Productive Relaxation, Italian Style

24 Apr

In Italy, there is a sight commonly found in smaller towns – men sitting on benches, or standing in small groups, discussing everything from local politics to international sports events. Meanwhile, their wives are shopping, visiting, cooking, cleaning, etc.  What they all have in common is the phrase: Siamo in pensione, or, we are retired. 

We, too, take this retirement thing seriously. Take productive relaxation for example, not an oxymoron but instead an art.

Fernanda had today off, so our day began in her garden where she prepared breakfast – her delicious yogurt cake and cappuccino.

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After enjoying the sunshine and planning for our vegetable garden, we drove to Panicale, one of our favorite little borgos about 45 minutes from Cortona, and a first visit for Fernanda.

In 2018, Panicale, in Umbria, was listed as one of Italy’s most beautiful villages.

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Although it is small and easy to walk around, it is not the easiest of villages to find. But GPS has gotten us there every time.

The medieval hill town overlooks Lago Trasimeno, a site where in 217 BC, Hannibal and his legions ambushed Roman legions along the banks.

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As you can see from the map below, the streets are narrow and form concentric ovals.

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Panicale still retains its medieval castle, which was once surrounded by a moat,

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as well as other well-preserved charming buildings.

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It also has a few unique door bells!

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No matter which way you walk, all streets seem to lead to the historical center’s Piazza Umberto I,

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where there is a travertine fountain, (formerly an ancient cistern), dating back to 1473.

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The piazza is surrounded by a few eateries and shops, including our favorite – Bar del Gallo, (lower right).

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The staff is always friendly,

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and the melanzana (eggplant) is always delicious.

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Of course, there are other menu items, but for us, it’s too good to pass up. And Fernanda agreed it was one of the best she has ever eaten.

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Perhaps best of all at Bar del Gallo is the owner, Aldo Gallo, a man whose warm smile and genuine hospitality keeps one coming back for more.

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Today we learned that Bar del Gallo earned a gold cup award in a coffee competition, an award well-deserved. Complimenti Aldo!

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We said our goodbyes and drove the long way home, stopping at a nursery to select our plants: 10 tomato (three varieties), and nine zucchini.

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Why nine zucchini, you might ask? Well, last year, we had an ever-lasting supply of zucchini flowers, (actually too much of a good thing!) and very few zucchini, so Len did some research. Apparently, zucchini should be planted in “hills” of three plants, close together. This is because when the plants flower, they produce both masculine and feminine flowers, and apparently, they need to do their thing “nature-ly” (cross-pollinate) to produce zucchini! Who knew???

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Well, we’ll see what happens. Updates, and hopefully zucchini, to follow in a few months.

Grazie, Aldo, for another lovely afternoon in Panicale. See you again soon. 

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And that’s how we spend a very productive day in a most relaxing way, Italian style.

Ciao,
Judy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

28 Responses to “Productive Relaxation, Italian Style”

  1. karenincalabria April 24, 2019 at 3:55 PM #

    What a wonderful day!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Charles Faso April 24, 2019 at 4:28 PM #

    Cari amici miei, I have been to Lago Trasimeno where St Francis spent an entire 40 day Lent on an island in the Lake. I spent a day on that island back in 1974. Sorry I missed Panicale. Bar del Gallo is on my list for next trip. I can almost smell and taste the eggplant. Hmmmm!
    Ah! to be one of the “Siamo in pensione.” Grazie for the beautiful photos – your eye and your camera help us see lots of beauty. Dio vi benedica! Buona Pasqua. Alleluia!
    Fr Chuck Faso OFM
    –My March 12 surgery on L3-4-5 with screws and rods is healing, piano! piano!
    On May 6, I will have a X-ray so the surgeon can see how the inner healing is doing. Then begins lots of physical therapy. Sempre avanti!

    Liked by 2 people

    • blogginginitaly April 24, 2019 at 4:39 PM #

      We have been to the island as well. In fact, it may be the one in my photo, but I am not certain. Glad you are healing, albeit slowly. And we will be happy to take you to Bar del Gallo! Pazienza, caro Carlo! Sempre avanti!

      Like

  3. Dominic Mosca April 24, 2019 at 4:47 PM #

    Great story

    Sent from my iPhone

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    Liked by 2 people

  4. Sandra April 24, 2019 at 6:23 PM #

    We were there years ago, had an in depth tour by a local and then forgot about it. Will go again this year! Is Len smoking Cigars? How long is this stay? When did you arrive? Weather so so, on and off?? We’ll be there end of September. We really enjoyed 6 wks in Sicily. Went with no expectations, didn’t even take a guide book but in the end were really satisfied with our stay. Many awesome days, many quiet days but seemed to find at least one thing we talked about every day. Weather wonderful, especially March and really quite remarkable on February too. Best, Sandta

    Sent from my iPad

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    Liked by 2 people

  5. Sandra April 24, 2019 at 6:45 PM #

    Here’s a shot of our friends in Noto, “the boys”! We met them looking for seats outside in this coffee shop. Told them “Il Calcio, Il calcio, sempre il calcio” and they said “ Non, intelligensia!”. Then they bought our coffees, so Rudy left money for theirs the next day and back and forth. We asked where the women were and they said they didn’t want to break tradition!! This was a lazy day, hanging around town but a smal thing we really enjoyed enjoyed!

    Here’s another happy moment….. we opened and drank our bottle of Prosecco in the park! Loved it! Called it L’Ultimo Giorno. The last day we cleaned up, packed, getting ready to depart!! La Dolce Vita!!

    Sent from my iPad

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    Liked by 2 people

  6. jeanfromcalifornia April 24, 2019 at 7:43 PM #

    Looking forward to seeing you both. You’re looking good!

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Filocia April 25, 2019 at 11:12 PM #

    You both look amazing, you can’t have too many zucchini! ❤️

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Italophilia April 26, 2019 at 2:19 AM #

    There’s really no end to beautiful villages in Italy. A lifetime isn’t enough! Fab post and thanks for sharing this lovely village with us. xx

    Liked by 2 people

    • blogginginitaly April 26, 2019 at 5:14 AM #

      It’s so true, each road less travelled brings us to a different beautiful village, and we love discovering them all. Happy exploring!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Yvonne Wilson April 27, 2019 at 3:08 PM #

    Looks like a wonderful day. I know we have such great memories of our day together with you guys in Panicale. Hopefully again before too long, keep up the sharing for those of us that aren’t in heaven on earth right now! Sending love

    Liked by 2 people

    • blogginginitaly April 28, 2019 at 4:48 AM #

      We thought of you when we were there. And yes, hopefully another trip there together is in our close future! Hugs to you both!

      Like

  10. Gracefully Global April 28, 2019 at 7:09 PM #

    I’ve always wanted to go to Panicale. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • blogginginitaly April 30, 2019 at 6:50 AM #

      You are most welcome and I hope you go sometime. If so, give my best to Aldo!

      Like

  11. stellalucentellc April 30, 2019 at 6:13 AM #

    Lovely blog! I think that is the magic of Italy. Being there makes it so easy to enjoy your day! Would love to reblog this!

    Liked by 2 people

  12. ivan May 1, 2019 at 12:12 PM #

    ciao Giuditta!

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Sharmay Cu May 6, 2019 at 10:54 AM #

    They say that Italians are best at the art of relaxation. Yes – it’s an art! Beautiful family photo, btw:)

    Liked by 2 people

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