25.6 MontefalcoTrains are running and we are so anxious to get to Montefalco that we share a taxi from Foligno with a German backpacker, rather than wait an hour for a bus that may not even run on a Saturday …
Casa Caterini is lovely! A cool, spacious apartment on the edge of the old town, with a fabulous view from the kitchen/living room. There is a giant crane in the middle just now, but it still looks fine! Montefalco is small, neat and charming, just a bit of the tourist ‘theme park’ about its medieval prettiness, but the main industries are olive oil and wine – represented by a plethora of olio e vino shops, and almost as many as churches!
My cold is really bad now, so we chill out in the apartment until afternoon, then check out the town. A beautiful central piazza with roads radiating like spokes to the edge of the old town, just a few minutes walk in any direction. Each road has a gate, and at least two churches. We get provisions at the local alimentare artisanale (bread, olives, anchovies, mozzarella bufala, pork fillet, veggies and fruit. And local wine at the enoteca next door – Montefalco Rosso and Montefalco Bianco. At the ‘tourist office’ aka wine promotion bureau, there is no good news re weekend buses (most buses run only on school days), so we won’t be visiting any nearby villages. But the advisor tells us that there will be a festa with wine-tasting in the piazza tonight!
|View from our apartment - crane dangling|
|Montefalco laneway 2|
Home then, for a brief rest, and cook a fabulous dinner of pan-fried pork fillet topped with eggplant and white anchovy, with olive and white wine sauce. The eggplant is light purple and round, and has a firm, meaty texture. Yum! Then back to town for (hopefully) the festa.
So the Aperitiva and Candlelight dinner parts of the festa may have been slightly washed out, but when we arrive back just after nine, a few dozen hardy souls are sitting in the piazza, some sipping wine, and the band is playing some fairly tasteful rock covers. We buy a ticket to the wine-tasting and settle in. (The wine-tasting works out well – at 7 euros for 4 tastes it sounds pricy, but I get to have 6 tastes, including four expensive sagrantinos, and share them with Chris. They are delicious!).
|Windblown decorations in the piazza|
|String ensemble in St Francis church|
|Band playing for the festa, and display of classic Italian scooters|
|Poster for the Festa|
[We find out later, from seeing a poster, about the festa theme: The Night of Desires’, all about love. The music we saw was a performance of the Umbria Ensemble (plus a reader) of Beethoven’s music and love letters. The chalk is for writing messages of love. The finale at midnight was the release of balloons, and couples all sharing a kiss. Italian speakers amongst you can translate the poster!]
26.6 MontefalcoStill feeling awful, shouldn’t have had a late night, but how could I not! Travel is full of missed opportunities, and occasionally a serendipitous hit. Our host comes by for payment, and when he finds out that the pharmacy is closed, brings me paracetamol and cold medication – what an angel!
Today, I thought I might walk to Bevagna (7km only), in the absence of buses, but am not well enough, so we meander slowly around the town to see if we can manage to see ALL the churches. If I must be ill, it’s not a bad place to be, we can wander for an hour or two, then go home to nap. The town itself, and the churches, are lovely, and (the churches) very individual, from large and elaborately decorated (St Francis) to very plain and modest. All are living churches. Home for lunch, we have grilled veg with mozzarella, and a glass of wine.
|Perugino nativity at St Francis church|
|A modest chapel|
|Relic - body of a Spanish pilgrim|
At L’Alchemista the food is very good, but service lacking. Gnocchi with sagrantino sauce is plain but tasty, pigeon served four ways (roast leg, stuffed breast, sausage and pate) is delicious and exactly the kind of laborious dish that one eats out for. Grilled veg accompaniment is fine (I especially like the charred fennel) but – no condiments, water is forgotten, we have to ask twice for the bill.
|On the edge ... of town|
|Storm blowing in|