Marty had a good idea. "Why don't you put a picture of a map with your blog posts?" Hmmmm. Yep, a good idea!
So for your geographical edification, this shows where, precisely, we are on the European continent.
*pardon the google map ad...
So as you can see, Cividale is quite to the north and very close to other Eastern European countries that I would love to set foot in. Unfortunately, we can't take the rental car across country borders or we would at least say a howdy to Slovenia. Next time!
Our sweet friend Stefania, born and raised in Cividale, met us in the small piazza just outside our hotel - jokingly called by us "The Tomato" because "Pomo d'Oro" actually means golden apple, but said together in our lack of appropriate accent sounds like pomodoro! 🍅
The tomato hotel is to the right of this beautiful old church, which unfortunately was locked to curious tourists like me.
How best to launch a days escapades than with a late morning cappuccino in an Austrian bakery in northern Italy? Just another day.
Oh, the delights of the flesh!
Fortified and ready, Stefania lead is out into a brilliant sunlit day. From the rock patterned pavement under our feet to the mossy fallen-domino clay roof tops, there was a tangible sense of spring - yay! that permeated the crisp air.
The road through the borgo took us to one of the UNESCO World Heritage sites in this area, the Longobard Tempio, an exquisite example of the Longobardo reign in the 700 - 800s AD. I was sadly unfamiliar with this Germanic tribe and the mark they left, but got up to snuff a tad more here... http://www.italia.it/en/travel-ideas/unesco-world-heritage-sites/the-longobards-and-their-places-of-power.html
Looks like maybe some of that 30% Italian DNA of mine might have some roots with King Alboin???
What a marvel to stand upon ancient stone, caress the cooled marble surface of a stoic column, and be surrounded by this place where monks worshiped so long ago.
The grounds and other buildings encompassing the Tempio are stunning in their own ancient right with views befitting the best Italian postcards.
Cristian joined us for Adventure 2 -- a scenic drive up the mountain to Monestero Santa Maria in Valle, a beautifully situated monestary overlooking Cividale and points beyond. A clear view allowed the snow capped peaks of the alps to offer a cheery salute. Pretty grand way to spend a little time, I'd say!
A small trattoria lunch, then some time to rest before Stefania and Cristian returned for Adventure 2. We managed a brief pisilino (nap) before setting out to join up with the holiday atmosphere that was burbling to life in the historic town center. Oh, I just love being in the middle of it all; so easily coil I live the Italian lifestyle!
This old church, built in the 1200's, is now used to store flour. Italian style Tupperware??
On to Udine (oo-di-ney), Cristian's hometown of about 100k. Beholder of a respected university and a medieval government seat, Udine wears a cloak of old world elegance. Extremely clean, well preserved, and pulsing with confidence, this city is a proud one and for good reason.
Good thing a lungo passagiata creates a big kid appetite; an authentic Sardenian dinner awaited our sidewalk weary party of 4.
And.... despite my best blogger person attempts to "live and in person " with posts, I'm thinking these may be reverting to a few Facebook posts with future full discorse. The day runs long, and once again I find myself under covers like a kid with comic books and flashlight, determinedly fighting to prop lids heavy as Tuscan cheese boards up long enough to complete the post
C vediamo presto, bello reader!