Having fun as fast as they can. The Lambart Report.

So…..about 5 hours after you departed, the first roses started to burst out, and today multi more….more pics tomorrow…bellisimo day yesterday and today….

UMBRIA, TUSCANY AND BEYOND — Stew, remember: MAY 1st. Be in Italy. MAY 1st. Plan trip so we are arriving in Italy May first. Not leaving. Arriving. May in Italy is twice as nice as April. And greener than summer. Wildflowers underfoot, trees abloom, more dependable weather. April showers are a thing of the past by May first. And the Italians are coming out of hibernation and celebrating spring. You know what that means: party time. Look at all the fun things Foreign Correspondent Harry found to do in central Italy in May.

Harry’s email’s really capture the mood and feel of spring in Umbria! Here are excepts from some of them that have come in during the last couple days since I’ve been back. Yes, we are living strictly vicariously now!
Hey Stew,

So…..about 5 hours after you departed, the first roses started to burst out, and today multi more….more pics tomorrow…bellisimo day yesterday and today…. Cortona last night, great meal, met Pia and chatted, start of Feste, with Drums and Pia and Nando, and fun ceremony from different neighborhoods….Today cappuccino at Aldos, where we talked with Richard and Monica, then Jane, then introduced ourselves to music professor across from you, and had a wonderful chat with her…then lunch on Isola Maggiore, Elida stopped by and we made plans to car pool to Spannoccia tomorrow, then prosecco and briscola with riccardo and Jeff versus mariolino and Kim at Riccardos, and dinner at Montale vegetarian restaurant!….and now Kim is off to Perugia disco with Simone ….wheh!, having fun as fast as we can….so much fun here…


We’re back from Spannocchia….wonderful time, bella day (75 sunny and hot). Midge went to Siena with us for a couple of hours after italian folk music, dancing, pranzo and tour at Spannocchia (with Elida and Guenther), Big May day celebration in center of piazza which we watched while drinking prosecco…. all 17 contradas were there with a drummer and flags each…then Midge had to go back to Spannocchia for meetings tonight.

I think that Andrea and Steffi understood why I was having them pose!….plus great reason for three Dolce, machiato caldo, and desert wine!!! you might email Andrea your blog site, so he can actually see if they come out.

Off to Bologna and Parma tomorrow after Aldos (Kim and Simone off to Assisi tonight apparently….oh, well why should a father worry….

ciao- Harry

Jeff has already been victorious in separate Briscola matches with Riccardo and Adriano this week.

Kim is at a friends house in Parma, as we dropped her off after having un fantastico cena with her friend Alberto at a true locals restaurant in Parma last night….an entire secondi of Parmagano Rigiano for me, with the vecchio balsamico (@$250 per bottle), plus parma procciutto, etc. Parma was beautiful and now we’re here Bologna today, and loving this city also.

Back to Panicale late tomorrow evening.

We got back late tonight (11pm), had some authentic fresh tortolloni that Alison bought back from Bologna, and heading to bed adesso. Kim spent two days with her good italian friend, Alberto, and his family speaking italian, so she’s getting up to speed for last days and last dances

Off on tour of Lake Trasimino and points west and north!….quick email with 3 of the 50 photos I have taken so far.

ciao- Harry

Just back from Masolinos….after cena for Feste della Mamma!…always wonderful. Scot and Karen LOVED your casa margarita!…put them on train to Roma this afternoon after swinging by La Foce for photos of road, and quick peak at villa…after morning at Aldos. Then Jeff Alison and I off to see Crossbow feste in Cortona, which was multi fun. Toured Hanibal battle area yesterday, as Scot is history buff, then to Cortona yesterday too, for shopping, etc….did Chiusi Eutruscan museo on Friday afternoon-very neat indeed.
Will be taking it slower tomorrow.
Some more rose pictures for you….as the White roses have started to Bloom!

ciao- Harry

Che Weekend. wow.

I am in a daze. Good daze, but none the less. Saturday Giancarlo and I went to Cortona to see a nice Australian family’s house. Wow. So unusual to find a single family detached home in the oldest highest nicest part of Cortona. Three stories tall, all stone, perfect condition, next to an ancient well and a convent and other nice nice homes. You would have trouble finding anything to spend money on here. It is just most excellent.

And in news around the house, big progress on the woodstove installation here. Still cold enough that I am motivated and it will be ready soon. Can’t wait to curl up with a good book there in front of the fire. Garden still covered with light coat of snow and ice. Very strange for the weather to stay below freezing for a week.

Way out of control today. Met a bunch of friends in the piazza early for gossip in the welcome sunshine under bright blue skies. Biano, my barber, says “Remember when there was that big group of Ferraris in the piazza? I have printed up photos for you.” He and Orfeo and I then had a long conversation about how cool it is to have friends and that after having your health, what else is there really? Bruno buzzed by and said, “Woodstove progress soon.” OK, good.

At noon after the mass at the church in the piazza, I met some good friends for more coffee and bribed their four-year-old with New England taffy while feeding their baby something spinach-related. He didn’t seem to mind. Suddenly, there was a huge crowd in the cafe, all Americans it turned out. The next thing we know, they are all ooohing and ahhhing at the pretty babies and taking their pictures. Turns out they are all tour guides on a tour of places to consider. We all swap business cards like mad and their guide briskly shoos them out to something less important like a lace-making demonstration. We let them know how hyper cool our friend’s luscious classic Villa Lemura is as a destination for their clients, of course.


Must resort to a mere list at this point:
Left the bar with our friend (and defacto Swedish Godmother) Gun Cesarini and rushed to pick up an American friend who Midge found a great long-term apartment for. One of the Cesarini’s apartments in fact. Had lovely lunch at her house with fire in fireplace, leg of lamb and lovely pastas on plates and great views out the window at her house on the edge of town.

Looked at my watch just before coffee and realized people from Alabama were waiting for me at my house. In town. Yike. Rudely excused myself and drove off down the hill to town.

We saw two very nice Panicale homes. One of them with my friend Orfeo. We met him at the third bar cafe of Panicale, upstairs where all the men play cards, drink coffee and watch sports of any stripe.


After seeing the properties we were walking by Orfeo’s house when he diverted us inside for “a drop”. Turned out to be a drop of Vin Santo. With his wife’s super fritters. Small round-ish fritters about ping pong ball sized, made with flour, egg and honey, lightly fried. Amazing. Four hundred times better than I’d had in any bakery ever. She had made them with her own eggs, her own honey. Fried in her olive oil. That morning. Because it is Carnevale time is should be fried in lard they said but they have no intention of doing that when they have lovely light olive oil to use. The fritter come in different sizes and shapes in different areas and are called different things as well. In Panicale they are called Strufoli.

Being a bit too house proud we then toured our house, almost next door, and yes,
yes we DO have a woodstove and wood and kindling.

I recommend that they try their hardest to get tickets to the theater that is happening this very night. Again with the timing.

Bruno comes by and we light the first ever fire and it is righteous indeed. We celebrate with a drink at the bar. Bitters for him and hot chocolate for me. Too much coffee already. And then we agree to wave at each other at the theater that night.

Even thought the theater doesn’t start till nine pm, there isn’t even time for dinner somehow. Never a dull moment. The play tonight was three separate Neopoliton farces by Eduardo de Filippo. The theater was packed. The best part of it all is waving at all your friends in the floor seats, balconies and boxes and then afterwards the hugs and double-cheeked air kisses. It is my whole Panicale life flashing before my eyes condensed into a few fine moments. We stretch the moment by retiring to the bar AGAIN. and then I hurry home for the midnight (here) kick-off of the SUPER BOWL.

I called my wife Midge at 1 am, 2:30 and 4:30 until the verdict we all hoped for came in. . . Go Patriots! Champions Again.

Tomorrow, your erstwhile roving reporter is taking a road trip to Spannocchia outside Siena.

Casamaggiore indeed

What a good day this was. After coffee at Aldo’s I went around with Giancarlo and a nice Dutch couple and saw many fine properties. The one he had been sending me pictures of in Tavernella, I was a bit cool about. Giancarlo takes good pictures but from the pictures he’d sent me, I just didn’t see the attraction. But wait. In person I got it in a heartbeat. The pictures here? That’s just a couple random shots. Of the barn. The villa rocks and could be a B&B easily. The options here are just infinite. Almost in town but up on a hillside over the town really. Lots of room. Makes me want to get out the pads of paper and start sketching who gets what rooms and where the pool should go. Big fun.

Speaking of Big! In the afternoon we went to see a new listing in the aptly named hamlet of Casamaggiore. Some fine, fine big houses in this tiny village, a five-minute walk from Gioiella. This one looks classically well-aged, shall we say, from the exterior. But inside it’s totally livable. By any number of people. Over five thousand square feet with a fenced garden and nice neighbors. The picture here is a tiny piece of the front and then a shot of a room off the sunny, well-kept garden. Quite swell. One of the members of the family showed us around. And around. This house is like a town, we just kept opening more doors and finding more baths, kitchens, fireplaces, there is at least one grotto for curing meat. We didn’t go in. There is a rooftop terrace. Above the third floor. Stairways are wide and noble and arched at their tops. Sometimes the arched ceilings intersect in crosses. Details abound. Old light fixtures, some walls decorated with painted panels. It is quite a find. We were all fascinated with it. Very engaging house. A lot of personality.

After all that fun I came home and locked myself out of my house. Linda? Do you have one of my keys here at your store? Oh, that’s right. We did give it to your husband. Bruno, do you have a spare key to my house? His hands were full so he told me where to find it in his car. And then as long as we were that far along, he decided to drop whatever he was doing with buckets of cement and to go up my chimney and see what it would take for us to hook up our woodstove tomorrow.

The main event tomorrow is that we may be taking a trip to Cortona. Stay tuned. One property there sounds especially good.