Saturday, September 20, 2014

Day 11 Painting Day, 9-19-14

After breakfast, walk, and laundry, I painted a scene at our hotel that I decided on because of looking through hundreds of photos I've taken so far.  I'll use the photo for the composition idea but paint it from life. Around noon Carol and I went back into town for a wine and olive oil tasting at a museum that was closed when we were there a few days ago--there we ran into four others from our group and we all went to the wine festival tasting across town that was very interesting. Somewhere around 30 local wineries were present, each with a complete line of their wines which we could sample. I tried some whites, almost all were Trebbiano grapes, very nice, and Passito which are red dessert wines-surprisingly there were amazing differences in these from the same grapes all from the same area, most were Sagrantino grapes.  It was a good time and Dave took lots of photos. Then there was a crit here at the hotel, then supper of stringelli with vegetables and a lite sauce, pork medallions wrapped in bacon with salada misto and chocolate mousse.
My painting 9x12 of the wall outside our door came out fairly well considering I had a limited palette.
Hey, Dave, send me some photos!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Day 10 Spoletto, 9-18-14

After breakfast we traveled to Spoletto, about an hour away. It is a beautiful ancient town which still has nice remnants of the Roman civilization and influence such as an amazing huge viaduct that we walked over and an amphitheater as well as other artifacts such as columns, etc.  The rest of the area still looks medieval. Walking around the old city was very comfortable to see the natives on their everyday activities. We visited two attractions, the Museum of Modern Art and the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assanta from the 12th and 13th centuries. This was the most beautiful church and I have many photos. Afterwards we stopped at a modern mall and went to a large grocery store that was like a dollar store.  I bought two bottles of San Marguerita wine for about $4 each and priced it when I got home at close to $40 each!  Tonight we had fish for dinner and the first course was ravioli with a light cream sauce with nuts in it and a foamy lemon drink for dessert.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Day 9 Painting, cooking & winery, 9-17-14

I painted for an hour before breakfast then we had a lesson from the Nona on how to make two pastas, one was for ravioli and the other for stringelli.  She used many egg yokes in the ravioli pasta so it came out an ochre color and the regular pasta she put into the pasta machine to get a large flat sheet then rolled it over a contraption (pictured here) that had wires across it like the strings of a guitar, but lots more. This cut it into long strings. (When it was cooked it magically had a hole through the string.) Francisco made the stuffing for the ravioli of ricotta, spinach, nutmeg, then they portioned it onto squares and folded it to make hoods.  Then Carol and I went up town after and went to the local museum, then strolled around Montefalco and had a drink and a snack in the piazza. We returned in time to be off to the winery Bocale with the group. It was the type of wine tasting where they bring out many courses of food.  They grow marvelous tomatoes here-abouts and excellent olive oil. The bruschetta is from heaven! This winery makes totally organic red wines, three varieties of grapes, 2 wines, 1 dessert wine, and 1 grappa.  They make the best sagrantino in the region. So now that we've had breakfast, lunch, winery snacks and are waiting for dinner, I'm showering and writing this blog. My cold BTW is totally gone.
Regarding my painting, I finished the 11x14 I started a couple of days ago. I started it late, near sunset, didn't like the lighting effects. I liked the spot and saw it originally early in the morning on my walk but later in the day it had a different effect so going back early allowed me to redo it with a more pleasing color scheme.

View of our unit

Cooking Class

See contraption with wires?

Old Olive Tree

Inspiration for painting I painted

Hows the boss?

Bocale Winery, two types of grape turn differently in Autumn
My morning inspiration of scene I painted

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Day 8-Gubbio, 9-16-14

Breakfast then bus trip to Gubbio. Gubbio is a good-sized hill town from probably over 2 thousand years ago.  It is so steep that they have a couple of elevators to take people up to different stages. 
Tablets were discovered here that were only recently transcribed that were created in about 2 BC  and describe the way people worshiped in these regions before that time. There is a park there where 41 people were lined up and shot during WWII. It was market day and we enjoyed roaming through the stalls. I had my pork sandwich for 2.50 Euro. They have a roasted whole pig-still warm-and shave off the meat. We visited two museums and we saw a few more churches, one was total simplicity (beautiful)-see photo. They have a 2-person basket that takes you to the top-like a ski lift-but it was starting to rain and closed when we got there. We have become like billy goats and don't mind climbing anymore.

Day 7-Assisi, 9-15-14

Early breakfast then bus trip to Assisi.  We spent about 5 hrs exploring the old city and the churches, saw the tombs of St. Francis of Assisi and St. Claire. Also saw the Santa Maria degli Angelina basilica. Got back to hotel in time to rest before dinner.  The weather has been perfect, cool to warm, and all the food here is excellent.  I bought a small bottle of walnut liquor to try it.  
Rome arrangements: Carol and I were able to finalize our connection from this trip to the next one today. Our hotel found a driver for us. This is wonderful because it saves us a lot of time and effort-we would have had to drag our big heavy luggage on two trains and a couple of buses and stay over another night in Rome and have our bags held at the hotel-this way costs the same but it's much easier and no bag lugging on trains, etc. 

Friends from our group rounding the corner

I loved the light under this fountain

St Francis of Assisi Church