Tuesday, 5 February 2013

SABINA TRAVELOGUE PART 17 - April 6 - Visitors from Catino

Today Richard and I did some exploring around the town early in the morning. 

We tried to discover some vicoli we had not visited before. We took a lot of pictures along the way. Here and there people had filled planter boxes with geraniums and other bright flowers...

St. John the Baptist Church, courtesy of Giorgio Clementi
The door of San Giovanni Battista church was open so we ducked inside and I took a few pictures inside there as well. There were a number of very old statues, heads of saints, and a number of antique crucifixes in the entryway.

After about an hour of scrambling up and down the twisting basalt cobbled streets and stairs we had worked up a bit of an appetite and were ready for something to eat, so we headed home to Il Sogno. I made a frittata with some of the leftover pasta, some eggs, prosciutto, pecorino and ricotta, and made some toast with the last of our bread. In the midst of this a cat which we had made with three years ago suddenly appeared in the living room. We had not seen her until this moment and had wondered what had happened to her. She seems to make her way from house to house over the terracotta tiled roofs. The door to the little balcony had been open and there she was. Perhaps she is a regular visitor when the Phillips are here, but not knowing for sure, we showed her the door after a few pats and a picture.

While I was getting breakfast ready, Richard and Candace went down to the alimentari to buy bread and a few groceries and brought back some beautiful flowers. The whole town is alive with people coming in from Rome for Easter. The alimentari, apparently, is jam-packed with people buying supplies for the long weekend. 

After our brunch and one last coffee I headed down the winding steps and out the Porto Romano Gate to the bus stop where I hopped on the bus to Poggio Mirteto Scalo.  I wanted to buy some more cheese and sausages at the Ecofattorie Sabine for a lunch we are having with friends visiting from Rome tomorrow. 

This time, Marco was not at the counter. I guess he deserves a day off every now and then. There are so many amazing things to choose from. I bought two types of pecorino: fresco (a couple of days old) and another with tartufo (truffle!) I will certainly eat it if Richard won't! While I was shopping, I got a call from Giorgio Clementi saying he would be visiting Casperia this evening. It will be good to see him again. My final purchases were some cured pork liver sausages... They are called mazzafegati in Umbria, but I am not sure what they call them here in Lazio... I also bought some fresh pork sausages with fennel, orange, and peperoncino to roast for the secondi tomorrow. Richard plans to make his famous mushroom risotto. 

As I was heading back to the bus station, I gave Richard a call to let he and Candace know that Giorgio was coming over around five and Richard said I should go back an get more cheese and sausages in case Giorgio can stay for dinner. So I did. 

As always, it was a great ride back to Casperia. Italian bus drivers drive like superheroes, and I guess most passengers ride like them too. On the way home I had great views of Catino, Poggio Catino and Roccantica from the window. Yesterday's rain and hail, though bad for the blossoms on the fruit trees, seems to have benefitted the countryside in general. Day by day, the myriad greens get more intense. 

Before I knew it, I was back in Casperia. On the way up the hill I stopped by Friends Caffe and had an espresso with Stefano and Nicoleta. It's allergy season and poor Nicoleta is not having the best time. Thanks for the coffee Stefano! Sei grande. 

Around five o'clock I got a call from Giorgio that he was down beside the fountain outside Friends with some friends! Richard and Candace got the table and the refreshments ready while I went down to meet Giorgio and two other visitors. Who could they be?

It turned out that Giorgio brought two of his friends from Catino, Antonietta and Ivana, two ladies who live near the archway where Giorgio took Richard's picture during our first week here.    

Courtesy of Giorgio Clementi
As Richard was ascending the stone stairs he mentioned that he could feel a surge of energy as he walked through the arch... It could be that there is a ley line there... I had explained to Giorgio that both Richard and I had taken courses in energy meditation and that we were sensitive to things like that. When he posted the beautiful black and white photo on Facebook he wrote in Italian, 'Richard in search of the energy'. This got Antonietta and Ivana wondering about this energia, so I guess they were curious to meet us and ask us about it. We reassured them that it was positive, or at least neutral energy, and that seemed to reassure them. 

We had prepared some antipasti for them at the house and we all sat around the dining room table eating, drinking, and struggling with our mutual language challenges... and laughing all the while. 

It was a wonderful visit. At some point our visitors needed to smoke so we moved the party to the garden. (Il Sogno is a no smoking zone). 

It's seems every time we have visits from our Italian friends we learn some new vocabulary... During our first face to face encounter with Giorgio we learned the word passaparole which means "word of mouth" and also mozzafiato which means "breathtaking". It is probably better that we do not share the important vocabulary items we we taught this time... It would take too long to explain the context and the reasons why they came up, eh, Giorgio? : )

Later, after we saw Giorgio and our new friends off, we returned to Il Sogno where we demolished the antipasti we had prepared, and somehow ended up polishing off a couple of bottles of Prosecco and Orvieto Classico before going to bed. Another memorable day in the Sabina! Grazie tutti! Grazie di cuore!


A day or so after this visit Giorgio posted another great picture of Richard from when we were out in the garden...

Does he look happy? You betcha! 

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