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When I started my retirement travels - the first of which was my solo overseas trip to Italy in 2009 - I wanted a way to share it with family and friends as it happened. Hence, "My Travel Journal". However I realized I wouldn't always be on a trip and wondered what to do with the blog in between times. My daughter pointed out, wisely, that travels can also include trips to the kitchen to try a new recipe, trips to visit family, trips to my neighborhood Starbucks, or a fun day trip with a friend. You're welcome to join me on any of these journeys!

P.S. I've set up separate pages for each of my major trips (see tabs above).

I recently added an "Italian Word a Day" thingie which shows up at the bottom of every page. You see the word and can click to hear it pronounced. I've been enjoying it and I think my accent is improving as time goes by.

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October 04, 2010

Saturday - A Nice Day, A Very Pleasant Evening

Good grief, Saturday seems like a long time ago!  But I will try and piece together a somewhat coherent report of the day (my last full day in Perugia).

To start my day off, I basically kind of wandered around my area, I forget why.  But on the street below Corso Vanucci, I took a few pictures.  The first one below is of a very imposing building that I think is maybe the post office now and the second one is of one of the griffins on either side of the entryway arches.  Oh, and then the third is one of the two light posts that are on either side of the entryway and are quite wonderful although try as I might I couldn't get a really good picture.

Next I decided to go into the cathedral and take a few pictures in there.  As I think I said earlier, it's not one of the major cathedrals by any means (and my guidebook makes the snooty recommendation "skip it") but I liked it and it is very much still a church.  One of the confessionals was "open for business", there are lots of folding chairs set up alongside the fairly small number of pews, and it's really quite lovely.  So these are the three pictures I chose to post:

INSERT 137, 138 AND 142
And what I did to make this one so horribly grain, I do not know!

Saturday was the last day I would be able to use my museum card, so next I decided I would go see the Pozzo Etrusco which is a well (or more precisely, I think) a cistern which dates back to the 3rd century B.C., so it was built by the Etruscans, apparently.  It was a bit of a disappointment, only because I thought I would be going deep "into the bowels of the earth" and I didn't - there was one short flight of stairs down to a place where you could look down at another viewing spot and then another flight of stairs (or maybe two) down to that other viewing place and then way below that, the cistern.  So the cistern IS very deep - 125 feet and wide - 18 feet - so it is a fairly incredible feat to have been accomplished a couple of THOUSAND years ago!  And it was wet, with water trickling down the walls into the cistern so now I can say I saw it and was impressed.  But I couldn't get a good picture as you will see below.

 This is looking down at the lower walkway...

 This is looking down from the lower walkway...

And this was my attempt to capture some trickles of water running down the wall.

Going out, I saw a sign for the Palazzo Sorbello museum which was just like next door so I decided I'd see that next and I'm so glad I did.  It turned out it wasn't included on my museum card and I about decided against doing it, but the girl who was giving me the information was so gracious and well-informed and spoke such fluent English that when she said she would be giving the next little tour, I decided to not be such a skinflint and stayed.  The rooms can only be seen with a guide and when the group before me came downstairs, I was the only person waiting and by then, she and I had struck up quite a conversation, so I had basically a private tour with a very nice young lady.  There are only three rooms, but the first one was the library which actually was spread through two rooms and was fantastic with floor to ceiling shelves completely filled with really old books, less old books, and even more recent books.

And the interesting reason for this is that the Sorbello family is still in existence and, in fact, the Marchesa and her son(?) or perhaps grandson(?) still live in a portion of the Palazzo and have created a foundation which takes care of the collections and offers the use of the library to scholars, researchers and such.  I wish I could remember the timeline more precisely, but back in the 1800's there were three brothers (perhaps grandparents of the current Marchesa?) and they all three were, as the girl explained, somewhat dilettante-ish, but each pursued a different passion - one was books, one was porcelain, and one was works of art.  I just went to Google to see if I could find anything more precise and couldn't, but I did find their website with pictures of the rooms and basically pretty much everything in the collections, so I'm going to post the link to that if anyone wants to see.  http://www.casamuseosorbello.org/en/  Here's one picture from the site as a little teaser:

One of those three men married a young American woman who visited Italy on a grand tour and she was an avid needleworker and ended up "inventing" the Sorbello stitch in addition to teaching embroidery, collecting old textiles, etc.  She kept the method of creating the Sorbello stitch a secret by teaching each of 5 women one of the steps in the stitch.  Can you believe that!?  But I think the 5 women must have finally wised up, got together and given each other their secret portion because you can now find instructions for the stitch on line.

Here is a picture of that stitch and then two pictures of two other pieces of her needlework:

After that very nice visit, I wandered a little more and ended up in another one of the many places in Perugia where you're suddenly at the edge of the hilltop with an incredible view of the surrounding countryside.  So, of course that means pictures (but at least no talk - they speak for themselves!)

I ambled back to my hotel and there was that great round "thing" across the street sort of chiding me for not trying to find out what it was the back of.  So I walked on down the street and discovered that, of course, it was the back of a church.  The church is the Chiesa di S. Filippo Neri and the church front is beautiful.

Later that evening I decided to go back to La Piazetta, the restaurant where I had enjoyed the incredible pasta dish one night (not the one where I ate upstairs with all the wooden furniture) and when I came out of the hotel to walk down to it, here came this long, large group of people trekking up from the direction of the church which made me curious so I walked down to the front again and they had just finished a service and I saw my first procession!  Out came first two altar boys (except they may have been a little more than that) carrying the tall gold candlesticks with big tall candles, then in ascending order various dignitaries of the church - I would assume priests, monsignors, and finally ending with two bishops in their mitres.  It was quite a sight.  And, of course, I didn't have my camera with me. :)  I thought the church must be a church of San Francesco and this would be a procession honoring him because Sunday is apparently his feast day, but when I looked at my map later, I saw I was wrong so I don't know why the procession.

Incidentally, the feast day of St. Francis has forced me to decide that I won't be making a day trip to Assisi which is the one day trip I said I was definitely going to do.  But my stay in Perugia was somehow much more hectic than I expected and, of course, tomorrow (the last day I could do the day trip), not only will Assisi be absolutely jam-packed with tourists AND pilgrims, but also, Jane and Betty Lou are going to pick me up and take me to their place to spend the night before our truffle hunt.

But, of course, there's always another time... :)

Oh, and I got sidetracked - here's a picture of that restaurant where I had my last dinner in Perugia.  I actually put on a skirt, used the lovely shawl my sister knit for last year's Italy trip, and treated myself to a truly scrumptious meal and a half bottle of wine!

I had a terrine of "salty" ricotta that was turned out on its crust then topped with a thin layer of something brownish which was perhaps a porcini "pesto", then sprinkled with breasola (little strips of a cured beef), and some kind of light and delicious white sauce.  It was the "ohhhhhhhh" type of delicious.  And I also ordered and managed to eat most of a plate of beef filets (not like our mignons - just very thin slices of beef) covered with one of the most delicious chopped tomato sauces I've had.  I think one of the real secrets of Italian cooking is their way with tomato sauces - they are unlike anything I've had anywhere else.

See you Sunday!


Stephanie said...

Your pictures are breathtaking! This is the first chance I've had to actually post a comment, but I've been following you. You'll have to give me the in person presentation when you get back some time. :)

Hi! said...

Hi Stephanie! You actually beat Chris to being the first comment on this post. :) It's always nice to hear from my favorite barrista (even though you're seldom seen at Starbucks anymore. :(

See you sometime after 10/13!

Mary Lynne

Christopher said...

Wow, that meal sounds delish, and I love the vaulted space the restaurant occupies... Glad you walked around that end of the church---the front is really something!
I suspect your graininess on the interior/darker photos is from the camera switching modes to a "night" mode, or if on Auto, a much higher ISO---higher ISO means faster shutter (good for dimly lit) but more grain/noise as a trade-off... still, the church interior shots are nice, and it looks like a lovely little place... regardless of the book's "skip it" message!
Looking forward to your next city---especially the story of the nerve-racking excursion...?!

January said...

Beeyooteeful! What a lovely last day to wander around and see the sights! I loved that vista - so green and blue and lovely. And those must be the fanciest lamp posts I've EVER seen!
I cannot wait to hear about the truffle hunt. I'm rooting for it to involve the trained pigs. Get it? Rooting?! Hahahahaha

Hi! said...

Thanks, kiddies. I'm going to try and get Sunday written on the train which will put me up to Monday and the truffle hunt. And as far as rooting, it dawned on me last night that the dogs (sorry, January) "snuffle out the truffles" which I kind of liked. :) And that arched restaurant interior is totally de rigeur in Perugia. I have been in so many places that have that and I love it.


jfalls said...

Wow - the outdoor photos are incredible! You should enlarge some of them and frame them to remind you of the incredible trip. I am so glad you are meeting up with your friends and can't wait to hear about the truffle hunt. That definitely has my curiousity peaked! Be safe and keep the photos coming!

Love ya,

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