Wednesday, June 08, 2005


On Saturday we had yet another perfect day. The cool morning gradually warmed up, but we still had a nice breeze and moderate temperatures. I had just said to Art “Aren’t we going to do anything today? It’s so beautiful!” when the phone rang.

It was Rosemary and Bob who had taken the bus from Perugia to Marsciano in search of a strawberry festival. They had seen a poster advertising it in Perugia, and thought it was being held in Marsciano. Upon arriving in Marsciano, they discovered that there was no festa there, strawberry or otherwise, but good instincts led them to Ternana’s for lunch. They didn’t realize it was the same place we had taken them until they stepped inside, and then they knew they’d get a great pizza.

They decided to take a chance a call us because they were so close, and we were so glad they did. We really didn’t know what to do, so we decided to drive down to Marsciano and see if we could find the strawberry festival. We asked about it at our local bar, and they told us the name of the small city where it was being held. They also told us that nothing would be happening during the day….something that we’ve learned, but Bob and Rosemary had not. Even on the weekends, most of these festivals don’t get going until about seven thirty in the evening.

After we picked up Bob and Rosemary, we just headed out in the car for parts unknown. We stopped at Fratta Todina for a quick walk-through and happened to see a poster for some sort of festival in Todi. Knowing how touristy Todi is, we thought there was a good chance the activities would be going on all day so we decided to give it a shot.

There were booths set up in the main piazza, but because this was during the normal afternoon riposa time, not a lot was happening. We finally walked down to a large building covered with banners and discovered lots of booths set up inside. Bob and Rosemary stopped to listed to one artisan explain about how he stamps his art on glass, while Art and I wandered upstairs. We found the usual tables with cheese and oil and wine. Samples were everywhere, and once Bob and Rosemary joined us we sampled a bought a few goodies.

Our friend from Rotecastello had been passing out brochures advertising an antique car show taking place on Saturday night. This apparently was part of a two day road rally that had started in Terni. The participants were spending the night in Marsciano but were driving up to Rotecastello for a dinner, and the cars would be on display. The brochure said they would arrive at seven thirty, so we asked Bob and Rosemary if they would like to come to our house for dinner, and then go to the car show with us. We couldn’t make any promises, but it was worth a try. 
We stopped in the Coop for a few supplies the headed back to San Venanzo. I threw dinner together quickly…bruschetta to start, followed by pasta with a tomato/basil/garlic/oil and almond dressing, hen I grilled some pork chops and steamed some green beans. It was simple, delicious and filling. By the time the dishes were done it was nearly seven thirty so we drove the short trip to Rotecastello.

The cars hadn’t yet arrived but the townspeople were getting ready. Several young men were in their medieval costumes and were practicing their drums. Several others in medieval costume joined us at the bottom of the hill as we waited for the cars to arrive. Eventually there were about twenty cars lining the road, all waiting….and waiting…..and waiting.

Finally, at eight thirty, we gave up. We still had to drive Bob and Rosemary back to Perugia, and they were trying to make connections with a friend who had just arrived in Perugia. We figured we’d pass the cars on our way down to Marsciano, but we never saw them. As we passed the Coop parking lot we were surprised to see the cars still on display there, hoods still up, people still milling about. No telling what time they finally made it to Rotecastello.

Bob and Rosemary’s friend eventually got through to them on the phone, and although we were never completely sure where he was staying, they made plans to meet the next day. We dropped them off at the bus station and started back to San Venanzo.

We hadn’t known what to do with our day, but somehow it unfolded as we went along. We never made it to the strawberry festival, the activities in Todi weren’t exactly exciting and the car show was a complete dud, we had a nice time with Bob and Rosemary. After all, what could be better than driving around the beautiful Umbrian countryside, just enjoying the day with friends?


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