Umbria in Autumn. What to do, what to do?

PANICALE, Umbria— In the previous blog (below, scroll down) I wrote about my intention of seeing the Folk Traditions Center in Citta della Castello this fall. OK, fine. But what else will there be to do in Umbria during the season? Wait till your see the list I just got in an email from our good friends Francesco and Alison at Umbria Rentals. You will be in shock how much there is to do — just in and around the town of Panicale. This Umbrian Calender of Events, below, is totally typical of the level of cultural activity there in every town all year round. At some level we know that. But to see some of it all written down in one spot, it does seem overwhelming. They have waaaay too much fun there. As my wife’s sweatshirt says “Life is Too Short Not to be Italian”. Of course, like most Vreelands we are not Italians, but just forever wannabes.

Francesco’s web site, from the very dawn of the web era, was the reason we first “discovered” Panicale and shortly thereafter discovered we could not live with out it. As the Eagles said in Hotel California: We could check out any time we wanted, but we could never really leave. And sure enough, the next thing we knePANICw we were buying a house. So, beware. Umbria may be habit-forming! Here is their autumn 2005 calendar:


September 10, 14, 20, 24
Moliere’s The Miser (L’avaro, Panicale’s theatre)
Ever wondered what it is like to be transported back in time a few hundred years, take your place in the box of a 18th century theatre, restored to its former glory, and enjoy a few hours of comedy by Moliere with Panicale’s theatre group. This is not to be missed!

September 11
Renaissance Music, San Sebastiano Church (Panicale)
Come and listen to renaissance and baroque music enjoying in the San Sebastiano church, where typical background curtains have been replaced by a fresco by Perugino, himself.

September 15 – 18
La Festa Dell’Uva (The Wine Festival, Panicale)
This is another event not to miss, as the various quarters of the town (neighborhoods) compete to make the best float as they give thanks for the years grape harvest. Parades are on Friday night and Sunday evening. As you may imagine the wine flows and the evening feasts are plentiful, so book your tickets early.

September 18
Paciano e Sapori (Tastes of Paciano, Paciano).
At a five minute drive from Panicale, Paciano has its own food festival, specialising on tastes of the palate –Food and wine, that is.

September 20
Classical Guitar Concert, (Panicale)
A locally organized String Guitar concert will be held on the theatre.

September 24 –25
Festa Dell’Agricoltura (The Agricultural Festival, Panicale)
If Umbrian farming interests you, you can find out all about it here as the latest technology is proudly on display and stalls are set up with local produce.

September 25
Concerto Iberiano, (Iberian music concert, Panicale)
At 9pm, in conjunction with the agricultural festival, do nor miss an Iberian music concert with music and instruments from the 900s. It will be held in the charming St. Agostino church.

September 28
Concert of Organ Music, (San Michele Church, Panicale)
At 9pm, come listen to Francesco Cera, one of the best organists in Europe take over the San Michele church with his music.

October 1
Voci e Strumenti (Contemporary music, Panicale)
A concert of contemporary music for voices and instruments will be held in Panicale’s theatre at 9pm, blending in modern sounds in ancient settings.

October 1 –8
The Festa Della Castagna (The Chestnut festival 1, Piegaro)
If you can’t make Panicale’s Chestnut Fest then you can eat chestnuts and drink Mosto a few days earlier in nearby Piegaro. Two festas no waiting.

October 23
The Festa Della Castagna (The Chestnut festival 2, Panicale)
This one speaks for itself. The fires are lit and the chestnuts shared around amongst friends with the Mosto, the fermented grape juice which is used to make wine.

* Special Offer for Last Minute Bookings

Between now and April 2006, we are offering everyone who books less than 4 weeks prior to arrival a 10% discount on our rates, with prices as little as 388 Euro for the first week. The condition is that the whole balance is paid in full when booking. The offer is not valid for the Rocca, which has an excellent last minute discount, or the Masolino Hotel, which already has ridiculously low prices. To see our last minute availability, check out our calendar at :
Umbria Rentals

Combine your stay with one of the winter events described in this news letter taking place where Umbria, Tuscany and the Lake Trasimeno meet.

* Special Offers for 2006

We have now started accepting bookings for 2006 with some apartments filling up fast! We will be raising the prices on some of the properties for 2006, but for all bookings made prior to November 1st 2005, we are accepting this year‚s prices. Low season discounts of 20% up to April 9th 2006, and starting again October 15th 2006 are as always in place. On top of that, for all seasons, there are incremental discounts ranging from 10% – 50% for stays longer than a week. Visit all our short term properties at
Short Term Umbrian Rentals


Paulette’s hands guided her down memory lane to total recall moment from her childhood. In short order she remembered exactly how her Italian grandfather had taught her to make them when she was a little girl. I was glad I was there to see her uncover that moment.

As Midge and Wiley get ready to head over to Umbria, I look back on our trip last September. Stories that I had not shared here yet. Just to give you a taste of what kind of unplanned adventures a traveler could expect to have on any given fall day in Umbria. This is part one of three parts.

The Annual Grape Harvest Festival in Panicale, Umbria
DOWNTOWN, UMBRIA — We always get a big bang out of September in Panicale because that is when the Grape Havest Festival is. But that is not the only fun we had in September. Almost everyday this month, Wiley has had a nice hilltop to hilltop walk from Paciano to Panicale. I think that walk became very special to her. Good way to peacefully sort out all the system-overload from two hours of intense, private Italian lessons etc. She can, by the way, and does, seriously string sentences together in a meaningful way now. I think she is pleased as punch. She had a friend from Maine here earlier in the week. Then, a few days later, she was off to see Jenny where she was studying in Florence. They have decided that between them, if they stick together, they can cumulatively say nearly anything in Italian! Wiley made me proud when she went right up to the ticket window at the train station in Chiusi and ordered her own train tickets. Look out now.

Girls enjoying Italian Gelato in Perugia on a fall day in UmbriaThe other day after I dropped her off at class in the morning I got a fresh loaf of chibatta at a bakery, two crooked brick alleys away from her school, and talked to a lady weaving in her shop a few doors from that and bought some samples of the weaving. Then I was nursing a coffee and listening to the stories an American guy I know was telling me at the outdoor part of the café (yes, it appears he has had 1) one Norwegian wife and 2) two Swedes and now lives in Italy with an American wife – number 4) four. And if you think I was going to miss any part of THAT story. . . ) Anyway, deep in Scandinavian lore we were when Ms Wiley and her Professoressa Daniella strolled by us for one of their many coffees of the morning. They were just a-laughing and a-chatting up a storm from what I could see. And she could not have looked more intent when I popped in on them later in the garden back of the school. They were sitting in the Umbrian sun. The green valley stretching out in front of them all the way to the lake. All good, happy and memorable moments.


Our uphill neighbor Youngi was in the café and bought me coffee and croissant. As Wiley says ”it is not a croissant dad, this is Italy, it’s a cornetto. And a cornetto is better.” Right you are. Either way, Aldo wants to know which kind I want: créme or marmalade filled. Apricot marmalade, please. And then, after I’ve chosen, he almost won’t let me have it. He’s got it in his hand, but is holding it back, protecting me from. . . The hideous danger. That is. Hot jam. Can he cut it open? Can I make another choice? Please. He’s alarmed, Youngi is alarmed. Alarmalade Crisis? I assure them I can work my way through hot jam. And did. Yesterday, Daniella absolutely refused to warm up an egg and ham panini because it had mayo on it. I grill Grilled Cheese Sandwiches after slathering them with mayo. Have done so since doing a TV shoot about mayo in the Kraft Kitchens in Chicago. And have lived to tell the tale. Here, today, hot mayo is something out of a horror movie and not to be considered lightly.

Cars were featured in a news paper supplement that Simone, Aldo and Daniella’s son and I are looking at. And relative to that and the herd of Ferraris that have just exited the piazza we have a good car talk.Then, I filmed a bit of Biano at his barbering best and then caught a moment with the Ladies of Linda’s. All the ladies from the grocery store were having their morning coffee clutch and they drug me into the café with them. Earlier Linda’s store and the meat market were jammed to the teeth but now it is just the family and me and the video camera. I was there yesterday and got behind a lady with maybe forty coupons and ordering bedspreads with what must have been the Italian version of Green Stamps and oh my gosh I didn’t think that would ever end. What a long, strange trip that appeared to be.

in an Umbrian garden havesting lavenderPAULETTE GETS OUT OF A JAM.

There are cars with bows on them outside the gate. Aldo had warned me: wedding today. Busy place, just got busier. Now Dante is at the door, asking if I will meet them at Masolinos for dinner. We are celebrating that his aunt, our friend Paulette has been cured. Praise the Lord. Her doctor in California said Cipro and there was Cipro and it was Good. Some places you might need a prescription. Funniest thing. But in Italy you may get lucky and just be able to verbalize it to the Pharmacist. (Do they all smoke here? All the pharmacists?) Anyway, the pharmacist listens to her description of the medicine, takes a couple deep and meaningful drags on his cigarette, exhales thoughtfully, steps over his dog and hands her a sack of Cipro. A day later she was cured — after a week of weakness and misery. She must have been too screwed up to have thought to call her doctor or underestimated the take no prisoners attitude of the ”malatia”. Now she and Wiley are in the garden making interesting little sweet smelling, braided sculptures out of our lavender. Paulette’s hands guided her down memory lane to total recall moment from her childhood. In short order she remembered exactly how her Italian grandfather had taught her to make them when she was a little girl. I was glad I was there to see her uncover that moment.


I woke up to morning bells ringing out eight times in the blue blue skies. Before waking Wiley, I started laundry and put the fig marmalade we’ve made the night before on to simmer for a couple hours. Eventually, Wiley and I made it to Aldo’s for our morning coffee. For several mornings in a row we’ve met Emma and her friend Manuela there too, just on the same general schedule.

Emma and everyone we met that morning is atwitter about the coming fireworks in Panicarola. I Fochi d’la Madonna del Busso. I don’t know how they could beat Panicale’s fireworks, during our fun Festa del’uva. Seems almost disloyal to praise another festival, doesn’t it? When viewed from a distance of a couple car lengths from where they were being set off, filled me with sufficient awe. Totally tilted me off my axis, mouth wide open and making ooooh noises as every explosion seemed to be the finale but then, no it just got wilder and bigger and louder by the minute. What a rush. And yet . . . . they say, ”that weren’t nothing, wait till you see the famous ones from Panicarola. Probably just watch them from the balcony here as Panicale looks over Panicarola.” Finally! Some people with a real fireworks tie in. A solid, logical reason for lighting off some major explosions. The story is that some local fishermen, years ago were out doing it the easy way. Easy, but typically illegal way. The way where you throw a bomb overboard, it stuns or kills everything in the vicinity and you go about scooping up what looks good to you. The local equivalent of the ever-popular ”jacking deer” with spotlights as rumored to be practiced in the wilds of Maine.

Italian fireworks festival in central UmbriaBOMBS AWAY
So it seems that the ”fishermen” were really just ”mad bombers” doing this bit of illegal activity when one of their fish bombs went off a bit prematurely. In their boat. Living to tell about it seemed such a miracle, they quickly founded a church, of course, of course, and named it Our Lady of the Bomb. And now, there is a full blown festival of fireworks in honor of those original bad boys and their fireworks. Being saved from aborted criminal activity seems fairly far off the list of usual saintly miracle reasons to start a church. But, who am I to decide when to start a church?

After coffee and that quasi-religious moment, I walked over to city hall and shook hands around for a minute to remind them I’m here and to not forget about my part of town. When are we really going to repave our street? Wasn’t that supposed to be LAST fall? No pressure, just saying I saw the poster with last year’s date on it and you know, wondered. Again.

Back at the bar, one of the town’s Australians needs a doctor. He does what I do when I have a problem. Go to the bar and tell Aldo, the bar owner and head barista. Steve looks like he might have a a good case of oh, I don’t know, leprosy or something. Nice rash, Big Guy. Whew. Someone is wicked allergic to something. The whole bar votes and decides Steve needs to run off to Pronto Soccorso. Pronto.

More September soon to come. Stay tuned to this spot on your dial.

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

Ok, I’m back now.

First it rained for a few days here in Umbria while we jetlagged about the house and test drove the wood stove. Then we had what are now referred to as the days of wild sunsets.

Been crazy since last blogging. First it rained for a few days here in Umbria while we jetlagged about the house and test drove the wood stove. Then we had what are now referred to as the days of wild sunsets. I have a photo, in fact, several photos that will attest to swell levels of weirdness. Then we started Italian gardening in spades. And of course it was necessary to take pictures of new flowers in bloom. I call this Wisteria in the Wind Is anyone buying any of these lame excuses. Anyone, at all? And seeing houses and meeting friends and making up for serious lost time. So, it has been just an Italy bit busy around here these last few days. Our town is called Panicale. It is so fun and social and full of things to do we affectionately call it Panic Alley. Having entirely too much fun, too much food, coffee and gelati. You know. . . That does sound pretty good. Wait right there.

Ok, back now. I must just be an urban kind of guy I guess. Popped my head out, popped right back in for umbrella and off to Aldo’s for gelati with “the family”. Nocciolo and almost black chocolate gelati. Aldo and Nico are talking plants and watching Italian movie sort of. Late at night these town cafes get more like being in someone’s living room. Where you can drop in as late as you want like bad teenagers. We get right into the fertilizers and cosmic issues of light and shade. Should we try to raise lemons in a pot or not? Big issues, weighty thoughts. And the good part is Aldo is sitting and gossiping like all the people he waits on all day every day. Is it obvious why I have trouble getting blog up? Easily distracted here in Umbria. Two stores up the street, and half way to our house is Masolino’s Restaurant and it finally looks like I can get in there. To see for sure if they are open Wednesday when friends from Colorado are racing up from Rome to eat there. Tuesday is still the day of reposo. Plan accordingly. Andrea says “you came in twice before and went back out” I said “cripe yes, era un cassino qui”. Somehow saying something was a bordello evokes crazy busy. Huge crowds every time I went by earlier and decided to pass on that even after I had actually stepped in. “Nobody but Americans still here now” he said without too much irony pointing towards the last couple tables lingering over coffees. Then he poured me a grappa something and we talked about fun things to do in Miami. Did I mention Miami is next month? I do too have a good excuse. Family member has a birthday and they insisted we party like Foridians. What could I say? And I will be reporting in “live” from Caffe Milano there thanks to Andrea’s heads up on that touristic front.

Seeing delightful Italian homes in all price ranges up to 2 million euros. And as low as 55,000 euros. Trust me you get what you pay for so if Giancarlo takes you to the 55,000 no whining, OK? Its cheap, already.

Some lovely lovely houses all around this part of Umbria. Places with gardens, with pools, or both. Complete Italian villas with their own woods, fields, horse paddocks like Podernovo, fairy tale hilltop, private homes with garden on all sides in full flowers, near Citta della Pieve. Go to the This just in! section for the full tease and then write me for the photo galleries or more information. This is really just the tip of the Italian real estate ice berg. Hold my feet to the fire when I get back to make me keep sorting and get all these beauties up on the site!

I went to the theater last night (it is a couple doors down the other way) and saw an amazing production by a local group. High tech, high concept, just a wonderful thing even if it does take place in hell? Astaroth in: La Guerra Spiegata ai Poveri. War explained to the poor people. Written in Italy right after WW2 but relative today as well. We knew several people in it. I loved getting my ticket. I was grocery shopping and my friend Dily wanted to know if I was going to the play and what night and we discussed and she said a ticket would be waiting and it was. Second row, middle, sold out show. I love how everything works here in Umbria.

The night before I walked to a friend’s house just outside the castle gates by full moon light. Chairs packed around the dinner table. A dog under the table. Some of the British people at the table kept exclaiming with great joy “It’s a Lurcher, it’s a great bloody Lurcher’. Which I guess is a breed of dog we silly Yanks don’t know about yet, big thing, mottled like a great dane. No, wait again, make that two dogs, I think there was a Jack Russel under the Lurcher, and if you stood up to get seconds on something a cat would doze off in your chair. Well, one did in mine. We wined and dined. And wined. Prosecco, local white Umbrian wine, Vin Santo, two kinds. Anti pasti, pasti with fresh rape, artichokes baked in a torte, fish (its head was nearly as big as mine) mouse, cookies. As the Egyptians say if I wasn’t standing deep in de Nile, I would admit to a bit of a “morning after” syndrome from all the wonderfulness.

The day before that party I really and sincerely found myself lost in deepest Tuscany. Ok, THERE is the map – at the BOTTOM of my computer bag. Boy, I could have used THAT a few hours earlier. Roads were out. Word of the day: Deviazione. Deviate indeed. I was lost. I was on roads that I later saw on maps, and they resembled nothing so much as twisted entrails. My own personal stomach was not doing a bad impersonation of same. If I only had a brain. Or a co-pilot. Or the map. A normal person could do it quite easily with any of those above.

It was worth trip I will admit. Podernovo, was my photographic goal of the day. Acres and acres of Tuscan woods being meticulously manicured and groomed, the pool and its terraces being readied for summer. Multiple stone buildings, all rooms freshly painted in the most luscious and tasteful pastels, old details cared for, restored and flattered with accessories, flowers and vines ready to burst into color. From the villa and grounds you look over at the town of Monticiano. Or you can canter through your own Italian woods to the Monticiano’s horse track where they train horses for Siena’s famous Palio. How many small towns have a horse track. How cool is that?

Wait. How far out of whack am I on this blog? Have I been so blogged down that I dropped the ball and didn’t report on seeing Siena again? I’m here again?

Appears so. The clouds parted and we had run to Siena between the raindrops. By late lunch time we were eating outside in the sun beneath scudding clouds that would have us in coats one minute and down to Tshirts the next.

Its all about food and books and people watching for me in Siena.

Food: pizza, ravioli and salad in il Campo. Porchetta and wild boar sausage in a sack from the deli a few stores away. Dinner solved.

Books: Ones with pictures and even one without: “The Reluctant Tuscan, or How I discovered my Inner Italian” by Phil Doran. We’ll see how that turns out. Had to like the title.

People watching: Note to the fashion forward, pale pistachio is the new black. It is the color in Siena for Spring ’05. My wife took her credit cards and went one way and my daughter took hers and went another and both came back with green. Shoes for one and a jacket for the other and they matched. So I started noting. Once you spot it you see it everywhere in Siena: cloth, leather, silks, walls of stores, on posters and graphics. So now you know. You heard it here first. “Green is Hot”. Ok, some of the pre-schoolers hadn’t gotten the memo on that but aren’t they so cute when with their day glow back packs and umbrellas and they are holding hands two by two like that? Town was aswamp with them.

Been quite a good Italian adventure so far and different friends are arriving every day for the next three days. My, sigh, flight is on the fourth of those days. If only the roses will bloom for me before I go. I hear good things about them, and people even send me photos of them. Never seen them in bloom in person yet. Some day.

Happy Italian Liberation Day Monday, April 25th by the way. La festa della “Liberazione” We asked if they have fireworks and got blank looks. Guess not.

Ok, for at least the next few days we can still say,

See you in Italy,

Stew Vreeland


Bear with us. We know this isn’t Italy. Going there in a very few days. Giancarlo tells me he has a huge list of new houses to see and report on.

Bear with us. We know this isn’t Italy. Going there in a very few days. Giancarlo tells me he has a huge list of new houses to see and report on.

In the meantime we are using that Iowa mention from the previous bit as a transition out of the Pacific Time zone and into Central. This time next week we will be on Italian Time!

Ok, the correct answer is the house on the right is in Sausalito on the other side of the Golden Gate Bridge and the one on the left is in Vinton, Iowa. We saw Vinton’s Victorians while visiting my sister Mary in her new home there. The town was very nice, her home and all the Victorian homes were great, but the high point of the afternoon had to be when the high school across the street let out at two thirty. We are so not in Umbria or San Francisco here friends and I can tell because here in Vinton’s Washington High it was the final day of Ag Week and therefore Bring Your Tractor to School Day. Take that Sausalito. You may think I am kidding but that is specifically why I carry a camera with me. What parents trust their sixteen year olds to take their behemoth rubber tired tanks to school? Yike. I’m from an Iowa farm background but I didn’t remember tractors following us to school. Or tractors THIS big. Maybe they look bigger when there are packs of them roaming up and down Main Street in the rain, smoke billowing from stacks and kids with seed corn hats waving from the cabs. So glad our timing worked out for all this. I put this in the pantheon of wonders with Day after Easter Cheese Rollthru the streets of Panicale in Umbria.

This bird took the long way to its final destination. We bought an Italian Easter Cake called Colomba (nominally shaped like a dove) at Ferry Plaza on the Embarcadero. And brought it to Iowa to share with the family on St Paddy’s Day. The Cowgirl Creamery Red Hawk Cheese didn’t go over as well as we hoped but that Italian cake was crumbs in a heart beat.


There was something kind of nice and completing the circle in this trip that made me especially glad we stopped in Iowa. 68 years ago my then teenage dad made the Iowa-California-Iowa trip with a bunch of guys in a 1930 Model A Ford coupe with rumble seat. They shot gophers and tin cans with a pistol from the open rumble seat going across the Nebraska and those other wild and wooly states.

They were in San Francisco when the Golden Gate Bridge had just opened and was in its first coat of Golden paint. Dad said they had no money and just kept getting closer and closer to bridge but did not want to spend the money and pay the toll to actually go over it. At a certain point they got a bit too close, could no get back out of the on ramp and tried to explain their way out of it to the toll booth guard. But any explaining that was going to happen was done by the guard holding out his hand for their money saying Oh, yeah, you ARE going to see the Bridge. And pay the toll, too boys. They were glad they saw it and so were we.

That is all for the moment folks. We are headed off going east to Bella Italia and our home in Umbria during school vacation in mid April – so watch this space. Until next time

See you in Italy,