Sunday, June 11, 2017

Travel Blogging IX

Moored in Pesaro, Italy:  Today we went by bus to the mountaintop town of Urbino, once the ducal seat for the region, then a part of the Papal States in central Italy which reported to Rome. Today it is a university town in a hilltop setting not unlike that of Oregon's medical school.

The surrounding mountainous terrain is particularly beautiful in springtime, which this is. The region builds with brick as there is plentiful clay. The defensive walls are brick as is the ducal palace. I passed on the two-hour walk through the palace and spent the time on the square watching people.

The Caribinieri were having a ceremony honoring, I think, retirees. A band played and there was saluting. Then some talented dude played solo cool jazz sax a la New Orleans French Quarter streetcorner.

I breathed enough second-hand cigarette smoke to cause consumption. Italians haven't gotten the quit-smoking word.

Then we got back on the bus and went to this remote guest farm where we were given another multicourse Italian celebratory meal, better quality today. Their own cheeses, wines, home-made ravioli, sausages, potatoes, prefaced by antipasti, followed by some ho-hum desserts and an excellent bitter cherry liqueur.

Our flaky-looking bus driver got our big bus up this tiny one-lane dirt road to the farmhouse/guest house. Like so many Italians the farm's owner had relatives in the States.

The Urbino region is so pretty one could wish to live there except in winter when it snows. I couldn't help noticing that the hills that gave it beauty would make it a hellish place to fight battles, it is natural defensive terrain as the Allies learned to their sorrow in WW II.

Tomorrow we go to San Marino, a tiny republic totally surrounded by Italy, and arguably the oldest republic in the world, founded in the 400s ce. The other DrC has been looking forward to getting our passports visa stamped there, an absolute formality but a fun one.