“May you live in interesting times.”

October and November have been months that I will never forget.

I was in Spello, Italy for a 2-month stay during September and October, when my two girlfriends joined me in Spello for the first two weeks of October, and then a final week in Florence—girlfriends who were my roommates in Florence in 2003, . . . → Read More: “May you live in interesting times.”

Walking to my Lesson with Angelo

This post is not a story in words, but one in pictures of Spello. Most mornings at 9 a.m. I have a lesson in Italian language, culture, customs, history and Spellano dialect with Angelo Mazzoli, and I leave my house a few minutes early to make the walk to his house.

I was struck . . . → Read More: Walking to my Lesson with Angelo

A “Progressive Dinner” and Poetry on Via Giulia

Old historic Spello is divided into three “terzieri,” or three big neighborhoods, and the one here at the top of town (my “district”) is the “Terziere Pusterola.” According to the lesson I just had with my teacher, Angelo, at one time there were three principal palaces in Spello, each with a “godfather” of the . . . → Read More: A “Progressive Dinner” and Poetry on Via Giulia

Catching a Stone Mason at Work

In a medieval village with Roman roots, and with an economy largely based on tourism, there is no good time for making improvements to the infrastructure. Spello has been destroyed and recreated several times, including after a short battle here with Hannibal (about 217 B.C.) when the townspeople lost and Spello was nearly leveled. . . . → Read More: Catching a Stone Mason at Work

One Photo Says It All

I’ve known Pall for a few years now, and Birgit just about as long as Pall. She lives near me in California, and he has been living in Riomaggiore, one of the villages of Cinque Terre, for about a dozen years. When they found time to visit me here in Spello during a lull . . . → Read More: One Photo Says It All

Two Cooks Who Can “Stand the Heat”

On one Saturday afternoon, just as I was arriving back home on my bike from a long ride in the valley below, Paola and her cousin, Giuseppina, caught me and invited me to go with them to pick figs from an abandoned grove of trees. I was warned that they were not watered or . . . → Read More: Two Cooks Who Can “Stand the Heat”

Two more repairs crossed off the “To Do” list

I came this time with a list of the small repairs that still needed to be done in my house, many minor and some more important. With both a leak from the bidet and a leak under the kitchen sink, it was time to call Bruno—the same plumber who helped me with installing my . . . → Read More: Two more repairs crossed off the “To Do” list

Been Some Changes in Antonio’s Garden

When I left in mid-June, Antonio was lamenting the bad weather that had plagued Spello and Umbria (and most of Italy) all spring, with constant rain putting him far behind his usual garden preparation and production. In fact, I was told that “the rain started in October, and didn’t stop until late May.” When . . . → Read More: Been Some Changes in Antonio’s Garden

A Walk in Collepino after Dinner

Collepino is a very small village on Mount Subasio, completely built from the pink and white limestone taken from the quarry on the mountain (which has now been closed for many years). There is not an unpainted shutter or door in the village, and it is spotless—but very small, with about 40 inhabitants. I . . . → Read More: A Walk in Collepino after Dinner

A Night at the Onion Festival, in Cannara

The same day that I went to Cannara on my bike, I was invited by Phil and Suzanna (neighbors here, Americans, permanent residents for about six years) to go with them and her sister, Tricia, to the Festa della Cipolla, and I happily accepted. I had the brochure with the menus, studied each of . . . → Read More: A Night at the Onion Festival, in Cannara