Learning some new tricks

This morning started with us organizing suitcases, so we could determine how much pasta we could buy at one of Milan’s markets. We found that almost all the markets are closed on Monday and most are only open on Saturday or Sunday. After completing that we headed for the Metro to buy a day ticket and travel the city.

We headed out to the Isola Merchant Market. It is a highly rated market and open on Monday. Unfortunately, when we got to the market, it is much more of a small food market, as in restaurants, not food stands. Disappointed, we walked around the neighborhood a little bit, we each got a cappuccino, and checked out a local grocery store to see if they had anything we might want. Sadly, they did not.

Fresh pasta being rolled in the Isola Merchant Market
Fresh pasta (maybe we should have eaten here
Cappucinno in Isola (Linda doesn’t always like her picture taken, so Dave got it twice here)
Cappuccino, as good as it looks

We got back on the train and headed to the Duomo. Linda was hungry so we found a panini shop and shared a salami sandwich that had pecorino cheese, yellow tomatoes and olive pate on it – Tasty. We then boarded a tram to take us out to Navigli. This is an area that is known for its bars and aperitivo. When we were last here with Jon and Elaine in 2007, Jon and Dave visited the area. It looked much the same to Dave. It is a “pretty” area with a canal going through the neighborhood, where the restaurants and bars are located on both sides. While we didn’t have a drink, we were able to locate a gelato shop. Dave was boring and went with Stracciatella and Stracciatella di Mente (Mint chocolate chip). Linda was more adventurous and had Noce Pecan and Pecato di Gola (Mixed Nut with Caramel).

Canal side in Navigli
Navigli, bars and restaurants on each side of the canal
Nicely decorated balcony in Navigli
Dave and Linda in Navigli

After finishing our gelato, we headed for the tram back to the apartment. Well, Dave had some serious issues navigating with Google Maps. To be clear, this wasn’t a Google Maps issue, it was a Dave issue. After a delay of probably 20 minutes, we made it to the tram stop and we back to the apartment in about 15 minutes. We likely could have walked it quicker.

This evening started with us taking a tram to our cooking class located about 35 minutes away from the apartment on the east side of Milan. It should have been an easy trip, but such was not the case. About halfway through the trip, there was an announcement in Italian and everyone exited the tram. We were told that the tram was not able to continue and we were only a third of the way there. We thought we’d wait for the next tram, but we were told there would not be another and that a bus would be sent. We decided, instead, to walk to an alternate tram. Along the way, we made the decision to hail a cab. This turned out to be a good decision, as we got to the class on time and we had a nice driver.

Our cooking class had five members, a couple from Surrey, England (Laura and Des), a man from New Jersey (Sateesh), and us. Our instructor, Hillary (pronounced with a silent “h” and the “I” is a long “e” … elary), was great. She was very interactive and loved getting questions; we had plenty.

Our menu for the night was Caponata (a traditional vegetable starter), Ravioli filled with Potato and Basil with a Pecorino cream sauce and black pepper (Ravioli Cacio e Pepe), and Cantucci (we call it biscotti). The preparation and cooking processes took about two hours. It was fun to do the prep and the group worked well together. One thing we were surprised by was how “easy” it was to create the pasta. We have tried this before and failed pretty miserably at it. We will definitely try it again. Of course, the proper machinery helps.

Our kind of place, let’s start by making dessert, Cantucci. Flour, sugar, egg, butter, baking powder, almonds
Laura and Des, couple from Surrey, England
Linda whisking our egg for the Cantucci
Ready to do the first bake of the Cantucci
The vegatables to be baked for the Caponata (eggplant, celery, zucchini)
The Cantucci sliced and ready for the second bakee
The tomatoes and onion ready to be pan fried for the Caponata
Dave kneading the dough for our Ravioli Cacio e Pepe
We had more dough than potato filling, so we made some Tagliatelle
These are the trimmings from the ravioli cutting. They were also cut and prepared for the meal.
Adding the olives to the Caponata
Tomatoes and onions added to the Caponata
Final product for Ravioli stuffed with potato and basil in a pecorino cheese, milk, and pepper sauce
Final product of the Caponata
Sateeesh (New Jersey), Laura (Surrey), Linda, Des (Surrey), Dave, and Hillary (Milano – instructor)

The five of us took the tram back toward the Duomo and as we reached our stops we all departed the tram and went our separate ways. Overall, it was a great evening.

Tomorrow morning, we will do a quick visit to the Duomo and do the final pack of our bags.

If you would like to see pictures in more detail, you can click here: 2022-10-10 Milan.

Those Are Some Impressive Mountains

Dave started the day trying to get the extra suitcase issue resolved. But it will have to wait another day as we had a date with Monte Cervino (The Matterhorn).

We had our usual breakfast at our usual caffeteria.

Two cappuccinos, a chocolate croissant, and a crema croissant

We then headed out of Torino around 10:00 by rental car, carefully navigating the busy streets. Quite nerve-wracking! It seemed a bit hazy as we drove north, hoping it would clear so we could get some good pictures in Breuil-Cervinia, a small ski town just south of the Italian border with Switzerland. It took almost 2 hours to get there and the most difficult, of course, was getting out of Turin. GPS works wonders and it is funny to listen to the same dude you hear give directions at home, rattling off the long names of these Italian streets. Then there are his distance directions, all in meters and kilometers. Can’t he just say six blocks?!

Just like on the train the other day, the terrain turned quickly to mountains and as we exited the freeway ($12 for a 1+ hour ride) onto two-lane roads, we were on the lookout for snow-covered mountains. It took less then 15 minutes to find them and then we rounded a corner and There It Was: Monte Cervino (The Matterhorn). At 14,700 ft in elevation, it is part of the Italian and Swiss Alps. Because part of it is in Italy, they can claim that it is their tallest mountain. The air was crisp, about 60 degrees and the sky was clear and blue. Perfect for picture-taking.

Homes in the valley below the Italian Alps
Town in the valley on the way to Breuil
Autumn colors and Alpen Mountains
Buildings on the way to Breuil
Italian Alps and changing colors
Italian Alps … we don’t know what these bicyclists are thinking pedaling up this roadway
Alpen scenery
Alpen scenery
Alpen scenery
Alpen scenery
Alpen scenery
Alpen scenery
Alpen scenery

We parked the car on the street and walked around, snapping selfies and long-range mountain views. The architecture here is totally Swiss Chalet. Being a very small town, there were more hotels than anything (winter ski season is coming next week), some nice boutiques and shops, one church and only one restaurant serving lunch at this time. We stopped at the Eden Pub, which was packed with men who looked to be mostly 30-something guys, who had come in from work for lunch. Dave figured that they were ski lift employees getting things ready for the coming season. We were bummed that the tram wasn’t in service yet – we could only imagine the view from up there – and getting there would be something special too.

Linda, Dave, and Monte Cervino
Linda, Dave, the valley, and the Italian Alps
View in Breuil
Italian Alps from Breuil with church in foreground
Breuil, Italy (we planned, at one time, to stay in the upper part of the building on the right)
Breuil, Italy
Dave, Linda Monte Cervino, and Breuil
Dave, Linda, the Italian Alps
Breuil, Italy
Alpen View
Panoramic view of Italian Alps

We ordered off the menu (unlike the workmen who appeared to get all the same thing – lasagna followed by a meat/potato/vegetable plate). There must have been 50 guys stopping in for lunch and they were gone again 30 minutes later. Linda had a beer and homemade raviolini soup (small rectangular ravioli filled with meat and cheese in a chicken broth, served with parmesan cheese). Dave had red wine and pappardelle with porcini mushrooms and shrimp.  The bread has improved coming north – the crust isn’t nearly as hard and the soft white inside is holey and chewy – and there were also breadsticks in the basket. Everything was delicious. We decided that we couldn’t not get dessert as they had Apple Strudel on the menu: YUM – perfect apples and raisins in a dark sugar and cinnamon sauce covered in flakey pastry with thick whipped cream on the side. It was a favorite of ours when we were in Austria years ago and we never pass it up. Too bad we needed to drive back; we could’ve used a nap.

Workmen having their lunch in Breuil
Beer, bread, and wine at le Bistrot de l’Abbe
Pappardelle with porcini mushrooms and shrimp at le Bistrot de l’Abbe
Linda eating her homemade raviolini in chicken broth at le Bistrot de l’Abbe
Apple Strudel and cappuccino at le Bistrot de l’Abbe

We got back to Turin around 4 pm. Linda worked on the blog wording while Dave navigated the hundred-plus pictures. Then we talked about what to do on our last night in Turin. We have hit a lot of the nearby restaurants but the closest one and it is always busy. So busy that the noise can be heard through our windows four stories up. We took a little walk then got to Poormanger just after they opened. As it turns out, their claim to fame are baked potatoes with different fillings. The potato inside the skins are soft, like twice-baked. We each had wine, red for Dave and white for Linda, then ordered: Dave got one called Carbonara which had a creamy cheese, tons of bacon and pecorino; Linda’s was Thai Pollo which was large chicken chunks in a creamy Thai chili/yellow curry sauce with yellow pepper. Both were outstanding and very reasonably priced. We walked along the main shopping street to window shop then went to our favorite gelato shop here – the girl who helps us spent 3 years in Canada and could converse well. Dave had salted caramel and cookies & cream; Linda had mango and raspberry. 

Potato Jacket at Poormanger filled with carbonara sauce, pork cheek, pepper, and pecorino cheese
Potato Jacket at Poormanger with Thai chicken, coconut milk, yellow peppers, ginger, onion, coriander, lime and chili

Back at the apartment around 20:45, we finished up the blog and talked about tomorrow. We’ll be heading south to some of the best wine country in Italy later in the morning.

Same city … new place

This morning started with us cleaning off more dirt that settled over night and packing our bags. Dave thinks unlike at home where his clothes shrink, they seem to have expanded in the suitcase, because it keeps getting harder to close the suitcase.

With the blog in decent shape and everything packed up, we decided to get pastries and coffee at our new favorite place, Caffeteria Palazzo di Citta. Oh, can the day get worse? They are closed. We tried a place called Coffee Joint. They had mediocre doughnuts and coffee. We won’t be back. They did have Wi-Fi, though, so we got the blog uploaded there.

Chocolate filled doughnut, apple pastry, brownie

We then set out for the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist. We know you thought you were through with churches. Dave says, sorry, no such luck. The Cathedral is beautiful and it holds the “Shroud of Turin”, the linen in which Christ was supposedly wrapped. While that notion has been proven to be false, it doesn’t stop people from believing.

Cathedral fo St. John the Baptist in Torino; the structure in back is actually part of the Royal Palace
Sanctuary of Cathedral of St. John the Baptist
Altar at Cathedral of St. John the Baptist (look through the windows behind the altar … remember that image for later)
Last Supper painting in Cathedral of St. John the Baptist
Last Supper painting in the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist
Side Chapel in Cathedral of St. John the Baptist
Side Altar in Cathedral of St. John the Baptist
Crucifix in Side Altar in Cathedral of St. John the Baptist
Statues and frescos in Side Altar in Cathedral of St. John the Baptist
Side Chapel in Cathedral of St. John the Baptist

After visiting the Cathedral, we headed off to the Royal Palace of Turin. Matt warned us that it was gaudy, but we thought, heck we’ve been to Catherine Palace near St. Petersburg and the Biltmore. Well, never underestimate Matt’s advice, some of the palace is absolutely gaudier that the other two. Actually, it was nice to walk through the palace and art museum connected to it. Additionally, the free garden area outside was very nice.

Dave chasing woman with camera (seriously, she asked Dave to video her as she walked and then twirled)
Entrance to Palazzo di Reali (Royal Palace)
Chapel of Royal Palace in background
Royal Palace Gardens
This art in the gardens represents the author being in the center of the damaged marble (representing the fire in the Chapel in 1997) fallen around him that now allows him to see.
Your greeting at the Royal Palace
Grand Staircase in Royal Palace
Arrival room
Nothing sets off a gaudy pink room like the addition of bird statues
Wooden floor in the Throne Room in Royal Palace
Armor/military display in Royal Palace
Ceiling in Armor room in Royal Palace
Ceiling and wallIt is essential to protect your horse, too.
With the ostentatiousde display within the palace, we were surprised by the common royal carriage
Armor for horse and knight
Everyday dining at the Royal Palace
Ceiling in meeting room in the Royal Palace
Chapel in the Royal Palace
Chapel in the Royal Palace (you may have seen this in the picture of the altar in the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist)
Dome in Chapel in Royal Palace

From there we started back to the apartment (we left our luggage in the old apartment and had to pick it up at 14:00). We decided to stop at “Candy Lisa” after seeing gummy bears half the size of your hand. Linda walked through the store selecting some unique items and Dave talked to the check-out girl. She was quite surprised that we were from the USA and we chose to visit Torino. She wondered why we weren’t in Venice, Milano, or some other tourist location. We said we preferred to visit somewhere that had more of a feel of how the locals lived, though there are plenty of tourists here. As we continued, we stopped at Gelmarket. This place pretty much sells just frozen foods. This means everything from fruit to pasta meals to “second plate” meals, “international foods”, etc.

Palazzo di Madama
We decided we could live in the corner unit of this building
Pizzeria in Torino
This is what cause our pain in our apartment

We arrived at the old apartment at about 13:55, just in time. Since we couldn’t check-in to the new apartment until 15:00, we decided to have lunch in between the two apartments (please remember that the two apartments are 150 feet apart). We had a very good meal at Ristorante Conte Verde. Linda had Spaghetti Carbonara (no cream) and Dave had Spaghetti Bolognese.

Spaghetti Bolognese
Spaghetti Carbonara

The women checking us in arrived while we were eating. After Dave finished his meal, he walked over to check in. We really like this new place. It has a couple of sofa/loveseat places to sit and a desk on which we can do the blog. When Linda got to the apartment, Linda asked Dave, “How is the bed?” Dave thought, “How the hell should I know?”, but instead responded that the girl checking us in asked if I wanted to check out the bed, but he told her, thanks for the offer, but my wife is downstairs. Linda couldn’t stop laughing. Dave didn’t get why she thought this was so funny. Lol

Entry hall
When we lived in Little Rock, we called this a “Keeping Room”
Kitchen, duh
Another, duh, bedroom

After settling in here, we went out for a little more looking around. That involved checking out some men’s stores to get Dave a new shirt (Dave appreciates no comments about his repeat clothing). Not finding anything for that and a Telecom Italia Mobile store that was of no use, we went off to check out a new area. Guess what, they have a church. It is the Church of St. Francis of Assisi (Chiesa di San Francesco d’Assisi). It is a blasé church from the outside, but has some beauty to it inside.

Chiesa di San Francesco d’Assisi
Altar in Chiesa di San Francesco d’Assisi
Chapel in Chiesa di San Francesco d’Assisi
Chapel in Chiesa di San Francesco d’Assisi
Chapel in Chiesa di San Francesco d’Assisi

From there we walked a little more, stopped at Pam grocery to pick up some things, and then dropped them off at the apartment. Dave got a message about where to park the car we are getting tomorrow, so we went to check the location; it’s really close. In fact, it’s very near where we had dinner on Sunday, so we went to Il Molo, which is across the street. We had beer and wine, a meat and cheese plate, and sausages. It was a fun experience.

Meat and Cheese plate
Sausages and potatoes

We then came home (Dave thought … hey, we haven’t had gelato today). As it turns out, Dave didn’t have to twist Linda’s arm too hard to get her to say yes. Dave had Crème di Nonna Elide (kind of an orange flavor) and Cuore di Panna (core of cream … kind of plain). Linda had Gianduia (chocolate-hazelnut) and Mascarpone with Fig and Caramel. While it was good to try somewhere new, it just didn’t measure up to our standards and we won’t be back.

After gelato, we called it a night and settled in for a quiet night.

If you want to see more pictures or more detail in the pictures, you can click here: 2022-10-04 Torino


The morning started with Dave finishing the blog, which took longer than usual because the internet at the apartment is not very stable.

Dave’s version of the morning: Our next piece of excitement was the drilling into the stone/brick wall in the apartment upstairs that is being renovated. That was the last straw for Linda. We will leave this apartment tomorrow and check into a new apartment in the afternoon.

Linda’s version of the morning: I didn’t sleep well and in the middle of the night I got up to take some pain meds and do some hip/ low back exercises on the floor. This sounds fairly ordinary but the flooring in our apartment was made of some kind of hard pebbly plastic. Fun. Neither of us were very pleased with this place – not clean enough, not comfy enough (what?? No couch??), just Not Enough!! In the morning, the construction noise started from upstairs. We were warned just yesterday by the host right before moving in that there might be debris falling from the ceiling!! At 10 am, I informed a not-too-pleased Dave that I was looking at new places. He took a shower and came out more agreeable. We went out for caffe and pastry and found a new place fairly quickly, just a few meters up the same street!

After dealing with that, we headed out to get something to eat at about 11:15. Not the way the day was supposed to go. As we ate our cannoli, we decided we would take a quick trip to Aosta today.

Our barristas today at Caffetteria Palazzo di Citta
Cappuccino, Espresso Latte, Crema Canoli, Zabaglione Canoli

We grabbed a train that was scheduled to leave at 13:25. It finally left the Torino Porto Nuovo station at 13:35. We recognized that we certainly raised the average age on the train.

Old Street Car
Old Street Car
Front of Torino Porto Nuova train station
Linda by interior entry at Torino Porto Nuova

What a day!  Sometimes a surprising change in plans is fun. This was the day we were going to do tomorrow but with the apartment check out/ check in required for Tuesday, we decided to do Aosta today.

Four hours of train ride (that had beautiful views, but lousy windows to try to capture) for a two-hour exploration in Aosta, a gorgeous mountain town that is Italian with Swiss chalet architecture and food that is mostly French. It was magical. We want to go back! Their tourist season is, probably, biggest in winter.

Aosta train station
View of Italian Alps from Aosta
View of Italian Alps from Aosta
View of Italian Alps from Aosta
Arch of Augustus in Aosta
Mura di Aosta – walls that protected Augusta Praetoria (ancient name of Aosta) in Roman times
Mura di Aosta – walls that protected Augusta Praetoria (ancient name of Aosta) in Roman times
View of Italian Alps from Aosta

We had planned to eat, look around town and maybe do a little shopping. Linda found a great yarn shop but couldn’t afford the luggage space. Dave even offered to get another suitcase!  We walked awhile and saw that the 4- star Bistro we were hoping to have late lunch at was closed (website said open till 22:00) we opted for a sandwich shop on Piazza Emile Chanoux across from Town Hall, only to find that they weren’t serving food. The Italian way is coffee and pastry in am (till noon); lunch noon till 15:00; dinner 19:00 to whenever. We’ve been here almost 5 weeks and really should know better.

Piazza Emile Chanoux in Aosta
Town Hall on Piazza Emile Chanoux in Aosta

We shared some great local wines (Petit Arvine and Torrette) then on the walk back towards the train, quickly grabbed ‘take away’ prosciutto and fungi pizza that was folded over (a 12-inch by 5-inch rectangle). And a bottle of water for the train trip back. Dave was anxious to get back so we could finish with our laundry and pack to move tomorrow.

Petit Arvine and Torrette (Aosta regional wines)
People of Aosta on Piazza Emile Chanoux
Souvenir stand in Aosta seems pretty Swiss focused
Street in Aosta
A couple of balconies in Aosta
Two slices of prosciutto and fungi pizza in Aosta

The train trip home was uneventful and arrived about five minutes late. That’s on-time, right? We walked back to the apartment and quickly realized that we made the right decision to leave tomorrow. We were greeted by dust and rock everywhere. We made the mistake of leaving our suitcases open, so it was in there, too. Linda got the worst of that. Oh, and on the bed, too. Yuck! Dave will be suggesting to our host that he put plastic below the exposed beams to catch the stuff.

Dust and stone throughout the apartment

In an effort to calm our nerves, we headed out to find GELATO! Fortunately, we were successful. Dave had Salted Caramel and Tiramisu; Linda had Fig with Ricotta, Almond Cream, and Hazelnut. Time to call it a night. Here’s looking forward to a better Tuesday.

Oh, September, where did you go?

It’s October 1, where did September go? Oh, that’s right Como, Bellagio, Reggio Emilia, Bologna, Parma, Modena, Florence, Orvieto (a couple of times), Rome, Ripabottoni, Campobasso, Siena, Corniglia, Riomaggiore, and Manarola. Whew! We decided we need to get home and veg; this vacation stuff is exhausting.

The weather looked decidedly better today than yesterday. The sky was filled with clouds, but breaks of sky showed through. The forecast for the day called for clearing skies and a high in the upper 60s.

Today looks much better from the living room

It was 60° when we left for our hike to Vernazza at about 9:30. In keeping with his recent skills, Dave started us off on the wrong trail to Vernazza, so we had to turn around. The good news was that it allowed us to be back to the apartment and change into cooler clothes. As the hike and day went on, we were very happy we were able to go back and change.

Sanctuary of St. Peter’s church in Corniglia
Altar in St. Peter’s Church n Corniglia
View of Corniglia from “wrong” trail
View of Corniglia from trail to Vernazza
View of Corniglia from trail to Vernazza
This wagon is on a bar that is used in the farming operations down the hil. You can see the drive mechanism under the rail.
This wagon is on a bar that is used in the farming operations down the hil. You can see the drive mechanism under the rail.
View of St. Barnardino from the trail to Vernazza
This is one of the easy parts of the trail from Corniglia to Vernazza
Easy part of the trail from Corniglia to Vernazza
View of Corniglia from trail to Vernazza
View back to Corniglia from trail to Vernazza
View from trail to Vernazza
Dave on trail to Vernazza
It’s starting to get a little more challengin going to Vernazza
While we don’t condone the defacing of public property, we thought it was cool to see a sticker for Left Coast Brewing, a brewery we visited four years ago with friends who live in San Clemente
Coastline back to Corniglia from trail to Vernazza
View toward Monterosso from trail to Vernazza … the boat in the bottom center is one that goes between the various towns
Heading down the trail to Vernazza isn’t easy either … it can be steep, muddy, and slippery
Sailboats and a freighter in the sea off the coast of the trail to Vernazza
We were thrilled when we could finally see Vernazza with Monterosso in the background. The dark brown building is where tickets to use the trail are validated.
As we approached the restaurant, the bells in town began ringing. Maybe they were welcoming us to town after our strenuous hike.

After about two hours, about 2.12 miles, and elevation change of 397 ft from minimum to maximum, but not total elevation changes, we arrived at La Torre Ristorante in Vernazza. Our reservations were for 14:00, but we asked if we could be seated then and they obliged. For full disclosure, we decided that we didn’t want to walk back up to the restaurant at 14:00, so it’s good they let us change.

Vernazza from Ristorante La Torre
Who is that hanging on the deck of Ristorante La Torre in Vernazza
One of the seating areas at Ristorante La Torre in Vernazza

This restaurant was recommended by Matt and Carlee for its views and food. The restaurant exceeded our expectations on both accounts. Dave ordered the mixed fried seafood, which consisted of anchovies, calamari, shrimp, and fish. Linda ordered the mixed seafood grill, which had calamari, shrimp, fish filet, and a prawn (though it had a claw, which seemed odd). We, too, would recommend it to anyone visiting Vernazza.

Grilled Seafood at Ristorante La Torre in Vernazza
Fried mixed seafood at Ristorante La Torre in Vernazza
Plating at Ristorante la Torre
Chef making Spaghetti di Mare at Ristorante di Torre
Spaghetti di Mare at Ristorante La Torre

After lunch we walked into Vernazza. What a fun little town. It is the weekend, so there are way too many people in town for our likes, but it was still a great place. The boats throughout the town were a treat and the waterfront was nice.

If you remember the cart we took a picture of earlier, you can see a person driving one in this video in the terraced farms of Vernazza
Architecture in Vernazza
Shopping in Vernazza
Hustle and bustle of Vernazza and the relaxation on the steps
Street scene in Vernazza
Street scene in Vernazza
Church of Saint Margherita of Antioch – old church, quite rustic
Street scene by harborfront in Vernazza
St. Margaherita of Antioch Church in Vernazza
Waterfront area of Vernazza
Baots lined up by the waterfront in Vernazza
Laundry day in Vernazza
Altar in St. Margherita of Antioch Church in Vernazza
A very rustic feel to St. Margherita of Antioch Church in Vernazza
Time for something new, a Limoncello Spritz
Check out that Limoncello Spritz
While not clear, the hole in the rock opens to the sea
Looks like laundry day for someone in Vernazza

We then walked back to the train station and boarded a train, with lots of other tourists, to Monterosso by the Sea. This area more sprawling and because of how tired we were, we probably didn’t give it the attention it deserved. It feels more like a resort town to us and there is a very nice beach area that was in use today, even with temperatures only in the upper 60s to low 70s. But, it was warm in the sun (and in the water too, based upon the number of people in the sea). Oh, we were able to find a gelato shop … we know you are surprised. Linda had a scoop of Salty Caramel and a scoop of Mascarpone Caramel and Hazelnut. Dave had a scoop of Stracciatella Mediteranea and a scoop of Crema 5 Terre. All four were excellent.

Street scene and beach in Monterosso
Waterfront in Monterosso
We can’t figure out what that structure on top is – Monterosso
Beach in Monterosso
Cool rock in sea at Monterosso
Sea front in Monterosso
Seafront in Monterosso

Boarding the train, we left Monterosso and headed back to Corniglia. It was about 16:00, so it seemed like a good time for a break

For dining tonight, we ate our left-over meats and cheeses and got a sausage pizza from the pizzeria across the street from our apartment. We enjoyed everything and it was important to get rid of the leftovers, since we will be heading out tomorrow. For a special treat tonight, we watched “L.A. Confidential”. It was a nice relaxing night.

Sausage pizza from pizzeria across the street from our apartment in Corniglia
One last sunset in Corniglia

If you would like to see more detail of the pictures in this post, you can click here: 2022-10-01 Corniglia-Vernazza-Monterosso.

Three down, two to go

Let’s start with a couple of pictures to update you on our apartment here in Corniglia.

This ladder is three stories up from the ground below to harvest the lemons outside our apartment in Corniglia.
To help explain yesterday’s down step to go up steps, this is what we meant. The entrance to our apartment building is at the top of the stairs going up.

Well, the weather finally caught up with us.  When we woke up this morning, we were hopeful that the rain was going to pass us by. It was supposed to rain overnight, but the cars outside were dry. By the time we left about 1-1/2 hours later, it was markedly cooler, it had drizzled, and the clouds still looked menacing. Nonetheless, what can you do?  We have four other towns to see in the next two days.  Let’s head south and east to Riomaggiore and Manarola today.

While the same view as yesterday, the sea and sky are not as friendly.

We made the decision to walk down to the train station. While easier than the notion of going up the stairs, it is still 33 flights of stairs with a total of 382 stairs. The walk, however, was beautiful, even with the gray skies. We arrived at the train station and got on the train about 10 minutes later. We took the train to “the end” and got off at Riomaggiore.

View from our descent on the stairs to the Corniglia train station. Note the blue of the sea.
Dave on the stairs to train station

We exited the train station and started up the hill that led into town. Much of the climb up the hills was through residential areas, causing us to wonder where the commercial area was. Of course, before we could get there, we encountered our first church of the day, Basilica of San Giovanni, (yes, there will be more later). This one is located high on the hills, so it is quite visible. It is very well maintained and drew quite a crowd.

First stop, Rimaggiore
What once was the wall around Riomaggiore (to the right is where the flat way to town is located)
Next time we come, we want to stay at this place
Next time we come, we want to stay at this place (hopefully in better weather)
Selfie in Riomaggiore (it was a day for glasses .. different ones for Dave)
Hillside homes in Riomaggiore
Hillside homes with Basilica San Giovani in the middle of the picture in Riomaggiore
Hillside homes in Riomaggiore … the white structure at the top with a church in front of it is the Riomaggiore Cemetery
Basilica San Giovani
Altar and apse in Basilica San Giovanni
Sanctuary of Basilica San Giovani
Side altar in Basilica San Giovani
Side altar area in Basilica San Giovani
Carvings on sanctuary pulpit at Basilica San Giovani
This “statue” of Madonna del Carmine wins the award for the creepiest religious artifact we’ve seen

We continued our walk and came upon our second church (dang, there are a lot of them). Linda chose to check out her map to see if she could find a place for gelato (before you start judging, it’s never too early for gelato). Dave went into the small church, Oratoria Santa Maria Assunta. While extremely small, it does have some very beautiful artistic elements.

Altar area in Oratoria Santa Maria Assunta
Altar in Oratoria Santa Maria Assunta
Stained glass windows and “crucifix” in Oratoria Santa Maria Assunta

After leaving the Oratoria, Dave met Linda on the street and we began our walk down hill, now, into town. As we walked, Dave pointed out a gelato store. Linda just looked at him and he said, “You already knew that, didn’t you?” Well, yes, she did. So, we stopped and got gelato. Today it was blueberry and peach for Dave and pistachio and chocolate-hazelnut for Linda. It was 11:30, after all, and we didn’t really have breakfast.

We proceeded down the hill and looked in a few more stores at clothing, ceramics, and other items. We also started to encounter heavy drizzle. When we reach the end of the street, we were below Piazza del Vignaiolo. This piazza is just above the marina and afforded a nice view. Unfortunately, with the weather conditions, not much was happening in the area.

Commercial area of Rio Maggiore
Small marina area from Piazza del Vignaiolo in Riomaggiore
Small marina area from Piazza del Vignaiolo in Riomaggiore
View to commercial area from Piazza del Vignaiolo in Riomaggiore
View to hillside homes from Piazza del Vignaiolo in Riomaggiore

We then realized that instead of heading back up the hill, we could walk through a short tunnel and be back at the train station. It made us think we should have come this way, but we still would have had to go up the hill at some point to see things. One special thing about the tunnel was the mosaic work done on one of the walls.

Mosaic pedestrian tunnel on way to Riomaggiore train station
Mosaic wall in pedestrian tunnel to Riomaggiore train station
Mosaic wall in pedestrian tunnel to Riomaggiore train station
Mosaic wall in pedestrian tunnel to Riomaggiore train station
Mosaic wall in pedestrian tunnel to Riomaggiore train station
Mosaic wall in pedestrian tunnel to Riomaggiore train station
Video of walking through Riomaggiore pedestrian tunnel

Once back at the train station, the rain had increased quite a bit. We took cover beneath an overhang until we boarded the next train to Manarola.

A full display of graffiti, train and tunnel

The train ride to Manarola is quite short, maybe three minutes, though the conductor did make it through our car to check tickets for people.

When we exited the train in Manarola, we took another pedestrian tunnel toward the city. We had decided we would have lunch a one of the restaurants here, Trattoria del Billy. Linda looked up the location on her phone using Google Maps, but we lost connectivity in the tunnel. As we exited the tunnel, the rain started to pour harder. Dave found an overhang and stood under it to get our umbrellas out of the backpack. We then started off following Linda’s directions. She had trouble with her phone, again, Dave checked his phone, and we continued in the rain. Part of the walk/hike to the restaurant was up stairs that had so much water running down them it looked like a waterfall. Linda’s shoes and feet got soaked (Dave was lucky that his hiking shoes are waterproof). Well, Dave missed a turn and we needed to double-back and head up some more stairs.  The five-minute walk that Google mapped out took closer to 15 minutes in the pouring rain. When we got to the restaurant, we found that they were full. Another couple just in front of us took the last table.  We decided we would wait for the next table because it had good ratings and we hated for this crazy walk to be a bust!  During our 15-minute wait (Linda inside and Dave outside), the weather got so bad that the wind and rain chased many of the outside diners out of the restaurant. Fortunately, a couple left their inside seats and we were able to sit there. We were glad we waited. The service and food were amazing. We started with a half-bottle of red wine (we know, not perfect for fish, but we did white with meat last night … lol) and place our orders. For a starter we had anchovies marinated in lemon and oil. Having spent our lives making sure there were no anchovies on our pizzas, this was a pleasant surprise (thanks to Matt and Carlee for suggesting we have these). For our main meals, Linda had the traditional Trofie pasta with pesto sauce, potatoes, and green beans; Dave had Taglierini with fruits of the sea (clams, mussels, one-half of a small crab, razor clam, two types of shrimp) in an olive oil, garlic, and wine sauce. Both meals were well beyond our expectations. Dave ended the meal with a caffe latte. Linda ended hers by buying a bottle of cream balsamic vinegar that they had on the table (needless to say, it was very tasty).

The waterfall, otherwise known as the staircase we were climbing
It’s important to have a good slogan
Anchovies marinated in lemon at Trattoria del Billy
Interior of Trattoria del Billy
The open area to the right of the server is a dumbwaiter from the kitchen upstairs used to send down orders
Trofie with pesto sauce, potatoes, and green beans
Spaghetti in oil, garlic, wine sauce with mussels, clams, razor clam, crab, two types of shrimp, and squid
Raxor clam and shell

We asked the best way to the train station and, amazingly, it was the opposite direction of how we came up. He also said it would put us right in the church square.  He said we couldn’t possibly get lost and he was right. It is the San Lorenzo Church which was built in the fourteenth century and is in need of repair.

San Lorenzo Church in Manarola
Altar in San Lorenzo Church
Disrepair in San Lorenzo Church – we felt compelled to make a donation to assist in the restoration

There were few stairs and mostly gradual roads. Once back to the train we headed back to Corniglia. It was time for a little down time out of the rain.

Houses and terraced gardens in Manarola
Commercial area of Manarola
Commercial area of Manarola
Peninsula in Manarola

After a little rest, we headed back out at about 7:30. We were amazed at how desolate the town was. There were very few people on the street. On top of that we tried to cancel our reservation for dinner tomorrow night and found the restaurant closed. We really don’t get it; most of the restaurants were closed. It is Friday night, right? Lucky for us, one of the gelaterias was still open so we could, for the first time on this trip, get gelato a second time in the same day. Dave got salted caramel and vanilla with figs, local wine, and pine nuts while Linda got vanilla with Corniglia honey and a chocolate nut.

Around 21:30 some street noise picked up. There were some children playing and we could hear some men having an “Italian” conversation. You know, the kind that is friendly, but it’s loud.

It was time to start thinking about tomorrow. If all goes as planned, we will hike from Corniglia to Vernazza in the morning and then take the train to Monterosso al Mare.

More detailed pictures can be found here: 2022-09-30 Corniglia-Riomaggiore-Manarola

Sunday in Orvieto

Well, it’s Sunday, so you know what that means … it’s time to go to the Duomo where the service is in Italian.  Nothing like going to a church that isn’t your faith that you can’t understand.  Actually, we were able to follow along with parts of the service and, while, maybe, we shouldn’t have, we went up and took communion.  Linda says God will forgive us.  In addition to the pictures below, here are some recordings for you to get a feel for the service and its music.

Orvieto Duomo – Altar during mass
Orvieto Duomo = Altar during mass
Orvieto Duomo – Altar after service
Orvieto Duomo – Pipe Organ pipes
Orvieto Duomo – Altar after mass
Orvieto Duomo – Statues in Rear of Sanctuary
Orvieto Duomo – Rear of Sanctuary
Orvieto Duomo – St. Thomas statue after mass
Orvieto Duomo – Rear of Sanctuary with statues and stained glass after mass

After church Linda and Dave went back to the apartment and Jim cooked fried eggs and potatoes for breakfast. They tasted so good. We hadn’t had an “American” breakfast since we left home over three weeks ago.

We decided to take advantage of the sunny skies, before they turned cloudy, and took a walk around town. Jim went with us to Pam, the grocery store, to get Manitoba flour to augment the flour we got yesterday at Coop for bread. Linda also found a chocolate-lemon bar that she had to have. It is so easy to find something you “just have to try” when you walk into one of the stores.

Jim took the groceries back to the apartment and we continued our walk. We saw a few new areas of Orvieto, just beyond where we had been. The town was crowded with the various tour groups that descended on it. We decided that having a coffee drink and small pastries at a table on one of the streets would be nice. It would be a nice break and we could take in both the local scene and the tourists (it is interesting how we have separated ourselves from groups of tourists).

Orvieto – Chiesa di Sant’Andrea
Linda and the scenery in Orvieto
Selfie and scenery in Orvieto
Steeple and rooftops in Orvieto
Rooftops and landscapes of Orvieto
Street scene in Orvieto
Orvieto Duomo
Statue above main door of Orvieto Duomo
Front of Orvieto Duomo
Main entry door of Orvieto Duomo
Frescos above side door of Orvieto Duomo
Frescos above side entry door at Orvieto Duomo
Latte Macchiato with extra shots and mini cannoli (chocolate and chocolate & pistachio) at L’Officina del Gelat in Orvieto

When we returned to the apartment, we spent the afternoon in relaxation mode.  We did very little, except sit at the kitchen table, look at computers, and talk. It was nice.

Anne prepared a delicious meal of bucatini in olive oil with zucchini, mushrooms, and zucchini flowers. Dave, who is not a huge zucchini fan, loved the meal and found himself back for seconds. The zucchini flowers were a real surprise for all of us. They were so good.

Deconstructed Caprese salad with rocket (arugula) and bucatini with zucchini, mushrooms, and zucchini flowers

Linda and Dave left at about 20:45 to see if any gelato shops were open. We found two of them and decided they needed to support them on a Sunday night. So, we each had a piccolo cup.  Linda had chocolate with hazelnut and hazelnut and chocolate (yes, they are different). Dave had chocolate with hazelnut and Stracciatella (vanilla chocolate chip).

We ate the gelato while we walked back to the apartment.  We then did a couple of “maintenance” activities like keeping track of expenses and then went to bed.

Arrivederci Roma, Ciao di Nuovo Orvieto (Goodbye Rome, Hello again Orvieto)

We woke this morning and realized we would be leaving Rome today and heading back to spend time with Jim and Anne in Orvieto. We were looking forward to a little relaxation with them.

We left the Airbnb at 10:00 (check-out time), but our host was nice enough to let us leave our bags at the apartment. We said we would come back at 14:00 to get the bags (she had new clients coming in at 15:00) and that would give us plenty of time to get to our 15:30 train to Orvieto.

We headed back out to the piazza and started wandering.

The neighbor across the way seems to keep white pigeons. Not sure if they are for food or some other reason. The grey ones are on the outside.
The French Embassy located in Piazza Farnese is being renovated and they have built this facade in front of the entrance.
Chiesa di Brigida and bell tower located in Piazza Farnese

Dave suggested that instead of wandering aimlessly, we should go back to The Pantheon, which was pretty close, and see if the crowds had not yet formed. Well, that was a good suggestion because we were able to walk right into The Pantheon.

The Pantheon was constructed around 126 AD. It was originally a temple dedicated to all the Gods. Since 609 AD, it has been a Catholic Basilica. As you may remember, we chose to not stand in line to see The Pantheon the other day. Well, it was so beautiful inside that we are glad we returned today.

The Pantheon aka Basilica of Santa Maria and the Martyres – Obelisk of Rames II located in Piazza della Rotunda
The Pantheon aka Basilica of Santa Maria and the Martyres – View from entrance to High Altar
The Pantheon aka Basilica of Santa Maria and the Martyres – Rotunda
The Pantheon aka Basilica of Santa Maria and the Martyres – High Altar
The Pantheon aka Basilica of Santa Maria and the Martyres – Contemporary painting of Jesus and the disciples
The Pantheon aka Basilica of Santa Maria and the Martyres – Chapel of the Annunciation of Mary
The Pantheon aka Basilica of Santa Maria and the Martyres – Statue
The Pantheon aka Basilica of Santa Maria and the Martyres – Statue
The Pantheon aka Basilica of Santa Maria and the Martyres – This appears to be a painting of Jesus telling Thomas to stick his fingers in hi wounds in the Pantheon Chapel of the Annunciation of Mary
The Pantheon aka Basilica of Santa Maria and the Martyres – The tomb of Vittorio Emanuel II, the first king of the Unified Italy
The Pantheon aka Basilica of Santa Maria and the Martyres – Statue
The Pantheon aka Basilica of Santa Maria and the Martyres – This picture was taken at about 10:40. The light from the opening in the top of the Rotunda seems to act as a sundial with the spot over the entrance being 12:00 noon.
The Pantheon aka Basilica of Santa Maria and the Martyres – High Altar
The Pantheon aka Basilica of Santa Maria and the Martyres – Statue
Beats me, The Pantheon aka Basilica of Santa Maria and the Martyres – but it is a pretty darn unique piece … anyone with insight, it would be appreciated in the comments
The Pantheon aka Basilica of Santa Maria and the Martyres – Chapel of the Crucifix
The Pantheon aka Basilica of Santa Maria and the Martyres – Madonna del Sasso above the tomb of Raphael
The Pantheon aka Basilica of Santa Maria and the Martyres – Bronze bust of Raphael above his tomb
The Pantheon aka Basilica of Santa Maria and the Martyres – Tomb of Umberto I, son of Vittorio II who was assassinated by an American Italian anarchist
The Pantheon aka Basilica of Santa Maria and the Martyres – Statue
The Pantheon aka Basilica of Santa Maria and the Martyres – Saint Joseph and the Holy Child
The Pantheon aka Basilica of Santa Maria and the Martyres – Ancient marble floors

After the visit, we needed to stop at a gelato store to let Linda get her daily fix. Today’s flavor choices were Bocia (chocolate hazelnut) and Pistachio.

We then did a little wandering and came upon an area of ruins that were the result of clearing the area in the 1920s. In addition to the ruins, there is a cat sanctuary set up here, too. We saw a few cats, but not as many as we would have suspected.

Ruins of area in Rome that was demolished in 1920s that were likely to do new construction
From at sign at the ruins with a overlay of a plan before the demolition
Ruins of area in Rome that was demolished in 1920s that were likely to do new construction

After that we decided it was time for lunch. We thought pizza would be nice before we left Rome. Linda found a pizzeria with very good ratings, so we gave it a shot. We got bruschetta di pomodoro (tomato bruschetta) and a sausage and mushroom pizza. Both were excellent.

Bruschetta al pomodoro at L’Angoletto Romano
Boscailola pizza (Pomodoro, Mozzarella, Mushrooms, and Sausage) at L’Angoletto Romano

We headed back to Piazza Campo di Fiori. This time we were on a mission to see a vendor Linda met yesterday to buy some bottles of “cello”, not lemon, though. We ended up with four little bottles with one bottle each of chocolate, coffee, coconut, and peach. They tasted good in small quantities; we’ll see how they are to drink normally.
It was now time to pickup our bags and head to the train station. Unfortunately, we couldn’t find a taxi on the piazza, so we had to walk a ways to the taxi stand.

Lemons bigger than the oranges … what’s up with that?

We arrived plenty early for the train and waited to find out from which track/platform we would be leaving. Once we saw that we headed to the track and got on the train. Jim and Anne were out running errands, so we said we would get a drink at the train station and wait for them. Dave got an Aperol Spritz and Linda got a beer.

These guys decided they could be even more direct about their name
Rome Termini food court … this just seems wrong

After a ride up on the funicular and a bus ride, we dropped off our bags and headed to Engel Keller Tavern, a German beer hall. Beers were certainly in order, but Dave wanted a break from Italian food and opted for a burger. Linda stayed more traditional and went with a margherita pizza. Everything was good. Jim unintentionally got a piece of pork that was like a shank of the leg (thought it was going to be a pork burger). Turns out it was great and we will likely return before we leave so we can all get one.

Dave’s beer choice for the evening at Engel Keller Tavern in Orvieto
Linda’s beer choice for the evening at Keller Tavern in Orvieto
Dave had a hamburger with an egg
Linda had a margherita pizza

It’s been a long day for everyone, so after dinner it was time to head home and go to bed.

On to the other side of the Tiber (Rome)

We had a leisurely morning and left for the ruins of Rome at about 10:30. We crossed over the Ponte Sisto bridge and headed for the Colosseum. We enjoyed the tree lined walk aside the Tiber River.

View to Trastevere from the other side of the Tiber
Walkway along the Tiber River
Rapids on the Tiber River under the ladkjjkladlk bridge

Along the way, we encountered additional ruins of interest. The first was Theater of Marcellus. It is an open-air theater that was built by Julius Caesar in 13 BC.

Theater of Marcellus
Theater of Marcellus

As we continued our walk, we came upon the Senatorial Palace with its piazza of statues.

Senatorial Palace
Statues of Castore and Polluce in front of Senatorial Palace Clock Tower
Equestrian Statue of Marcus Aurelius
Fountain of the Goddess Roma
We’re not sure, but we think he’s doing something on his phone
Field Trip!

As we walked to the street below, we passed an old prison which afforded nice views of its roof and other buildings in the area.

Roof of the Mamertine Prison with the dome of Church of Martyrs Saints Luke and Martina

When we got to the lower street, we saw the Forum of Caesar. While only ruins, it was interesting to another “building” built by Julius Caesar; this one in 46 BC. The Forum was a temple built, in part, to honor him and Venus Genatrix (foundress of the family). It also had public shops in it.

View to Forum of Augustus and other Roman architecture
Ruins of the Forum of Caesar from 46 BCE
Ruins of the Forum of Caesar from 46 BCE
Roman architecture
Roman architecture
Ruins of Forum of Caeaar

From there we made our way to the Colosseum. It remains an impressive structure to us. It is amazing that it has survived since 80 AD when it was completed. We do think some of the scaffolding is the same that was in place in 2000 when we last visited. Who knows, maybe it was also there in 80 AD.

Linda in front of Colosseum
Dave in front of Colosseum
Colosseum from side of Basilica di Santa Francesca Romana
Arch of Constantine near the Colosseum
This guy used the different lengths of tubes to create different percussion sounds

On our way to the Roman Forum, we happened upon Basilica di Santa Francesca Romana. It is a lovely place of worship with nice pieces of artwork.

Ruins of the Forum of Augustus (112 AD)
Sanctuary of Basilica di Santa Francesca Romana
Alrar and apse of Basilica di Santa Francesca Romana
Detail of apse in Basilica di Santa Francesca Romana
Ceiling in Basilica di Santa Francesca Romana
Pipe organ pipes in Basilica di Santa Francesca Romana
Bas relief under altar in Basilica di Santa Francesca Romana
Part of ceiling in Basilica di Santa Francesca Romana
Ceiling in Basilica di Santa Francesca Romana
Olives anyone? Outside Basilica di Santa Francesca Romana

We chose not to tour the Roman Forum as we had already walked quite a bit and were at our furthest point from home.

Next, we started our trek to the Trevi Fountain. We made a stop for water and happened upon some pasta in colors we hadn’t seen before, including black and white and what may have been Gryffindor school colors.

New pasta colors
Ready to cook pasta meals … €15, but it does have a wooden spoon
These pasta/pasta spoon options are only €10.50

We walked down a road that had pedestrian entries to houses above us that created a pleasant view of the multiple bridges.

Linda on via del Pilotta with pedestrian bridges between buildings and road
Dave on via del Pilotta with pedestrian bridges between buildings and road

Surprising as this might be, we located a gelato shop along the way to the Trevi Fountain.

Caffe and Coconut / Chocolate Latte and Salted Pistachio

Trevi Fountain was a bit of a disappointment. First, the crowds there were ridiculous. Second, having water in the fountain would have gone a long way. The statuary, however, was nice.

Trevi Fountain … might have been more interesting, if there had been water

We headed off to the Pantheon. We, again, found a church along the way. (It’s like they are everywhere … who knew? lol) This one is called Chiesa di Sant’Ignazio di Loyola. It was impressive as heck. They have a mirror set up when you arrive to be able to take a picture of the ceiling over the entry. This was a neat idea, but we chose not to do this. We did find a lot of other opportunities to take pictures, though.

Cheisa di Sant’Ignazo di Loyola
Altar and apse in Cheisa di Sant’Ignazo di Loyola
Chapel art in Cheisa di Sant’Ignazo di Loyola
Chapel art in Cheisa di Sant’Ignazo di Loyola (it’s really not the same picture)
Rotunda in Cheisa di Sant’Ignazo di Loyola
Nativity scene in Cheisa di Sant’Ignazo di Loyola
Nativity and Magi in Cheisa di Sant’Ignazo di Loyola
Nativity and Magiin Cheisa di Sant’Ignazo di Loyola
Vendor near nativity scene in Cheisa di Sant’Ignazo di Loyola
Artwork in Cheisa di Sant’Ignazo di Loyola

When we arrived at the Pantheon, we wanted to get home and didn’t want to wait in a line that wrapped around the piazza.

Still crowded on a Monday
Linda in front of the Pantheon … the line was too long for us to decide to go in

We walked through the Jewish Ghetto on the way home. It is amazing to Dave the persecution that the Jews have gone through since well before the time of Christ.

Selfie in the Jewish Ghetto
Jewish Ghetto

We returned to the apartment around 15:00, having accumulated thirteen thousand steps! We were exhausted. Dave sat to go through the 150 pictures while Linda vegged in front of the fan, catching up on her laptop. She washed a load of clothes (the washer is located outside); then hung them up. Things dry really fast here, even inside. Electricity is expensive in Italy which is why they don’t use dryers. And the low humidity works well for them.

Realizing that the restaurant we wanted was another 30-minute walk and growing slightly of Italian food, we reconsidered. Dave suggested Mexican!  Linda checked out top 5 Mexican restaurants in Trastevere and found one with good reviews that was 5 minutes away. Well, you know how long it takes us in the US to agree on decent Mexican … the best thing about this place was the salsa roja. That’s not surprising with how fresh and ripe the tomatoes are here. The tacos, fried perch for Linda and pork with habanero-citrus for Dave, were okay. The margaritas were a little lacking in flavor. Everything seemed salty. 😕

One spicy margarita and one lime margarita
Tacos de Cochinta Pibil, Tacos de Pescado, and guacamole

There was a bar near the apartment that we had eyed the night before so, decided to go there and write the blog. We each had an Aperol spritz (so popular here in Italy) then the waiter brought the special aperitivo (bruschetta, corn nuts, potato chips, bread with cured meat, olives!). We relaxed, wrote, and endured the smokers’ habits. Then it was time to return to do some packing.

Two Aperol Spritz and aperitivo at Bar Santa Maria

Again, if you would like to see any of the pictures in more detail or a larger size, you can click here: 2022-09-19 Rome

Orvieto to Rome … what a day

Our day began with us finishing our packing for Rome and having a leisurely conversation with Jim and Anne.  Our train was scheduled to depart at 11:20, so at 10:00 we headed out for the funicular (video able here) and then to the train station.

Funicular in Orvieto
Looking up at Orvieto from the lower funicular station

Well, that’s when the “fun” began.  Our train was now delayed until about 12:20. We had already planned to have a caffe drink with Jim and Anne before we left, now it would just be a longer time to drink our cappuccinos.  Oh, wait, now the train is delayed until 12:45 and the stops at the two Rome stations are cancelled.  We will now have to get off the train in Orte and change to the next train to Rome.  Let’s look at the schedules.  Oh, okay, we get in 4 minutes before the delayed train to Rome leaves.  And they are on the same platform.  Good, that’s what we’ll do.  Oh, hold on, now the train to Rome is on time and we’ll miss it.  The next train to Rome through Orte is the train that comes through Orvieto at 13:27. Let’s just stay in Orvieto and talk with Jim and Anne and the couple we met at the station who are from Owatonna, Minnesota.

All right, the train arrived in Orvieto about seven minutes late, but that’s fine.  We’re on the train and we arrived in Rome at about 15:00.  A little later than we had hoped, but it works, just fine.  We stood in line for, maybe, 15 minutes for a taxi, but once we were in the car, things went very well.  We arrived at the apartment and were met by Alessandra, our host. In addition to being an Airbnb host, she has her PhD in anthropology and works at the National Museum of Prehistory and Ethnography. She was a wealth of information, though, maybe, a bit verbose.

Buon Giorno, Roma
Buon giorno, Roma
Halfway through the taxi queue
IInstitute for the History of Italian Resigimento (Italian Unitication)
Our Airbnb host, Alessandra
Kitchen and living area of apartment in Trastevere
Balcony, kitchen and bathroom in apartment in Trastevere
Kitchen, living room, and bedroom in apartment in Trastevere
Balcony at apartment in Trastavere

After having a bite of bread and a beer at the apartment, we went exploring in the Trastevere neighborhood, in which our apartment is located.  This is an amazing area.  The two things that we didn’t really care too much for were, lots of graffiti (not the cool stuff, mostly just tags) and it’s the weekend.  Guess we weren’t thinking clearly when we booked here for a Saturday night.  It is very crowded and surprisingly the Italians are very loud (where is that sarcasm when you need it). We did get to see a beautiful church, Santa Maria in Trastevere and another, St. Crisogono, but both had Saturday Mass being held, so pictures aren’t our usual look. In fact, the only pictures at St. Crisogono is of its intricate mosaic floor and belltower.

Neighborhood piazza
Early evening in Trastevere (17:15)
Santa Maria in Trastevere
Sanctuary of Santa Maria in Trastevere (Saturday night mass was in progress)
Sanctuary of Santa Maria in Trastevere (Saturday night mass was in progress)
Santa Maria in Trastevere apse
Sanctuary of Santa Maria in Trastevere (Saturday night mass was in progress)
Apse in sanctuary of Santa Maria in Trastevere (Saturday night mass was in progress)
Copper ceiling of Santa Maria in Trastevere
Ceiling in sanctuary of Santa Maria in Trastevere
Painting of Santa Mary on copper on ceiling of Santa Maria in Trastevere
Fresco on exterior wall of Santa Maria in Trastevere with pieces of Christian relics around it
Linda in front of Fountain at Santa Maria in Trastevere (wish we had gotten a better picture of couple at the fountain … they were proud soon to be parents taking pictures)
Examples of graffiti
Mosaic floor in Saint Crisogono
Bell tower of Saint Crisogono
Building in Trastevere

During our afternoon stroll, we stopped to have a drink at Freni e Frizioni (Brakes and Clutches).  Linda had read that they served a great aperitivo.  Well, she was right.  There were multiple rice and pasta dishes, humus, cous cous, and other things.  A very nice spread for “free”.  The drinks were odd.  Dave had a Puppet (Bulleit, Yellow Chartreuse, Lemon, Sugar, Mango & Pink Pepper Chutney) and Linda had a Wild Style (Pisco Porton Italia, Acid Green Apple, Matcha & Wasabi Syrup, Ancho Reyes Verde, Egg White).  Both were very good.  While we sat outside at the bar, the temperature dropped dramatically and the wind really picked up.  We decided it was time to get out of our warm weather clothes.

Puppet at F^F
Wild Style drink at F^F
Puppet at F^F
Aperitivo at Freni e Frizone

Dave suggested we eat something (oddly, we saw a Mexican restaurant and that sounded appealing to him).  Linda said she had enough aperitivo, so she wasn’t hungry.  Dave suggested we go change and head back out.  We started back to the apartment and came upon a restaurant with a takeaway door.  Dave ordered a meatball sandwich and it was really good.

Woman making Dave’s meatball sandwich
Dave’s dinner/meatball sandwich

We changed into long pants and a sweater/jacket (depending on which of us you are) and went back out for another walk.  The weather was much better.  The wind had slowed and that made all the difference in the world.  It was so much better, we had gelato (We know, who would have thought).  Along the way, we encountered a jazz band playing on the street.  If you’d like to hear a little bit of their music, you can click here: Trastevere Street Music.

Pizza just down from our front door
These two waiting lines converged at this corner. We believe they are waiting for dinner (about 20:30)
GELATO! – milk chocolate and cream caramel for Dave and raspberry and white chocolate for Linda
Street scene in Trastevere (about 21:15)
Street scene in Trastevere (about 21:15)
Tiber River from Ponte Sisto footbridge

We decided we had had enough fun for the day, so we went back to the apartment and started thinking about tomorrow.

If you would like to look at the pictures in the post in more detail, you can click here: 2022-09-17 Orvieto to Rome