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Italy: Day 5 – Spoleto

March 6, 2010

WEDNESDAY, April 16, Rome to Spoleto



Our last morning in Rome! We have a taxi coming at 10:30 to take us the train station, so we’re up early and on our way to the Pantheon. There’s only a handful of people there, and it’s a sublime experience to take it all in while practically deserted.

We make one last trip to the Campo, and pick up some strawberries for the drive.

We don’t have any problem getting our rental car, though the people at EuropCar are rather brusque. We get a Mercedes: when we arrive at our Spoleto apartment, the owner comments in his impeccable British accent, that we have quite a posh car, and thus it’s christened Poshcar for the remaining nine days. “Did you lock Poshcar?” “I left the book in Poshcar.”

But before we get to Umbria, we have to get out of Rome! I have directions printed out from the rental car garage to the ring road and autostrada, but the car is delivered double-parked on the street, not in the garage. I circle back around two or three times, but can’t find the right streets. Wait, there’s Via Tibertina – wait, where’d it go? I have an great sense of direction and seldom got lost, but I’m soon wandering around Rome against my will, as there’s too much traffic to do anything but drive, and none of my maps have detailed streets for the area around the ring road.

I actually start panicking, quite against character, and pull over yet again when we’re in the area somewhere near Villa Borghese. I run up to a guy leaving his apartment, asking if he speaks English. He doesn’t, at least not much, but my fractured Italian, frantic look and teary eyes get the point across that I’m lost. I keep saying, “autostrada nord?” and after a minute’s hesitation, he nods and says haltingly, “follow me.” Our unknown angel leads us through the Rome streets, always making sure I’m behind him and stopping at yellow lights (unheard of for a Roman, in our limited experience!). He guides us about 10 or 15 miles. Once we’re firmly on the autostrada, he says goodbye through a series of waves, horn toots, and thumbs-up signs (and a big kiss blown his way on my part!). Had it not been for him, I think we’d still be driving around Rome.

We’re met in Spoleto by Laurie, he of the British accent, who leads us to our home for the next week, Terrazzo Verde (see separate review). We spend the rest of the day wandering around. We have pizza al taglio and gelato for dinner. Actually, we have gelato first, then dinner!

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