Cinghiale: the wild boar of Italy

When you think of Italian food what comes to mind? Pasta, Parmesan cheese, prosciutto? Yes, but there is another item that appears on many menus, cinghiale, the wild boar.  Just like deer in parts of the United States, the boar is roaming Italy, eating and reproducing in great numbers. Unlike deer, a boar can have as many as fifteen piglets. According to an Italian institute for environmental research, the number of wild boar in Italy has increased from 600,000 to a million in the last decade. The boar’s only predator is the wolf and there are not enough of them  to make a dent in the boar population.

Stuffed boars are all over the place, especially in front of butcher shops. We sampled a number of boar dishes. They were pretty tasty.

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St. Francis, still alive in Assisi

Our last stay was another AirBnB in Assisi. When we finally found the apartment, a little challenging with a host who spoke no English, it was lovely. The most amazing part was the deck.The views were amazing.


The feast of St. Francis is celebrated on his death, October 4th. During the week there are concerts, a market, special masses and speeches by politicians and clergy.

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The candlelight ceremony at the Basilica diSanta Maria degli Angeli was very moving.


The little church, built in the 9th century, was where Francis vowed to live in poverty and started the Franciscan movement. Francis was given this little church by Benedictine monks. After his death in 1226, many pilgrims came to the little church. Pope Pius V ordered the basilica built around the little church. It was constructed from 1569-1667. It is the seventh largest Christian church in the world.

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Our little street, Via Montecavallo, was decorated with drawings on sheets of the residents. They were lighted at night and really spectacular.

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Our wonderful Assisi guide, Alessandra.
Mike, with the largest mortadella that I have ever seen!


The hills are alive….in Umbria

Walking through the hilltop towns in Umbria feels like stepping back in town. Narrow streets designed when vehicles were horses are now shared by pedestrians and autos. Steep curving streets are so picturesque you can’t help but snap a photo. Walls, remnants of walled cities of the past, pop up throughout villages.  Some of the names of these cities make be familiar, Assisi and Perugia. Others maybe not, Spoleto, Spello, Montefalco, Bevagna, Orvieto, Deruta, Citta di Castello, Paciano, Panicale, Gubbio… Yup, I dragged Mike to every one of these.img_3247 rsz_montefalco

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Beautiful both during the day and at night.