Sunday, June 5, 2016

A Flurry Of Hilltop Towns

The time has come when we must say "arrivederci" to Italy and move ever onwards to the next adventure. We have thoroughly enjoyed our stay here, but it will be nice to be able to get familiar food and to be understood. I had to top up my phone the other day and so off to the WIND SHOP we went where we were handed over to a fluent English speaker. He promptly asked "You are not English where do you come from?" "New Zealand" I replied. "Ah that is why I can't understand you, please speak slowly." He was extremely helpful and sorted my phone in no time flat, but we have been asked if we are German and all sorts. This was over in Abruzzo where not many tourists go, I can't understand why as it is a fantastic area and so much cheaper than Rome and the regular tourist spots.
In Rome we, Jill and I, kept our appointment with Papa Francisco, but the cheeky sod didn't turn up so we had a look around his home and garden while Lee and Murray dodged lightening bolts. There is a fantastic sense of history in the Vatican and the art work, of course, is priceless with works by Boticelli, Michael Angelo and Raphael by way of frescos. Rodin's "Thinker" sculpture is also here (as well as in the Louvre). There are seven kilometers of museum collections and so it is impossible to see more than just a fraction of it.
My personal favourites were the hall of maps and St. Peters Basilica. I probably should include the Sistine Chapel, but having seen so many pictures etc of it I guess it is a matter of familiarity breeding contempt. Besides a Japanese TV network paid for the restoration of the artwork and hold the copyright on it so NO PHOTOS.

By Raphael

Guards by Switzerland

The Magnificent Ceiling In The Hall of Maps

Rodin's Thinker

With Murray and Jill's departure we headed east to Abruzzo, the area of Italy less traveled and completely unknown to us. It has many hilltop villages and towns and they are spectacular, we just love them as they give a glimpse of how life used to be in Italy. One of our favourites was Civitella del Tronto where we  over nighted in a pleasant B&B. That night we went up to a restaurant and overlooked our B&B, next door was a flock of sheep being tended by a shepherd. Cicitella del Tronto was founded around 1000 years ago and it ran through my mind that this scene was also at least that old, that was, at least, until the shepherd hopped into his landcruiser and went off home for the night. That is not the end of it though as the illusion reappeared when we noticed that he had left the flock under the charge of two dogs, not one sheep strayed and dogs and sheep all settled down for the night. There are still wolves, and allegedly bears, in the nearby woods and this truly was a scene from Biblical times.

The Flock of Sheep with Rover 1 and Rover 2 to the left. They look like two more sheep.
(My apologies for the poor quality of the picture)

Civitella del Tronto

And so our tour of Abruzzo, and later Umbria, continued with more gems uncovered by the hour. Another bonus of touring in this area is the cheapness, with coffees costing 1 Euro and a meal for around 6.
Last night we spent in another hilltop town where we also spent most of today. By chance there was a gathering of the Fiat Club d'Itallia and what a colourful sight that proved to be. I remember these little machines in abundance on the autostradas back in the sixties when I first came to Italy and it is great to see them still going strong.

It is great to see these wee beauties.

But not quite so great to see this on the steps of a cathedral.  
Is this the modern face of religion? 
(They were all around the Vatican as well.)

On that note I will bid you farewell, that is until we set up camp in  Britain, so take care and all the best.


1 comment:

  1. Well, that was very interesting and scenic too. Could I use a photo of the Flats on my blog. Have had a lovely few days and George visited for Queens Birthday Weekend. Will try the lawns today. Best wishes