One of the things we did on our last day in Rome was go to the Coliseum. The Coliseum was an arena where people battled to amuse the citizens of ancient Rome. The people who fought battles were called Gladiators. They were usually prisoners of war or enemies of the Emperor, but in some cases men even sold themselves into the job.
The Coliseum is even bigger than I imagined. One of the things I observed was that a section of the top rim was made up of marble blocks that were perfectly smooth from the outside, but on the inside you could see the irregular shape of the blocks stacked up. It must have been hard to get the marble blocks up there.
In the ancient Roman times the walls of the Coliseum were covered in white marble, making a stunning effect. There used to be statues of Roman gods in every archway along the sides of the Coliseum. It would have looked the gods were gathering to watch the gory battles taking place below.
It was not just the statures of gods that embellished the walls of the monument. On each of the three bottom tiers there is a different style of column: the bottom level held Doric, the middle was Ionic, and the third was Corinthian. The architectural detailing increased as the levels got higher.
After the hustle and bustle in the city of Roma, Umbria seems like a quiet haven of meals fit for a foodie, hill towns to explore, and verdant views.
When I am in Umbria I like to eat good food. In fact I have been eating tons and am hungry all the time. This good food seems to be increasing my appetite by 150,000%. (But watch out, the Spoleto bread is not for me! It is unsalted and usually stale!) I love the gelato (I try different flavors everyday) and the pasta (I am getting hungry thinking about ravioli with ricotta and spinach).
For my special birthday dinner we are cooking at home in our beautiful villa in Sploleto. I am having flower shaped ravioli with quatro fromagi and steak and string beans and salad caprese. For dessert we are having strawberries and meringues with whipped cream. I can’t wait to eat all that and cook with Mama.
One of the things we like doing in our relaxing days in Umbria is visiting remote hill towns. I like that the houses are make of stone. In a hill town there has to be a church, a restaurant, a town square (piazza), a central fountain, a wall for protection against enemies and a gate to admit carts and people. My favorite hill town is Civita Baggnoreggio that we will hopefully visit later this week.
The views of the Umbrian countryside make me want to get out my camera and shoot the olive trees, so many colors of greens in the hills and the dark fields. The olive trees are silver-white like a lambs ears plant. The grass is bright green like peas. The plowed fields are like shaved chocolate on a cake. The hillsides are laid out like a table for a king; an abundant feast for the eyes.
I am enjoying this time in Umbria. It is a relaxing and satisfying place for me.