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Sunday 23 July 2000

A few minutes before three in the afternoon: I'm sitting in a large breezy cool pizzeria-bar on the outskirts of Baschi, and if I can manage it, I'm not budging for another fifty minutes. It is brutally hot again, and this morning I got a bad surprise. Having woken up at seven on the dot, to find the hotel still asleep, I slipped out twice: first, briefly to the little garden just before the piazza, to read a large photoillustrated placard by the Soprintendenza on some Etruscan tombs in the area, about 3 km away. Then to Carnano, getting slightly lost, to see my tower; the arches just round, not ogival, and at least three of the four sides have 'em: it's locally referred to as the Monastero Vecchio and next to the tower there's a largish conventual-looking building; all of it private property and surrounded by construction materials, and in fact someone told me it was being fixed up: it looks like a prime agriturismo candidate to me.

Back at the hotel, where I decided to have breakfast offsite, at one of the rather many bars in town: two cornetti, a petit pain au chocolat, a caffé latte and a double glass of banana juice, which I'd never had, but with all that potassium seemed like a good idea.

It turned out it was; routinely checking the day's schedule at the hotel (also, to see if I had the time to go see the Etruscan tombs — my barmaid said it's not being kept up and it's no real big deal, either) I discovered that no I wasn't catching a bus at Baschi for Terni: it's Sunday, they don't run, and I had to get to Orvieto Scalo, about 20 or 21 km instead of 11. Well that clinched that, and I left Montecchio at 10:30; forgetting, as I usually do, a bottle of water. Following a consensus of local instructions, I wound up going the long way around, but at least not getting lost, although just before Baschi I thought I was: but I clambered up to a house where an old man very kindly set me right — yes, I was on the right road, and in fact around the very next turn I'd see Baschi — and I had a long cool drink from his garden hose.

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A quiet alley, with the church of S. Nicolò in the background.

About one and a half kilometers after this, I fell on the Pizzeria Il Cardeto right on the road, across from Baschi proper: a perfect time for a long, slow lunch; not much food, but all cold. Bresaola alla rugola, prosciutto melone, a largish plate of cold bean and onion salad, and lots and lots of fizzy water, cold Sprite, etc.

I've just now come back from my exploration of the town, which took just over an hour. It's small. By good fortune, the church was open. In the main altar, some very, very old bones, if true: since 1689, an urn said to contain the relics of St. Longinus.​a Anyway a nice church, and a hot little walk back to the Cardeto, a lucky stop for me — it stays open because it's a bar not just a restaurant: I left my knapsack for my bout of Baschiizing. No such luck of course for the next ten kilometers to Orvieto Scalo: my train is at 1827 so I'm budgeting a 1545 departure, to allow for unforeseens — I'm gonna be tired tonight, too. At least (I hope) the road will be generally downhill.

Later Note:

a an urn said to contain the relics of St. Longinus: The resting-place of the bones of St. Longinus is usually given as the church of S. Andrea in Mantova. A different tradition may be involved here, or the relics may have been shared, or the saint of Baschi may be another one altogether.

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Page updated: 23 Feb 22