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Sunday 23 May 2004

Gosh just when I'd caught up — Same thing though: days are packed and when they're not I just stare off into space on trains when I could be writing; although to be fair train rides are in Italy too and it's a waste of good scenery to have my nose in a book or my own diary after all. Anyway, it's 11:30 P.M. after a longish evening of various kinds of house-cleaning, CD-burning, etc., and I'm catching up again.

Wednesday 19 was lots of trains but very little to write about. First train at 0800 to Rovigo, arriving at 0900, and leaving at 0911. Because my trip was so complicated and I had so little time to get the rest of my ticket, I'd written it all out for the ticket window in Rovigo, who pushed it all aside in favor of another ticket, saying no you don't leave at all at 0911 but at 0930 — but it was a Eurostar combo, and I wouldn't spend the extra money; he rewrote the ticket: I did indeed leave at 0911, but he repeated, three times, the treno lumaca. . . . It reminded me instantly of the other day Mrs. Cipriani in the mayor's office who couldn't see the veterinary clinic on the little triangular piazza 300 m from the house here, but fumbling for the name I had the misfortune to call it the Piazza Garibaldi: quite sharply, now don't invent piazzas that don't exist. . . . (For the record, yes there is a vet there, but the piazza is Marconi.)

Rovigo to Bologna where I had 1h10m sit; rather than lounge around a train station, I rolled my luggage to the Piazza Maggiore to catch some daytime photographs of the towers and the cathedral and the square; perfect timing, train to Ancona with 5 minutes to spare. Ancona a small wait, not enough to roll suitcase to the arches and see if I could finally look at the long-scaffolded Trajan's Arch; Civitanova another wait, enough for me to roll suitcase around the main drag since the station is right in the center of town: a rich little place, tree-lined boulevard, very good pastry shop on it right in front of the train station — virtuous I didn't have any, though. Finally Macerata, and, as expected, the only bus left at 7 P.M.+: cab to Treia, 26E.

Hotel Grimaldi, run by the comune, quite cheap although my room quite small, 1970's YMCA with good bathroom though. View onto a brick wall over a very narrow street, but well-stocked fridge in room — Hot shower, changed, and around the corner to the Corradino, where I found Maurizio and Carla but no calcioni (their supplier is now a grandmother and is spending a lot of time taking care of her new grandchild), and gave Carla my quarter and the dime, nickel and penny I had the foresight to cadge from Judith the other day; quiet chat, bits of local news, etc.; then a light meal — a thin cheese pizza and half a bottle of red another 50 m away at the Taverna, then back to the Corradino for a prime uve, and to bed.

[image ALT: An urban scene, by night but brightly lit. On the left a stone wall about 8 meters high, topped by a balustrade, with behind it parts of some formal square buildings; to the right, a tree; in the background a large steepled church with a construction crane towering over it. It is a view of Treia, in the Marche (central Italy).]

Treia by night:
from just outside the walls, the Piazza del Comune,
with the Duomo in the distance.

Thursday 20 I mismanaged; I wanted to walk to Cingoli, visit a while, and take the last bus back at 1745, but the night before Maurizio — we'd been talking food, there are no real restaurants in Treia, just two pizza places (which do offer a bit of other stuff mind you) — had suggested I have lunch at S. Lorenzo at a place with real home cooking, and I got it into my head (he'd said he'd drive me there) it was along my route to Cingoli or at least shortened it, so I said yes; and spent the morning walking over to the Santuario del Santissimo Crocifisso, about 1½ km away, and visiting it: originally for its Roman stuff, but when I got there the church, all 20c though it is, is quite wonder­ful and I spent over an hour there.

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Santuario del SS. Crocifisso, Treia.

Back into town, a bit of a chat with two young women doing their civil service at the APT with Vittorio, who recognized me after only a second's hesitation: ah yes, you're the guy who got here on foot a coupla months back. There's now an archaeological museum in town, but it wouldn't officially open 'til just after I left: the young women tried to get me a preview but no luck, the guy with the key just not around for a day; not my idea — I don't bug people for special treatment — but once it'd been dangled in front of me I then was disappointed briefly — human nature! Their idea as well, to meet me at 9 A.M. Friday and tour me thru the (closed) Pinacoteca and the (closed) theater: I accepted; Treia on the ball again.

12:30, cellphone call to Maurizio who picked me up in front of the Corradino and dropped me off at the Otello in S. Lorenzo: but not before driving us by the strada bianca shortcut 8 km over the hill to where you pick up the paved road to Cingoli; gorgeous scenery. He told me I probably wouldn't get lost but I should be very very careful not to walk too close to the side of the road because of the vipers, deadly although relatively quick to kill you; wolves as well.

The Otello after all this build-up a disappointment, although it really was home cooking, genuine stuff made on the premises, just not particularly special. I had a plate of tagliatelle al sugo (rather good) and a plate of "meat": a chunk of chicken, a chunk of pork, a chunk of lamb, with the usual wedge of lemon. No wine or booze since I was expecting to walk and the day was hot, the warmest of the trip, maybe about 83°.

Out of the Otello (19E) at 2:15; the people at the restaurant and my map estimates agreed, distance to Cingoli 20 km even: or 3h20m at a good clip. With last bus back at 5:45, the walk was pointless or even impossible, allowing for time to find the bus. Disappointed, I just decided to walk back into Treia, a road which took me to the Crocifisso from the back, then the same road in that I'd just walked by myself a few hours before; oh well.

And in fact I might have been repaid for this: about 300 m or so from the SS. Crocifisso — from the back this time — something that looked much like the core of a Roman tomb, with a modern shed on it; and then maybe not, but I took the photographs and maybe I can either figure it out or read about it later.

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I'm still undecided; see also this close-up of the masonry
(rubble-fill, with my famous 14 cm pen for scale).

Actually — skipping things already! — I'd been repaid for the "useless" walk no sooner than 800 m out of the restaurant, the actual village of S. Lorenzo. A tiny group of houses, maybe not more than four, a modern or at least completely redone church (closed, key in Treia) at the top of a staircase — but a beauti­ful, well-cared for public garden, and in fact an old man working it when I got there: when he goes on trips to other parts of Italy he brings back for his garden some plant from the road or a field. The grass a bit neglected, he said he'd let it run a month; but peonies in full bloom, big stands of Tiarella cordifolia, trimmed box hedges, lots of other perennials: and in the middle a statue of the Virgin on a tall pedestal. (Amusingly, when I asked him what else there was to see in S. Lorenzo, he told me there used to be a chicken farm 50 yards away, but no more: a sidelight on what can be thought a sight in these parts but also maybe the source of all his beauti­ful flowers. . . .)

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The garden at S. Lorenzo.

Back at the hotel, a spot of news, then out to the Taverna again, since I had the other half of my bottle of wine from the night before (Grosso Agontano Riserva 2000, a DOC rosso Conero, with the most unusual sweet flavor to it — not sugar or maderized or any kind of defect, quite good, but very distinctive). To bed.

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