Sunday, July 27, 2008

Italy, Day 2, 6/16/2008

  • breakfast: cappuccino and brioche
  • lunch: spinach and mozzarella sandwich
  • dinner from Ristorante Ernesto: plate of local cured meat; lamb with saffron and artichokes; saffron pudding; fruit

On the metro as we were going to the bus station, we saw a large family speaking Hungarian. After a few minutes, I got up the courage to talk to them in Hungarian. They were bemused by the sight of two Americans speaking Hungarian in Italy. Two of them turned out to speak excellent English, which made communication easier. They were actually from Transylvania, not Hungary. Their summary of Rome compared to eastern Europe: "It's a different world here."

We bought our bus tickets and sat down in a cafe for lunch. I got a sandwich with beautiful cooked spinach and mozzarella. The spinach had some red pepper flakes mixed in with it. Giovanna had a sandwich with prosciutto, pecorino romano, and lettuce, which reminded me that pecorino has plenty of uses besides grating.

We spent the afternoon walking around L'Aquila on the routes designated by our tourist map, which were designed to show us all the sights. These were mostly churches from the 14th-16th centuries, along with a lovely 13th century fountain.

The Fountain of the 99 Spouts

We started dinner at Ristorante Ernesto with a wooden tray of cured meat, including a dense, black liver sausage that tasted alternatively bad, good, and then bad again, as Giovanna said. Our next course was lamb in a lemony sauce with saffron, rosemary, and artichoke hearts, which tasted as good as it sounds. Alongside this, we had beautiful tomato wedges, pink tinged with green, served with olive oil and basil. My dessert was basically panna cotta that was bright yellow, with some currants on top. The fruit plate wasn't great. But besides it and the liver sausage (which I'm sure some people would have liked a lot), everything we had was terrific.

Ristorante Ernesto
Piazza Palazzo, 22
67100 L'Aquila (AQ)

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