Slowly Sunday

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We slept in Sunday morning, so wanted a lowkey late morning excursion. The sun was shining, promising a beautiful day after last night’s storm. We headed out to Bevagna, a sweet little town with a charming medieval core–and unusually, a flat topography. It was a Roman town, and has some interesting traces left in its walls, some mosaics and the remains of baths. Today, we parked just outside the gate. There were a few “antique” stands set up, with lots of local nonna’s attic leftovers after the family has finished squabbling over the good stuff. We strolled around, admiring the pretty Piazza Silvestri with fountain and Roman column, going down narrow streets, ducking into churches–the 12th century San Silvestro, the Baroque San Domenico. There was a service going on inside San Michelle so we didn’t go in, just enjoyed hearing the singing from outside. But I loved the exterior carvings of an angel, dragon and saint.

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More wandering, stopping every now and then to look around. We were too late to see the Roman baths and Mosaics, so we’ll come back another day for those. For lunch, we followed Letizia’s recommendation for Antiche Sere. We sat at one of the outside tables next to two sweet older guys who were fun to talk with, they’re running two of the antique stalls. As is our usual, we split two courses. What was unusual was that the restaurant actually plated each separately on pretty little plates, instead of plunking down the dish with a side plate as an afterthought. We started with the day’s pasta special, strongozzi with an fantastic sauce of duck. I think this was the best pasta we’d had so far. Then we had excellent rabbit, stuffed and served with roasted potatoes and tomatoes. We also had a crisp green salad. All delicious well executed rustic cooking. We couldn’t resist, and shared a slice of fragrant lemon torta for dessert.

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We wanted to go over to Montefalco for the harvest festival, but it seemed like everyone in Umbria and Rome had the same idea. We drove all around town looking for parking, none to be had. People were even parked on fragile looking edges of hillsides, in corners of parking lots so no one could get by, all down the long steep roads into town. It looked jammed, and so we gave up, deciding to just drive around the area.

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By luck, we chanced into finding a local producer open, where a nice couple from Rome were in for their “usual”–a case of wine and a few cans of olive oil. The wife very seriously told me his oil was the best thing for the skin. And I will say, she had a beautiful complexion. Anyway, we enjoyed tasting and talking, explaining again that no, we don’t have Italian family, we come to Italy because we love it, and thank you for complementing Larry’s Italian. Francesco Botti, via Todi 37, Montefalco. Francesco is sweet and speaks a bit of English, and his Sagrantino and Passito are gorgeous.

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Back in Spello, went church hunting for S. Claudio, a Romanesque church just outside the Spello walls that supposedly has some nice frescoes. Closed up tight. (and after calling in at the tourist office, we were told that it only gets opened for weddings. )Spent time hanging out on the porch , then raided the fridge for a light dinner.

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