Yesterday was the first day that felt like summer, and we had a nice leisurely lunch at La Casaccia, a country restaurant overlooking the castle town of Gradara, located a few kilometers outside Pesaro. Gradara is the site of the story of Paolo and Francesca, one of the most famous cantos of Dante’s Inferno. Francesca da Rimini was married to Paolo’s brother, a mercenary who was frequently away from his kingdom. Paolo and Francesca fell in love over reading a juicy romance novel—her husband returned while they were in flagrante delicto. He murdered them both, and they are condemned to the second circle of Hell, reserved for the lustful. They must whirl around just out of reach from one another for all eternity. Pretty intense stuff!
This region of Italy (Le Marche) looks like a typical Renaissance painting, complete with rolling hills, cypress trees dotting the landscape and castles perched atop mountains. Raphael was from this area, after all, so he had a lot of inspiration right at his doorstep. I’ve posted a few photos of our view and delicious meal: gnocchi dello Chef with saffron, cream, sausage and chives; strozzapreti (literally, ‘strangle the priests’) with cream, sausage, radicchio, walnuts and arugula; roasted chicken and roasted rabbit. Molto saporito!