We left Roccamandolfi on the 26th July and drove about 4hours to Deruta, a town renowned for it’s ceramics. A lot of Italians don’t know about it but the town is just full of beautiful ceramic shops selling everything you can imagine. Of course we arrived at 1pm when all the shops were closed to took off to see Assisi in the meantime until the shops opened again. We always seem to get to places when it is siesta time – nice for the inhabitants but a pain for us sometimes as they don’t open again until 5pm. We drove back after seeing Assisi and bought a couple of little bowls that we can use.
The old town of Assisi and the Basilica of St Francis is beautiful. They even built another church around the stone hut where he lived in the 1200’s.
It was very hot there and the heat continued up into Perugia where we stayed for the night at a wonderful “Agriturismo” at the top of a hill complete with swimming pool. Unfortunately our new airconditioner in the van died (will have to get it fixed in Germany)and there wasn’t a breath of air making it hard to get to sleep.
The next morning we took off early and parked the van and took the mini metro (light rail) – a great service up into the old town of Perugia. It was a bit of nostalgia for me as my father took me there while he was teaching a Summer school at the University for Foreigners when I was 16! Unfortunately the university building was locked as it was a Saturday but we had a good look around in the historical part of town before heading back to the station and the van. We had a bite of lunch at a very modern bar at the mini metro station. The lunch was laid out – slices of pork, grilled vegetables, rice salad, couscous, green sadad, cold meats and bread. You could have as much as you liked and it only cost 7 euros each including bottled water and a coffee.
We drove on to Modena a city and surrounding area that Maurice wanted to visit for a long time. After the Appenines and hilly country around Perugia, the countryside changed to very fertile flat plains where there were a lot of grapes (for balsamic vinegar) corn and orchards of every kind. We stopped at a lovely little town called “Poggio Rusco” which had an unusually large number of modern coffee bars dotted throughout the town. A couple of the ones we saw were run by Chinese people who spoke Italian. There are an increasing number of Chinese throughout Italy and the Italians complain about them but they still shop at their stores which are usually much cheaper than their Italian counterparts.
We didn’t buy any balsamic vinegar there but instead a lovely handbag – very necessary!
We camped at a campsite just outside town for the night and it was extremely hot and humid again without a breath of air.
We continued the next day up the back roads to Padua. It
is so nice not to use the Autostradas but instead potter along and enjoy the scenery. We must say that the Italian drivers have been very patient and there is practically no more honking of horns even when there is a holdup at the toll booths and people are more courteous than at home. The only thing is that there are no road rules and double lines on the road, stop signs and red lights (when the lights are working) don’t mean much.
The main square in the historic area of Padua is vast with a large fountain in the middle. Of course we hit this again in the middle of the day so had to have the most delicious ice cream to cool down!
We headed then to Oriago near Venice.

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