Thursday, August 07, 2008


With half of Rome gone on holiday and the other half preparing to go its been quiet in the neighbourhood. But if last night's crowds at Largo Argentina are any indication the void, in Centro at least, is being filled by tourists on a Roman Holiday. We haven't joined the general exodus and really won't be going much anywhere except Pesaro on the Adriatic for a few days at the end of the month. Laurent is busy at work, his dad is coming over for a visit mid-month and we're getting ready to move - so much for Feragosto being the time for rest and relaxation.
The Latina Plain
Overlooking the Latina Plain from the belvedere at Sermoneta.

But a few of my lucky blog buddies have been doing some travelling and sharing of photos and tales. And two weekends ago we did a Sunday jaunt down to Sermoneta with our friends Lorraine and John. Sermoneta is one of those incredibly charming medieval hillside towns that dot the Latina countryside As always I took a few pictures.
Il castello di Sermoneta
Of course every Italian hill town has to have its castle. After all that's why the town is there. Il Castello di Sermoneta dates from the 12th century.
Steps leading up
And every Italian hillside town has to have steps; flights and flights ...
And more steps
... and flights of steps. That's what you get when you build on a hillside.

  • Larry and Vincenzo have been spending the past few weeks in Sicily including a visit with Vin's family in Enna. And they've been touring around the island with stops in Castelbuono , Cefalù, and Erice. This B and B that they stayed at near Palermo looks wonderful. And needless to say they found some incredible beaches. Now I let Laurent postpone Sicily this year because he wanted to spend a few weeks in Japan in October but I am serving notice - publicly - we are going to spend at least two weeks in Sicily sometime in the next year.
Towards the piazza and belvedere
This is the view down to a belvedere and small piazza from ...
Up the steps towards the castle
... the top of this flight of stairs.
The town hall in the piazza
The town hall on the piazza betrays its origins as a monastic building .
The Eternal Flame
In another part of town an Eternal (electric) Flame burns in memory of sons of Sermoneta who died in the many wars that have raged in the area over the past 200 years.

  • And my darling Dora was off to New Orleans, accompanying her Beastman on a business trip, and knocking the town ass over tea kettle in a fabulous new red dress. And being our Dora, she and Madame Destin had a meeting on a rainy street that turned into a lovely and touching experience and started a friendship. And she has... ahem... ahem... promised to give us some shots of her in that red dress!
Pub curtains
I did a double take when I saw the Irish lace curtains - shades of my childhood - then I realized it was an Irish pub. Honest! They're everywhere even hill town Italia.
Houses surrounded with greeneryHouse surrounded by greeneryA doorway
Even amongst the marble, concrete and cobblestones people here make sure there is greenery surrounding them.
The central piazza
The crowds from a bicycle regatta had dispersed by the time we reached the central piazza and it was getting close to pranzo (lunch) so strollers where starting to turn attention to their stomachs.

  • Jeff is famous for those drives through the Los Angeles area that he's been taking us on every Sunday - the radio playing classic rock, camera at the ready he has captured the often fantastical architecture that is SoCal and LA. Last Sunday we drove through Beachwood Canyon and found out the real story behind that Hollywood sign. And two weeks ago we had the pleasure (?) of a sleep over at the Madonna Inn. I can only echo Dora on that one: Words fail me.
St Joseph and the young Jesus
Il Duomo di Maria Vergine Assunta in Cielo is a fine example of the Fossanova style but sadly in need of restoration. I found this St Joseph with the young Jesus oddly touching.
Madonna Altarpiece
The most notable treasure in the Duomo is Benozzo Gozzoli's altarpiece of the Madonna holding Sermoneta protectively in her lap.
St Joseph over the doorSt Michael guarding the entrance hall
This family was taking no chances: St Joseph with his flowering staff protected the door way and St. Michael defends against Satan in the entrance way. Hopefully between the two of them they defeated any attempts of evil to enter.

  • Back in June Cowie and Brownie at Around Britain with a Paunch - and by the way I'll be damned if I can see a paunch on either one of them - spent a weekend in Burgundy. As always the produce and food photos make the mouth water and the soul yearn for such a weekend. Hell weekend let's make it a week.
A deserted street
A deserted street in an Italian town at 1 PM on a Sunday can only mean one thing: everyone must be at ...
The garden of Simposio
... pranzo. As indeed they were and we joined them in the garden of Simposio, a wonderful restaurant overseen by the ebulient Flabio Stavali. He can charm in five different languages.
A secondi to die for
But all the charm in the world wouldn't matter if the food wasn't exceptional. And Fabio's food is exceptional. We managed two portions of antipasti (including the best fried artichokes I've ever tasted) between the four of us, a tasting of 4 different pastas, and this secondi of beef and a wild boar sausage, a docle (heavenly pana cotta smothered in Fabio's brandied cherries) a pleasant local prosseco, Fabio's home made grappa and coffee. Colour us well fed!

  • And it was wonderful to see comments yesterday from my Blog Mother Lynette- she's been missing for far too long. And though it is travel of a different type she took me down memory lane and frankly made me homesick with her most recent post. Whither she's writing political, social, biographical or nostalgical she always captures with her thoughts and her words. Welcome back Belle!

06 agosto - San Sisto II


evilganome said...

Another wonderful guided tour. Dora and I are just going to have to knock over a convenience store so we can come to visit you in Rome. Or maybe Sicily! Thanks.

Doralong said...

Tony,convenience store? Come on honey, you know me better than that. Unmarked bearer bonds at the very least, we have shopping to do dear, remember??

sageweb said...

Oh what great photos. Lovely post. The Food...oh my mouth is watering.

more cowbell said...

As usual, your lovely pictures were the highlight of my blog cruising this evening. Not that I was cruising you. You know what I mean.

Browners said...

Hey! Glad you liked the piece on Burgundy! It was such a great trip. And I can assure you I amply make up for Cowie's concave paunch!