On June 24th, I traveled with a few other girls from Meredith on an impromptu trip to Anghiari for shopping and dinner. Anghiari is only about 10 minutes away from Sansepolcro, so it was very easy to run to the bus stop and grab a few tickets. However, our trip started off rather rocky because the bus did not stop at the stop we were expecting. When we got off the bus we had to figure out where we were and how to get to the main road, to our destination, the restaurants and shops. We had a particular restaurant in mind for dinner. We ended up shopping in the big Busatti store along with several other random shops around the town.
We decided that this meal would be the final really nice meal for our time in Italy. We tried some different wine and actually had big meat! It was probably the best meal I have had since I have been in Italy. We knew we had made a good choice when the only other people eating at the restaurant were locals. We ended our time in Anghiari by rushing to get our bill and running to the bus stop where we barely made it in time to catch the bus. It was a great afternoon full of great cultural experiences. Days like those are the ones I am going to miss the most when I am back in America.
The quaint town of Anghiari really reminded me of the feeling of Sansepolcro. They are both such small and beautiful towns where everyone knows each other, and predominantly only Italian is spoken. I was definitely not surprised when I had to use a lot of hand motions at one particular store because the lady did not understand what t-shirt size that I needed. My dad wears a XXL and I had not seen that size anywhere in Italy. However, when I put my hands up and arms around me to kind of make me look fat, the lady at the store knew exactly what I wanted. I had a similar experience in Sansepolcro when I was trying to buy a t-shirt. It would have been much easier to know sizes in Italian. I would assume that not very many tourists know about Sansepolcro and Anghiari. This would explain the lack of English spoken in many stores and restaurants in these towns. I feel very lucky that we were among the very few tourists to experience such a town full of beautiful countryside and real Italian culture. I had much better experiences in small towns than I did in large ones like Rome and Florence.
After the group went shopping for a little while we attempted to get dinner at a highly recommended restaurant. We went at about 6:30 and the doors were locked. We assumed that maybe it would open at 7:00 because of the sign on the door. However, when we returned at 7:00, the door was unlocked but the lights were off and we could not find anyone inside. We were pretty bummed, but we started in search for another nice restaurant.
Anghiari is the most beautiful place I have been in Italy. I think it is even more beautiful than Cinque Terre (however, they are very different). It is just breathtaking to see the outer wall of the town before you arrive. It reminded me of something you might see in a Harry Potter movie or something. Just the fact that they built the amazing stone wall and then all of the stone buildings inside of that wall is gorgeous. I have never seen a building so secure yet aesthetically beautiful at the same time in America. I did a little research on Anghiari and found that it was founded in the 13th century. It is mind boggling to know that there was such a beautiful town in Italy, while in America, it was basically still all forest. Also, on the day we visited for dinner and shopping, there were flags up around the huge wall and also on peoples’ windows in the town. After researching, I found that it was in honor of the Battle of Anghiari. This battle was fought on June 29, 1440. The Florentines took the victory of this battle, which secured the Florentine rule over central Italy. This battle only lasted one day and involved several thousand troops. It is said that there was only one death during this battle and that was when one soldier fell off of his horse. However, it is not known if that fact is correct.
This battle definitely shows the separation of regions in Italy. It seems similar to the Civil War between the North and South in America. I would like to think since slavery was abolished, the United States has worked to achieve a more unified nation. It is not a big deal if you move from state to state. However, in Italy, if someone grows up in one region, they will most likely stay true to that region and will not want to be associated with any other region. For example, if an Italian is from the North, they will not want to be associated with Southern Italy. It would be like calling that person lazy. This is because the Northerners call the southerners lazy and blame them for the bad economy. However, I have read several articles on this issue and there are many people that say Italians do not care about different regions while others say it is extremely important. Similarly, in America ignorance and lack of education leads to more conflict.
Anyways, we finally found a restaurant to eat dinner. In my opinion it was even better than the first place because it had such an amazing view. This restaurant sat right at the top of the huge hill in Anghiari, where we had a panoramic view of the flat Greenland and the mountains. It was absolutely stunning. There is nowhere in North Carolina that you can have a view as spectacular, even though the Blue Ridge Mountains are gorgeous. At dinner, I went out of my comfort zone to order. I ordered grilled mixed meat and mixed vegetables. I still have no idea what kind of meat I was eating, but it was very tasty. I have hardly eaten pieces of meat since being in Italy because mostly we have eaten is pasta and pizza. I wonder what Italians eat in their home because I am extremely tired of all the pasta and pizza. I am sure that they eat more meat and vegetables than I have been eating.
Finally, it was getting very close to the time for our bus to depart and we still were waiting for our check. We ended up having to go inside and asking him to pay right there because we didn’t have time to get the check at that point. We probably paid him a little bit too much, but we did not want to have to wait another hour and a half for the last bus. We were very proud of ourselves, though we ran like crazy, made it to the bus stop in time. It was a very good day trip and traveling by ourselves always makes it more adventurous and memorable. We are so fortunate that Sansepolcro is near to so many great towns and tourist destinations. I am sad that our time here is coming to a close, but I am sure I will be back some day.