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Thursday 1 October

I thought (Monday night, this) that I'd sleep like a top; but I didn't. Most surprisingly, absolutely no leg pains of any kind, not even stiffness: but my big toes hurt like the devil, waking me up at least 3 times, and for about 36h they were rather swollen. 'Nother mystery: why my toes? which have never, not once (except when I got bit on one by something in Wisconsin years ago), given me the least problem. Anyway I still slept about 12 hours.

Tuesday was predictably very low-key and low-walking. I spent 45 minutes viewing an exhibit of old photos — many quite interesting — of people of Todi: Lilletta Resta with her wide grin on a motorcycle sometime in the late Forties maybe, some very period wedding photographs, some group outings in 1915 to various Umbrian beauty spots, embroidery lessons at the orphanage.

Paid for my 36 rolls of prints (₤620,000); bought a coupla books — that's what I need, more books — and, after an honest try to eat at the new Neapolitan fish restaurant (not their closing day, but they were quite dead dark closed), had the usual solid meal at the Jacopone: an extremely good plain bruschetta, good penne norcine (sausage meat, truffles and cream), and very good plain simple wild boar stew with rosemary and more truffles. Tiramisú, pinolata, coffee, grappa di grechetto of course — good meal. One of the advantages in eating at the Jacopone is that the buses for the station leave from the front door. Paid, bus, station, reasonably quick change in Terni which I used also to buy my new monthly abbonamento; home, slept.

Yesterday was the day of the move to Smeraldo, my fault entirely, since I knew I'd be here and didn't do anything 'til the last minute. The morning spent carrying everything out of the Cà Spadolino down to Smeraldo. It's not a 2-bedroom apartment — they have no such critter — but it's the largest one and can sleep 2+1+1; nice bathroom again.

Last connection to the Net — Osvaldo'd warned me they were changing their phone number, but of c. I forgot until after a bunch of frustration that evening — and I realized I was going to fritter away the day, which was gorgeous; so I checked my new rail schedule and went to Bastia Umbra, which I knew would be a fairly quick visit. It was (and as soon as I got there, the weather turned to bleary): Bastia is of almost no tourist interest. Its 1295 church of S. Croce was under scaffolding — earthquake — but only has a plain façade, anyway. A small 17c church of S. Rocco, of very mild interest; otherwise the town is less than a hundred years old.

One interesting thing. In front of the Palazzo Comunale, a very attractive monument to Colomba Antonietti, born in Bastia, war hero: she was killed on the walls of Rome as she fought by the side of her husband in June 1849 against the French and papal armies. I don't think I've ever seen a monument to a woman war hero before. Monument subdued, no "look, this was a woman" either in the inscriptions (testimony of Garibaldi, quote from Giosuè Carducci) or in the sculpture — scenes of her involvement in the 1849 Risorgimento; as a result, moving and gave me a proud feeling for Bastia.

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Monument to Colomba Antonietti

The inevitable mystery though: on her monument she's recorded as having fallen (at the Porta S. Pancrazio) on June 13, 1849; the house she was born in, about 100 meters away — Bastia, certainly the centro, is very small — says June 5th: both inscriptions perfectly clear.

This whole visit took an hour; train back, home, strongozzi with truffles, rosso di Montefalco, yogurt; bed early, especially that I was planning to go to Rome today.

Which I did. Up at 4, buckets of rain, which cleared up just before I walked down to the station.

Pierluigi at the station — I hadn't seen him once there, and was wandering if he'd lost his job. . . We chatted about the usual mix; a very valuable suggestion from him, something so obviously me yet — for reasons, now I see 'em, connected with the catastrophe I've been totally blind to it: that I create videos of Europe; a cut or two above Rick Steve's — I can't do otherwise, that part's for me — would still be of interest to enough people. Two or three days ago, for example, I took a couple of Americans thru the Cappella Tega, ten minutes if that (finding them in the street about to pass it by) then leaving them since I had something to do: the woman said it was the most interesting thing they'd seen on their trip, and they both thanked me effusively; now I'm fairly sure it wasn't at all — the little room's not that big a deal really — but I'm also fairly sure that my presentation was the liveliest and most interesting, yes; especially if they'd just been wondering past things carrying a guidebook. Today in the Lateran for example I fell to wondering what the majority of visitors get out of a place like that, with no Latin, very little history or art history, no context to fit it to.


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Page updated: 25 Feb 01