The daily diary of a wandering restaurateur
December 10 - Todi and Southern Umbria

This morning dawned clear and sunny ... but with a wicked wind! Since Todi has a Saturday market, we decided to start the day there. Margene has been looking for a warm coat -- a project brought to the fore by today's low temperatures. Fortunately the market is set up in the parking lot at the bottom of the funicular, so we could quickly drive in and drive out without having to "commute" up the hill and walk into the center of Todi.

The market was larger that I expected, but didn't have much that interested us... so we decided to hit the road and go exploring. Margene has been reading the blog of an American ex-pat couple who live in the little town of San Venanzo, fairly close to where we were. They said they had looked all over Umbria before settling on San Venanzo, so we decided to drive up there and check it out.

The town was small but still larger than we expected. There were some older walled sections, but most of it seemed to be fairly new construction. It was also a long drive up the hill from Marsciano. We did a quick drive around town and decided to press on. We had no particular destination in mind but since backtracking into Marsciano seemed boring, we decided to press on and see where the road took us.

The road wound west through the hills in the general direction of Orvieto. We passed through a few nondescript small towns but there was no option other than to keep going. By now I was starting to think hungry but only one or two of these little hamlets had a restaurant ... and it was always closed. Finally a big choice: left to return to Todi or right to continue on to Orvieto, a town we enjoyed visiting on our trip in 2001.

Todi won the toss, so we wound our way down the the hill and back toward our home base. As we were reminded yesterday, restaurants in Italy close around 2:00 so if we were going to get something to eat, sooner was better than later. Margene wasn't up for a restaurant meal but the options for food are limited. So we headed for Todi, knowing that we could find a bite to eat in town. As we circled the city wall to reach the parking lot, we saw one of the porchetta trucks from the morning market set up in an upper parking lot ... with quite a line in front of it. It was the perfect compromise.

We took the sandwiches back to the house, ate them in a civilized manner and then dropped in on Francesca. Her nephew has another house on the property that is available for rent and we had been thinking of it as a possibility for our April trip. What we thought would be a quick tour turned into a long, pleasant chat over a cup of tea. Eventually we got a tour of the nephew's house. It was very comfortably set up.

The wind was still blowing cold so once we got back into the house and lit a fire, Genie didn't want to venture out in the chill again. So rather than heading up the food chain (and up the hill) in Todi, I drove up to the corner and brought back a couple of pizzas from the only other restaurant within miles. Gawd, we are becoming such stay-at-homes!

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