Sunday, November 29, 2009

Umbria, Part 3

At The Molino:

This is rather like indoor camping. A dribble of hot water, a constant draft, a fire. Cooking on gas, tiny refrigerator, no cupboards. Bed very cot-like. The sound of the stream outside, the waterfall. This morning a fisherman stood hip-boot-high middle of the torrenti with a retractable pole, casting. Fishing season opened today (or yesterday) and apparently there is some life in this stream. The mailman drives by and honks; I don’t know why. It’s pretty quiet here, the end of the road about a mile and a half uphill, maybe a half dozen farms up the road. Peered in through the laundry room at the ancient millworks, the date “1767” carved into a stone.

At the antiques market, Arezzo: things, pieces of things,

pieces of pieces of things:

armoires, WWII army helmets, 19th century botanical prints,

a bar of hotel soap with the Porsche logo, dentist tools,

prosthetic glass eyes, iron candlesticks, rakes & brooms,

rope by the meter, tablecloths, doilies, embroidered napkins,

seventies-handbags, boots & shoes, hand-carved chairs,

dining tables, books, wooden pieces of old buildings

(window frames, mouldings, door panels, lintels),

ceramic jugs, tea cups, sets of silverware in ornate cases,

a stethoscope, mosaic tiles, oil portraits of anonymous

dowagers, mirrors, hand-knitted hats & gloves,

sets of china, rhinestone broaches – all existing

in a chilled fog, the threat of rain, street after cobbled street.


  1. I've got a lot of catch-up reading to do. I thought you were there now, until I went looking for Part 1! I was there exactly two years ago and hope to visit again next year. Did you visit Anghiari?

  2. Hi Alaine -- no, didn't get to Anghiari. Lucky you to go again!

  3. How soon we forget! I quote from
    ...T. and Robin shopped for shoes in Anghiari ... We also had dinner one night in a hotel restaurant in Anghiari -- apparently there were no guests at the hotel since we had the place to ourselves -- us and the giant TV. The favorite Italian shows at present are a sort of "Who Wants to be a Millionaire" but the pacing is infuriatingly slow, with loooooong pauses and cutaways between the contestants looking pained and the emcees looking sly.

  4. When I lived in Vermont, the mailman would always honk. ?? Must be some relic of ancient mail delivery systems etiquette.

  5. Blogalot: oops! I remember that dinner! (I believe I suffered a laughing fit there....)

    Patrice -- you know, I found out after I wrote this journal entry that it was actually the bread man who honked! Imagine that: he honks, you run outside and buy a loaf of fresh bread. He offered me a lift one day down from the hills and the van was filled to the gills with loaves. We had a lovely conversation in spite of the fact that he spoke no English, and my Italian is limited to three or four words.

  6. I particularly like the remoteness of it all and hey sounds like a great place to do a bit of shopping. Prosthetic eye anyone?

    Another nice installment! Its like watching a travel documentary.

  7. Thanks, RW! Unfortunately, this is the last installment. I wish I had more, or, I wish I had written more. I could refer you to my Ireland travelogues, but, alas, I don't think they'd hold much interest for you!