Cappuccino, Monks and this Gate in Spello

The Cappuccini Gate in Spello.

What’s the connection between this gate in Spello, a cappuccino, an order of monks and Lizzie Witch.

Well, if you are a child it’s all about frothy milk and Lizzie Witch so for children go to the programme here: Frothy milk

If you are an adult then read on!

Around 1520 a friar from Marche in Italy said that God felt that the lifestyle of friars of his day was not that intended by their founder, St. Francis of Assisi and He endeavoured to return to the original primitive lifestyle

The Church tried to surpress this movement and Friar Matteo and his followers had to go into hiding. They were given refuge by the Camaldolese Monks and later adopted the hood or Cappucio worn by that order as a mark of gratitude. From this came the name of the order. Capuchin Momks.

Legend has it that when a Turk army fled after marching on Vienna in 1683 they left lots of sacks of coffee beans behind. The coffee made with these beans was very bitter and so milk and honey was added to make it drinkable. The drink was called Cappucino after the capuchin order of Monks the habits of which also just happened to be the same colours as a Cappuccino.

Above: the road in Spello leading from the Cappuccini Gate.

48 hours in Catania 


48 Hours in Catania. Sicily.We have just returned after a wonderful couple of days in Catania, the largest city after Palermo in Sicily. 
            Click on this link to watch the video


We thought we would take advantage of the great low fares offered by Ryanair from our local airport, Perugia. 
Our flight from Perugia cost around €70 return for the two of us. It took just over one hour. 
I like flying but I am NOT a lover of airports ! The exception being Perugia!!  
To me the airport experience is usually tedious, stressful, expensive and pretty boring. Long queues. Expensive refreshments. Expensive parking. Stressful check-ins. Long distances to walk (or offen run!) ) Often not-very-helpful staff, Etc etc etc.
Flying from Perugia is GREAT! The airport is small and cosy. It’s like going home! Everyone remembers you. The staff, including the bar, customs, police, car hire, everyone …are friendly, helpful, accommodating. The appropriate word probably is HUMAN! I’ve yet to find an airport like this anywhere else ! Arent we lucky to live just thirty minutes away!!

  Above: We loved the area around Piazza Duomo. It was so full of life and character and culture. 

The flight to Catania took just over one hour and yet the Ryanair staff somehow managed to deliver their usual drinks and food and duty-free and scratch cards looking their usual smiley and stress free selves despite passengers finding it difficult to get organised! It was a late flight arriving in Catania about 9pm.

We had booked (with Ryanair) the bus … Alibus …to Piazza Stesicoro and that worked very smoothly. The driver was great and told us when our stop was coming up. It was a twenty minute transfer.

                   Above …our GREAT B&B

Getting off the bus, was, I must admit a bit of a culture shock! Coming from quiet, clean and peaceful Umbria to Sicily is well, WOW! Especially when arriving after dark. Maybe arriving from Liverpool or London or Milan would be kinder! It’s the noise and cars and litter and people and a feeling of ‘…are we safe here!’ But our concerns soon vanished . We were safe and everyone was very friendly and helpful and only too eager to help us find our B&B. In fact the people of Catania are really adorable ! It was difficult to tear ourselves away from bars and restaurants and the B&B because we just wanted to stay and chat!  

We chose B&B Stesicoro because it had such good reviews and because it was so central. We were NOT disappointed! 

Don’t be put off by the entrance down a short dark alleyway. It’s fine. The actual B&B fronts onto the piazza and it’s great fun before breakfast watching the marketeers set up every morning. 


        Above: Piazza Stesicoro. Right outside our B&B 

View of B&B Stesicoro Via Etnea is one of the busiest and most popular streets in the city, cluttered with shops and restaurants and bars. It leads to the Duomo and castle and market plus you can always see Etna! Unfortunately, because of the clouds I never got to take a good photo of this majestic volcano which towers over Catania and, according to locals remains active, erupting every summer for a week or so.  

Right outside the B&B is the Piazza Stesicoro complete with the ruins of an amphitheatre and some of the most magnificent examples of Baroque architecture you will see anywhere. Just five minutes away is a lovely green park . An oasis. Somewhere for people like me who really NEED a green break every day!

The Rooms and the location and the people are just amazing. We will definitely go again to Catania and we will definitely stay at this same B&B. The family are so lovely and do everything possible to make your stay a happy one. The rooms are large and very tastefully decorated and furnished. Everywhere is spotless. English is spoken. The air-con and WiFi works well. Breakfast is your typical Italian Prima Colazione with delicious fresh and hot pastries, boiled eggs, ham, cheese, yoghurt, fresh fruits,bread and freshly made coffee. 


    Above:  San Nicolò 

On our first day we had a good wander around the Piazza and the small roads leading from it taking in a few churches ( there are hundreds!) the university and ending up at the church of San Nicolo and the adjoining monestry. San Nicolò (above) is a very strange looking church. The bul dung began in 1702 but was never completed. It is possible to go up the tower where a wonderful clear view of Mount Etna awaits but unfortunately we arrived at the church when it was closed for the afternoon siesta and so missed this attraction. But the adjoining monetary was well worth a visit. 

       Above:  the Castle 

The Duomo On our second day we turned right onto Via Etnae and walked for ten minutes past shops and restaurants to the Piazza Duomo. This piazza is spectacular and so are the multitude of little streets leading off it. This area is so interesting and became our favourite. We really loved the huge street market which spreads out from the piazza and is open every day except Sunday. The sights, sounds and smells are incredible!  

The market From here it’s only a quick walk to the castle and to the Teatro Romano and the docks and so we were able to enjoy all of these in just one afternoon!  

We really enjoyed our two days in Catania but it was not enough! There’s so much more to see not just in the city but in the surrounding area including, of course a visit to Mount Etna. We will definitely go again and, next time, for longer! 

This is a very short account of our visit. For more I hope you will enjoy the video.
Click on this link to watch the video

Georgie visits Passignano.

Passignano with Georgie Jumble
Yesterday  Georgie spent the morning in Passignano, a town on the shores of Lake Trasimeno.

A couple of years ago it was voted ‘The best place to live in Italy’ because it has everything you need for a convenient easy life in a beautiful location. Great transport links, supermarkets, bars, restaurants, a beach, wonderful walks, ferries to Isola Maggiore, etc etc. Yet it is a quiet, ‘real living’ town. Uncommercialised and unspoilt by tourism.

It is the nearest town to Castel Rigone. A short (ten minutes),  but breathtakingly beautiful drive down the hillside.

Yesterday Georgie spent the morning there and then returned to watch the sunset.

Take a look at the video above to see what she did.

imageimage

Georgie visits Assisi

 

Georgie really wanted to visit Assisi.

It's very near to Castel Rigone and her cousins were always visiting and sending her lots of photos. They said it was one of the most beautiful and magical places in Umbria.

Georgie enjoyed the drive to Assisi very much. The roads were very quiet and weaved in and out between fields and olive groves. At first the town was just a speck of white on the hillside and then, as they drew nearer Georgie couid see the pale pinky white stone houses and the magnificent Basilica of St. Francis.

It was beautiful! Magical!

They stopped first at the base of the hill to visit he magnificent church of Santa Maria degli Angeli.

Georgie had never seen such a huge church!

She had to walk right to the back of the car park to take a photograph and nearly fell over looking up. It was so high !

The church was beautiful. Georgie really liked the rose garden and the tiny church inside the main church which looked like a dolls house but her favourite was the statue of Saint Francis holding a dove. She got quite a fright when the dove blinked at her. It was real!

On leaving Santa Maria degli Angeli they drove up the hill to the main town of Assisi and walked past the Church of Santa Chiara.

'I'm sure I've seen this somewhere before, ' said Georgie.

'Yes, you have,' said her cousins. 'It's painted on one of the walls of our house!

….. and so it was!

 

It's not very often you meet an angel but Georgie met one in Assisi! .

 

Next they visited the Basilica of Saint Francis which is actually two churches one on top of the other. Both are magnificent but the huge vaulted ceilings of the lower church left Georgie speechless. Every centimetre was covered with paintings.

Their day in Assisi concluded with a walk to the largest of the towns two fortresses, the Rocca Maggiore.

The views from the top were amazing and Georgie had a great time in the gardens.

It was getting too late to go into the museum and walk along the walls of the Rocca but Georgie really hoped they could return and do this on another day. It looked like fun.

 

The day had been wonderful but one day in Assisi is just not enough! There are so many more things to. So many more places to visit.

For more information visit: http://www.loveumbria.co.uk

 

Georgie’s Holiday. Day one.

Georgie Jumble is on holiday in Umbria, Italy.

She is staying with her Italian cousins and her Nonna

(which is Italian for 'Gran') in a charming hill top, medieval

village called Castel Rigone above Lake Trasimeno.

It is Georgie's first morning in 'Jumble House'.

She sits up and rubs her eyes.

The bedroom is bathed in a golden light and there,

peeping round the door are …………

……….. all of her cousins !

'Ciao !' 'Buon giorno !' they squeak excitedly.

'We have been waiting for you to wake up !' says Bianca

'Si! ' says Rosa, 'We want to show you our village!'


Georgie jumps out of bed and runs to the window .

The sun is rising behind the hills.

'It's so beautiful,' exclaims Georgie.

For breakfast Georgie has a cornetto and cappuccino.

The cornetto is like a

croissant filled with a creamy custard.

Then it's time to explore the village.

Just down the road is a huge church.

Madonna dei Miracoli


Georgie turns the latch on the door and they quietly walk

inside.

Georgie feels very small.

The church is so big and the ceiling so high!

Even the paintings are bigger than her!

Her cousins tell her that this is a very special church. It is a sanctuary because a

miracle happened here many years ago.

'What's a miracle?' asked Georgie.

'We will tell you the story later,' says Fabio

Then they explore more of the village.

There are so many steps !
Her Italian cousins are used to all this climbing but
Georgie is still tired after her journey. 'Sono stanco ! ' She
says.'I'm tired.'
'Come on !' Mario shouts, 'Avanti!'

'There's the football stadium' says Mario. 'Our team is
very good.'
Georgie likes playing football.
'I hope I can watch a match,' she says.
All the Jumbles love walking, and climbing and jumping and sport and all kinds of
exercise.
They are very fit!
They go for a walk down one of the many lanes and have great fun chasing about
and climbing the trees.
Georgie is so happy she turns cartwheels down the path.

Then, all of a sudden, 'WHACK' !
Something hits Georgie on the head.
Then she is hit again and again! Georgie looks up and sees little seeds falling
from the trees.

She knows they are seeds but doesn't know their name.
She looks round for the other Jumbles but they have
raced ahead.
'I must ask Nonna to help me to identify them,' she thinks.
Then Georgie sees a big pile of logs .
'I wonder what these are for? Is someone having a bonfire?'
'No,' says Lorenzo, 'We use them to keep the house warm in the winter.'
How strange thinks Georgie. I haven't seen a fire in the house.,
When they arrive home Nonna is waiting on the steps.
Georgie asks her about the logs and Nonna explains that they are ready for
the winter.
Most houses have a stove called a 'stufa' .
The logs are burnt on the stufa to keep the house warm.

But Georgie still doesn't know what her seeds are called.
Nonna sees the leaf.
This will help them to identify the seeds.
They look on the Internet for a chart to help them.
Can you help Georgie to identify the leaf?
Which tree is it from?
What are the seeds called?
Look carefully at Georgie's seeds and the seeds on the
chart.
There is a part missing from Georgie's seeds.
Can you see?
What is it for?

This link will help:


For more information and slideshows on Castel Rigone and Umbria visit:


Take a look at this video on YouTube:

http://youtu.be/GdfpXdSxZJ8

http://www.loveumbria.co.uk

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