Olive Oil Tour & a Night at the Opera

mtn fogToday we have an “olive oil” tour with Johnny Madge – an expat English guy married to an Italian. Unexpected fun.

He met us and an American couple at the Fara Sabina station. We piled into van and drove on West Virginia type roads (curvy, mountainous) but populated with medieval towers, churches and modern towns. Every time we stopped, Johnny showed us wild herbs. Chicory, fennel, marjoram, rosemary.cloud town

Olive Tree First stop: 2000 yr old olive tree. They are hollow in the center so matter was taken and carbon dated. On to Johnny’s town: Casperia. At his wine bar we DRINK olive oil. 3 types, unmixed. You snort in reverse after you coat your mouth. Fumes everywhere in your taste area. He also opens a wine, which we drink. Harder to walk back down the hill!olive grove

About extra virgin olive oil: the olives are “combed” from the tree and the sooner you can get them to the mill, the better. If your oil smells fusty – “a little like crayons” – there were spoiled olives when it was pressed. It is not extra virgin. It should smell like tomatoes.

river of clouds

On to lunch. Baked tomato slices, bruschetta w/ fabulous oil, chick pea puree, beans with sage, cheese wedges with grape jam (yum yum), frittata with marjoram, baked onions with crumbs, eggplant parm – the best I’ve ever had, and spicy greens. We drank another 2 bottles of wine at lunch. Add the food to 4 sips of oil, plus 4 pieces of bread with oil – my stomach roils thinking of it. I have never been so full. Ended with coffee. Last stop – a mill where the olives are pressed. I was mostly impressed with the house.tower w trees

We say goodbye (after 6 hours) and head off for our final adventure. We had decided not to book a hotel since the plane left at 6:45 AM. My hubby DROVE into Rome – OMG. They are crazy. They double, double park. All the streets are one way and not laid out in a gird. And, of course, there are people walking around. Like a nightmare.blue door

Finally find the parking garage and we panic – can the boat (big car) turn 90 degrees on a tiny street and get down the ramp. Barely.

Off to the opera – Barber of Seville. Cute theater – a little art deco. Tiny stage. The soprano is singing Mimi and Rosina in rep, which seems like 2 very different types of singing. The Don Basilo is good. The old lover a hoot. The rest adequate. Tiny live orchestra. B says it’s probably like it was when it was first produced. Lasts until 11:30.

We find the parking garage again – yay. And off we go to the airport. We settle in about 1AM. I sleep on the cold floor – doze mostly. B is reading. Finally the night bleeds into a flight home, 5 hr layover in Frankfurt. But…flower window

Oh, doggies, we’re coming!! Love to go. Love to come home. Arrivederci Italia.