dinsdag 24 juni 2014

Carsulae - don't miss it!

The trip I made yesterday is one I really like to share with you and future visitors of Umbria. The reason why is that Carsulae, which this post is about, offers something nice for nearly everyone. Especially when you travel with children it's an adventure that they will absolutely like. They are allowed to climb the ruines, they can run in the fields and – when there are not too many other visitors – even yell for they'll disturb nobody.

There are, apart from one small risky spot, no signs about forbidden things.
Of course this does not mean that you won't have to watch over them – I would not recommend any child to fall from a 3 m. high wall, There are plenty of lower stones though.

During your visit, you will be accompanied by the delicate smell of the mentuccia that grows everywhere. In spring, you might even be lucky and see several sheep herds guided by their shepherd and his dog. If you want to relax during your visit, seats have been put up in the shade of the trees.

Carsulae is situated close to San Gemini. Take the exit on the E45 and follow San Gemini and then Cesi where the roadsigns will direct you to the parking lot. A short walk will bring you to the ticket office and documentation centre (and for those few kids that don't like climbing and being outside, there's a playroom).

Carsulae has been a Roman municipium, which means that the town's citizens had some of the civil rights that Rome's citizens had, but was allowed to have a merely indipendent governance, under the authority of the Emperor August. The town was situated alongside the Via Flaminia. Its remains divide the town in two.

The town was entered by the Arch of San Damiano. Originally there were three archs, the large one that's left now was meant for vehicles and it used to be flanked by two smaller archs for pedestrians.

I will not discuss every building, for you can find it in every tourist guide or better, go there and see them yourself, but worth mentioning is the church of Cosma and San Daniano. It dates from the 11th century and was built on the remains of a much older building (estimated 1st and 2nd century before Christ).

Another detail is one of the tombs that were found. The tombs are believed to have belonged to prominent citizens of Carsulae. One of them was found with a leaden coffin inside, containing the remains of a young girl, with her golden jewelry still well kept.

Other interesting buildings are the Forum, the Amfitheatre, the Cisterns that provided Carsulaes water, Thermal Baths and some buildings that are supposed to have been shops.

As I said, Carsulae provides an interesting site for almost everyone. Only when you are disabled or have other difficulties walking, the facilities are not good. Meanwhile, I have approached the commune of San Gemini and have asked them to see wether they could adjust that.  

zaterdag 21 juni 2014

La Festa della Lavanda - Castelnuovo d'Assisi

This weekend I did something that I actually had planned last year: I visited La Festa della Lavanda in Castenuovo d'Assisi. It is a fair organized by Il Lavandeto d'Assisi who grow various types of lavender.

But, besides the impressive lavender fields, there were a lot of other herbs and plants to be admired. Their santolina collection took my breath away and it was a pure pleasure to walk through the symmetric herbgarden.

There were the common kitchen herbs we all know, in very appelling combinations of colours and structures.

Apart from the common herbs, there were several types of basil of which the Basilico Greco drew my attention in particular because of its delicate leaves.

The few children I saw were happy too because there was a coop full of chickens with two very small and furry ones in it. They moved too fast to get a decent picture. There was een a small pond occupied by frogs, but of course, by the time I arrived they had all jumped in and were nowhere to be spotted. 

The children ran off to find their way in the lavender labyrinth.

By the time all the plants had been admired, there was still a small fair with several stands offering their own specialties. Lavender and herbplants, of course, but there were opportunities to follow workshops in order to learn how to make ointments or tisanes as well.

There was a stand with maiolica, all hand made in Deruta, artisan baskets, paintings or you could try home made lavender lemonade.

The best news? It's still there tomorrow, and the weekend of the 28/29th of June too.