Thursday, November 21, 2013

Wonderful Places and People- Part 2

Plans do not always unfold the way they were supposed to, however sometimes that can work out wonderfully.  The plan for Sunday was to head to Spoleto, Todi and Orvietto in Southern Umbria, what actually happened was....
A beautiful hike through the center of Spoleto. Up, up and up we walked to Spoleto's fortress, stopping quite a few times so I could capture the picturesque scenery on film (sorry to my fellow non-tourist companions).  Along the way we stopped at the Ponte dell Torre (Tower's Bridge) which may or may not have history as a Roman aqueduct, however now unfortunately has a macabre history of suicides.  We didn't do the fortress tour, but we did appreciate the beautiful panoramic views of Umbria from the top.  After the long hike up, we took the easy way back down the hill through a series of escalators.  It was an interesting juxtaposition of history and modern technology.  (Top Middle, All Left- Cathedral of Santa Maria dell' Assunta)

After Spoleto there was a change of plans and we headed back to Leonardo and Agnese's house for a delicious lunch of fresh pasta in black truffle sauce (I had mentioned that I had never tried truffles before); the truffles were rich and earthy and the fresh pasta accentuated these flavors.  Thank you again Leonardo and Agnese for being such wonderful hosts! Bavagna was the next stop on our itinerary; it was a quaint little town so it didn't take too long to see the sites, however we came across people selling roasted chestnuts and Vin Brule (heated and spiced wine) so we stopped for a little snack.  Vin Brule oddly reminded me of jungle juice from college, which I have mixed feelings about, but we laughed while trying to avoid water being sprayed by a flock of pigeons bathing near our picnic.
The Carapace- Tenuta Castebuono
Following Bavagna there was more wine.  Tenuta Castelbuono is a very unique winery near Foligno; it is housed within The Carapace, a sculpture designed by Arnaldo Pomodoro (who also created the Palla di Pomodoro in Pesaro).  The Carpace was created to be reminiscent of a turtle's back with a rounded ceiling and texture formed by overlapping metal plates. I'm not too familiar with red wines but they were pleasantly flavored and not too tannic; I preferred the Sagrantino which they are famous for, but their more popular wine is Montefalco Rosso.

Leaving Monday was bittersweet, I was happy to go back to see Dana, Elena and Anna but sad to leave Umbria and my new friends.  Prior to leaving, one of Leonardo and Agnese's friends, Sara took me to explore Montefalco.  The panoramic view was obscured by a heavy layer of fog but the effect was interesting, here and there hillside towns peeked through (it was kind of like a scene from Brigadoon, towns appearing in the mist).  We also visited several churches there that had some interesting history (Sara is a tour guide and very knowledgeable!).  I took the train back to Pesaro and was greeted in style by my host family with flower leis and big hugs!
Montefalco- The Fog

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