Archive for May, 2011

Massimiliano – tennis coach

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011

tennis coach Massimiliano

Michael and I continue to play a game of tennis once a week. We had thought about having some lessons for some time and eventually decided to give it a try. The Herculean task has fallen on the shoulders of Massimiliano (Massi to his friends) – in the photo Massi is on the right. We have one lesson a week and he has us practicing our forehands, backhands and serves. Michael and I are like two schoolboys eager to please and being really pleased when Massimiliano says “bene, bene” to one of our shots.

Massi speaks some English and so between Italian and English we each get our message across. We are learning some new Italian e.g. palleggiare and he is learning the corresponding English verb “to knock up”. Another useful phrase for Massi when teaching us to serve is “to throw up”. Michael is taking Massi’s English one step further and letting Massi know that “to throw up” can also mean to vomit”. He hasn’t gone a step further as regards the various shades of  “to knock up”.

We both really enjoy the hour’s training and Massi is a great coach to have.

Worst roundabout in the Marche?

Monday, May 30th, 2011

roundabout in Corinaldo

Some time ago San Giorgio got its first roundabout. It is small and very non-descript. Unfortunately, some other places have gone for roundabouts which are more “noticeable”. From driving around the area  we are listing those roundabouts in the running for the prize of “Worst Roundabout in the Marche”.

Corinaldo is famous for having the best preserved medieval walls in the Marche and it  is also famous  as the birth place of the saint Maria Goretti and its newest roundabout is now in the running for the “worst roundabout”. Not content with flags of the nations on the roundabout they have added a series of rusted brown lamps and finishing the whole with a rusted brown screen with letters cut into it announcing to the passing cars that it is the birth place of Maria Goretti. Not a good look.

Belforte del Chienti

Sunday, May 22nd, 2011

belforte del chienti - polyptych
On Friday Bill, Elizabeth and I went to the south of the Marche, to a small town called Belforte del Chienti. We went to see a Polyptych in the church of St. Eustachio. This  is, apparently, the largest polyptych in Europe. It was painted in 1468 by Giovanni Boccati and remains complete in its original frame. (When Napoleon controlled Italy he had wanted to take it back to France but the local priest had taken the painting to pieces and had hidden it in the roof of the church.)

From San Giorgio we went by motorway to Citanova Marche and then travelled inland to Belforte which is just beyond Tolentino. It is a beautiful little village (below left). The church is in the small central piazza and is open in the mornings and afternoons. When we went in we couldn’t find the light switch to illuminate the painting. However, in the main square there is a small tourist office/proloco which was open. (Afterwards I noticed a notice on the door giving various telephone numbers of people who will open the church if the tourist office is closd). The young man on duty came across, switched on the light and then explained who the various figures in the painting were. Having travelled an hour and a half to get to the church I am glad to report that it was well worth the effort.

In the town square there is also a bar which was unfortunately closed as we had arrived on the feast day of Saint Eustachio. However, although we didn’t get a cup of coffee the guide from tourist office had mentioned in passing that coming to the church on the saints feast day got rid of all sins.

Lunch at Cantiano – Locanda del Brolio

Wednesday, May 18th, 2011

locanda del brolio

After the visit to Monte Petrano we decided to go to Cantiano for lunch. It’s only a few kilometres from Cagli and in the Blue Guide to the Marche the restaurant “Tenetra” was mentioned. When we arrived the Tenetra was fully booked and a rather unhelpful waiter let us know that there was a small place nearby called “Locanda del Brolio”.  It was only about a hundred yards fron the Tenetra. The inside was simple, clean and bright. We all had pasta. Bill and I had Ravioli Zar which was ravioli with walnuts and radicchio and it was excellent. Anne and Nick had Carbonara and gave it the thumbs up. The two ladies serving seemed rather harassed as the place got quite busy and so service was a bit slow but much friendlier than the waiter at the Tenetra. It’s certainly a place I would go back to if in the area.

During the lunch there was a great clap of thunder and when we left the rain was pouring down. So never discovered what Cantiano is really like as the group decision was to head back home for a cup of tea and a cake.

Locanda del Brolio
Via Mazzini 8/10
tel: 0721783068

Monte Petrano (near Cagli)

Tuesday, May 17th, 2011

monte petrano

Erika and Thomas had been telling us about the fields of wild flowers up on Monte Petrano near Cagli. So on Sunday we went with Anne from Mondavio and Nick a friend of Anne’s. We went up in the morning as the weather forecast was for heavy rain in the afternoon.

We made it to Cagli but missed the sign for the short, good road up to the summit of Monte Petrano and instead took the long bad road. So instead of getting to the top of the mountain in five minutes we arrived 45 minutes later having passed some fantastic scenery but not seeing much of it as we tried to manouvre the car round the potholes in the road. 

The summit of Monte Petrano is not a peak but a plateau and if Sunday was a typical day then cool and windy. In spring the fields are covered in wild flowers. Early in the year there are crocusus but at the moment it is covered with buttercups, orchids and beautiful wild narissi. When we arrived the visibility was bad  and so we didn’t see across to Tuscany but we did see lots of wild flowers. The nice thing is that although there are a few paths it is OK to walk across the fields and enjoy the flowers.
monte petrano

A good choice

Monday, May 16th, 2011
ornithogalum ornithogalum magnum

In the autumn of last year Pam from Tavernelle showed us a bulb catalogue. We selected some tulip bulbs which she kindly ordered for us. Apart from the tulips we also ordered some bulbs of “Ornithogalum magnum”. We had never seen this before but in one of the gardening books there was a picture of an attractive white plant with a white star shaped flower – its common name is Star of Bethlehem (photo on left). So we decided to buy it. What a good buy!  The variety Ornithogalum magnum (right)is very showy as you can see. Hasn’t quite the delicacy of the standard variety but its looks very exotic and seems to have about 100 star of bethlehem plants on one stem. Very glad we bought it.

Chili con Carne

Wednesday, May 11th, 2011

chili con carne

Most mid price restaurants in the Marche offer the  same basic menu. So when you go for a meal you already know the menu – passatelli with mushrooms, tagliatelle with ragu, mixed grill, fillet steak etc. Menus seldom change, they don’t offer a dish of the day reflecting what is in season and living here you sometimes for something different.
osteria del teatro
One place that does have a changing menu is the Osteria del Teatro in Senigallia. The core menu remains the same but every week there are 2 different pastas and a different main course. On Saturday night the main course on offer was Chili con Carne. This was the first time I had ever seen chili con carne on offer in this region. Marco, the owner told us that a customer had said he would like them to serve some spicy food and so the chef decided to prepare spaghetti with a dash of chili, chili con carne as a main course and a dessert with a chocolate and chili ice cream. Not sure how many Italian customers opted for the chili but all four of us did and it was excellent.

Colle Maratona 2011

Monday, May 9th, 2011
marathon 2011 marathon 2011

Can’t believe a year has passed since the last Colle Maratona – the marathon run from Barchi to Fano. There were 1,021 entrants this year. It was a beautiful, warm, sunny day and probably not ideal for at least 3 hours of running.

As last year it was an African who was in front when they reached San Giorgio. In second place was a north African. (When talking to some friends about the blog entry I said I could call it “The Future of Italy” as with lots of immigrants arriving from Africa in recent months people are concerned about the impact on Italy’s future and if the immigrants are winning the Barchi to Fano Marathon where will it all end.)

Normally the event passes uneventfully but this year there was a fall. The road past our house is on a nasty slope and the road surface is not the best. A group of runners were passing by and suddenly one fell. Not sure if it was the road surface or if he had touched one of the other runners but he went flying to the ground and when he struggled up his shoulder and leg were badly scraped.
marathon 2011

City of fountains and flowers

Sunday, May 8th, 2011
fountain in cattolica fountain in cattolica
cattolica flower festival <cattolica flower show

Here  in the Marche when approaching a town you are often confronted with a sign telling you why the town is famous. None go as far as saying “Town of wine, women and song” but simple statements such as San Michael the “town of the parks” or Cartoceto the “town of olive oil”.

We went to Cattolica last week for the “Cattolica in Flower Festival”. There were no signs on the approach to Cattolica but we wouldn’t have been surprised is it had annonced itself as the “city of fountains” as scattered throughout the town are various fountains each of different size and beauty but no doubt all of them memorials to ex mayors who wanted to have his name remembered by future generations.

We went to the festival not expecting very much as last year we had been to the “Fano in Flower Festival”. Fortunately when they say Cattolica in Flower they mean Cattolica in flower as 5 or 6 of the main streets were full of market stalls selling potted plants. We bought some jasmine, some rhubarb (the first time I had seen it for sale in Italy) and 14 Busy Lizzies for 10 euros. I was slightly disappointed that there weren’t many stalls sellling shrubs but overall it was a really good show. Extra bonuses were the weather which was warm and sunny despite the forecast for cool, dull weather. Another bonus was the nice cafes were you could relax between visiting the market stalls and finally we found a very nice fish restaurant which looked rather uninviting from the outside but they had very friendly staff and served good fish.  

Must get round to doing a back up!

Sunday, May 8th, 2011

During the week I turned on the computer to have a black screen and the information that that the windows startup file had been corrupted. The sytem told me I would have to restore using the original disk which came with the computer. When I put this disc into the cdrom drive it told me that the sytem would be restored to the original factory settings. But not to worry as all the data would be saved.

I pressed the “R” for recovery button as requested and after about 30 minutes the computer was back to its pristine state – i.e. no Realplayer, no Adobe readerr etc. Unfortunately there were also no data files. Not to worry as of course I have a back up. Unfortuneately time seems to be getting faster with each passing year and so I discovered that the last back up was further back than I thought.  We have never had such a serious crash from the computer before and so a valuable lesson learned and so no doubt we will in the future be doing a backup at least once a month.