It Happened in Italy – The Medieval Gardens and St Matthews Cathedral

3 September 2016.  Fourteenth day in San Leonardo Hospital.

The Earl continued to improve and became less reliant on Lady Helen.
The physiotherapists didn’t work on weekends but in spite of this The Earl continued to do his exercises on his own.   The staff found it very funny that he walked down the passages and worked out at the bar unsupervised by a therapist.  They weren’t used to hyperactive patients.

Just over a week after his surgery he felt confident enough to let L.H. go off sightseeing on her own.  Before The Earl was hospitalized they had tried to get to see the Medieval gardens but the first time they were closed and the second time he never made it there but got to ride in an ambulance instead!   So that was her first port of call.  It cost her all of €3 to get in and there wasn’t a great deal to see but it was lovely just to walk around and enjoy them.   The gardens are walled and terraced and date back to the 12th century AD.   The first owners were the Silvatico family.   In the 14th century Matteo Silvatico created a garden that would be the forerunner of all future botanical gardens in Europe.  The interesting thing about him too, was that he taught medical students the names and uses of plants and showed them how to use their healing properties.
The views over the bay were also spectacular.  She would have liked to have had a drink at the restaurant and to sit and take in the peace for a bit longer but the cost of refreshments were ridiculous so she decided to move on.


Great View


Looking down on one of the terraces

St Matthew’s Cathedral was not too far away so she popped in there and found the experience quite spiritual.  The architecture, paintings and sculptures were beautiful.  But the crypt is what did it for her.   She felt tears pricking when she walked in.  The walls and ceiling were beautifully frescoed and  told the biblical stories.  It was quiet and peaceful and all the visitors seemed as awed as she was.   She sat and reflected for ages before moving on.


The Courtyard at St Matthews



The Crypt was awesome

It was once again a beautiful day in Italy – everyday in Italy is stunning.   L.H.  walked along the Lungomare and then decided to treat herself to lunch.   The restaurant she chose was one she’d seen before but not tried. It looked smarter than some of the others they’d been to yet the prices weren’t bad at all.  It was semi-outdoor and cool.


She splashed out on a insalata di pollo (Chicken Salad) not expecting much – but she was quite blown away. It had plenty of delicious chicken, cheese and good olives and it came with a basket of pane (bread).  She could barely finish it.   With this she had an excellent glass of white wine which compared very favourably with the expensive Springfield – Life from Stone –  she drank at home – but this one was certainly cheaper.

Of course she couldn’t resist finishing the whole meal off with a good cup of Italian Coffee even though it was Americana.    To die for!

The Earl messaged her to say that he’d almost burst into tears because the staff from his company had sent him a huge bouquet of flowers!   And he didn’t even own that business anymore!   He was certainly a well-loved boss.


Flowers from the new boss and staff of Fenwick Electrical

He also said he missed her and wanted to know when she would be back!  So of course she dashed home as fast as she could.
His first words were – Where’s my gelato – so she popped down to the canteen and got him a tub of coffee gelato which was very good.

He’d had a good morning, finished reading a book and had started another.
His neighbour’s family came in to chat – in Italian but they managed to communicate with signs and Itranslate and the few words L.H. could say and understand.  They expressed concern for their plight and showed great interest in where they were from and how long they would be in Italy.   The Earl was only too pleased to be able to show them phone photos of where he lived and what amazing fish he caught in South African waters!

Both The Earl and Lady Helen were grateful for the care and friendliness shown to them by almost all the Italians they met.  Without the kindness of these lovely people it would have been so much harder to cope.


The Earl and his grandson with the day’s catch

NaBloPoMo November 2016


4 thoughts on “It Happened in Italy – The Medieval Gardens and St Matthews Cathedral

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