Tuesday, 18 December 2012

SABINA TRAVELOGUE PART 11 - March 30 - Candace Arrives in Casperia

Our view from Il Sogno with the frazione of Santa Maria in Legarano and the hill town of Montàsola in the distance

Today is bright and sunny day in Casperia. We are preparing the house for the arrival of our dear friend Candace who is joining us for the rest of our stay. Candace is a senior flight attendant with Air Canada and a former neighbour in our Hawks Avenue rowhouse in Vancouver's Strathcona neighbourhood. Three years ago she was instrumental in getting us to Italy when we visited Casperia and the Sabina for the first time... 

Waiting in the departure lounge in Toronto on April 5, 2009, toasting to our first visit to Casperia together
We spent a delicious week here together in April of 2009, but this time we couldn't fly together and she has missed more than 10 days of our adventure here. There is so much to catch up on... and we can't wait to see her.

Candace's flight to Roma from Munich is a bit delayed, but that will give us time to get everything perfect. We need to buy Prosecco (lots of Prosecco), flowers from the florist at the Porta Romana, prosciutto, salami, olives, pecorino Romano, arugula, tomatoes, bread and more Sabina D.O.P. olive oil for bruschette, some Pecorino and Orvieto Classico wine and some sparkling water... And we have to make some special preparations for the visit by our friends from Vetralla and Fiumicino for the following day as well. We have to order a cake from the Dolce Forno Giusti bakery for Clelia's birthday...  

We are in a hilltop town in the middle of farming country. No matter what people say about Italians and la bella figura, people for the most part dress pretty casually here, but Richard and I get dressed up for Candace's arrival.

Our excitement rises as the hour gets nearer. With everything ready, we head down the stone steps through the town down to the Porta Romana and out to Bar Petrocchi which is where Candace's bus from Poggio Mirteto Scalo will pull up.

Casperia's main bus stop beside the gas station, the Petrocchi Bar and the Annunziata Church
The traffic circle outside the bar is a hub of activity. Situated beside the school, the gas station, the bank, the alimentari, and the Post Office, it is a great place to people watch, especially with a cappuccino and cornetto or a class of prosecco at one of the small tables outside the bar. The women who work at Bar Petrocchi are a true force, and it is wonderful to hear the spirited banter that goes on between them and their regular customers... Sometimes it is these little things that can make someone happy.

Finally Candace's bus pulls up. We spy her through the window. She waves. We jump up and down like little kids at a parade. She alights from the bus to a roar of Ciaos and an explosion of hugs and kisses. Finalmente, la nostra amica è arrivata nella Sabina! Passaremo tre bellissime settimane insieme nella più bella parte d'Italia!

The walls of Casperia as seen from the bus stop - Courtesy of Comune of Casperia website
Candace's arrival feels like a homecoming and as we guide her past the familiar landmarks along the route that takes us up into the medieval town... We pass by the Porta Romana and its welcome committee of cats and ascend the gentle curve of stairs past the Vespasiano to Piazza Umberto I with its monumental fountain...

Photo courtesy of Stefano Aperio Bella
 ...our beloved Friends Caffè, and its magnificent view of Soratte and the Tiber Valley. 

Casperia - The road leading from Piazza Umberto I past Friends into the centre of town, courtesy of Giorgio Clementi
We continue chatting and laughing as we walk up the winding stairs past the municipal offices, past Johnny Madge's Olive Oil Bar...

Scale Asprese courtesy of Giorgio Clementi
...up a further flight of stairs past La Torretta B&B until finally we arrive at some level ground, and there at the end of the street is Il Sogno.

We got Candace settled in and while she was unpacking we prepared a little light welcome lunch out in the new garden that the Phillips built beside the house.

We had olives, local prosciutto and salami from the alimentari, some rye bread, pecorino cheese, liver sausages and ricotta al forno from Ecofattorie Sabine, and some fabulous Prosecco.

Later that afternoon we went down to Friends Caf to meet Stefano and Nicoleta and had a few Negronis and a wonderful dinner there as we watched the sun set over Monte Soratte. And as they say, a few pictures are worth a thousand words...


The famous Strongozzi al Ragu at Friends

What a wonderful dinner at Friends Caffè. What a perfect day to welcome Candace back to the Sabina. Thank you Stefano and Nicoleta for a truly unforegettable evening!

We toasted our good fortune to be together in the Sabina, in Casperia watching the sunset over Soratte. Then we headed up the stairs to our home for the next few weeks...

The road home... courtesy of Vagabondo.net
Tomorrow will be a big day. We have to prepare for the arrival of Clelia and her husband Daniele, and Paola and her husband Massimo. I have been Facebook friends with Clelia and Paola for some time now, but tomorrow we will all meet face to face for the first time... I wonder what that will be like...

Photo of Casperia by Chris Warde-Jones of the New York Times

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