Three day quote challenge

We’re taking up on the three day quote challenge from Ishita, Italophilia. Thanks for nominating us!

Since we live in Umbria in the Lake Trasimeno area, I thought it would be appropriate to start the challenge with a quote from Lord Byron who has travelled through Italy and also passed by at “our” lake. Even in our small village there is a “Via Byron” to commemorate this fact. Unfortunately I haven’t been able to find the original quote in English, though the Italian translation can be found anywhere when searching for Lord Byron and Lake Trasimeno:

“Trasimeno, il suo lago è un velo argenteo.”

I’d translate this as “Trasimeno, its lake is a silvery veil.” At times the lake indeed seems to have a silvery veal.


Reading about Lord Byron and his escape to Italy I found this quote though, that illustrates Italy very well:

“…and now, fair Italy! Thou are the garden of the world…”

This is so true: driving through Italy one often feels like driving through an enormous park or garden.

With the quote challenge, I am supposed to nominate three bloggers for each day. Let’s change that to nominating three bloggers on the last day of our three quotes. I suppose that is not going to harm the chain of quotes?

Mind, nobody is obliged to follow up on the nomination.

I hope you enjoyed today’s quote.

– post by Saskia van der Bolt –

La Scarzuola

La Scarzuola is one of these places in Umbria where not many tourists go, but it is very worthwhile the detour. Guests of ours in Todi House wanted to visit this very particular former abbey and its gardens. They asked us to book it for them and we decided to join them.


The former abbey is situated near Montegiove well hidden in the green Umbrian hills. The abbey and its church was founded by the counts of Marsciano honouring Saint Francis who stayed here in 1218. It is said that Saint Francis planted a bay bush and a rose and on this spot a spring with fresh drinking water appeared. (It is more likely that he simply discovered the already existing well…). The spring still exists and the water is filtered naturally making it clean drinking water.


Saint Francis stayed here for a while and built a hut for himself from a marsh plant called “scarza”. The abbey of Saint Francis was founded next to this well. The church was built later by the counts of Marsciano. One can now see an old fresco of Saint Francis in the church made during his life. This is one of the very few fresco’s left of Saint Francis from that time. The halo surrounding his head was designed later.


What makes this abbey stand out from the many other abbeys honoring Saint Francis is its more recent history.


In 1957 the architect Tomaso Buzzi from Milan bought the abbey (or what was left of it) and its surrounding grounds. Next to the abbey he created his personal vision of his ideal city made up of many theaters. The combination of bizarre theaters, ponds, steps, buildings, and ingenious architecture makes this a unique place to visit. Some free mason elements, the vicinity of the abbey, the uncontaminated nature surrounding the area all make up for a very special experience while walking around here.


Tomasso Buzzi died in 1981 and his heir Marco Solari continued the work following designs and diaries left by Tomaso Buzzi. Also the abbey’s church was restored.

Nowadays one can visit La Scarzuola, but only after reservation. The tour is for a minimum of 8 people, but if you are less the organizers will add you to one of the existing groups. The entrance is euro 10 per person and children can go in for free. There are very entertaining tours in English by an English gentleman and the owner himself gives the tour in Italian. The website of La Scarzuola gives more information.

There are also two friendly dogs walking around. Guests that bring their dog will have to leave the dog outside. They would otherwise upset the dogs of La Scarzuola.


– posted by Saskia van der Bolt –

A uncommon friend on our door step

Like every year when the weather in Autumn gets colder, many insects try to hide away and look out for places where the sun still arrives and where they are hidden from the chilly wind. Our doorstep is towards the south and also in winter the sun warms it up. It is our place to keep the lemons and other vulnerable plants over the winter. And each year around this time insects also try to hide away here. This one is particularly interesting, the praying mantis. I’m sure he noticed me making some pictures. It was as if he or she was looking at me. I wonder whether they actually survive the winter?

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– Posted by Saskia van der Bolt –