Ciao amici,
come va?
Rome's tropical weather is still here, refreshing the otherwise scorching hot days. Ruining many outdoor events, but let's see the bright part. Like the perfect temperature for walking through the alleys of Spoleto (Umbria).
bell tower
We were there last week for the Festival Dei Due Mondi. From Umbria's Simposio:

"Maestro Menotti, a composer from Lombardy, studied abroad, in the United States, from a very young age. Around 1956 he decided to found a festival to reunite two worlds under the sparkling, starry sky of art. The new and the old world, America and Europe. "To educate the spirit of the young". "To bring art in daily life."
He began collecting offers from anyone interested in building a bridge to bring Italy closer to the States.
Many contributed. Including a cobbler of Italian origins, who entrusted him with ten thousand dollars! And then artists, saint artists, devoted to art more than money, adhered to the project, expecting nothing but a stage. Luchino Visconti, Carla Fracci, Thomas Schippers, Tennessee Williams, Eduardo De Filippo sooner or later exposed and shared their talent with the thousands of people that came for fame, jet set, or to nourish their souls."
festival billboard
The city was plastered with billboards announcing the festival. Local artisans were in turmoil showcasing their products. Although the lovely Elena at the Ceramiche Umbre tiny and beautiful store (take note, it's a must-go!) told us that festival time is actually low-business time: visitors' budget goes all to theater, opera, and music plays.
- This is the ceramic bracelet I got for myself, but I left my heart on a majestically decorated jar and a pair of ceramic-and-glass goblets, both too delicate for our butterfingers... -
Restaurateurs instead ran from one table to the other like crazy. Anglophones (mostly) occupied half of those tables, but it surprised me how they all appeared to be habitues.
- Newlyweds passed by the restaurant where we were having lunch and were offered a glass of Spumante, followed by huge applause from all the people there! Very sweet! -
Our experience was all foodie and cultural, or at least we tried. Really, we tried.
We also tried to keep lunches light and had "just" a "torta al testo", the Umbrian Piadina-like bread stuffed with local cured meats. Mine was intense and delicious, a must-replicate combo: prosciutto crudo and pecorino, the latter melted under the heat of the grill.
torta al testo
Dinners were a sequence of Strangozzi (the Umbrian flour-and-water rough fettuccine) and game meat. Not at all summery, I know, but it rained, so we felt justified. Plus, local wines like Sagrantino Passito.
Breakfasts were cornetti with the spectacular view of the hotel my husband had sapiently picked.
The venue was old, spider-webs-old, and although the new generation is trying to breathe new life into it, staying there was more an adventure than a fancy experience. Don't misunderstand me: it is absolutely my cup of tea. Especially when you can spend any resting break here:
As for the cultural part... I was so excited for the inaugural concert. It was to be held in the giant piazza facing the Duomo.
The musicians were ready, we were all dressed up, we had read the plot, and we had turned off the phone ringers.
Then a drop fell. Then another. And another.
We gave it time. We sheltered under the ledges of the buildings surrounding the piazza. We even took the opportunity for a Spritz aperitivo and a chat with a friendly local gentleman.
But the more we waited, the darker the clouds and the furious the rainfall.
After an hour or so, an elegantly dressed and wet lady pilgrimaged every corner of the piazza to announce that the concert was canceled.
We called the restaurant to anticipate and ran - almost swam - to our table. Occasionally giving rides under our umbrellas to other starving-for-culture but setting-for-Strangozzi visitors.
How can I admit this? How can I not result as the boor, only-there-to-say-she-was-there, superficial person I really wish I am not?
I could hope that you know Debussy's Pelléas et Mélisande and that you consider it to have the most boring dialogues on earth. I could hope that you've never seen a play that lasted more than two hours. That you consider three hours out of the reach of our limited attention brains, forever affected by television, the internet, and iPhones...
Or I could simply bear responsibility for having left - but my husband and friends with me! and half of the audience too! - the theater after the first act. It's a pity. The scenography was amazing. The leading actress was expressive and communicative, and the orchestra was sublime. The plot was auspicious, it sounded interesting, but the dialogues... Ten minutes about her hair. Ten minutes about the clouds in the sky. Ten minutes to express any concept that built the story.
And want to know the worst part? I wanted to go to another show, a theater play, but we didn't find the tickets. I had no idea which of the shows was good, I admit my ignorance, but for that one, I had a feeling. Well, walking back to the hotel, after the consolation dinner, we met a couple, friends of our friend. They were very happy, enthusiastic!, about the piece they had just seen: Sarto Per Signora... my first choice!!!
Let's stick to the abovementioned bright side. We MUST go back next year, book in time, and do it all over again!

baci bagnati,


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