Tuesday was another gorgeous day in the Valtiberino. We started the day with a long walk through the country, some chores, then a nice lunch on the terrace. At Rosanno’s birthday party, some of the people there were telling us about some monasteries around here that were nice to visit. We thought the afternoon would be the perfect time to go, so we chose one that was close to here, in the beginning of the Apennines above Sansepolcro called Montecasale.
Montecasale originated in the 1100’s as a stop for pilgrims. There are still many hiking trails around there and one day I would like to explore some. However, since I had on sandals, this was not the day. The monastery was started by the Camoldolese monks, then St. Francis came on the scene and the Franciscans took over. Then sometime the Capuchins moved in and still occupy it today. It’s a very small place set in the hillside with incredible views over the Tiber Valley. It’s the opposite view that we have, so we stood there and looked at the mirror image of the view from our terrace. It’s also much higher than our apartment, so the view is much more expansive. If you were going to be a monk, this would be the place. Total peace and quiet. Wonderful nature all around. The beauty of the universe spread out before you. Very little to tempt you, but plenty to nourish your soul.
After running a few errands, we came home and had prosecco on our terrace. We walked down to one of our favorite restaurants for dinner, La Nena. Since we had a small lunch, we went to dinner early. We walked into the restaurant at 7:30 and were the first people there. I was a little surprised they were even open. One of the waitresses showed up after we had our first glass of wine. By 8:00, the place was almost full.
We had a wonderful meal and for the first time since I got here, I reached a point of complete overload. My stomach was stretched well beyond its normal bounds and I couldn’t put one more bit of food into my mouth. But I did great up to that point. We started with fried porcinis – it’s the season now so we get them whenever we can. I had bringoli, which a very thick, long pasta common to this area. It was served with a special ragu from Grandma Elvira. I don’t know who Grandma Elvira was or is, but her ragu is indeed something special. Then I ordered sausage and beans because I thought – well, I’m not sure what I thought except I love sausage and I love beans so putting them two of them together sounded like a good idea. I ate about a quarter of it before my body said “No more!”. Steve had pappa al pomodoro, a tomato and bread soup, and pasta with agnello sauce (lamb). We waddled home and fell into bed, vowing never to eat again.