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Report 472: Back to Uni to Learn Italian - A Month in Perugia

By Pamela R from Sydney, Australia, Fall 1998

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Page 23 of 31: Wednesday 23rd September - Deruta

Several of us had decided to go to Deruta today (leaving after Secondo’s morning class finished at 10 o’clock). We all met up at the bus station and were busy chatting when Debbie noticed a bus pulling out (yes, ours). We ran towards it, shouting and waving, and Debbie banged on the door with her handbag, which was enough to attract the driver’s attention. He stopped at the boom, opened the door and we all piled on, much to the amusement of several of the passengers who looked as though they’d never seen anything quite like that before and kept turning around and grinning at us throughout the trip.

As the bus was approaching Deruta, renowned for its ceramics since the Etruscans and then the Romans worked clay in the area, and later the majolica glazing technique which was imported from Majorca in the 15th century, we were wondering where we should get off. One of the signore on the bus took us under her wing, and after we alighted, pointed us in the direction of the old town, up a steep hill of course.

We visited almost every artisan’s shop, Pamela buying a tile saying ‘Attenti al Cane’ for Sara (and Spinner) from the lady who had painted it. Her work was particularly nice, though quite expensive, and also of course very heavy!

When all the shops had closed for their lunch, we found that there was nowhere open for our lunch except a rather pricey ristorante, the sort that wasn’t on our agenda for today. So we wound our way back down the hill to the main road where we managed to find a bar for drinks and panini.

The major workshops with their retail outlets line the main road and the girls quickly switched back to shopping mode and were keen to explore. Peter and Roland were more than happy to stay at the bar, so arrangements were made to meet up again at a given time at the bus stop some distance further along the road.

Two large botteghe, Sberna and Grazia, had lots of lovely stuff, and although weight was a real consideration, they were of course perfectly willing to take orders for packing and sending. Nevertheless, restraint was summoned and the result was a pair of coffee cups and saucers in the traditional cockerel pattern for Suzanna, and a beautiful painted plate for Debbie, while Pamela bought a new-moon-shaped white dish with a vine leaf border and a small painted tile.

Seeing no sign of Peter and Roland yet, the girls settled in the front of a café next to the bus stop and compared notes. Eventually the boys hove into sight and joined the group for another drink before the bus arrived. Suzanna and Pamela had a 5 o’clock class so they walked from Piazza Partigiani (Pamela reckoned she could find the way around from that direction – correctly as it happened!) and the rest headed home.

When Pamela arrived back from class at 7.30 there was no time for even a quick, much needed rest after the exhausting day as we’d asked everyone back to our place for dinner.

Margaret had arrived from her hotel and the others soon appeared carrying their own chairs and drinking glasses (a feature of entertaining in our apartments which were all minimally equipped).

Despite having vowed never to cook risotto again in the ‘cupboard’ that was the kitchen, Pamela had decided to do it again tonight – well we still had plenty of arborio rice. Again we had it with a variety of funghi, followed by yummy desserts which Debbie and Suzanna brought.

Suzanna joined us again when we walked Margaret back to the hotel around midnight.

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