This morning we drove along the most beautiful winding road and then on a highway past Lake Trasimeno. This is where a very famous battle occurred between Hannibal and his Carthaginians against the Romans in 217 B.C. Hannibal’s troops were up in the hills and waited to ambush the Romans who were penned in between the hills and the lake. Between 8,000 and 12,000 died, although 6000 survived, and some troops held back. Richard really wanted to see a museum he’d read about. We stopped in Tuoro and asked everyone, and no one knew. Finally, we found the tourist information, and we had to walk way out of town for about a mile and a half. There were no signs, and I was sure we were going the wrong way, but Richard prevailed. Of course, only three rooms of the museum were open because it’s still being put together. The guide was happy to have visitors and talked to us about the battle and gave us a graphic novel in Italian all about it. It was actually this very day that the battle occurred, so he gave it to us as an anniversary present. We also backtracked and found two round pits where the victors burned the bodies of the Roman soldiers after stripping their armor. Anyway, Richard was fascinated and really excited about seeing it. Jack, too.
Next we drove into Perugia and took the Mini Metro right up to the town. We went by all my old haunts, but I had two big disappointments. My barista friend, Patrizia, is no longer at Caffe Tureno because it’s been totally redone under new management. I didn’t like it near as well. Too chic. And the restaurant I marched us to for lunch, La Argentina, with the beautiful views, was closed on Friday? I guess I should have checked. It seems the restaurants rotate on their days off, which I guess is a good thing. Instead we had delicious pannini portare via (sandwiches to go) from the guy at the Bottega. I bought sandwiches from him last year. He’s super friendly and makes each sandwich to order. Then we wandered through the piazzas, down Via Manucci, and to the Punta or point, my favorite view from Perugia. In fact, it’s the banner of this blog. I also showed them underground Perugia, the old medieval city, where Pope Paul III completely built his Rocca Paulina or fortress over it! The Pope was angry at the Perugians and exacted an onerous salt tax. To spite him, the locals stopped putting salt in their bread all over Umbria and Tuscany, which is why the bread is bland unless you dip it in olive oil. To this very day! The Italians are traditional about their grudges.
We had no trouble driving. The roads always have the towns listed in order, so you always know if you are going the right way. Oh, and the Etruscan Arch at the end of my street in Perugia is now fully restored–no scaffolding. You’ll see a photo below. Also, the door I’m standing it front of is the door to my apartment last year, and the window over the door is the one where the crowds of drunks called for Charlotte to come down! Oh, and the photo of the graffiti was fun because I could translate it: “I don’t study, I don’t work, I don’t watch TV.” Jack’s comment: What does he do?