09.07.2006 26 °C
The four Millers who returned home yesterday had a brutal 26 hour long trip, marked by a five and a half hour delay at the airport in Naples and hours spent waiting through New York traffic.
Julie and I, however, have had better luck. Mrs. Toll, our former high school Latin teacher, retired to Moiano, just outside Chiusi, in Umbria, where we're spending the weekend and tomorrow in advance of our Tuesday flight home. Last night after our arrival by train here, we ate some dinner here then went for a drive to Montepulciano, a very pretty hill town across the border into Tuscany, where we walked around, admired the views, and had coffee and pastries in a cafe that looked hundreds of feet down to the countryside below. On the way back down, Julie snapped this view of the Bell-Ringer:
Today, aided by Mrs. Toll's expert advice, we toured the battlefield around nearby Lake Trasimeno, where Hannibal ensnared the Roman army in 217 BC and slaughtered 15,000 of them. From up above, it's easy to see how the Romans were trapped by the hills surrounding the lake with no escape.
At lunch we drove up to Cortona in Tuscany, where Julie posed on the steps of the piazza:
We ate lunch at an enoteca in town, where we ordered a mixed plate of salumi and cheese, consisting of prosciutto, cinghiale (wild boar) prosciutto, finochiona (fennel-seed salami), cinghiale salami, deer salami, young pecorino, old pecorino, artichoke hearts, fresh tomatoes, and toasted bread drizzled with white truffle olive oil, all washed down with a beautiful red Tuscan table wine. The establishment's proprietor gave us (between drags from her cigarette, under her 'no smoking' sign) her disdainful take on the ritzier trattorias up the street (9 euro salads! shameful) and the southern Italian olive oil (nice beaches, but they don't know oil) they allegedly pass off as Tuscan.
On the way home, a detour through some of the prettier countryside outside the Toll estate:
Tonight, Italy-France. Tomorrow, (hopefully) Gubbio and the long trip home.