Monday, June 04, 2007

In Siena, where I'm shocked and saddened to learn of the death of Sarah Hannah, one of the editors of Barrow Street, who only a few months ago was generous enough to take an interest in Severance Songs, and with whom I enjoyed a brief correspondence. She has a new book coming out this fall and it's strange and terrible to realize once again how the things we create may live on and even speak on after us, without actually being us.

After two days in the wondrous citadel of Calcata (the one-hundred-percent accurate article about the place that inspired us to go there can be found here), we drove north and passed through a bit of Umbria and stopped for the night at a magical country inn, La Locanda del Gallo, south of the town of Gubbio. It's spendy, but I would recommend it to anyone traveling in Italy, and further recommend that you stay more than one night if you can. The setting is remote and hauntingly beautiful, less worked over than the Tuscan landscape we're seeing now (though that too is very beautiful of course). They served us a marvelous dinner of fettucine with truffles, salmon, and delicate pork cutlets. The next afternoon we drove through astonishing mountains and villages (my favorite, where we didn't take time to stop, was Cortona) to Siena and a little agriturismo on the northern edge of town. We'll be here for four days, so it's our first extended stay anywhere since Rome, and we're grateful. Writing this from an internet point just a hundred meters from the Piazza del Campo, maybe the most beautiful public square in Italy. It's all hallucinatory and yet real, with hundreds of fellow turisti to remind us that we're only passing through this medieval dreamscape.

Almost out of time--I hope to post something a little less in the ordinary vein of travelogue sometime in the next few days.

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