Our Company

Tom, Jill, Heidi, Ray, Richard, Deanne, Tom and Matt

This week we are eight

Matt’s sister and brother-in-law are visiting until the end of the week, and my aunt and uncle are here for almost a month.   We’ve filled our days with short trips to nearby cities and lots of time here in town.  We been both tourists and residents in Perugia, and it’s been so much fun.  It’s different having such close family here.  There is so much understanding each other.

Richard juggling clementines

Juggling clementines

Everything is more detailed with eight people.  With everyone’s background and perspective, we notice more.  Take beer, for example.  I think Umbria makes good beer.  I can appreciate the labels and pretty bottles.  But with the help of Tom and Heidi, who grow hops and make their own IPA, we are learning to recognize the subtleties of each Umbrian brew.  For the first time, the local beer is more than just “good.”  It’s complex and colorful.  Some even have hints of coriander (which I never would have detected in a hundred years).

Most of us chose the "lentil beer" in the middle as our favorite

Most of us chose the “lentil beer” in the middle as our favorite

Beer tasting

Beer tasting

Grocery shopping and dinner is more interesting too.  Since we are twice as big, we get to eat more.  The other day for lunch, we bought eleven types of cured meats, five types of cheeses, three different breads and four Christmas desserts.

one particular pecorino cheese aged 8 months in a well.  But it was still good.

One particular pecorino cheese was aged 8 months in a deep well. But it was still good.

Four seasonal desserts: a tiny panatone, a plate of almond cookies, a eel shaped almond flavored torciglione and slices of almond torrone

Four seasonal desserts: a tiny Christmas panatone, a plate of almond cookies, a eel-shaped, almond-flavored torciglione and slices of white, almond torrone.

Some other highlights this week included a day trip to Assisi.  All eight of us squished in the car and drove to the woods high above the town to see where St. Francis lived and prayed.  Later we had lunch, walked to the famous cathedral, saw St. Clare’s entire preserved body, and visited the 2000-year-old Roman temple.

Tom and Heidi arround the Temple of Minerva in Assisi

Tom and Heidi around the Temple of Minerva in Assisi


Piazza del Comune

Yesterday, while the boys were at school, the adults visited the nearby city of Deruta.  We talked with the ceramic craftsmen and bought more plates.  We toured a three-story nativity display that featured the works of 40 artists.  On the way home, we got stuck in traffic and were a half hour late to get the boys from school.  I had to call the landlady of Tom and Heidi’s apartment to ask her to pick them up.  She made sure they got home okay.  It was a little embarrassing.

Group photo with Monica from

Group photo with Monica from Maioliche Artemisia

This morning we went shoe shopping.  Deanne, Heidi and I looked at a pair of plastic high heals that cost about 160 dollars.  The salesman pointed out that they smell like Starbursts when you wear them.  We tried them on (just for fun).

They are even waterproof

They are even waterproof

We have two more days before Richard and Deanne leave and about two weeks of plans to fit into that time.   Richard is throwing an Italian wine tasting tomorrow night.  Uncle Tom’s going to make beef tongue.  There’s an ancient well down the street we need to see.  Plus a Raphael fresco.  Then a castle.  And some Etruscan tombs just outside the city wall.  And if there is time, we are going to try and cook black truffle pasta for dinner tomorrow.


19 thoughts on “Our Company

  1. Love reading your letters. What a fabulous diary, soon to be a movie? Merry Christmas to all.

    Sandra Roberts Windermere Real Estate 425-830-1084

  2. What a great picture! Matt looks like a “Rock Star” standing there….ha-ha. Merry Christmas to all of you!

    ** 5 Star Customer Service Award recipient for 2012!

    George R. Moorhead Branch Manager Bentley Properties

    Office: 425-748-5065 Direct: 206-391-7766 Fax: 425-748-5070

  3. Deruta is one of our favorite stops, and we always take friends there from the Siena villa we rent. We all have spent a great deal , but as you said the pottery is beautiful.

    • Merry Christmas, Marcranders. We think of your family whenever we visit Deruta. Your pal at Ceramiche Fanny was in the central piazza when we arrived. Thanks for the comment. So good to hear from you.

  4. Wish I could bring the kids! It all looks so so fun and interesting! Glad you have relatives for the Holidays! I love the opening photo! Looked like an album cover!

  5. So. Very. Jealous. You guys look like Super Heroes. Your powers? Detection of subtle, otherwise hops-dominated flavors; deep appreciation for well-aged cheese (get it?); and a fine-tuned ability to be so very fun and interesting. (I’ve totally cracked myself up with the cheese comment – it’s the little things these days…) LOVE YOU ALL. Enjoy your time together!

  6. Another great one!!! I am impressed that Richard was able to juggle so well in spite of all the wines and beers in the various photos.
    Grandpa John

  7. That is the BEST photo! We love it. Wanted to say Merry Christmas to all of you with big hugs going out to you all – and lots and lots of love. Thinking of you all and wishing you many moments of laughter and happiness to dance in the silences between – Love, Hugh and Tekla

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