August in Italy is a strange month, it has its own lazy charm but life, as we know it, shuts down. It packs it’s bags and clears off to the coast, or the mountains, or ‘nonna’s farm’ in Puglia. One by one the builders and the plumbers disappear into thin, hot August air until they are all gone.
For a while the cement mixer continues it’s lonely lament with only Marito for company until he too throws in the trowel and accepts that everyone needs a break. My excuse for lack of blogging is simple, ‘ferragosto’.
You start to notice the mass exodus at the beginning of the month as the discrete and irritating little sign ‘Chiuso per ferie’ appears more and more frequently; the barbers, the forno, the take-away pizza place, one by one they all succumb.
The motorways are suddenly filled with small Italian cars packed with people and their plastic bags all desperately heading for somewhere else and, quietly watching all this summer mayhem, quite still on her plinth or in her niche, stands the serene and ubiquitous Madonna of the roadside.
There are some more of these marvellous Madonnas in the sidebar, I hope you like them as much as I do.
The best thing I ate:
Succo di Mele
On the way to Castiglione del Lago is an apple farm, Az Agr. Mele del Trasimeno. The fruit, glowing rosily between dark leaves, can be seen on the beautiful espaliered trees from the roadside. It’s a small organic concern, they grow apples and they sell apples and, as luck would have it, they sell apple juice too.
But this is no ordinary juice, it can be quite changeable, sometimes clear and golden and at other times almost pink and cloudy. It’s aromatic and full of lovely old-fashioned apple flavours; a heady mix of sunny fruit with a hint of aniseed and almonds. It is as deep and rich and sweetly complicated as any wine might be. I like it best after lunch, give me a small cold glass of succo di mele with a crumbly wedge of parmesan and I’ll happily pass on dessert.
Where to get it;
Az Agr Mele del Trasimeno
SS71 Umbro Casentinese
Loc. San Fatucchio
Castiglione Del Lago
PG. Tel 075 9589722