Okay, at this rate, I’ll never be finished writing this for your perusal! Let’s see . . . where were we?
Oh yes, completing our trip to Serra de Conti, to the Rooms of Suspended Time. And then I guess I suspended the time for awhile . . .
So – Monday, September 21: A rainy day at the villa, where we slept late, shuffled to the kitchen in relaxed fashion, munching on bread, fruit, cheese and prosciutto, sipping coffee, writing and reading and planning the rest of our time here in Avenale at Casa Frances. If I remember correctly, we did go back to Cingoli, found a bigger “supermercato” and collected some fresh fruit, vegetables, cheese and very fresh fettucini in preparation for a dinner I promised to prepare for our little group that evening. We had plenty of wine, and I bought another two bottles, which should last us the rest of the week.
Tuesday, September 22: Our plan today is to visit the southwest part of LeMarche, beginning with the Grotte di Frasassi, an enormous, incredible complex of caves with a collection of stalactites and stalagmites the likes of which I’ve never seen. Discovered by a group of climber/spelunkers in the late 1970’s, Grotte di Frasassi is one of the most well-visited natural phenomena and I can understand why. I’m told the Grotte could house the Milan Cathedrale!
We weren’t allowed any photos there, but here are two from an on-line site. if you’d like to know more about this attraction, you might visit one of the websites you will find when googling Grotte di Frasassi. You can request that it come up in English, rather than Italian, which should be immensely helpful!
We wore our coats inside and listened to our English version of the tour guide’s information, though I think next time I will wait for the English speaking tour guide, so we can ask questions and understand the responses of others’ questions.
Our next stop was to the city of Fabriano, home of the famous watercolor paper manufacturer. Fabriano was one of the first cities in Europe to manufacture paper, beginning at the end of the 12th century. The biggest mill, Miliani, produces an amazing 600 miles of paper a day, and the watermark (filigrana), along with other papermaking techniques, were invented here. Fabriano paper supplies the Italian treasury with the paper for its banknotes, and is sent from Kashmir to the Congo. We visited the Museo della Carta e della Filigrana (paper and watermarks museum), watched a demonstration of hand-making paper, marveled at the intricacies of watermarks bearing the faces of famous world leaders, and purchased one or two beautiful hand-made journals, of course.
Tomorrow . . . a local vineyard and winery, and preparations to leave this lovely area, heading toward our final destination in Italia . . .