So, tomorrow I am off to Italy again, to Umbria with a few days in Tuscany. Unfortunately, I am at that stage where all of the small, last-minute details and concerns threaten to swamp the excitement I should be feeling about the trip. This, of course, always happens to me, so I try not to be too concerned about it. Instead, I aim to focus on the wonderful sites I hope to visit, and on the experiences I expect to have and try not to fret over whether I should pack one more (or one less) sweater!
Actually, it's very chilly and rainy as I write this, and so I'm projecting that onto my Italian plans as well as onto my final packing. I have to shake off the urge to thrown my winter coat and boots into my suitcase, and focus instead on photos like this one of Spello, taken by Bill Thayer. Spello is one of the towns I'll be visiting while I'm in Umbria next week and it looks so beautiful! And it's hilly -- which means lots of hard walking, which in turn, should mean that I can silence my small, internal nag that constantly counts calories and tries to stop me from eating gelato.
I'll also try to focus my thoughts on other towns that I hope I'll have time to visit, such as Gubbio, which I visited last year and loved; and on Todi (seen below:)
And from Gubbio, here's a fanciful depiction of St. Luke.:
In fact, the one piece of baggage that I don't want to bring on this trip is my collection of internal nags which judge everything I do. (For example, the little voice that tells me that I actually look as bad as my passport photo!)
Instead, I will bring my to-do list for Italy which I devised a few months ago.
1. I WILL eat FRESH pecorino cheese as often as I can. With local honey as often as possible.
2. I WILL eat gelato at Perugia's Antica Gelateria Veneta, which is near the top of the wonderful Corso Vannucci. And likely, I'll try some gelato from the famous GROM.
3. I WILL restrict myself to counting calories and worrying about possible weight gain only ONCE per day.
4. I WILL eat a pastry on the patio at the lovely Sandri's, an elegant bar in Perugia with amazing pastries and good coffee. This year, I will eat something gorgeous as I take in the medieval and Renaissance architecture of this beautiful city.
5. I WILL spend plenty of time in San Francesco in Assisi, so I can really closely look at the amazing art -- particularly the frescos -- all through this amazing basilica.
6. I WILL make the most of my 3-day car rental and drive from my Bevagna base to: Montefalco, Spello and maybe even the Piano Grande.
7. I WILL, in Montefalco, see the Benozzo Gozzoli frescos of the Life of Saint Francis.
8. I WILL, in Spello, see the Pintoricchio frescos in the Baglioni chapel.
9. I WILL be careful with the rental car and not fill a diesel engine with regular gasoline, or vice-versa.
10. I WILL buy ceramics. Too often, I cheap out and am filled with regret, once I return home, over opportunities missed. I have loved every item I have ever bought in Italy, since each one reminds me of a wonderful time and place.
11. I WILL take more photos of all kinds, which will be much easier now that I have a proper camera.
13.. I WILL visit all the churches I missed in Assisi last year, because of the Pope. Not that I'm blaming him (bygones!)
14. I WILL take another cooking class near Assisi with the delightful Letizia of Alla Madonna del Piatto, who promises this class will focus on her family recipe for lasagna.
15. I WILL get up early enough to see the sunrise at least ONCE.
16. I WILL blog. And perhaps drink a bit too much wine and limoncello. And not necessarily in that order!