From Rome, we took a train to Terni in the Umbria region of Italy where we are house- and pet-sitting for about 3 weeks. We were picked up by our homeowners, Michael and Sophie, who greeted us warmly and whisked us away to Canalicchio, a tiny hilltop village smack dab in the center of the country.
We have the pleasure of staying in a renovated 17th-century farmhouse with spectacular views of the rolling hills of this region. Michael and Sophie live on the upper two floors, as we do now. There is a lovely full suite on the main floor that is available for vacation rentals (www.casadellerose.com).
Our charge on this house sit is a sweet but shy Calico cat named Gusta, short for the more regal Augusta.
We had a day and a half to spend with our homeowners before we drove them back to the train station for their train trip to Rome (from whence we came) and then a flight much farther afield. The time spent with Michael and Sophie was a delight. They treated us to a wonderful meal at a restaurant just across a vineyard–the proprietors opened the restaurant just for our party (it is slow time here, still) and the food was wonderful. The next night, Sophie cooked a fabulous spaghetti puttanesca using olive oil pressed from their own olives, and tomatoes preserved from last summer’s bounty.
During the day, Ken drove while Sophie navigated, showing us grocery stores and other important services nearby. Most importantly, Sophie provided two 5-litre jugs, which we took to the Cantina Baldassarri winery. We tasted their offerings, and Sophie gave the order, presumably the Italian equivalent of fill ‘er up. We came away with 5 litres of red Sangiovese and 5 of white (didn’t catch the variety), for a grand sum of €16.50 (or about $1.84 CAD per 750ml bottle). Ken is a happy man.
With coaching from Sophie, Ken took on the chore of pruning back the grapevines while they were away.
We’ve had some great storms here, with lightening brightening up every window in the house, rainy days and fog, with pleasant-but-cool weather in between. We were looking forward to a slower pace and some time to catch up on indoor tasks after weeks of touring in Croatia and Rome, so the weather hasn’t been an issue at all (though knowing there’s a beautiful pool outside under the cover does make me a little envious of those who will be here in the summer).
Ken hasn’t been out on a long hike yet but enjoyed traipsing nearby with his camera.
We’ve managed a few short out trips (besides grocery shopping), including one to the town of Perugia. It was a bit of a maze, including under-the-town tunnels, to find a parking area, but we picked right since we were beside two levels of escalators that took us up to the town center. A chill wind was blowing, so we warmed up in a little cafe and then set out for a walk with only a smartphone in hand.
- Train from Rome Termini to Terni: €7 per person.
- Parking: This is the first time driving in Italy (we didn’t have a car in Rome), so we looked up parking rules. We learned a couple of things like yellow lines are for what we would refer to as registered handicapped or disabled drivers only, and that green lines indicate workday parking restrictions. Unfortunately, we also saw a note about the following ZTL sign (zona traffico limitado, or traffic-restricted zones).
While following our GPS app into the nearby town of Foligno a few days earlier, we had seen signs that I was able to decipher as restricted (I don’t remember the specific imagery), but had no way to go backward. Since there was little pedestrian traffic, we crossed our fingers and carried on through. If this town has cameras, as the above-linked article suggests they might, we could be in for a costly surprise in a few weeks or months. (Sophie, if you are reading this, you know how to find us!)