Wednesday, August 3, 2011

A visit to Citta della Pieve

I slept in until well after 9 o'clock this morning...but then again, I didn't get to sleep until after well after midnight.  Mom had been up for a little while, just enjoying our terrace.  I had a leisurely breakfast...bread and cheese and honey, yogurt, espresso, juice and a peach. I managed to stuff most of it into me, but ended up saving the peach for later.

We decided to go for a drive to Citta della Pieve to see the paintings by Il Perugino.  Citta della Pieve is a hill top town in Umbria that we can see from our windows, and also a place Francesco recommended to us.  What a beautiful drive!!  I kept looking for places to pull over so we could take photos!  The is a house and sunflower field close to Cetona.
In Citta della Pieve, we first went to the tourist office and got a map of the town and oodles more information - the girl was so friendly and helpful that we couldn't say no to all the brochures she kept helpfully piling on!  Then our first stop was the cathedral.

The painting over the altar is by Il Perugino.  Alas my close ups are a bit blurry, and I don't have photo editing on my netbook so can't crop this one to show you a better view.  It really is quite gorgeous!!

The organ was quite stunning, set high up in the back wall.  I imagine the sound is very rich.

I thought this chapel wall was marble until I got a closer look at the adjoining wall and saw that it is really fresco (or something similar) that was peeling off in a few places.  I love the colours and the pattern.
Il Perugino's Baptism of Christ.  This is an painting both Mom and I have seen many times in reproductions, so it was pretty thrilling to see the orginal in person!

Since we were in the neighbourhood...
We couldn't resist popping along to Vicolo Baciadonne.  The girl at the tourist office said it is the narrowest street in Italy, and is so named (Baciadonne = kiss the woman) because it is so narrow that when a man and a woman approach from opposite directions, they have to kiss as they pass because it is just that narrow.  Obviously we took the legend with a grain of salt, but nonetheless, we had to see it for ourselves!

Here I am standing in the narrowest you can see, it would be pretty difficult for two people to pass through here!  Mind you if, say, George Clooney was passing through, am thinking I'd be ok with the close quarters... ;)  lol!!!
One of the beautiful curved streets in Citta della Pieve, lined with colourful red brick buildings.  Cetona is mostly stone, or that plaster stuff used on restored buildings.  Whereas C della P is mostly red brick.  So the two towns look quite different.
A construction site!  We had to squeeze around the worker's truck to get by.  I assume the yellow chute is for cleaning debris out of the upper floor.  I just thought this was a fun shot of every day life.  Medieval hill towns...they aren't just there for tourists, real life goes on too!
What is a day in Italy without gelato??  Actually we had two this day!  This second time we also had a pastry...lemon for Mom, chocolate for me!  We both had limone gelato and it was incredible, so tangy and refreshing.  The old man at the counter was far less brusque the second time we stopped in, perhaps we had gained status as repeat customers!

The next few photos are just random images taken along the drive back to Cetona from Citta della Pieve.  I wish I had thought to snap a photo of the plunging dirt road that our GPS tried to send us down!  It was a paved road, then became gravel, but was in good shape so I figured ok, we'll keep going.  Until we came around a corner and literally the road just disappeared - it was just that steep of a drop!  Not being at all interested in pursuing that particular route, I backed up, turned around and headed in another direction.  The turning around was...interesting, considering the steepness of the bank on one side and an embankment looming above us on the other side.  My driving skills are up for the Italian experience though.  Actually am finding it quite fun zipping around in our tiny Fiat 500.  That thing almost literally turns on a dime.  I want one of my very own!

How beautiful is the colour and texture of these grapes, hanging in the sun...

This is a view of Cetona from up the road.  Not a particularly good photo, mind you, but I like the shot anyway, with the corn field in the foreground.  The various shades of green and yellow that we are seeing everywhere are so eye catching and gorgeous.

Random house...or actually I think it was an agriturismo place.  Seemed newly built, and the cypress trees are so small, I assumed they are fairly recently planted.

Not sure what struck my eye in this scene, but I really like it...the rolling hills of dirt looked like clay.
"Just" another pretty villa...across the road from the last photo.  This are up a random gravel road.

As we meandered around, we came upon a town up on a hill (where else?!) called Le Piazze.  We thought it was a good spot to stretch our legs, so we sat in a little park/playground and ate our peaches (leftover from breakfast).  There were little tiny lizards skittering around, the same as the ones who live in the vines on the wall above the terrace in our rental house. 

Eventually we made our way home, where a glass of wine was in order!  We can get the one litre flask refilled with a very drinkable "farm wine" for 2.50 euro.  (From the shop where we had the wine tasting our first night - already we are benefitting from being introduced around to the locals by Alessandra and Francesco!)  I cooked pici for supper (local pasta made with just flour and water), and sauteed some veggies (carrots, zucchini, eggplant, onions, sweet pepper, swiss chard, celery) and added a plain tomato sauce.  We had it with grated (fresh) parmesan and asiago cheeses on top...molto bene!

1 comment:

Lynn said...

Oh Anne, it sounds like you are having such a wonderful time! I'm glad you are enjoying the driving. We loved it when we were there. As for the GPS, don't take its vagaries personally - ours tried to kill us a few times too! In Cilento National Park, it attempted to send us over the cliff onto a virtually non-existent road, much like your GPS did to you. Ah well, rogue GPS's aside, the driving in Italy is divine!! I love your apartment in Cetona and the thought of the food you keep cruelly describing is making me hungry this very moment. Anyway, keep loving your trip and say Hi to Mom.

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