Back to Italy – 4/2/17

We are heading home on Thursday out of Milan, and today is Monday and we are in Croatia. It is time to start the trip back to Milan much more quickly than our leisurely pace that has characterized most of our trip.

We say goodbye to our hotel friends with their terrible internet and no hot water. But they are so nice and helpful that it will a seem a shame to give them less than a stellar review. Today we are stopping in Cividale dei Fruili to see a number of things.

First up the Museo Cristiano. This museum concentrates on Christianity in the area and in particular the influence of the Longobards. Longobards were a tribe that came to the area from Southern Scandinavia and ruled parts of Italy from 568 to 744. The came first as pagans but over time adopted the Christian faith and assimilated with the Romans.

Interesting story – the Longobards used to be known as the Winnili and they were set to do battle with the Vandals with far fewer soldiers. One of the head women sought help from the goddess Frea who advised that all Winnili women should tie their hair in front of their faces like beards and march in line with their husbands. When Frea’s husband Gotan (Wotan/Odin) saw them he said who are these long beards. Frea said you have named them and now give them a victory. Ever after the Wannili were known as the longbeards or Longobardi.

The first thing we see in the museum is the tomb of Rachis. This 8th century tomb has some wonderful carvings of religious subjects. Could not get great pictures because no photos allowed!

Picture of the Tomb of Ratchis from the internet

I especially like the angels giant hands and tiny feet. The side panels are pictures I took myself because I enjoy breaking the no photo rule.

The Magi bearing gifts at the Nativity
The Visitation

Then it is time for lunch. John remembers the name and exact location of the restaurant we went to the last time we were here. (Of course he does. It is La Speranza.) Sarah and I are in need of a restroom and are glad to eat lunch at this point. Uh oh, the bathroom contains a hole in a flat porcelain surround. Really not American friendly. So Sarah armed with her best Italian asks, “You have toilet with chair?” After some confusion they figure out what she is talking about and escort her to a bathroom in another part of the restaurant. Yay, for bravery!

Smoked fish appetizer for the table – I think this is mostly good although the swordfish is kind of fishy. Eating it with some of the grapefruit really helped. Other tastier fishes are smoked tuna and salmon.
John has fish cooked in parchment.
I have spaghetti with lobster.
Sarah orders our go-to dish, spaghetti with clams.

After lunch we visit the Archeological Museum with its many, many displays of grave goods from the Longobards.

Mosaic of Neptune
Grave goods of a high status Longobard woman

Then we go in search of the Tiempetto Longobardo or Longobards Temple.

Longobards Temple with enigmatic female statues

We have had a long day learning about the Longobards or Lombards and now it is time to drive to Udine for the night. We check into the rather downscale Hotel Suite a Inn. The room have a dormitory feel to them but it is only one night. In its favor, though, it has a Sky TV channel that is showing the Federer/Nadal final of the Miami Open. Federer wins! Yay! There is not much open on a Sunday night but we find Fredda’s Pizzeria down the street. I am getting tired of pizza. Since John has a pepperoni pizza and I order sausage, and Sarah gets sausage and pepperoni , I am just posting a picture of Sarah’s pizza.

Sarah’s pepperoni and sausage pizza


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