Tuesday, May 18, 2010


Kristen is doing a "stage" again with her school in the region of Lazio, south of Tuscany, so this weekend I rented a car and went to visit her. Unfortunately, the weather wasn't very good (it rained most of Saturday and some of Sunday), but we nevertheless had a good time. Saturday, we went to Tarquinia, where we first visited the Etruscan necropolis. In contrast to the one we visited near Sovana, this one is famous for its painted underground tombs. While most were simply decorated or had feast or hunting scenes, some others had ... ahem ... expressions of different standards, shall we say.
Afterward, we went into the town, where a medieval festival was supposed to be taking place. The expected equestrian events and battle didn't take place though -- I'm guessing due to the weather. So we headed towards Viterbo and picked out an agriturismo in which to spend the night. For dinner, we went to nearby Tuscania, a pleasant little medieval town. We ate at the ristorante "Kyathos", where we had a good dinner, and probably the best value meal we've had in Italy (25 Euros for two people, multiple courses, wine and cover).
The next day, we went to visit Viterbo, which was also pleasant enough. The highlights were the frescoes in the town hall, as well as the well-preserved medieval quarter. We only saw the papal palace from the outside, where several popes were elected. We then went to the hot springs, again opting for the free variant at Bullicame. Here we bathed in the waters that Dante had already described in the Divine Comedy.
Tacendo divenimmo là 've spiccia
fuor de la selva un picciol fiumicello,
lo cui rossore ancor mi raccapriccia.
Quale del Bulicame esce ruscello
che parton poi tra lor le peccatrici,
tal per la rena giù sen giva quello.

Speaking no word, we came to where there gushes
Forth from the wood a little rivulet,
Whose redness makes my hair still stand on end.
As from the Bulicame springs the brooklet,
The sinful women later share among them,
So downward through the sand it went its way.
Not many people were around, and we almost had the springs to ourselves. Finally, after a decent lunch, I dropped Kristen off again in Tolfa, and drove back to Florence.

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