Archive for April, 2014


Marble Marvels

Micah and a marble worker

Would Magritte say that Micah was with a marble worker?

We just finished our Easter (Pasqua) break; the kids were off 10 days from school, and Alan and Barbara were visiting. We took a tour of coastal Tuscany, from Lucca in the north to Cerveteri in the south, accompanied by lovely spring weather.

One day, we took the A11 north to Carrara, location of the great marble quarries that the Romans first exploited in bulk beginning in the second century BC. Above the town, the peaks are white — not from snow, but from being cut down for the bright stone that makes up the mountains.

We visited the Civic Marble Museum in Carrara, had a fantastic pranzo at a Calabrian restaurant next to a working marble yard, and then toured one of the underground quarries before finishing the day at Forte dei Marmi, now a posh holiday beach town.

Micah was keen on the adventure; all day (and after) he talked about the ‘marvel quarries’. Continue reading

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Castel Rigone, Weeks 30-32: Beauty and Loss

 

lone

After the rain, after the game

On April 14, we went to watch the last real chance for  Castel Rigone to climb their way into a play-out place for Serie C next season. It was another Don Bosco outing, but this time instead of a hundred people, there were about twenty. Several of Jakob’s teammates stood around the edges of the pitch as ball-boys. At first Jakob wanted to join them, but then, when the rain came, the heavy rain, he was glad he hadn’t.

The rain seemed like a sign that it wasn’t meant to be, a cruel natural inevitability that belied the team’s efforts on the field and the club’s effort in the stands. Once again, playing one of the top teams in the division, Castel Rigone played harder and generally better than Teramo. Once again, they lost anyway, haunted by a habitual slackness at the start of every half which forced them to play from behind nearly the entire game.

It had started out so brightly, on a day of palm branches, daisy-chains, tulips, and redbuds.

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Asparagi, Carciofi, e Briganti

DSC_0008It is asparagus and artichoke season in Umbria! That means that one also has to be alert for brigands attempting to steal your wild asparagus;  more on that later.

The winter greens have begun to fade from the markets (no more treviso or broccoli rape) and in their place are piles of fresh artichokes and bunches of asparagus.

We are all happy about this situation as everyone in the family loves artichokes. In the States, ‘fresh’ artichokes have such tough outer leaves that we usually steam them whole, discard the stems, and eat them by pulling off the leaves, dipping them in vinaigrette, and scraping off the soft end with our teeth.

In Italy the fresh artichokes still have a tough exterior but once that is pulled off the leaves inside are tender. In the last few weeks we have experimented with cooking artichokes in new ways.

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Auguri Micah!

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This week Micah celebrated his 6th birthday. He had been anticipating this event all year. We tried to keep it small, by Italian standards. Micah has a few very close friends from school and soccer, so we invited them to a meal at Il Cantinone, a restaurant owned by Caterina, the mother of Francesco, one of Micah’s friends from soccer. The restaurant has long been one of our favorite spots in Perugia. The food is superb, reasonably priced, and the service is ‘down-home’ and friendly (TripAdvisor agrees).

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Lucky Bounces

JakePlayer2Those of you who don’t follow soccer may be happy to hear that the boys’ season is almost over (will Foss ever stop writing about it?). All regular games will finish by the end of April, and May is reserved for various tournaments.

The past few weekends, they have settled in, and Jakob and Micah have begun scoring.

About a month ago, Jakob scored his first goal, but he hit it hard and high under the crossbar, so after it bounced across the line and back out, players weren’t sure it went it, so they kept on.

The Ghost Goal

The Ghost Goal

A week later, he scored his first official goal in an Italian match, nodding in a soft header at close range after it glanced off the keeper’s gloves:

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Selfsational Umbria

Just saw Steve McCurry’s new photo exhibit, Sensational Umbria. Fantastic. As we left, we passed a ‘selfie’ area.

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