Saturday we had planned to take Nedra, one of the Americans we have met who is studying here in Perugia for the month of September, on a little tour of Perugia, to show her some of our favorite places since she is only here a short time and hadn't had the chance to see some of these things. We met in the morning and her friend Pamela, also American, joined us. We even ran into the young Canadian woman, Josie, we met months ago who is studying here in Perugia and a friend of hers, Dona, from South Africa with Italian roots as well. We introduced each other all around and, since we were headed in the same direction, walked along together. The Tempio San Michele Arcangelo was our destination and those of us who had been there before enjoyed it once again, and those new to it were in awe of its simple beauty. There was even a wedding about to take place so there were flowers decorating the altar and a chorus practicing - a free concert for us and quite a treat hearing these beautiful voices in this incredible space. The bride was of course lovely and such a wonderful little bonus to be able to watch this intimate event take place. We try to stay in the background at these times and not be too intrusive, since after all, it really is a private moment and not a tourist event. But quite a delight to witness.
We were disappointed that the Basilica San Pietro was closed on Saturdays but at least showed them around this area of town which they hadn't known existed and hopefully they will have time to go back and see it and the medieval garden that adjoins it. We stopped at a tiny place that makes what is called a "piada" - a type of bread that is sort of like a tortilla, but not really - fresh, from scratch, right on the griddle in front of you and filled with any combination of meats, vegetables and cheeses you desire and is served in a folded cardboard container so that all the drippings can be caught there and not spill all over you! It's wonderful and Nedra liked it so much she managed to ask the proprietor how to make one and he actually wrote down the recipe! We were astounded that he would do it but it was so much fun and Nedra was thrilled.
We parted company with them as Nedra went off to the beauty parlor and we went home to rest up for the evening ahead and "La Notte Bianca," billed as non-stop cultural events all through the night here in Perugia and we anticipated staying up late. We decided to see if Sergio was home and give him his gift bottle of wine and so rang the doorbell of his palazzo only to reach his elderly father. This was the first time we had met this 90-year-old gentleman, a retired professor of Greek and Latin, renowned among scholars as having written two editions of a definitive Greek dictionary and is quite respected in this area. Never having laid eyes on us he called his son, Sergio's brother, who then retrieved Sergio for us! By this time Bob was giving me dirty looks that said, "I told you we should have called first and not just dropped by!" but of course it was too late and all we could do was wait for Sergio who graciously invited us in.
Rita offered us coffee and we couldn't refuse (more dirty looks from my husband who hates intruding and bothering people unannounced) so we sat for a bit and chatted with them, gave Sergio his gift of a bottle of Sagrantino wine from the Antonelli winery. Rita gave us some books to borrow on Assisi and Umbria since the kids are coming and she is incredibly helpful. I'm sure it was a big blunder for us to just show up like that so I hope they don't think too poorly of us. You would never know it if they did, they are nothing but gracious and welcoming whenever we see them. Sergio had picked up the papers we need to get our permit to be able to drive through the city any time we want - without this, you cannot do that before 1pm in the afternoon and after 10pm in the evening. More freedom for us and more gratitude for Sergio who helped us fill in the form and told us what we had to make copies of - international drivers license and paperwork that says we own the car etc. He told us if we prepare all of that he will handle getting the permit since it will be much easier for him to do it than us. Yesterday Bob made all the copies and on Monday morning he will get the tax stamp and turn it all over to Sergio. He's hoping to go with him so he can see how the process works for future reference.
By the time we did all that the day was getting late and we began to hear the sound of drumming and of course had to run down to the piazza to see what was going on. Festivities for "La Notte Bianca" were supposed to begin around 5 and I was sure we were going to miss something if we didn't hurry down!
Rosemary & Bob
(to be continued. See "La Notte Bianca 9.24.05)