Images from Italy - Umbria

Intentional me journaled our trip to Italy so I could blog about it later.  It’s now later and I don’t have a blog in me.  Must have something to do with leaving on a jet plane for Seattle in less than 24 hours.  Unhurried me should be packing.  So here's my blog in images.

Twelve hours in our car from Luxembourg brought us here:

An 18th Century Stone House Near Todi 

 And pssst.  It was even better than the photos.  The property was described like this: “For those looking for a peaceful environment, our house in Morruzze could not be more ideally located.”  Yes, and yes! Did you catch that value? $135 a night for an authentic Italian experience, but with all the comforts you need.

Morruzze, a town of 30 people where the speed limit is 30kph.


Where my boys spent the mornings doing cycling time trials out from the house on a 5km circuit they scoped out.  A circuit along peaceful country roads. 


And where I spent the mornings sitting in the garden reading and journaling and drinking coffee made properly in an Italian stovetop espresso maker, and later (stupidly) running those peaceful country roads in the heat of the day. 


Where the boys spent most afternoons on long bike rides cycling from town to town, climbing impressive hills and (safely) cruising down two lane windy roads.   


And where Lawton and I would wait as their support car/cheering squad/speed police.


Where we swam in a I-can't-believe-this-is-here Infiniti pool in the middle of the a chestnut forest. 


Swim caps required (but apparently not an awake lifeguard), where Lawton (always sweet Lawton) made friends with some local Italian kids over a ball.  


Where my boys played hours of board games.  Mostly the same board game because we Ballbachs like to game binge.


And because of the peaceful environment, where we rediscovered old school games like Wall Ball and family evening games of Kick the Can in the piazza.   A piazza with a braying donkey and where Lawton would go on a search for Cutie, the stray kitten. 


Where Mario, our Italian caretaker who reminded me of my Poppop (all elderly Italian men do!), stopped by daily to check in on us and chat for awhile.  A 100% Italian chat, mostly understood through hand gestures and kisses.  Mario also delivered special treats.  Homemade pastries, fresh figs, and some tartufo (black truffles) his truffle hunting dog found one morning. 


And where I experimented cooking with delivered tartufo for the first time and a few other things from “An Appetite for Umbria” cookbook that I found in the house library.   Here's looking at my version of a very mediocre Panzanella Bread Salad, made good with an incredible olive oil.


Where mostly we ate out because it's Italy!  The seasonal food in nearby family owned and operated restaurants was delicious and not expensive.  The first few nights we unnecessarily made reservations and then just started showing up.  Most family meals, including a bottle of Umbrian vino, came to about 70 euros.


Where we ate a lot of pizza, but also seasonal treats like tartufo and zucchini blossoms. 


Where Brett ditched his plane ticket home for the week, choosing instead to work ten hours a day with this Umbrian landscape as his view.  This view combined with the scarce Internet cafes I would drive him to and drop him off for the day.


Where Brett pulled off the surprise (about staying to work) with the boys when we "found" him working at Charlie.  Naturally we stayed for more pizza. 


Where I took the boys on a day trip to Anglo-Saxon beloved Todi to look around and dine, after days of wandering/cycling through all the truly untouristed double "z" towns of Melezzole, Morre, Civitella del Lago, Montecchio, Aqualoreto, and Izzalini.


And where I snuck away to enjoy a private 1:1 Olive Oil tasting at Frantoio Bartolomei while the boys opted to stay back home and play the same board game.  


And where on Saturday, after Brett was done with his work week, we all braved the 95 degree heat and took the train to Rome for the day. 


We were looking for a peaceful environment to explore Italy.  And we found it.


Umbria, the green heart of Italy, how beautiful you are.