Europe 2012 travel blog

the villa

Pete outside our villa

Jennie's private bathroom

Pete's personal 'office'

San Michele

No tower was allowed to be high than the city tower. The...

Jennie talks to Puccini

A little bit of trouble finding our villa, but worth it.

We each have our own 'apartment' bedroom, bathroom, and an 'extra'. A lounge room or an office/desk space.

Other than Pete's 'office' area, the other additional rooms haven't been used but the communal kitchen and our terrace And the laundry have been in constant use.

Jennie arrive several hours after we had expected her. Ryan Air flight had been delayed and as well she had got a bit lost from the bus station to the villa. Mike and Yve had gone to the bus station hoping to meet her but it didnt happen.

We were getting worried when she finally staggered in.

We are just outside the walls of the city, so location is great.

The old walls are intact so you can walk right round the top on the wide ramparts. One of our goals was to go right round the 4.5km perimeter, Pete has ridden it, Yve and I were short by one exit, so feel we can claim to have done it(!?) There have been three perimeter walls, each one a bit further out. There are remains of the first two, the third is the current one. Even that is around 700 years old.

I thought that as the area of the city was very small finding our way around would be very easy!! Ha!! There are so many winding streets that even knowing the Romans had two straight roads. one east west, and one north south in the original city breaking it up into quadrants hasn't really helped. Jennie and I discovered a couple of interesting looking restaurants, when zipping into a very narrow passage which opened up into a piazza. We ate at one of these later, discovering that its front door opened onto a main shopping street (one car width wide!) (Food has not been expensive but the meal from one of these was our cheapest. 6 euros for a pasta dish and a glass of wine!)

If discovering little passageways and different streets was the goal we would have done well. Getting back to our villa by the shortest route or from point A to point B by any route, without constant reference to the map and street signs (when they are there) has not been so easy. Even Mike who seems to have the best internal compass, once he reverses it for the north south reversal), has found that at night he can be totally confused. Yesterday Jennie, Yve and I walked the wrong way around the ramparts, went north, away from the sun, instead of south (now you know how we came to do the perimeter walk!!) Pete has done better than us, but sometimes used the circular method. Eventually you come across something you recognise and then you can orientate yourself!

There isn't much music in the streets. One Irish fiddler, dressed as a leprechaun, busking, is all Ive seen. But there are lots of concerts. Something and sometimes two or three every night.

Our first concert was amazing for many reasons. One it was cheap, I paid 8 euros (being a 'senior' has its benefits. Full price 12.00, so still very cheap. On our way to the venue we were having a bit of trouble finding the church down a narrow street wide enough for one car, and pedestrians only if they breathe in. We asked a passing driver directions. He said, in an Australian accent, "follow us, we're going there". It later turned out they were the performers. After we had paid for our tickets the male Italian singer came out and gave us a guided tour of the old church. It had been closed for 40 years, but he'd been in occasionally for lessons (singing?)when a pupil in a neighbouring school and knew it had fabulous acoustics. Now as a successful opera singer he had a passion. His project to save the church. He has called in all his friends and between engagements they perform here so there are regular concerts 3 times a week. The two sopranos on this night were Australians. By the end of our stay they were still the best females singers we had heard. Their programme was not always as advertised! A sacred music one became a piano performance of extraordinary talent. They told us about that change so we didn't miss it. The pianist was fantastic. The concerts go for an hour. He came back for 4 encores. Beween peoples heads, I could see his hands when he was playing. THey were smetimes moving so fast they were a blu.

Also did one Puccini/Mozart concert.

Those are very day. The one we went to wasn't nearly as good as that of our 'friends'. I tell you I'm becoming so culturised I don't know myself! Pete and I now have an ambition; to learn more. Pity concerts in Perth are so much more expensive.

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