The joys of a lard sandwich. 3/12/18

Today started out badly and ended spectacularly. You never know what is just around the corner.

This morning John and Sarah need to go over to the train station and pick up the rental car that we are using for the rest of our trip. I am to stand outside with the GPS to make sure it has a signal before they come back with the car. So I am all  positioned in front of the hotel with the luggage and  I wait. Then it starts to rain, then pour, then thunder and lightning. After about an hour they are back with the car. It is much more involved than had been anticipated. Plus we have this very flashy, wide car. An Alfa Romeo. It has weird gears.

Off we go towards Pompeii with an interim stop in Tivoli to see the duomo and maybe Hadrian’s villa. But probably not the villa because a lot of it is outside and it is raining hard. The traffic is horrendous and once we get to Tivoli the roads are very narrow. By the time we get to where we think the cathedral will be we are all pretty tense. We ask directions which we really do not understand because it is a long explanation in Italian but somehow we find the duomo down a long steep hill.

Tivoli Cathedral of St. Lawrence

We are looking forward to seeing the decoration and especially a wooden deposition group. We have seen these groups in a museum in Spoleto. Surviving examples are extremely rare. The group in the Tivoli duomo is supposed to have 6 life size figures including an angel and was carved in the early 13th century.

Here’s what we see when we walk in.

Interior of Tivoli duomo

Oh no, we cry out in unison. It has been such a hard morning and we finally found the church and now it is shrouded in scaffolding and sheets. Bummer.

There is no one here except some workers with noisy equipment so we start to poke around. To the right of the big sheet covering the altar is a little chapel and in the chapel is the deposition group mostly in darkness.

Wooden deposition group carved 1220-30

We get out our phone flashlights and find a switch and a button. We decide to turn the switch on and hope that it is not an alarm. It is not.

Lighted up deposition group

Wow, wow, wow! So old and in such good shape! And we do not have to see it with a big crowd of tourists. Our day is definitely looking up.

View from Tivoli

Back in the car we decide to skip Hadrian’s villa because it is just too wet. We continue on toward Pompeii stopping at an Autogrill for some lunch. We are sure it will be bad. But it’s not! Our lunch is actually quite delicious! Everyone is a winner today.

Sarah and I have artichoke risotto and a salad for lunch

John has flavorful lentils and artichokes for his lunch

Once getting off the toll road we travel down impossibly narrow and potholed streets to our B &B, Certe Notti near Pompeii Center. It is pretty humble but convenient.

John settles into our digs, the Certe Notti, in Pompeii

Out in the back there are lemons and oranges

After some much needed rest we head off for our dinner reservations at Vincanto. This is Yuri Buono’s wine bar and small plates place celebrating the wines and foods of the region and the “slow food” movement in Italy. We give ourselves over to Yuri and his staff to choose what is best. We have eaten here twice before in years’ past and know we will not be disappointed!

Aglianico Don Paolo

Sarah is enjoying it

Salami and cheese board with honey and marmalade

To the left in the picture below is the title’s lard sandwich. It might sound awful but it is so good!

Bruschettone of cheese, mushroom, and lard on ancient grain bread plus tomatoes and cheese

Porchetta with preserved peppers (“paparecelle”)

John is leaning on his left side and it is not even Passover yet!

A layered pistachio and cream mousse in celebration of Sarah’s upcoming birthday

Yuri also plays the guitar and sings songs of his home. The men’s supper club who have been dining in the front room join in the singing. It is a great end to a wonderful evening. (Plus the bill for our dinner including the bottle of wine and three after dinner drinks is less than 100 Euros!)

Yuri serenades us