Friday we bought some more supplies at the Soci Farmer’s Market, then had a lovely lunch at La Buca in Soci. Burt had pepposa, which he had cooked for us a few nights earlier, and I had cingiale, which is wild boar. Both were good, as well as a half bottle of Plan di Remole wine. When I asked for olive oil for the bread, the waitress brought Laudemio, which Burt says Surdyks carries at home for $40 a bottle.
Saturday we drove a very long ways to finish off the ‘Piero Art Trail.’ It was through the mountains with hairpin turns; then an autostrada with no shoulders on either side, cars doing 100 miles per hour, with two single lane pieces for repair and one poorly lit tunnel; then more mountains again, until we arrived in 2 3/4 hours.
Still the town of Urbino was worth it. What a beauty! The gorgeous Ducal Palace made a wonderful museum, in which two paintings by Piero della Francesca were displayed. The first was “The Flagellation,” the second was “Senigallia Madonna.”
We had a lovely lunch in a garden setting—-Burt had turkey with truffles! He also learned a new wine that he loves—-Bianchello from Urbino. We stopped at a grocery store near Urbino on the way home to buy two bottles—-one of which we enjoyed for dinner. It doesn’t seem to be for sale except near Urbino.
Sunday we drove over the same mountains (not so far) to LaVerna, a monastery where St. Francis of Assisi lived in the 1200s. There is a cloak displayed which they say was worn by St. Francis in 1226 when he received the stigmata. The setting is magnificent—-beautiful woods with the monastery set high on a hill. We bought a bottle of LaVerna Nocino, a liquor made by the monks out of walnuts. When we got home we discovered it was delicious; I wish we had bought another bottle to take home, but I think I will NOT drive over those mountains again, no matter how good it is!
Sunday night Burt made fresh scallops (in their shells) as an appetizer, followed by roast duck arancia, which we ate on the terrace just at dusk.
Yesterday we went on an adventurous outing, first driving to Arezzo and parking the car near the train station; then taking a train for 1 1/2 hours to Orvieto. I had always wanted to see the cathedral there—-it is supposed to be one of the outstanding ones in all of Italy. It’s quite near Rome, and I had thought to stop in sometime, either going or coming to Partina, but I never had.
Orvieto is built on a high hill (like many towns in Italy). When we arrived at the train station, there was a funicular to take us up, up to the town, with a shuttle bus to take us to the main piazza.
The Cathedral, which was begun in 1290 and took three centuries to finish, is stunning! The exterior has many mosaic scenes and marble carvings that tell many stories.
The interior has two marvelous chapels, one of which is the San Brizio, describing the End of the World, by Signorelli in 1499.
There was lots more to see and experience, but for us, that was all we had time and energy for. We walked back to the Funicular, being treated to a view of Orvieto’s walls on the way; descended to the train station; took the train back to Arezzo. While on the train it started to rain and blow, so when we got off and hoofed the three blocks to our car, we got pretty cold and wet. Since we’ve had perfect weather for over two weeks, we couldn’t complain. We did have to figure out the paying system for the car parking, though, which involved driving up to the gate, not having paid the ticket elsewhere, asking the driver behind me to back up (along with two other cars) so I could back up and turn around, then pay at a machine. Of course I didn’t have the right bills so had to return once to get some from Burt, then managed to get us out of there. I only describe all this, so you know that even though I have traveled a lot, there are still many conundrums to deal with!
We got home about 7:00 PM, and were quite worn out so we are having a ‘slow’ day today! That’s nice, too!
Oh, and by the way, the lampredotto that Burt cooked from the cow’s 4th stomach lining (which took parts of a couple of days) turned out great! We had it on sandwiches for lunch—-it was odd, but delicious!
I hope you are all fine—-we are, and really enjoying our trip!