This Sunday with the weather a little less conducive to wandering around an ancient village so we decided not to travel too far from home.
I had heard there is a regular antique/bric-a-brac auction in Vignanello (about 10 minutes from Soriano) & missing a little of our life in Oz where I’d frequently go take a look at these types of markets, I convinced my husband & boys that it may be nice to go for a small day trip & check it out. After a few grizzles about the weather we finally headed off about 11am.
Vignanello is only a 15 minute drive from Soriano, so when we drove into the town and announced we had arrived both boys were relieved they didn’t have to endure a long car trip. As we drove into Vignanello the first thing that struck us was the number of garages or boxes dug into the mountain. We would have driven about 2 kms along the main entry road and the whole way along the side of the mountain was rows of old garages dug into the mountain side. Either the houses in Vignanello are small or people here just have a lot of stuff! Have made a mental note to ask our friend who has recently moved here about why there are so many of these here.
After we drove into the centre of town we had quite a familiar feeling, even though we’d not been there before. We worked out it was because a lot of the main buildings in the centre of town are very similar in architecture to those in Soriano. I would think this would be expected given its proximity to Soriano. And also just like in Soriano the usual crazy Sunday parking laws apply, that is where ever you think you can pull up without getting side swiped then just do so and park, love Italian parking mentality So that’s just what we did, saw the first space we came across and parked.
Not quite knowing the location of the auction, just knew it was in Vignanello, we intended just to wander around & try to find it, but when we got out of the car and looked down the street we saw ahead of us a row of market umbrellas.
Apparently Vignanello is also known for its Sunday market, so another reason for the boys to enjoy the trip; they both love wandering around these types of more typical Italian markets. The market was about twice the size of our Soriano Friday market with some of the same stall vendors.
We began making our way through the stalls and enjoying the atmosphere & came across a small stall outside an office type shop. On the table of this stall sat a toilet filled with lucky dip type raffle tickets and a sign saying €1. The elderly gentleman standing behind the table with his hands in the toilet spoke out to our younger son trying to encourage him to put his hands in. He must have thought this a bit odd as from his eye level he couldn’t see into the bowl to know it was only filled with raffle tickets! After a bit of coaxing & convincing that there wasn’t anything else in the bowl he agreed to join in & have a lucky dip. We’d already paid our €1, and received our prize, me a block of chocolate, my husband a chocolate pastry & our older son a can of tomatoes! Our younger son dove his hand in and pulled out a ticket with ‘i cuore’ written on it. Turned out this was a beautiful handmade Christmas tree ornament in the shape of a heart. So happy with our bounty for only €4 we went to wander on through the rest of the market.
As we headed off, one of the stall people said to the others, “ahh Inglese”, (Ahhh, English) and overhearing this I turned around & corrected him saying “ahh, no australiani”, the usual “ahh australia e molto lontano” (Oh, Australia is very far) came back, which started a little chat about what we’re doing here, where are we from and where are we living. The same ‘ahh Australia, we have an aunt/uncle/cousin/ in Australia, in Brisbane/Melbourne/Perth.’ So many Italians we chat to have a connection to Australia I’m amazed there are not more Aussies living over here. They then proceeded to tell us very proudly about their own Aussies living in Vignanello from Brisbane who own a pastry store. It made us all smile a bit how they said it with such pride, “Well, we have our own Aussies!” We all agreed that we’d have to try and meet them one day, said our goodbyes and wandered away, yet again amazed at the friendly, welcoming nature of these wonderful Italians. We spent a couple of hours exploring the markets, purchased a pair of dinky ear warmers each for the boys and a couple of other little things. We then decided it would be nice to get something light to eat so wandered back up to Centro in search of a Pizzeria.
We came across the beautiful big duomo and also the castello which actually has an old moat around it with a real drawbridge, the boys thought this was really cool. Unfortunately it wasn’t open so we agreed we’d be back for another visit and look around the castle one day soon.
Wandering back to the car we came across La Cantina del Gusto which sounded like a nice place to eat so we headed down 30 metres of stairs to a building on the side of the mountain. It was fabulous, really nicely decorated and a view across the valley to Monti Cimino. We didn’t want too much to eat so ordered a couple of mixed plates of antipasto, buffalo mozzarella & cingiale misto of prosciutto, salami and other meats. It was absolutely delicious! The meal came with pane and acqua and we enjoyed a mezzo litre of the house white. The waiter was really friendly and chatted with the boys and was impressed with their Italian & joked with us about them teaching us.
It was a lovely way to finish off our day in Vignanello. We wandered back up the hill to our car & the short trip back to Soriano. We will return to explore the castello and other parts of this really beautiful old town and maybe even discover the antique auction, which we never did actually find….