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Friday 11 September 1998

Boy I sure hope Giuliana did as I asked her to when I got here and deposited my cheque immediately (I told her "before the dollar dropped, after all it's all the same to you since we've settled on a price in lire"): the combined mess has driven the dollar down 'way farther'n I thought. Other better statistic, my waist is a hair below 83 now, despite finally last night my having stuffed myself with everything in the house: first green beans and garlic, then tomatoes and lettuce, finally — I'd forgot to mention it — a sort of pudding or cake from the Pinturicchio: after my large dinner there the other night, they suggested this special stuff which they don't usually make, but it sounded heavy (it is) and I wanted sherbet — so as I left, Lara handed me a foil-covered plate, first time a restaurant has ever offered me a free take-out. . . .

Anyway, yesterday's little walk, though only 9 km — from Trevi to Campello train stations with a climb up to the new church in Pigge — confirmed that my legs are OK this trip: prolly combined rest from skating and Melvin's workouts, even the 31 km of my walk to Urvinum Hortense no problem other than the usual and normal sore feet for an hour, plus the blisters.

Back to yesterday: another late start, but finally did get my tail in gear to the 1233h to Foligno which makes a fast connection with the train to Rome; off at Trevi at 1250. The idea was to go back to the Tempietto del Clitunno — by daylight this time — stop at the Fonti, continue on to Bazzano Superiore and back down to S. Giacomo and catch the 1813 back.

I did about half of that, falling victim to a small detour at Pigge and a long conversation with the custode at the Tempietto (about Clinton, mostly) and thus wound up walking from Trevi to Campello. Sweltering hot, or so it seemed, although in fact only about 90F. This time I bought a liter and a half of water, drank most of it, refilled it at Pigge, drank most of that, and at the foot of Pigge on the SS3 had a bottled drink at a bar with a tuna-artichoke panino and a slice of very homemade-looking and somewhat unidentifiable apple-and-supposedly-chocolate pie; which, however, was pale yellow and mouthwash-red? Good, though.

[image ALT: A craggy, very ruined medieval walled circuit with several smaller towers and one tall thin one, sloping at a 20‑degree incline down a hill over mostly olive groves, but also a prominent cypress. It is the walled upper town of Pissignano, near Campello sul Clitunno, in Umbria (central Italy).]

Looking S onto the ruined medieval castle walls and olive groves of Pissignano Alto. About 100 m offscreen right, the Via Flaminia comes toward us from Spoleto.

Pigge itself, nothing much, although nice views, mostly of Pissignano Alto — gaunt tower and ruined walls — The war memorial plaque on the side of the upper church ("chiesa nuova" but the waitress at the bar couldn't quite say what the "chiesa vecchia" was, suggesting the octagonal tempietto close by on the SS3, which looks roughly the same age) referred to the town as Lapigge — one word — as does a mostly effaced painted sign on a warehouse; the same waitress told me the name of the town is Pigge, but pressed, that yes it was once Lapigge, but that was "incorrect". Pressed further, what did your grandmother call it? Lapigge. Your mother? Lapigge — so the shift is quite new. My guess is from *Lapidie, maybe in connection with stones of the Flaminia??​a Three little girls quietly taking this all in — funny-talking stranger in shorts asking questions about traces of roads, snarfing down food —

[image ALT: A very small ancient Roman tetrastyle temple on a square base pierced by an arched doorway. It is the Tempietto del Clitunno in Umbria (central Italy).]
	The Tempietto still there; this time I have the material for a decent webpage — I noticed an inscription, couldn't really read it, embedded in the upper floor, right in front of the threshold of the sanctuary proper; not the best way of preserving it — long conversation as noted with the guardian, late thirties maybe forty, from S. Brizio right next to the church as it turns out. I had to take him thru Paula Jones, Whitewater, Lasater and the drugs, the Arkansas pimping, Gennifer Flowers, Kathleen Willey, Hillary and Foster and the murder, the $100,000 futures bribe, and the Chinese money and satellite​b etc. — The light suddenly went on, oddly enough, on this last. (One Italian TV reporter in New York seemed just as irritated as I am, his anchor fluffily asking about Lewinsky, and he — "every time I explain this, I have to start all over again da capo, it's not about sex"; although I notice today's Daily Telegraph not fooled at all: major article by one of these reporters who's been tracking it since at least 1994, he views Clinton's Arkansas as a sort of "anglophone Guatemala", ruthless violent political mafia etc.) When I left for Italy, I told James I expect this guy to be out by October 1st; that looked optimistic, but several different European sources seem to think the slide now gathering steam will be precipitous and we may be nearer the end than it looks after all.

Later Notes:

a On inputting this diary entry a couple months later: this guess turned out to be right. Franco Spellani of the ProTrevi site confirmed a derivation from Pons Lapideus (a "stone bridge" connected with the Flaminia: see his page on the church of S. Maria del Ponte.

What the diary entry doesn't say is that I also suspect the neighboring town of Matigge, on similar phonetic grounds, to represent (Villa) Matidiae. The Matidia in question would be the wife or the daughter of Hadrian: an imperial Matidia is known to have had a villa in Umbria, and I have since heard a presentation in Ostia making Matidia the Younger responsible for one of the latter town's grander building schemes. Hadrian restored a large chunk of the Umbrian Via Flaminia in A.D. 123‑124 (see inscription now at Massa Martana) so one might further wonder if the need for the restoration might not have been personally brought home to him as he travelled the road back and forth to this hypothetical villa.

b On May 25, 1999 the U. S. House of Representatives released a report in which some of the unclassified portions of all this are laid bare. Not explicitly spelled out in the bipartisan report, understandably, is the connection with the payment of money by the Chinese Communist army to the Clinton election campaigns.

The specific item which my diary alludes to here was covered by the U. S. special prosecutor's report on the Clinton affair, in several long chapters on Satellite Launches.

As usual with the continued shrinkage of the Web, the document could once be found online, but not any more.

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