors for each room which Raffaele assured me was a female requirement. We have new outdoor furniture both for dining and lounging and have replaced some of the plastic chairs with those in legno o metallo.
My "sold" house was inspected and my wonderful real estate agent informed me at midnight our time last night I need to replace the roof. One little american boy in Italy was extremely displeased and various word in 2 languages came immediately to mind. My only difficulty with this turn of events being the report from my agent's recommended inspector 18 months ago which stated the roof had 6-10 years of good life and was in need in the future of only minor repairs. State Farm subsequently suspended my homeowner's insurance because the house had shingles replaced on top of old shingles which I wasn't told, and so the story now is more serious.
Enough of my bitchin. Enjoy this link after you grab some kleenex (from my friend Susan Moses)
God bless! Live every day fully and enjoy all the sunsets! Dwight

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Tornadoes in Italy?

12 e 13 giugno
I waited until after seeing il Sindaco (the mayor) to make this post but when I returned to Nascondiglio di Bacco, there was no electricity or internet as another powerful thunderstorm had come through disrupting the free flow of electrons to our hill. They are going to think I brought this weather from Kansas soon as evidently, this is pretty unusual. The mayor was a really nice fellow, who promised to look into my options for a permit of stay as the quotas are complete, as I said.
Raffaele and I have started planning how to improve each room a little, new pillows, bed cushions, candles and vases in each room, organic handmade soaps, new lamps and the list goes on and on and IKEA will love us when we do our little shopping trip in Ancona.
We rearranged the kitchen to clear space and get things in shape for our guests as we are planning on serving dinners now and then which will be a change from the previous owners. I walked around the neighborhood yesterday to explore the hill and may repeat that today. It is interesting to see how vineyards are trained in this zone. Hopefully soon we can meet with an agronomist and enologist to plan our vineyard planting which will take place this winter.
The opening party for our old mates at UNISG will be weekend after next which should be a great time for all. I need to find my Aleve and Gatorade!
Here is a picture of The Car! It is perfectly serviceable, and lots of room for carrying stuff, but.... I am a little partial to the car which will hopefully arrive in Holland the 25th of June, giving me a chance to let loose on the Autobahn of Germany.
Finally, for those of you who don't know who my amministratore unico is ( I am just a laborer ) above is a picture of Raffaele Paolini (Raffa) in front of a landmark as famous as any in the US.

Monday, June 11, 2007

i'm an alien, i'm an illegal alien

11 giugno 1007
It was an eventful day. I got up at 0630 to get ready for my little trip to Ascoli Piceno, because forewarned about the lines which form at the Prefettura's office, I arrived when they opened at 0815 to grab a number, C08 which was the 3rd number for today, then i went to drink coffee in the Piazza del popolo and waited for 1000 to arrive, whereupon I was told by various people including the boss that unfortunately, Italy's quota for admission of aliens was completely exhausted. By the way, this is for 2006, they haven't opened things up for 2007, and that is for all kinds of permits of stay including lavoro autonomo, which means i am self employed with enough money to survive. Vabbe (slang for OK) I lived for 9 months in Parma illegally, I am an expert. But unfortunately, things get trickier when your car is in the middle of the Atlantic headed for Europe; I need to eventually have it licensed, after all. My house in KC sold today, so I need to ship furniture over here. All these are minor problems, I am sure. Tomorrow I have a visit with the local mayor, who hopefully can give me some good ideas on how to solve this dilemma.
Anyone who saw me in my box of a Fiat called a Doblo' (or something similar Dobro'?) would surely laugh, it reminds me of when I drove the old laundry truck for my Dad! But it uses diesel which is about 1.05 US cheaper per gallon. And today, i found the car's AC which is anywhere but in a logical place!
Raffaele and I are working on marketing ideas , like a brochure and the website improvements and hopefully all will be ready within 2 weeks. I forgot to label yesterday's picture which is Spanish cow with an itch. Today we have a picture of sunset from Nascondiglio di Bacco and above that is my gang, which is ready to cause big trouble if they don't let me stay here.... Giorgio and Fabio are mean dudes!! Actually we were doing a takeoff on American Gothic at the King of Culatello's storage facility. I will be back in KC to pack up some stuff the 1st part of July, so hope to see my US buds then! Ciao from my secret place---Bacchus' hideout. d

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Mow and trim

9 june
Breakfast went well today and the guests are out exploring the region. i am going to let everyone help me with our brochure. This is what we wrote today, trying to be somewhat brief. Please help me by correcting grammatical and spelling errors and let me know what you think. I have loosened up the controls so i think everyone can post comments now. Let me know what we should add, realizing space constraints will dictate the ultimate product. This will be a good chance to start learning italian as raffaele's translations are beneath each of mine. Grazie Mille!!! I am off to trim trees, mow the lawn and use the weedeater. Now, I am sure you are all more jealous of me!! The picture today is one I will hang in the b and b. we are hanging 20 pix I took in the last year enlarged and framed. Un abbraccio a tutti! d

Peace, tranquility, well-being or what in Italy is know as benessere are the bywords of the beautiful bed and breakfast, Nascondiglio di Bacco. Located on a private little hill in the georgeous countryside of the southern Marche in the province of Ascoli Piceno, Bacchus’ hideout was built 500 years ago as a farmhouse and 3 years ago was charmingly remodeled with 9 individually designed rooms ideal for an elegant, relaxing visit for our guests.

La pace, la tranquillita’ e la natura vi accoglieranno al “Nascondiglio di Bacco”, un bed & breakfast situato su una splendida collina in provincia di Ascoli Piceno, nel sud delle Marche. Il “Nascondiglio di Bacco” e’ stato costruito 500 anni fa con lo stile di una fattoria marchigiana ed e’ stato elegantemente ristrutturato nel 2003. Le 9 camere a disposizione degli ospiti sono state pensate per un soggiorno elegante e di charme.

Nascondiglio di Bacco is located just a few kilometers from the important medieval cities of Ascoli Piceno, founded prior to Rome, with monuments from medieval and roman times, Offida with the famous church Santa Maria della Rocca, Ripatransone, Aquaviva Picena, and the seaside cities of Cupra Marittima, Grottommare, and San Benedetto del Tronto. Each of the small towns offers unique, lively festivals in summer and throughout the year.

Il “Nascondiglio di Bacco” e’ situato a pochi chilometri da Ascoli Piceno, la cui fondazione risale a prima di Roma e che conserva intatto tutto il suo fascino medioevale. Ma tutta la zona vi stupira’ con la sua ricchezza di piccoli gioielli incastonati fra le colline come Offida con la sua chiesa di Santa Maria della Rocca, Ripatransone, Acquaviva o, sul litorale adriatico, Cupra Marittima, Grottammare e San Benedetto del Tronto. In estate poi, non mancheranno le feste e le sagre che animano ogni paese.

N. di Bacco is an ideal location from which to explore the nearby Adriatic, just 19 km (12 miles) away, or the majestic mountainous regions of Mt Sibillini just 40 km (24 m) distant in the western Marche or Mt. della Laga in nearby Abruzzo (both visible from your B&B). Beautiful sandy beaches can be found all along the coast and the mountains contain wonderful hiking trails, horseback riding and rafting excursions.

Il B&B e’ il luogo di partenza ideale per esplorare le vicine spiagge adriatiche (a soli 20 minuti di macchina) o le meravigliose montagne del parco dei Sibillini e dei Monti della Laga dove, a circa 30 minuti di macchina, potrete fare passeggiate a cavallo, rafting e tantissime escursioni a piedi lungo i sentieri del Cai.

There are many welcoming wineries in the surrounding area which make the 3 white and 3 red local DOC wines and the food culture includes the famous Ascolana olives, artisanal cured meats and pecorino cheese and the many fine restaurants of the zone. In Offida, one finds the ancient art of lacemaking and Ascoli Piceno and its environs are famous for there beautiful hand painted ceramics. Of course, this is just a sampling of the wonders of the Marche region.

Nella zona, a forte vocazione viticola, potrete assaggiare i tre vini rossi e i tre bianchi Doc in cantine che saranno liete di accogliervi e mostrarvi i propri vigneti. Ma la gastronomia del posto va conosciuta a partire dalle famosissime olive ascolane, per poi passare al fritto misto, ai salumi di ogni genere e al pecorino, senza dimenticare i buonissimi ristoranti. L’artigianato, poi comprende le bellissime ceramiche ascolane, il tombolo di Offida e molte altre opere tradizionali.

Friday, June 08, 2007

nostro agriturismo: Le regole di Murphy

8 giugno
Welcome to today's blog posting, and someday hopefully I can welcome you also to the Marche! Nascondiglio di Bacco has officially changed hands today and all went well with the exchange. Howvever, isn't there always one of those; last night there was quite a wonderful thunderstorm and lightning struck the agriturismo killing the modem and knocking out electricity for 4 hours right when the 2 couples from Germany arrived. They were great sports and I gave them candles and a bottle of sparkling Barbera for the inconvenience. We do need internet access fairly soon for reservations!
Today, despite the recommendation of the Italian consulate in Chicago, (which I had called prior to coming to Italy this time to request a visa), to wait until I had made my purchase in Italy and then visit the Qestura for my permit of stay, I discovered that I was considered a clandestino or illegal alien! The wonderful folks at the questura said i needed to go back to america immediately and get my visa. After some discussion, we decided to part in peace with the chance I might be able to arrange things from here, who knows? I may have to hire an immigration lawyer for a time. In the meantime, like in Parma where i was without a permit of stay for 9 months, i will try to stay out of fights and trouble in general avoid police scrutiny. Maybe if and when my house in Leawood sells, I can return and make a visa application.
Tomorrow will be our first opportunity to serve breakfast to guests, will report back when I can how that goes.. We will be working on improving the internet site for Nascondiglio di Bacco and, searching out as I wrote previously all the best the Marche has to offer. Buon weekend! The picture today is in the piazza in Ascoli Piceno with some of my classmates from the university.

Thursday, June 07, 2007


Today is my niece's birthday, the third to reach 21 and win a trip from mom and dad to Las Vegas!! Tanti Auguri e buon compleanno!!!
Today I finally was able to open a checking account in italy. When you think of free banking, think USA; everything here costs extra although i do get 60 transactions "free for 100 dollars a year! But, hey, it is a big step and I get a "free" bancomat card and my name and address on a piece of paper which makes me quasi a resident. I also have deadheaded and watered flowers on the property and made a file with all the information you could possibly want on the little cities of the ascoli piceno region I have explored and which have passed muster!
Tomorrow the agriturismo or b & b changes hands and we have to start running the place. To complicate matters, my house in KC has finally received a bid. i may be back sooner than I thought, Ciao for now.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

1st night in the b and b

6 giugno
I spent my first night in the bed and breakfast and had a nice dinner with the present owners Jacques and Sylvia and a couple from San Benedetto who run a fish restaurant there. It is extremely peaceful here with no noise or light pollution, just the grilli or crickets and an occasional dog barking. We ate al aperto or outside on a beautiful evening! You can see above 2 pictures which I took from the door of my room at around sunset. Today, I selected 40 of my photos which I had taken in the last year and will head to Ascoli Piceno to have them enlarged and framed for the rooms, as the present owners will be taking their personal artwork. Also we will be continuing the search for the perfect pecorino (sheep cheese) and cured meats and wines to serve here. For those who want to see the present website for the agriturismo, it is Ciao

Monday, June 04, 2007


4 June
4 day countdown! Today we drove through Abruzzo, which forms the southern border of the Marche and reminds one somewhat of Colorado but with less well maintained roads. You can get your mountain fix here as well as in the western part of the Marche. We were on a Quixotian mission to find a good producer of pecorino which is the common cheese found in this region, because sheep are better adapted to the landscape which is anything but flat! No success however. When you want to find the really good cheeses in Italy, many times you are better off with small to medium size producers with a more artisanal product. Anyway, the hiking in the zone is plentiful even if you have to buy your cheese at the supermarket. Here are some pictures, one of which is alongside a trail to a mountain summit and shows a watering hole for us hikers and one finds these at intervals along the hiking trails and they are indicated on maps for you. The other shows a pic of the diverse flowers on the mountain side which hopefully the bees are using for miele millifiore or thousand flower honey and the sheep are eating to make tasty milk and then cheese! ciao. d

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Spoleto and Perugia

3 giugno
I spent the weekend at 2 cities in Umbria. 1st was Spoleto which is a nice city with a wonderful bridge/aqueduct from Roman times, a pretty duomo, a big fort and all those things you expect from a medieval Italian city. They hosted a festival which occurs each year in the 1st weekend of June called vini nel mondo which translates easily enough. In reality, most of the wines are from surrounding provinces such as the Marche, Tuscany and the home state of Umbria with a sprinkling of wines from the rest of Italy and one champagne as I remember. Then there are concerts in many of the plazas Saturday night. Spoleto is near other wonderful towns such as Orvieto and Assisi, which i have visited previously and can be found wayyyy below in the posts of last year. Sunday, I travelled by train to Perugia which is a truly cosmopolitan, international city full of students in italy studying the language and tourists visiting their kids, i imagine. I have a couple of pix from there on this posting. Luckily for Raffaele and I, they were having a fair of different products all made in ecologically sound fashion and we found a supplier for soaps, and cheese and little handmade baskets for the agriturismo.. We are trying to get it right down to the smallest details. On the way back, we stopped in Norcia, which is also a pretty little town full of artisans, and there we scouted out producers for cheese and cured meat and chocolates. A productive weekend!!

Friday, June 01, 2007

l'ultimo giorno di maggio

31 May
I spent another day exploring the towns and roads of the Marche, trying to discover those places which others might enjoy and found 4 little towns which were quite interesting, beautiful, or charming! 2 of the towns were on the coast with the old towns on high bluffs and the new beach parts obviously below. One of the pictures is taken from Grottomare and looks south towards San Benedetto. Both have really nice beaches and interesting views and old buildings from the alto piano or bluffs. The other photo is of the river which formed part of the protection of Ascoli Piceno in olden times and shows the only bridge of entry as Ascoli is bordered like an island by 2 rivers , one on each flank. I will start writing the calendar of events when i can find the summer offerings in case anyone wants to plan around the spectaculars. d