Friday, May 1, 2009

Spoleto










We had a wonderful day in Spoleto! It didn’t rain all that much even though it waited until we were walking out of the parking garage to start. We have checked the weather channel and now don’t expect to see much sun on this trip at all. Spoleto’s history includes both Umbran and Etruscan roots prior to the Roman occupation. We started at the Teatro Romano – those Romans surely did love their theater! – and then began walking up into the town. We did some window shopping along the way and arrived at the Duomo only to find it closed until 3:00. So we began the real climb to the Rocca, a walled town at the top of the hill. But we found a simply wonderful store just up the hill from the Duomo so we had a shopping break before continuing the climb.
Needless to say, the views from the top were quite spectacular and the rain stopped for most of the rest of the day. We found a gelatteria and had our second helping for this trip – I had pistachio and stracciatella – and then set off to see the aqueduct that spans the gorge, 278 ft. high – or down - from where we were. It is an incredible structure and I managed to get right up to the railings on the path to take pictures (I don’t like heights). Then, wonder of wonders, we discovered that you can walk across to the other side of the gorge on the aqueduct! Taking our phobia in hand, we all walked across. Fortunately, the path is about four feet wide so I could stay close to the wall. It really was a spectacular view from the middle. Lee stayed on the “left bank” quite awhile, walking all of the trails and getting higher and higher. We ladies opted to go back across and walk the rest of the way around the Rocca, taking pictures of flowers and trees along the way. When we got around to the Duomo side, we discovered the path blocked by construction so we retraced our steps, located Lee, still on the other side, by his whistling and then headed back to the Duomo.


It really is a beautiful church. A school group came in about the same time we did. They were pretty quiet and respectful. Most of them dipped their fingers in the holy water, looked at the high altar and crossed themselves, then kissed their hand. I hadn’t seen that last part before. No one at St. Christopher’s does it that way. ;-)

After taking all the pictures we wanted, we walked up the steps again so we could walk back down by a different street. This led to a piazza where we sat down to rest and have a glass of wine. As we sat, we talked about maybe finding an internet café. Lee looked up and found it right across the street! So he finished his wine and went over to check it out. Since he didn’t come back, we paid our bill and followed him over. Well, the internet was free to patrons so Lee had gotten another glass of wine. Bev and I followed suit while Claire switched to cappuccino. We checked emails, weather and found a brochure listing housing for sale in Spoleto. The latter gave us a chance to expand our Italian and also listed a perfect apartment that Bev wants to buy. We put the brochure back in order to avoid temptation.
We figured we ought to think about dinner since it was 7:00 so we asked the bar owner if he had a recommendation for us. And he did, calling to make us a reservation even! So we walked down the street, right past the restaurant, down a few more streets and then asked for directions. She pointed us back the way we had come and we found the back door but it wasn’t marked so we kept looking. Lee went down the opposite way and I headed back the way we had originally come. Sure enough, twenty feet from the street corner, there was Tempio del Gusto. We went in, told them Mauro had sent us and were treated to a wonderful dinner. They always begin with “amuse bouche” – three little hors d’ouvres, one we can’t remember except for its taste (good!), one beef with truffle sauce, one ham trout which was pickled trout, we think. Lee had ordered a primi piatti so they brought complementary primi to us ladies, a wonderful combination of cheese and puff pastry topped with truffle sauce. And *then* we had our dinners and, of course, dessert. We left there quite happy and more than a little full only to discover that the walkway to the parking garage was closed! No one panicked except yours truly. Lee finally found an elevator that took us right to the car and off we came home.

1 comment:

Ray Flanary said...

What strikes me is what amazing architectural feats the Romans were capable of constructing, but at the same time, they were such a military machine. I have always been impressed by the Aqueducts. They were such an incredible system for delivering water; practical, but also artistic.