May 16 – Lake Trasimeno and Cortona

Lake Trasimeno is situated just inside Umbria, just east of the Tuscan border, and has three islands, I think, one on which Neil and I, Ashley and a friend stayed for three days in 1996, if I remember correctly. The women, three cars full again, drove to the town of Passignano, caught a little ferry boat to the Isola Maggiore, and spent a few hours, eating, walking, sitting, taking photographs of the old doors on the houses of the fishermen who live on the island. There are five churches on this island, five churches in the space which one can circumnavigate in one hour or less.

The lake is calm and beautiful, but we all wanted to spend some time in Cortona as well before we headed back to the villa, so we were off again in mid-afternoon up to Cortona, the town made famous by Frances Mayes (Under The Tuscan Sun). Read the book, see the movie (not much like the book, but a fun movie nonetheless) and enjoy vicariously the life in another medieval village WAY up on the hill. There is a different feel to Cortona, somehow. More noble, a bit less junk for sale, I’m not quite sure. But I entered the walled town from a different entrance than I typically do, having found a parking spot JUST outside one of the arches. Ten steps inside the walls I stood in front of a tiny gallery full of whimsical original drawings by a young man (everyone is young in my eyes these days . . . either young or VERY VERY old . . . )who sat just outside the shop. Short story is I bought three of his pieces for a very reasonable price, and they are packed well and safely in one of my suitcases. For some reason I wanted to stay in Cortona on this visit. I sat at a little table in the square, sipping white sangria with something added which tasted like peach schnappes, and wondered what it would be like to have a Frances Mayes experience. I don’t think I could live without the dogs and Neil, but it was nice to fantasize anyway.




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