The daily diary of a wandering restaurateur
May 20 - Passignano sul Trasimeno, Citta della Pieve, Todi

After breakfast on the patio, we started our Italian adventure with a return so some of the places we had fallen in love with last summer, subtitled, "We are not lost. We are just exploring!" Italian road signs are very complete, if rather misleading. They point you toward the next small town (which, of course, is too small to make it onto the map) and leave you to guess if they are on the way to the big town you are trying to find! This morning, they weren't! Tomorrow we've GOT to find a larger scale map to work from!

In any event, we eventually found our way to Passignano sul Trasimeno, a quiet little town on the north shore of Lake Trasimeno. We were looking for the ceramics shops and ran into a Sunday street market instead. The consensus was that we were not ready to commit to ceramics until after we saw what was available in Assisi (tomorrow) but the market vendors did OK by us. Lunch was at Trattoria Pescatore, a little restaurant with outdoor dining tucked back in an alley. They were jammed inside but reluctantly offered us space under the trellises . . . with the warning that if it started to rain, they had no place for us inside. We felt lucky . . . and were proved right! The rain held off until we got back on the road.

Then we wandered back to Citta della Pieve, the little town where we stayed last summer. After a quick detour to show Kenn and Elizabeth the house we had rented last July, we wandered around town in the rain, visited the narrowest legal street in Italy (probably 18" wide at its narrowest point!) and dropped in at Cantina del Saltapicchio to say hello to Cynthia (pronounced CHEN-zia), proprietor of this little wine shop. I was surprised that she recognized us immediately and after a few hugs and fractured communication as to how everyone was doing, we settled in for an espresso and a little street-watching.

Since we didn't want to stroll too far in the rain, we opted to return to Todi for dinner. Ristorante Umbria had been recommended to us by several sources with the warning that it was "somewhat pricey." Hey, we were on holiday so why not? We opted for a bottle of Brunello de Montalcino, one of Italy's finest reds (the $30 bottle, not the $100 bottle). I had rabbit with capers and the others were split between suckling pig and filet of beef. The meal was amazing . . . and in the end, the meal was $45 per couple including wine and tip! If that is what passes for "somewhat pricey," we are going to eat very well this week!

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