Greetings from Italy! Last week, we took my granddaughter Sofia to church camp at the Eremo di Sant’Egidio, which means the Hermitage of Saint Egidio. Sofia is a counselor at the camp, which is located in the mountains above Cortona. It’s ten degrees cooler at the camp; it gets cooler the higher up you go. In fact, my son-in-law Roberto told me that the Cortonese used to walk up there early in the morning—it takes half an hour by car—and stay all day before they got air conditioning. The buildings at the church camp are stone and were constructed in the 1300’s, about the same time that St. Francis’ monastery was built. It’s very near to where my daughter Becky and her family go to pick blackberries. By the looks of things, it will soon be time to go blackberrying again.
My granddaughter Sofia is a counselor at the church camp at the Eremo di Sant’Egidio.
During one of our daily morning walks around the mountain this week, we ran into four loose donkeys taking a stroll of their own. We also met a woman walking the other way who said, “Qualcuno a perso gli asini,” which means, “Someone has lost their asses.” Becky and I had quite a laugh!
Future candidates for The Streetwalkers Club? For those of you who aren’t familiar with The Streetwalkers, that’s what my walking buddies in St. Petersburg, FL, and I call ourselves.
Our other adventures this week centered around a visit to the Umbria Region, including Spoleto, Norcia, and Castelluccio. Spoleto is an ancient town located in the Province of Perugia at the foot of the Apennine hills. The earliest mention of Spoleto on record is the establishment of a colony in the area in 241 BC. Norcia is a charming town that is probably most famous in modern times for its pork products. Castelluccio is a village that is a frazione of Norcia. Frazione roughly translates to “parish,” “ward,” or “hamlet.” It is famous for its excellent lentils.
Becky and me, standing in front of the bridge in Spoleto.
Prosciutto hams hanging on the wall at a butcher’s shop in Norcia.
Hamming it up for the camera—I couldn’t resist kissing this wild boar in Norcia.
What a view! The top of the Apennine Mountains in Castelluccio.
Becky and I will be leaving for Rome on the morning of September 1 and will pick up my daughter Patty on the second. We plan to spend the day in Rome and then come back to Cortona on the train.
I know many of you are wondering how my home in Mathews, Virginia, and P. Buckley Moss Galleries, Ltd., made out during Hurricane Irene. I am much relieved to report that both made it through the storm very well, with little or no damage, and likewise for my staff. We were all blessed that by the time the storm reached Mathews it was not as strong as had been predicted for the area, and it also took a track that kept the most damaging wind and tide more offshore. Overall, the area did lose electricity, and there was some damage from downed trees and limbs as well as tidal surge, but it wasn’t as bad as Hurricane Isabel in 2003. We are breathing sighs of relief!
Frances Morgan, the mother of Patty’s friend Mary, was in Mathews for a visit when Irene came ashore. Frances is from Colorado and not used to nor’easters and hurricanes, but she took her introduction to Irene in stride. The area under water where Frances is standing, all the way back to the line of green bushes midway up the picture, is part of Patty’s yard. Horn Harbor is usually completely on the other side of the line of green bushes.
Ciao for now!