Category: Travel around Italy


A Break from the Heat

If you have been following the weather in Europe, you know that it is unseasonably hot in Italy right now. We are little better off in Perguia because there is always a breeze up here. Even so, yesterday we decided to escape the heat in the city and head up into the Sibilline mountains towards the plain of Castellucio. This is another area in Umbria famous for its lentils, farro (spelt), and peas. In the early summer the plain blossoms into a sea of colors. We were a little too early for the flowers this year, but the views were stunning nonetheless.

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There is still snow on the mountains!

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Castelluccio, population 150, 1452 m. asl

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A Day in Umbria

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View of Lago Trasimeno from Tuoro

Saturday we had an Umbrian day: Lago Trasimeno, Roman/Carthaginian battle site, torta al testo, a Lombard tower, an Etruscan tomb, and home-made wood-fire pizza with friends as we watched the sun set against Perugia. June 21 was the 2231st anniversary of the Battle of Lake Trasimene (217 B.C.), an epic disaster for the Romans at the hands of the Carthaginians and not generally commemorated in Italy. Nevertheless, in the morning we set out for Tuoro, the Umbrian village above the battle site (which, diplomatically, now has Lamta, Hannibal’s home town, as a ‘sister city’). From here we followed part of the battle itinerary.

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Holy Motors

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The First Ferrari IndyCar – in the early years of F1 competition, the Indy 500 was included as an event.

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Micah inspecting a Vespa with a side-car at the Museo Piaggio

On the way back from Verona, we visited Maranello, home of the Ferrari motor factory, museum, and test track. This visit had been a dream of Jakob’s for many years, due to his dedication to industrial design and his interest in ‘going fast.’

Motor vehicles play a prominent part of Italian culture and sport; racing is one of the most popular spectator sports (motorcycles and F1) and participatory activities (as anyone passed by an Audi doing 180 km/hr on the autostrada can attest).

We had already visited, during our trip to Tuscany, the Museo Piaggio, where the eternal flame of Vespa, the iconic Italian scooter, is kept alive; this post records Jakob’s thoughts about stylish Italian transport.

(Our title refers to the strange but wonderful film, Holy Motors, which we watched earlier this year.)

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The Piano Competition

The last two days we were in Verona, 400 km to the north, for Simon and Jakob to compete in the Concorso Pianistico Internzionale “Remo Vinciguerra,” an international piano competition for young talents from age 5-14. Jakob’s teacher had encouraged him to play in the category of “quattro mani” (“four hands,” that is, two pianists on the same piano). However, a few weeks ago, Jakob’s planned partner quit piano, so Simon stepped in to play with him.

Brothers two years apart don’t always play nicely together. Practices — when they happened — sometimes involved as much taunting and tangling as tickling the ivories.  Nevertheless, they made progress, and after school on Thursday we set off for on the four-hour drive over the Apennines to the city of Romeo and Juliet at the foothills of the Alps.

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Bella Venezia

DSC_0284We are weeks behind on the blog, but it is spring in Perugia. The streets are waking up: restaurants and bars have brought back their outdoor seating, and the Corso is full of families enjoying an afternoon gelato. Can you blame us for not sitting inside at our computers? We’ll try our best to catch you up on what we’ve been doing.

Our first taste of warmer weather came three weeks ago in Venice. We had four days of sunshine and warm breezes as we traversed the canals. We managed to see some of the main attractions, such as St. Mark’s square and the Peggy Guggenheim, but mostly we spent our time outside either on the water or walking through the back canals.

Here are a few pictures from the trip.

 

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