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Sunday 18 April 2004

And indeed that's what I did. Breakfast yesterday at nameless hotel (in fact the sign and the scontrino: Villa Verde) consisted of plastic-wrapped everything: fette biscottate and jam, fine — but cornetti, really! And 8:15 found me sitting on a bench outside the tabaccaio; 8:30 the bus, which would wend its way to Perugia via every little place it could find Pianello, Prétola, everything except PSG of course; at 9:30-ish I was at the Piazza Partigiani in Perugia looking at bus schedules.

The option was to go back home but finally lose a day: but a bus left for Città della Pieve at 12:05; I filled in the time by going back to the Museo Archeologico, hoping among other things to find the corredo funebre from the Tomba del Faggeto, but I didn't. At the same time I was relieved to see that my photographs of the Cippo Perugino last time were not as careless as I thought: there's a left side but no right side, I did fine.

12:05, bus to Città della Pieve: high-school kids, noisy, plus Radio Subasio — rain, fog, drizzle: and some nasty landscape for the first part,​a thru S. Sisto, S. Andrea delle Fratte, Mugnano; after which much nicer thru Città della Pieve where we arrived at 13:35. Drizzle, but a hotel right near the bus stop, and a room available, and lunch.

Lunch very good, my best meal so far this trip. Farrotto (is to farro what risotto is to riso) al tartufo, with radicchio as window-dressing to give it some color; and boar with apples and onions all' agrodolce, excellent. Fries — the cook's heart not in them (yet good fries can be just as good as anything else: I thought of Rosanna!) — and a grigliata di verdure with a very good aïoli; a coupla desserts — orange and almond cake, a crème brûlée — and a hot mandarine punch to wrap it all up; sensing a good meal from the start, I had half a bottle of Sagrantino (Adanti, 1999), and saved the other half for dinner.

Strengthened by this blowout rather than the reverse — I'd been hungry since Valfabbrica, where the cook, sweet as she was, and tho' she didn't poison me by any means, didn't believe in feeding her boobies — I then went on my exploration of Città della Pieve: various churches, up and down the streets, and walked out into the countryside in a couple of directions; all brick, even rather bright red brick, but the town is pleasant, even pretty, and I liked it.

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Città della Pieve, from the SS 71,
the road S that would take me the next day to Monte­gabbione and Monte­leone.

When the rain started up again, I clambered into the hotel, took a hot shower and watched TV for an hour, then Part II of the Città della Pieve blow-out — Peruvian cook but he cooks better Umbrian than many Umbrians: a sample portion of the acquacotta, a tomatoed peasant soup with bread and a shirred egg white; agnello a scottadito, very plain and very good; spinach with raisins and pinenuts, less success­ful, a B. Crema-flavored ice cream affogato al Grand Marnier — wanted something light — and to bed.

Later Note:

a Contrast my experience with what we read in Murray's Handbook for Travellers in Central Italy, London, 1843 (p162):

The road from Città della Pieve to Perugia is in every respect beauti­ful: it passes for many miles through groves of oaks, and before it descends into the valley of La Chigna it commands some fine peeps of the Lake of Chiusi. About eight miles from C. della Pieve it passes through Le Tavernelle, a clean little village with a tolerable osteria. Beyond it is the village of Mongiovino, picturesquely situated near the road. The whole district is highly cultivated, and is more like a plantation than a public road. Vineyards and mulberry-trees are profusely scattered over the plains, the distant hills are clothed with oaks, and the general appearance of the landscape will support many recollections of home to the English traveller.

The very end of the route, near Città della Pieve, is still nice enough, but the rest has been ruined by the exurbia of Perugia, to a large extent caused by the road itself.

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