September 2011 Still Hot Stuff

September 2011 Still Hot Stuff

Ferrari's at Fabro

Odescalchi castle courtyard

September 2011 Still Hot Stuff

September 2011 Still Hot Stuff

First published in La Dolce Vita Western Telegraph: Photograph of the Author by

Friends arrived early in the month for a rest cure so they helped with the lighter chores around the place as we started the seasonal duties in the morning, stacking the winter wood, varnishing and teak oiling the outside wooden furniture and trellis works. The weather was still hot but in the high end of the 30’s but we were all grateful for the pool.

On the 11th Fabro, a nearby town, had the second annual Ferrari tour. They started in Carniola, drove to Montiglione d’Orvieto, dashed to Citta della Pieve doing a circuit of the town walls and descended into Ponticelli and then on to Fabro. There was a huge turn out of new and vintage models, mostly in red as you can see.

The following weekend was the “Aphrodisiac’s” event in Citta della Pieve, something for everyone, foods, lotions, teas, wines and art.

Once our friends were recovered we went exploring to Gubbio, right in the centre of the country on the border of la Marche. We took the scenic route, over the Apennines, and arrived for lunch. To describe it as a hill town is not exaggerating, fortunately there are lifts to get you up to the top so its possible to amble down through the town easily. There is a scary sort of cable lift that takes you up to the top of the hill behind, open metal baskets you stand up in but non of us were brave enough to think of trying it. The town is wonderful, steeped in history and almost untouched by the ravages of war, unlike poor Arezzo, 25 churches all with their own notable characteristics and art works, museums and ruins. Well worth the trip and returning for another day too.

Our next escapade wasn’t nearly as easy. We went to Lake Bracciano but while driving down the A1 we were over taking an articulated lorry and missed the exit so we came off at the next one. What we should have done was go back up the motorway and taken the correct turning but decided that we could go over the mountain to the lake instead, it looked easy on the map. We stopped for a coffee at a brand new vast “Outlet” village that was deserted except for us, the shop assistance and some workers decking out 2 new venues. The trip was long and in places almost vertical. We met a massive combine harvester in a town so tiny there was just the one street with cars fleeing before the machine. We pulled in onto a pavement and tucked the wing mirrors in, he passed with the paint work undamaged, how we don’t know we couldn’t bear to look! The next town was on the ridge with 2 petrol pumps on the edge of the drop off. We filled up and then had to turn around in the square, along with all the other lost and bewildered souls. We asked the policeman, trying to sort 5 cars in a 3 car space, which way and he gave us directions. We got lost and ended up in a cement works. Road map in hand we were told the road we were on didn’t exist on the map (well done the AA) and were redirected again. We did arrive at the lake having navigated a helter-skelter road that took us over a gorge without a bottom, as far as we could see, and more roads that are missing from the book of directions. There are just 3 towns around the lake, which is now a national park area, with the castle located in the largest, Bracciano. It is still privately owned and is frequently rented out for weddings, Tina Turner , John Kennedy and more recently Tome Cruise. The interior has hand painted medieval wooden ceilings and a dreadful deadfall lined with knives that one of the ancient owners had installed to dispose of her lovers when she was finished with them. The trip home was a lot simpler and faster without the detours.

The weather broke records as it stayed up in the 30’s the entire month. For some places it was hotter than the July had been and exceed the last known spell in the 1890’s easily. It brought the grape harvest forward by 2 weeks and the walnuts fell in the early part of the month instead of at the end. The wine producers were saying that this year will be a vintage one but the olive trees that we care for had suffered with the late storms when they were blooming and were not looking very fruitful at all.

The pool lads arrived and closed it up heralding the onset of autumn.

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Michael & Peggy Hunt moved from Pembrokeshire to Italy two years ago. They now live on the Tuscan / Umbrian border in Locanda Delle Rose among 300 olive trees, enquiring neighbours and over-familiar wildlife. "Oddly, it is not so different from Pembrokeshire at all, " they say. "We have felt at home from the very beginning. "

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