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Wednesday 9 November

Got my good weather. What a curious, curious day it's been so far (it's 6:35 P.M. and I haven't showered and dressed yet for dinner with the Galletti family, so this account might not all get written before that) —

Predictably, I woke up latish, a few minutes before nine; I dawdled a bit, or at least I didn't hurry, so was only out of the apartment at 10:30, having chosen my route, transcribed my crib sheets, packed my marsupio,º eaten breakfast (the two eggs that had been sitting forlornly in the fridge for weeks, sopped up with some equally old bread, hard as a rock; coffee, grapefruit juice, a dose of fizzy water as pre-walk insurance), and I went to the post office to mail a letter.

First oddity: she weighed my letter, it would cost 4000₤, I said good, let's put some pretty stamps, we starting picking 'em out and keeping a running total — then she pasted a 4000₤ (any which way) on the envelope before I could stop her. . . So of c. I dropped the others — she looked as puzzled as I was — not my Italian — don't know what she could have thought.

Down to Ponte Rio, cool weather, fog in the valley, but still took off my sweatshirt and my shirt at the Perugina, and after a while it warmed up: my hands were warm by the time I got to Pian di Porto.

The countryside to Ilci, and Ilci itself, are nothing much;​1 at Ilci I knew I'd be going to Cacciano to see the castle, but looked at my map and saw "La Torre" several hundred yards away in some footpaths, and, despite dozens of places called Torre, for some reason I took the (muddy) paths, with clumps of mud sticking to my shoes to accommodate Torre. I was right, that was the castle: 1 up for intuition. It was very much worth seeing (there have only been 5 good castles in these wooks:º Fiore, Belforte, Sismano, Montenero — and Cacciano) although totally abandoned: signs that maybe ten years back someone started to fix it but quickly gave up. 150 yards after: round a bend, a car with Milan license plates, driver stepped out to ask me if I were the owner of the farmhouse he was parked in front of — I told him no but go see the castle, he learned something, drove off, heard him stop maybe, then drove back and passed me near the village of Cacciano, waving pleasantly.

The village of Cacciano proper isn't much either, although in an otherwise nondescript wall, a rebuilding within the last fifteen years of an old tower part of someone's house, there was an extremely old piece of what, from the decoration, I believe to have been a Roman altar of at least the time of Claudius. A pleasant little place, though.

On the way to Ripaioli, the landscape getting more characteristically Umbrian (hillier, the alternate golden browns and greens) [. . .]

Ripaioli, which from "Todi e Dintorni" I was prepared to dismiss as sort of nothing, is pretty nice although half the town is abandoned; there is a very nice belfry here too. On the other hand, the day's second mystery: I went looking for Sara Mammarella (and the Agenzia Immobiliare Tuder) from whom I rented this apartment. Five different people had never heard of her nor it; but the last, after I insisted, said there was a Sara at Battifolle 400 yards away, who lived in the "palazzo" and who worked at something like that — so off I went to Battifolle (my crib sheet reminded me that "Todi e Dintorni" found it an interesting place, which helped).

It is. Battifolle is a single large habitat, for lack of a better word, comprising about 5 interlocking multistorey houses around a central courtyard one side of which opens into a one-room church (with a fresco of beauty over the altar and a large oil painting that looked good but that I never got a good look at because I was being accompanied by the two sweetest most wonder­ful friendly big collies, and I don't encourage dogs in church, so. . . .

There seemed to be only one inhabitant in [. . .] who said Sara lived here — rang a bell marked "N Y" (but then the whole place is inhabited only by Y's) — noone in — she ought to be around, she chains the dogs up when she goes far — Finally I left, leaving a little paragraph for la Gentile Signora Sara Mammarella —

On to Pantalla — somehow had also been led by "Todi e Dintorni" to think Pantalla was a dump: it isn't at all, altho' growth around it has mushroomed; but the center of town, especially the view onto it, is rather charming. Still, nothing really much; and, here being the farthest north of the remaining unvisited places in the Book! was the point I had to choose. Typically, I chose to defer my decision until I reached the road to Assignano; making only the decision to go east rather than west or south, based on a whole passel of very diverse reasons: (1) a dislike for going over ground twice; (2) a dislike for big roads and traffic; (3) I wanted to see the church I missed at San Terenziano [. . .]

Note in the Diary:

1 although the 1923 belfry is quite handsome; and there was a tiny kitten but very confident who just walked up to me and asked to be petted — Almost all the village cats everywhere have been very frightened —

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