CORRECTION: My apologies to the Mr’s Pardi. Their correct names are Alberto and Albertino, not as originally published as Antonio and Antonino. The correction has been made in the original story below.
We were invited, along with our friend Teresa, to visit Susan in Umbria this past weekend at her home, Fondo le Teglie. It’s our third visit since we met Susan at an Internations wine tasting this past fall, during which we discovered we were neighbors here in Roma, and a fast friendship developed.
We drove up to Umbria on Saturday morning and wanted to take Teresa to Il Re Beve, a wonderful restaurant in Aquasparta, about 15 minutes from Fondo le Teglie for lunch. Michael and I had visited the restaurant last month when we were in Umbria over our anniversary. We shared a wonderful house appetizer platter, fried artichoke, a delicious bottle of Montefalco Rosso wine and each had a pasta dish. YUM. The restaurant is located in a renovated castle, Castello di Casigliano, that sits high up on a hill overlooking the Umbrian countryside.
After lunch, we drove to Susan’s home. She and her friend Matt, who comes almost yearly to visit and help with the maintenance at Fondo le Teglie, where waiting for us. Susan with a bottle of chilled Prosecco and Matt with a scraper in hand as he was busy stripping the paint from the outside teak chairs. After settling in, we left Matt to scrape and headed to Todi to wander and shop a bit.
Todi is an Umbrian hill town, perched on a tall, two crested hill, that overlooks the east bank of the Tiber River. It was likely founded in the 8th-7th century BC. All of it’s medieval monuments face the town square, which is often used as a movie set. In the 1990’s a professor from the University of Kentucky chose Todi as a model sustainable city and subsequently, the Italian press began to call it the “worlds’ most livable city”.
There’s a parking lot at the base of the town, with a small accensore or finicular that runs up the hill to the main part of the town. It’s a charming place, and it’s residents, and those of the surrounding towns, come from all over the world. Susan took us to an amazing art gallery, ab OVO Art & Design, where I entertained everyone trying on hats and beautiful scarves. We acted like “tourists” taking photos as we wandered around the city center, and watched an archery contest being held in the main piazza, its participants dressed in appropriately medieval outfits.
We had dinner at home that night and Susan invited her local friend Claudio to join us. She roasted lamb in the outdoor brick fireplace, and we drank so much good local wine, that the evening ended in a dance party!
Sunday morning Michael and I opted out, but Teresa and Susan easily made the 5km walk in a nearby preserve. When they returned, we all set about helping to prepare lunch. Susan had invited friends, her English neighbor Bianca and the Pardi family, and we were in for a treat – a traditional Italian Sunday lunch! Teresa and I made great kitchen helpers, assisting Susan to prepare parts of the courses, and making sure that not only was the dining table lovely, but the plates as well.
The Pardi family, Antonio, his wife Linda, one of their sons, Gianlucca and Alberto’s cousin, Augusta joined us for lunch. They live in Montefalco, a famous wine region about 45 minutes away. Gianlucca and his brother Albertino help to run the family winery Fratelli Pardi, where they produce delicious red and white wines. They are well known for their Montefalco Rosso, which is a blend of Sagrantino, Sangiovese and Merlot grapes. Delicious! The family also owns Tessitura Pardi, located in nearby Bastardo, which is a textile factory that produces beautiful linen and cotton table and housewares. With some of us speaking English, some Italian and a few translating back and forth, we spent the most delightful afternoon that lasted almost until the sun set.
Susan has a website, which you can find at the right, Il Gusto del Paese, where she offers both her villa, Fondo le Teglie for rent, but also a variety of other lodgings in the Umbrian region, which is a comfortable 1.5-2 hour drive from Roma. She has a wealth of knowledge about Umbria and all the delightful things to do when you visit there. She is a gracious hostess and we are lucky to have her as our friend! Grazie mille Susan, for another lovely weekend in Umbria. We can’t wait to visit again.