Vietri sul Mare to Miralaghi

Day 6 – Vietri sul Mare to Miralaghi

Daily Wrap-Up

One Word
  • Barb: Next!
  • Mike: Ceramiche
  • Jen: Photos
Two Words
  • Barb: Hello Hilltown
  • Mike: Decorated squalor
  • Jen: Castle-dotted landscape
Three or Four Words
  • Barb: Goodbye Vietri sul Mare
  • Mike: Sent my first text
  • Jen: Free ceramics samples
One Sentence
  • Barb: The rain stayed away until we had our walk.
  • Mike: I survived the week without locking our sole key in the apartment.
  • Jen: Paintings and mosaics can dress up any city.
Ceramiche Studio Factory in Vietri sul Mare

The ceramiche studio factory in Vietri sul Mare, which is a couple of blocks from our flat. The town is known for its ceramics, and we see samples all over town.

Today we moved from Vietri sul Mare to Miralaghi, a 750-acre property that was originally a hunters’ reserve. It’s in Umbria, just over the border from Tuscany. Nearby towns are Citta della Pieve and Paciano.

We spent the morning walking around Vietri sul Mare, further exploring our immediate surroundings and taking pictures.

Today’s themes: Routine, Public Art, Change of Scenery


We’ve been buying food from the same handful of tiny shops for five days. I’ve been longing for a larger grocery store so we can stock up on staples. I’m not used having so little food in the house, and it sort of makes me uncomfortable: What will I do if I get hungry at an odd hour—like the middle of the day or maybe Sunday?

At home, we shop by the truckload. Purchasing a small bag of bread, cheese, fruit, and veg every day is weird. Plus, it takes a surprising amount of time, and I, for one, have no desire to spend time shopping every day. If only there were a more substantial supermarket around.

Our favorite shop in Vietri sul Mare

This is our favorite tiny shop in Vietri sul Mare, just a few doors down from our flat. What made it great was the girl behind the counter. She was friendly, kind, and very patient and helpful with the language issue. She knows some English and French in addition to her native Italian.
You’re seeing the entire width of the shop and much of the depth.

Well, get this: If we’d ever taken the “road” out front to the right instead of our usual left, taken a right at the corner, and walked a few yards, we’d have discovered a more substantial supermarket. It’s basically on the same triangular block as our flat! It was just on the half of the block that we never walked, though it also leads to the bus stop and parking area, same as the other half of the block.

Go figure. We went that way today because we thought it might be a slightly shorter walk to our car, and we were carrying all of our luggage.

Shame on us for not exploring our immediate surroundings more thoroughly.

Public Art

See Mike’s two-word summary and my sentence summary. There are some dumpy elements to Vietri sul Mare. Some things are just old, some are not well maintained, but there are decorative details here, there, and everywhere, primarily paintings, ceramics, and mosaics. They’re on walls, stairs, sidewalks, windows, ceilings, floors, doors, pillars, lightposts, rooftops, porches…you name it, it’s decorated.

It’s fun, it’s pretty, and it makes me happy.

Ceramic watermelon in a wall

Just your average ceramic watermelon slice in your rock and concrete wall. There’s a companion orange nearby.

Stairs decorated with ceramic tiles

Decorated stairway

Walkway decorated with ceramic tiles

Decorated walkway.

Ceramic flower pots in the shape of funny faces

There was a long row of these face pots along a sidewalk. A similar collection of fish pots decorated a patio overlooking the Mediterranean.

Change of Scenery

We left the city behind and drove out to the country where rolling hills are topped with ancient walled towns with castles and towers. Hill towns aside, I thought it was a lot like driving through southern PA. Stretches of farmland with neatly cultivated quilt-block squares remind me of the midwest. A high muddy river offered proof of the wet winter they’ve had.

Driving instructions from Maria Luisa, the property owner, told us that after a dangerous curve we’d turn left onto a “dirty” road. She wasn’t kidding. With all the rain, it’s muddy and rutted, and also rocky, narrow (of course), twisty-turny, and fairly steep.

We’re staying at the top of the hill in a stone farmhouse built in the mid 1800s. We had our choice of two apartments in two different houses since we are the only guests here. We opted for the one with a view. It’s spartan and was very cold at first, the heat having been off all winter.

Miralaghi stone house

Our stone farmhouse in Miralaghi, built in the mid 1800s.

We were having trouble remembering the name “Miralaghi.” Milaghari…Miragali…what was that again? Barb suggested we ask what it means so that we might better remember it, but asking isn’t our style, and before we got around to it, we did some pondering on our own. Mike wondered if it had something to do with “lago,” which is the Italian word for “lake,” as there are several lakes nearby. It took a while&#8212the “h” threw us&#8212but it dawned on Barb that “laghi” is the plural of “lago.” Then, with “laghi” out of the way, I recognized “mira” as a form of the verb “mirar,” which in Spanish means “to look.” Eureka! “Miralaghi” probably means “watch the lakes” or lake views, which is appropriate, as that is exactly what we have in the light of day.

Isn’t language fun? We’re doing that a lot.

Lake Trasimeno from our Miralaghi house

Lake Trasimeno from our Miralaghi house on a hilltop. Just left of center is a peninsula sticking out into the lake. On that peninsula is Castiglione del Lago, the Lion Castle on the Lake, which you’ll hear about soon.

Categories: Italy, Travel

3 replies »

  1. Any idea where to buy those large fish pots that lined the walls overlooking the sea? I was in Vietri for two hours last week and most of the shops were closed. After seeing them, I was brokenhearted not to find a place to purchase them, but had to leave with my tour group:(

  2. Hi, Drinda. We’re finding the hours that shops keep here in Italy can make shopping difficult.

    As for those fish pots, well, we didn’t see them for sale anywhere, but we weren’t looking, either. I’m guessing those pots were commissioned by the city, and if you really wanted you might try to find out who made them by contacting a city office. I read that the ceramics in Vietri sul Mare come from surrounding towns as well as the immediate area, so there’s no guarantee they were made right there.

    Did you take pictures of the pots? A better idea might be to find a pottery artist and show him/her the photos and commission a pot of your own. It won’t be exactly the same, of course, but there were no two alike anyway. I think that could be fun–you’d be supporting an artist; you’d get an original piece of art; that piece of art would remind you of your visit to Vietri sul Mare even though it wasn’t made there because the inspiration for it came from there.

    Good luck. I’d love to hear what you decide to do.