I think it is almost too beautiful here

Seriously, yesterday, after wandering down yet another picturesque street I had the urge to see something contrasting, like an gigantic, icy Stalinesque building like they have in parts of Moscow. I needed something to interrupt all the charm and beauty of Italy.

 Yesterday, I left the dogs here at the agriturismo with the teenage children of the owners. I left early and went to Urbino. You might know it as the birthplace of the painter, Raphael (not the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle). It is set on top of a hill and it was a very important city in the time of the ducal states. After hiking up and down the streets, I took some time and ducked into their Orto Botanico – Botanical Gardens. They date from the 1700s, making them somewhat younger than the Hortus in Amsterdam 😉 It was an oasis, even standing near the carnivorous plants was peaceful. I pretty much set my internal compass to “Wander” and did just that through the streets.

Orso Botanico
Orso Botanico

Around 1245, the crowds started to get to me a bit since it is a UNESCO heritage site and they had two festivals planned for this weekend. I hiked back down to the bottom of the walls, where the car park is and set off with the windows open for Urbania. The letter of the day yesterday was U 🙂 Urbania is a bit smaller and more level. Unfortunately, I arrived right in the middle of siesta time which meant I had the city to myself to walk around in. In the end, I gave in to the wisdom and found a small sidewalk cafe and had a glass of Prosecco in the shade.

 On the way back to Mercatello sul Metauro, where we are, I took the drive up into the hills and saw the village of Peglio. It is a village on a hill top that has the best view of the Marche for kilometers. You can see approximately 63 km in distance from Peglio. And once you are done, you head back down the winding mountain road. I didn’t use navigation once yesterday, which was kind of liberating.

 As a treat and because one must eat pizza in Italy, I took my host and their teenagers to the pizzeria that is three 16th century villages over. It was definitely unlike American and very good. They don’t open until 7pm and by 9pm they are quite full. There were some very interesting options, that are apparently pretty normal Italian pizza options. I stuck to the basics, eggplant, zucchini and mushrooms.

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 I have been alternating my days. Monday, the dogs and I drove to Cartoceto in search of olive oil and vineyards. Tuesday we took it easy and went to Sant Angelo in Vado. Wednesday, we stayed here, only climbing all the way up the side of the hill when I got restless and thought I needed something to do that was “productive”. Thursday we went to Tuscany and explored there. Friday, we were here and walked all the way down the hill to the river and went swimming. And then consequently faced the climb back up the hill. Tonight is the festival of the red potato in Borgo Pace (population 665) and a town over. We’re going to that. Tomorrow, I may make the drive over to Assisi and leave the dogs here since it promises to be around 95 degrees again.

The dogs are having a field day, spending the whole day free and unleashed. As for me, I am practicing my banjo regularly, reading, writing and taking a nap per day. For our next trip to Italy, I will choose either the fall or spring since the summer is a bit too sunny for me – what a complaint, I know! I like it here and I would like to see more of Italy, although I think I am doing a pretty good job so far.

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