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Report 1933: Le Marche & Umbria: Three Women, Truffle Dogs and an Uncooperative GPS

By Pokey from MA, Spring 2011

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Page 10 of 14: Piano Grande, Catelluccio, Norcia and Letizia!

photo by Mindy Smith

Castellucio Motorcycles

Although we would love to stay for at least another week, we are ready to leave Ascoli Piceno. Michele and Colleen get the car while I get the luggage in the lobby. We have a heck of a time fitting all of our luggage into the car and succeed with the help of strangers. We end up having to remove the luggage cover so I have it straddled across my legs for a while until I can’t stand it any longer. We pull over and rearrange things so I can at least have some leg room. Colleen is the navigator so she gets dibs on the front passenger seat.

On our way to Castellucio we pass through towns such as Mozzano-SS4-Aquasana Terme-Arquata-Piedilama-Pretare. Wisteria is in bloom and looks lovely! We are driving now through the National Park, no flowers in bloom in Piano Grande, but still awe inspiring. On the hillside we see evergreen trees in the shape of Italy. Cute. snap snap photo, photo ... There are families (no doubt celebrating Mother’s Day), having picnics and flying kites.

Once we reach Castellucio we park the car and then stumble into the very small Hosteria Ciorrio il Gualdes where they make room for us and start bringing food. Fresh ricotta, lentils galore. After all, this area is known for their lentils! Sausage, polenta with tomato sauce, more sausage, a crazy amount of food for only €15,00. (338) 572-6617. Pokey found a friend, Tigger, in the parking lot.

We head off for Norcia, passing a few riffugios on the way. The drive takes us along “long and winding roads” with motorcycles galore. It is a beautiful day for a ride on a motorcycle. We notice locals selling red potatoes along the side of the roads.

We drive through a very, very long tunnel, I started feeling a bit panicky it was so long! We are headed for Letizia’s B&B: Madonna Del Piatto. Of course, we get all turned around trying to find her place; we cannot find our way out of a brown paper bag (nor can "Maria" our GPS)! We call Letizia and finally(!) arrive

What. A. View! To quote our friend Sandrac, we are "gobsmacked!" We are thrilled to see Letizia! As luck would have it, Gail Hecko is there sitting on the terrace with wine in hand. She is joined by two ladies who are part of Gail’s Great Escape Tour.

For our first night Colleen, Michele and I share a triple room. We move to our single rooms on Monday when Gail’s group leaves.

After we settle into our room, we join Gail, Laura and Nancy for dinner at Il Pioppo. The owner's son is celebrating his confirmation so there is a huge party going on outside. We dine in the restaurant part of this agriturismo. I have the best roasted pork ever! Back to Letizia’s, we all pop an Ambien and have a good night’s sleep.

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