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Thursday 27 October

No Rome today. Small walk looks likely, despite neck hurting: it hurt rather bad in the middle of the night Monday, along with an acute and unusual pleurisy-like pain in the sternum that woke me up and that half asleep I diagnosed as due to my pike which for the first time I tried deep breathing during, but went away gradually Tuesday as I walked and disappeared by yesterday morning, to reappear after my skate just from turning my head on the ice, although I was careful not to do any of my warmups that affect the neck, which is most of them.

Sitting at the tiny 2‑table indoors caffé on the P.zza Garibaldi, dressed like a decent person (dark grey trou, one of the elegant Roman shirts, my Ventimiglia sweater — and my repulsive sneakers), showered and shaved after my walk; having an Amaro Cibocchi.

First, to catch up on yesterday evening: nothing much to it, other than a wet night in Terni, and Wednesday is Lo Sfizio's closing day, and nothing else anywhere for a quick bite to eat, and I was starving (having had no lunch); the train was 15 minutes late, which was the first time that happened to me — I walked to the Piazza Tacito and tried to buy something to read from a rather large outdoors stand, but nothing tempted me. I walked back to the station, the rain had let up to a drizzle. The bus to Todi arrived and, much worse, left 2 minutes early, both by its onboard clock and by the station's —

Back home, I had a large bowl of bean soup and a couple of yogurts. Fell asleep very fast.

This morning I spent some time reprogramming some of the exercise-tracking functions in Datebook, mixed with clothes and dish washing, the latter involving boiling up three pots of water. Programming always brings out nerves and the worst in me.

Anyhow, I left the apartment at about a quarter to one, no lunch — not very hungry — although a prophylactic swill of a pint of fizzy water as I left.

A cool but mostly sunny day, shirt off at the Consolazione and across the Naia to Porchiano, not expecting much: mistake; Porchiano is a lovely little place, clean as a pin, with a handsome church. My introduction to it was three sheep, one of whom, baaing furiously, felt it wanted to run away: an old woman chased it back — I helped, also retrieved her stick for her that she'd thrown at the poor thing — I did a thorough visit of the town, I think I did every path and street; I'd left, but consulting my little crib sheet I prepare before each walk based on "Todi e Dintorni" realized I'd missed the church, it's not actually 'downtown', so to speak, but 75 m away on its own hill; so I went back and was glad I did: beauti­ful stone nicely worked, a little cul-de‑four apse, right in front of some fall-yellow vineyards —

[image ALT: A small Romanesque stone church, seen three-quarters from the apse. Over the front, a two-arched open belfry of the type known as a 'campanile a vela'. It is the church of S. Lorenzo at Porchiano near Todi, Umbria (central Italy).]

Porchiano: the church of S. Lorenzo (13c).

Asproli on the other hand is nothing much: a very visible, large fake castle with _M_M_M_ crenellations made of concrete to the east of it, a modern church on a sort of south-facing esplanade with a view of mostly forest (what? no castles? well, actually, the walled town of Acqualoreto to the SE): unusually, a standalone belfry, but not attractive, and not old. A couple of workmen on the roof of a 3‑storey house under construction on the S flank of the hill —

Got a bit disoriented, but not lost, heading east to the Izzalini crossroads; very isolated road — oaks — views onto Izzalini towards the end; and then, despite the cars, i.e., one every two minutes or so, the glorious glorious view northwards onto Todi, and Perugia even clearly visible beyond it, and two mountains behind Perugia: one of the most beauti­ful landscapes I know —

Forked off to Romazzano, which in itself is nothing much, but more panoramic views with the Castello di Fiore in the foreground, thru to the old tower of Vasciano Vecchio in the east with its characteristic open arches —

Down to the castle of Belforte mostly to avoid the road, also to do a new route. Rewarded by alternate views and shaded oak lanes; a good view of the castle west of Belforte — After rejoining the road to Camerata (and thus closing the loop with yet another previous hike), cyclamens: and just before the bridge over the Arnata, one white cyclamen plant.

By the time I'd got to Ponte Naia the sun had set although not on Todi: I climbed up into the sun again; the Consolazione a sculptural study in slate blue and pale gold — and back to the apartment at about 5:05, twenty kilometers. Some of the low averages mileage is due to visiting (Porchiano took a good twenty minutes: the same woman with the sheep, whom I saw a second time helping another woman stoke a fire then a third as I left, I couldn't resist telling her how beauti­ful I found the town, and how clean compared to Todi and to my own house, which latter she quite courteously expressed disbelief at) and some to tracking my position in the map — here in Umbria it's in fact mostly so I know what each little castle or church or walled village is in the distance; and finally some to taking all these pictures: when I leave I will surely have one of the most comprehensive collections of views of Todi in the whole world!

About 2 pages ago in fact I moved to dinner at the Umbria; the terrace is finished of course for the season, and instead I'm in the long oblong room before the terrace, at a little table across from the hearth: a 3‑foot-long log and an equally long but thinner branch, surprising how long wood burns; and I can feel just the right amount of warmth, very pleasant, I can also feel a slight lancing pain in my left thigh. . . .

Meal: zuppa etrusca, polenta ai funghi porcini e tartufi, cervelle fritte con carciofi, fave dei morti; wine: Torgiano "Il Pino" di Lungarotti; 2 half-glasses, with my fave, to do a taste comparison, of sweet wine: a Malvasía and a Torcolato; the former from the Lipari islands which as I of c. told the waiter — a little young man of all of 20 with still a bit of baby fat in the face — I didn't think made anything at all; well, he clearly felt the Malvasía is wonder­ful and the Torcolato less so — at least, even before I said anything, he spoke warmly of the former — it's good, alright, but in an obvious sort of way (and in the same line I prefer Beaumes-de‑Venise), and the Torcolato, from the Veneto, although thin, has a rather subtle lemonlike flavor and I think is the better wine. With my coffee, I caved in and after a month and nearly a half of resistance tried the grappa al tartufo which sounds to me like a tourist gimmick, although the same young waiter assures me local clients drink it — It's both curious and negligible: I'd hardly guess truffle, either. [. . .]

And bedtime, 11:30 P.M.!

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Page updated: 7 Dec 20