Today, I slept a little bit later than usual, finally getting up about 9am. I sat on the back porch for a little bit, enjoying the birds singing and the sun warming my back as I looked out upon the glorious view. Then I retired inside to catch up a little bit on my journaling….. don’t want to make you wait for the next blog! About 11am, we all gathered and headed out on our next adventure. We had decided to visit Spoleto today and our route took us first through the small town of Narni. Although we only skirted the outside of the town, the streets were still narrow and winding. A couple of times, the road went through a couple of archways that were only wide enough for one car to pass. We found out later that the car going uphill had the right of way! Perhaps a tutorial of the road signs would be good before you were allowed to rent a car. As we came down from the hills/mountains, we drove along some very flat lands where the view of the mountains in the distance made for some magnificent vistas. Before long, we entered the mountains again. It is very difficult to describe these mountain ranges. In many ways, they remind me of the Appalachian Mountains – if they were just a bit steeper. The highways here seem just a little bit steeper and windier. The air seems just a little bit clearer – the mountains seem like you could reach out to touch them. Entering into Spoleto, we found ourselves at the Piazza Della Liberta at the bottom end of the town. John took the car to find parking and we moved off the Piazza to a lovely street with lots of little shops to poke into. John caught up to us and we made our way up a very narrow street, passing through the Arco di Druso (which marked the point where the street, or cardo maximus, entered the Roman forum, now the Piazzo D. Mercato) to the Piazzo D. Mercato where we stopped at the Cafe degli Artisti for lunch. Today, Sondra was snapping pictures of “hot italian men” at the request of my cousin Lisa – and the waiter was definitely one of them! (There was also the owner of one of the shops we went into earlier – Sondra even got her picture with him!) After lunch, we stopped at the fountain which was built in the late 18th century with materials taken from other buildings. As the map in my guide book was not doing so well for us, we got directions to the Duomo and set on our way. We found ourselves at the Palazzo Comunale and into the Piazza Campello where I branched off to walk along the Via Del Ponte that curved around the La Rocca d’Albornoziana (fort) for some amazing views of the valley below. From here I was also able to see (and take pictures of) the Ponte delle Torri, a bridge crossing the river Tessino that evolved from a Roman aqueduct. I backtracked to find the rest of the family sitting along the Viale Matteo Gattaponi, overlooking the back of the Duomo. We all came back around to the Palazzo Comunale, walked down a lovely little street and as we came around the corner, there was the Duomo in all its beauty. The Duomo in Spoleto is the la Cattedrale di Santa Maria Assunta – a beautiful church. While we were there, a wedding party pulled up to the Cattedrale, and spent some time on the poritco getting pictures taken. From there, we walked back to the Piazza Della Liberta. I walked on to the Teatro Romano, a restored Roman theater built in the 1st century AD with a capacity of 3,000 people. I also walked through the Museo Archeologico Nazionale which is housed in one of the oldest religious buildings in the city. From there, John graciously got the car from the parking garage – after he figured out how to pay the fee – and picked us up from the Piazza Della Liberta. During our ride home, we stopped for gas – talk about sticker shock – the price of diesel worked out to $9.17 per gallon. Fifty Euro (about $70.00) and the tank wasn’t even full! Once back to Casa Petra, we sat out on the back porch again – I can’t get enough of the view – and watched the sunset. After the sunset, we headed down the hill to the local restaurant for dinner. It was a small family style cafe. As we were sitting down, the proprietor apologized, stating that there was a bug/wasp/bee that she had to kill. It was up in the light above our table. When she sprayed it, it flew off. John told me later that it circled the room and then made a straight line for my head. When I felt it on my head just over my right ear, I began to try to swat it away. Instead of flying away, it fell down along my ear and onto my shoulder. I began to panic a little bit, swatting harder and it began to fall along the neckline of my shirt. Next thing I know, it had fallen down INTO my shirt! So now, I am leaning over, pulling the neck of my shirt away from me, trying to get this bug/wasp/bee out….. I was not opposed to taking off the shirt right then and there – after all, I didn’t know what this thing was and if it stung! Just as I began to realize that I was flashing not only my uncle, but also the proprietor, the bug/wasp/bee finally fell out of my shirt. What made this all the more hilarious was when John told me that the older gentleman sitting behind me had his eyes bugging out, while his wife was crossing herself over and over. Once it was all over, we laughed so hard it was bringing tears to my eyes! I am not sure I will ever be able to show my face there again! When we got back from the restaurant, even though I was very tired, I had to sit on the back porch to just sit and look at the moon as it shown over the valley.
- Day 6: Orvieto
- Morincone and Assisi