We met the plumber and electrician at the house this morning to finalise the positions of radiators, thermostats, gas taps, lights, sockets, switches, etc. I’m sure that this is great news for the plumber, electrician and Jamie but I find it impossible to stand in a room with a concrete floor, tubes and wires exposed and no doors, and then be asked to decide on lights and plugs for invisible TV’s in front of invisible sofas and even, “if you have a mirror where will it go and how do you want it lit?”
WHAT!? I roughly know where the beds will go as the rooms are small but other than that It’s like the emperor’s new clothes.
After this we popped in to see Deborah at the bathroom store in Chiusi to make sure all the orders are in. As the builder is making real progress we have to make sure tiles arrive and the sanitary-ware is ready and waiting. Over here tiling is done first, in bathrooms and kitchens, then everything is fitted on top. Interesting…
As we were in Chiusi we popped over to the lake. It is a very pleasant little lake, not as huge as Lake Trasimeno. Although today the waters were a little choppy after a night of heavy rain and wind. Maybe we are having the final blasts from Storm Doris. As it is still outside of the tourist season, the restaurants on the shoreline were closed. Here they serve lake fish that are pretty unusual to find elsewhere. After a quick stroll around with Daisy we headed back to the historic town of Chiusi to see what was on offer. Not much as it turned out, other than a great coffee ice cream with bits of coffee bean in it. The main restaurants were closed although they possibly only open in the evening this time of year.
Chiusi is only 10 kms from Citta della Pieve and is the location of the nearest station, Lidl, a Chinese supermarket that really does sell everything, and, of course, the bathroom store. But the old town, located on top of a hill, is certainly worthy of closer inspection.
There is a museum of Roman and Etruscan history, and there are several Etruscan tombs and burial sites to visit in the surrounding countryside. The cathedral of Saint Secondiano is one of the most beautiful churches I have been in. That is saying something I know, but it has a classic nave with mosaics, rows of elegant columns with painted mosaiced arches, a dramatic geometric marble floor and an impressive roof flanked by smaller arches. Built on the ruins of a Roman building this is a real treasure and is opposite the museum.
The town has several other interesting buildings and after a quick wander around in the biting cold wind we left, planning to return for a closer look another day when more things are open.
Back in Citta della Pieve we decided to try out a restaurant that we have not yet been to. The menu features strange fusions of flavours and ingredients and is more expensive compared to the others. I had sauteed scallops on a creamy burrata base and Jamie went for the vegetable mousse. These were both pretty good. The second course was not so successful. My baccala was served with a mustard syrup and sour cream sauce. The mustard syrup was just flavourless and sticky and the sour cream was washed away by it. There were no garnishes or vegetables and so I ordered a green salad. Jamie had linguini made from chestnut flour, served with sausage and porcini mushroom. Quite strong flavours here and the chef came out to explain how the pasta was being cooked by a system of passing steam over it rather than plunging into boiling water. Not sure why they bothered as it really made zero difference to texture. Dessert was an overly sweet mascarpone base served with sauteed strawberries. The best thing was the dessert wine offered by chef at the end of the evening: a ten year old passito dessert wine from Pantelleria, a small island off the coast of Sicily. This was really good but the rest was a triumph of style over content and I was really disappointed. Friends had warned us, but we needed to try it ourselves as it would have been nice to have had an alternative food style in town.
p.s. The title: in Italian ‘chiuso’ means closed and so the above is a sort of pun, if not a very good one. Sorry.