A window into the life of a professional geek, wife and mother (and nonni), stitcher/designer, bibliophile, old-school gamer, and whatever other roles she finds herself in.

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

On the road to ruins... (4/8)

I'm still riding the high from last night's game. Man, that was an exciting one! I wonder what it's like to skate the Cup. (Of course, I'd need to learn to ice skate first...) I bet it's a wonderful feeling.

Today's journal installment is a bit lengthy, so I'll get right to it.

Italy - part 4 of 8
27 May 2004 - Il Borghetto
Yesterday was another gorgeous day. We went to Carsulae in the morning. Carsulae is the ruin of a Roman city, still quite impressive for having been abandoned for centuries. The site was overgrown with clover and other wildflowers, and we explored the ruins to the persistent drone of bees. There was a small church (S. Damiano) which looked as if it might actually be used occasionally, and ruins of an amphitheatre, a large tomb, several arches in various states of repair. And of course, more sheep. I walked on the remains of a real Roman road - the Via Flaminia. We easily spent two hours there, and between the weather, the wildflowers, and the ruins, we all got some rather nice pictures.

After Carsulae, we drove around for a while, through small mountain towns. We stopped in a tiny place called Giano dell'Umbria, on the top of one of the mountains, which had a 13th century fortress and two churches. We went into S. Maria della Grazie, which was quite nice inside for being tiny. The stonework had an interesting marbled coloring - streaks of orange, black, grey, pink, and white. The other, larger church was San Michele Arcangelo. DH made it inside that one.

I am struck by how resourceful Italians are when it comes to housing. Every town we've come across that dates back to the medieval period has apartments in the old walls and fortresses, and many balconies and windows are covered with live plants. Right now everything is in bloom, and the high alleyways of stone and flowers are very beautiful, especially in Todi.

From Giano dell'Umbria, we drove through Bastardo (yes, it means what you think...) looking for someplace to eat. M and G took pictures of themselves by the Bastardo and not-Bastardo signs ('Leaving [town]' signs are simply the name of the town with a large red diagonal line through it.). Having no luck on our quest for food, we drove through several other small towns, eventually arriving in Todi. We had a somewhat steep uphill walk through narrow streets (bedecked with flowers and graced with the remains of frescoes) and arrived at the town square. We went into the Duomo in Todi, much of which dates back to the 11th century. That was pretty nice. We had a snack at a small cafe on the square (and DD had her requisite gelato), then we went up to S. Fortunato, another church in Todi. That was easily the thing I liked best in Todi - many of the side chapels had frescoes in various states of repair. It was a shame that so many of the frescoes were badly damaged. One of the chapels looked like it had been recently restored, and it was simply amazing. And underneath the main altar, reachable by steps, was a sarcophagus containing the remains of several saints, including the namesake San Fortunato. It was both impressive, and a little eerie.

There was a beautiful little courtyard near S. Fortunato that I liked. It had a small bench, and rows of roses.

We did see some...interesting...entertainment in Todi. There was a young woman whose clothing left little to the imagination, and seeing her with her boyfriend as we were leaving S. Fortunato prompted DsD to wonder how to say "Get a room!" in Italian. DsD claims she saw them being even more indiscreet later in an arcade at the back of the cafe on the square, but I'll be thankful I missed that.

After Todi we came back to the house, then went out for dinner (which was good but not quite as good as Saturday) before spending a late night talking about various things. G is also a gamer, so he and DH and I talked for a while.

Today our objective is a return to Orvieto this afternoon for a cathedral visit and shopping.

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