A Clear Day in Umbria


Friday, December 22, dawned with particularly clear skies and beautiful morning light.  As I’ve said in other posts written here in Narni, the changing light over the town and the valley is one of my favorite things about staying here.  It never disappoints.

Michael had a difficult night and decided to stay in for the morning.  Joan and I wandered in town before ending up at the Narni city museum, which is small but has a few interesting items in its collection.

The 700,000 year old tusks are impressive for many reasons.  Looking at them makes me wonder what the world will be like in another 700,000 years.  Shoot, it makes me wonder what creatures will be wandering the earth a mere 100,000 years into the future.  Maybe they will have figured out what to do with our nuclear waste.

Our afternoon’s excursion had us being driven to Amelia, about 7 miles away, by an only marginally better Michael.  He stayed in the car while Joan and I explored this little hill town, which is surrounded by beautiful Roman walls.

Our most important discovery was of the Girotti gelato shop on the Via Della Repubblica.  And, happily, we discovered it on our way up, which allowed us to have cones as we ascended the hill and then get cups to go just before we left the confines of the walls.  Possibly the best pistacchio gelato ever; made with pistacchio “butter” from Bronte in Sicily where the best pistachios come from.  The young man who was behind the counter on our return visit was very obliging and wanted us to try everything.  He showed us the tub of pistachio butter (more the consistency of tahini) and pointed out that it was “cento per cento” Bronte pistacchios.

He explained how hurricanes in Madagascar had caused huge increases in the cost of the vanilla that they use for their gelato (tre cento euro per tub!!!)  No more vanilla for a while as a result. He also asked about Trump although his “trampa” didn’t instantly register as “Trump.”  Once it did, Joan and I made appropriately horrified and apologetic faces.  Finally, he let us know that Neapolitan pizza is the best in all of Italy . . . he’s from Naples, so he may be prejudiced.  Who knows why a young man from Naples is working in a gelateria in Amelia but I am glad he is because it made our experience about much more than just ice cream.

The municipal museum in Amelia is very good, better than Narni, and worth a longer visit than we gave it.  Its most impressive piece is a reconstructed bronze statue of Germanicus.  A rare example of a Roman era bronze.  The statue was discovered in pieces in 1962 during excavation for some sort of development. Its reconstruction involved many experts and the final product is quite impressive.

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