a personal website of life in umbria


Below are the revised postings that were made over the the time frame of 2011-2013 during a time I used the 'blogging platform' wordpress - I have chosen to return to the use of html coding for now.

For the original material dating to 2005 when we moved here and the site was started please see here - there is a lot of material there!



AUGUST 3, 2013


Last night, August 2nd we had Le Strade del Cinema in the main piazza of our town, under the clear star lit sky we watched Lo Sceicco Bianco a 1952 Fellini movie. While an ‘expert’ droned on about its history to the disinterested audience, Sarah hummed the theme song to Cinema Paradiso to provide some light relief (here on the ubiquitous YouTube). Here are a couple of images that I took.


August is also the time of year for the annual Medieval Dinner or Cena – we refer to it as the ‘Cena Mobile‘ as we proceed from piazza to piazza for each course. This year it is on Saturday August 17th and, while we will be forgoing the traditional parade in costume, some of us will be attired in Medieval garb to lend the event some atmosphere. There will also be music provided by i Giullari dell Allegra Brigata. A nice example of their vocals can be seen here


With luck, yours truly will reprise his role as a monk as shown in the image below



For those hunting for the left handed screw drivers, washers, and assorted bits needed to keep their houses running, I have favoured ferramenta that is located  on the road beside the E45 in Pian di Porto. As of August 1st they have relocated next door to new premises, now called Agri Più, and the stock that I used to have to create words for, is now on show. They have always been patient with my lousy italian, thankfully, but now with the new larger premises, a lot more of what they have is on view.



APRIL 29, 2013


I have uploaded my images of the Game and new field inauguration from yesterday. MCdV won – Again! Young and old and all community services were there!



We may be a small community but the spirit is very large – as shown by the event mentioned above. Young and old turned out to watch the local team win yet again. It was combined with the formal inauguration of the new sports practice field – complete with a blessing and ribbon cutting. Carabinieri, Municipal Police, and civil protection were all there along with the Sindaco, Head of the Regional government and other dignitaries.



And of course it was followed with food – the Porchetta van from Pantalla and soft drinks and wine! As you will see from the images the weather co-operated as well – a wonderful late spring day



APRIL 26, 2013


Winter have vanished – finally!


I went to London for a week of theatre, exhibits and walking. Had a wonderful time and have created a gallery of images on my trip that you will find here.



The weather while cool (it actually snowed for a couple of hours one day!) was mostly sunny and perfect for walking. I was staying in a furnished studio apartment in the Bloomsbury area and of course visited the British Museum where there are currently two great shows on – one on Ice Age Art and the other on  - Life and death - Pompeii and Herculaneum  If you are intent on seeing both I strongly suggest you sign up as a Museum Member – it costs slightly more but over a year you will be ahead in many ways.


We also had a special guest at Umbria Cucina – Nancy, wife of Andy Williams did the whole week of teaching from Massimo and Luisa with Sarah translating. We have added 18 images to the gallery on the Umbria Cucina Testimonial page if you would like to see what a course is like!




Andy with Marc Muench organise photoworkshops to all sorts of places and it was on one of these that Sarah had her first workshop experience, in Mull Scotland.



She is now traveling to many places in search of photo opportunities, usually with here great photo buddy Christine Roberts – a physio therapist from Melbourne Australia. She is also helping in the organizing of trips with Jeremy Woodhouse of Pixelchrome  to Sicily and Spanish Andalucia.


With the arrival of summer, comes the artists. The International Centre for the Arts - Monte Castello di Vibio has replaced the International School of Painting, Drawing, and Sculpture, and starts its first official courses in June. Lucy MacGillis is running at week long seminar at nearby Titignano culminating in a show+aperitivo at 19.30 Friday May 3rd 2013.


So it is all go in and around our hilltop town. If you do feel the urge to visit, the local B&B Gente Vibia located one of the main piazza, a few steps from the Teatro della Concordia – the smallest theatre in the world, may be able to find you a room.


Hopefully I will add to this soon, but all for now – R



FEBRUARY 21, 2013


Ok I admit – I made a mistake while playing with the previous blog site and wipe it out without a proper backup. I have retrieved a lot of the content though and as I set this up again over the next little while I can apply a lot of the features I have subsequently learned.


I am also taking the opportunity to restart Design Thoughts, a running dialogue on information I come across that as a designer I find interesting and other may as well. I have just rebranded PHOTOempt, our royalty free image site – formerly a division of my design company, to sarahsladephotography.com which more truthfully reflects its origins.


As I get this set up you can link to the pre-blog based site here or by using the link on the right.



JUNE 6, 2012


Summer has arrived – the bollards that prevent traffic through the park/gardina are in place for the season. The old walls of the Centro have been strimmed of the winter greenery and the Torraccia summer bar has reopened. Jody Joseph has been here with her Canadian art students who have had a very good session with a wonderful art show. The first main course of the International School of Painting, Drawing, and Sculpture ( no longer exists ) of this year, from May 28 – June 16 has got underway with  Dan Gustin and David Voros


Our good friend in Agropoli has changed the name of his rental apartments. The location is the same, excellent for those who are wise enough to skip the Almalfi Coast and want to explore the Campagnia region of Italy – the Greek ruins of Paestum amongst a host of beautiful sites. The rental place is now called www.villaleone.de - (an obviously german site, from whence hails his better half !) Visit his site at or see our comments at Toccata and Fugue Part 1 and 2 and Toccata and Fugue Part 3


Umbria Cucina Cooking, although a year round event for Monday lessons, has started its summer program again. For more details visit the site at www.umbriacucina.com



Sarah has recently attended a photo shoot on the Liguria coast with David de Chemin Within The Frame Adventures specifically Liguria which she attended with her Australian friend Chris. While she was visiting with us here in Umbria she took the cooking course one evening and made us a fantastic meal! Like all the others who have taken them, she will be back for more!



The big news here in the Comune is the Monte Molino Bridge. Crossing the Tevere (Tiber) just below the town and on the edge of Madonna di Piano, it is on the main non-recordo E-45 route, the SS397 between Todi and Marsciano.


It needs to be closed  - it has recently been reduced to one lane of weight reduced traffic due to damage caused by caused during seasonal overflow of the Tevere – but now they will closing it for repairs – rather than replacement – basically cutting this major traffic route for a minimum of three months. Needless to say the locals are upset and there was a mild protest one afternoon at the site. It does pose some major concerns for access to the local health services, with the closure of the hospitals in Marciano and Todi – we are left with one in Pantalla – on the other side of the water! We will need to go to Marsciano and then back on E45 a major increase in time and distance.

View Map



DECEMBER 26, 2011


The Pro Loco pulled out all the stops and have decorated the Commune in a beautiful manner and supplied some wonderful entertainment for the citizens and visitors to Monte Castello di Vibio. Sarah and I have both been out with our camera during the festivities and taken some images:

Sarah are at :


and mine are at :



( If there is an image of you there that you do not like,

please let us know and I will remove it.)


We hope that you have a safe and wonderful New Years Eve and the coming year finds you doing what you want and in Good Health. All the best – Sarah and Ross’,





Actually today is Sunday the 4th, it is overcast out and threatening to rain – still warm so a bit muggy feeling but we just might get a break in the extended heat wave we have had…The Summer has departed, the final students for this year at the Art School have arrived and as I woke this morning there was the sound of hunters in the woods, harassing the poor wildlife – Hunting Season has started again. The bollards that block off traffic to the Gardens/Park during the summer have been removed, which is a sure sign that the youngsters of the town will soon be returning to school. And there is only one more week of the Summer Bar, the Torracia – which under new management this summer, has been a great success, I would assume for the managers, the Pro Locco and the townspeople.


The last big summer event was the return, after a two year gap, of the P-Funking Band. This fantastically talented group of 20+ brass and percussion musicians left the whole town tapping its foot and bopping to their rhythm as they moved from one piazza to another through the town, then performing a concert in the Teatro followed by a cena and a final performance at the Torracia.


As usual Sarah and I were out with our cameras and I have chosen a selection of 81 images of the day that we hope will provide a feel for the effect of the music on those lucky enough to be in attendance. On the large images, if the text at the bottom mentions a Canon 20D, I took the photo – otherwise it was Sarah. As previous I have made a small video of the images and for music, have used some of the live music from the  event recorded on my iPad!



To see the images in the gallery CLICK HERE, to see the movie CLICK HERE

(As in previous posts, if you want your image removed please let me know –if you want a copy of your image, I can send you a larger version!)






Sarah was out with her camera and I have included some 140+ images of those who took part in the event by wearing costume. If you want your image removed please let me know – if you want a copy of your image, I can send you a larger version! I have also made a short video of the same images if you do not have the patience to view each image singly – Enjoy


Web site of 2011 Medieval Images –  CLICK HERE


Apple QuicktimeMP4 Movie of images – HD Version CLICK HERE(note 281.4MB ) – SD Version CLICK HERE (note 165MB )


The next big event in the Commune is the return of the P-Funking Band. If you were not lucky enough to see them the last time they were in town – this is a must! – Sunday, August 28 · 6:00pm - 10:00pm



From the Pro Loco FaceBook page I quote:

- Ore 18:00: Partenza della P-funking band dalla torre di Porta di Maggio e concerto per i vicoli del paese.

- Ore 19:00: Concerto al teatro della Concordia.

- Ore 20:00: dal Teatro della Concordia al giardino d’estate La Torraccia per la cena a buffet e lo spettacolo concerto della P-funking band.

- Per partecipare:(biglietto concerto per i VICOLI DEL PAESE + cena a buffet alla Torraccia e spettacolo finale–> 10€) (biglietto posti a sedere a TEATRO + cena a buffet alla Torraccia con spettacolo finale–> 20 €) posti al teatro sono limitati, per partecipare e prenotarsi chiamate il 366 7414134


The other thing we have been spending a lot of time and effort on has the the Umbria Cucina Cooking School. This is the last week this summer of the scheduled Tuesday-Friday courses. During the rest of the year one can book them by special arrangement. The Monday afternoon courses and meal will be continuing throughout the year. For all the details see the WEB SITE



JULY 18, 2011


The heat of summer is on us, with afternoons hot enough that you might as well retire to bed for a nap as it is too hot to do much else. That means your best hours are early morning and late evening. And mid July has brought us another full moon, always an excuse in the Wager-Slade household for another photo expedition.


Reflection of Front Door


Sarah has been doing a lot of reading of the writings of  David du Chemin lately. He is a world and humanitarian photographer, best-selling author, and international workshop leader. He joins a short list of the photographers whose work Sarah follows (including David and Marc Muench)


David de Chemin has quite an active web blog at http://www.pixelatedimage.com and markets a number of e-books through his web site at http://craftandvision.com/



JUNE 7, 2011


Umbria Cucina, our local cooking school is gradually obtaining more visibility both on the web and in print. Last month there was an advertisement in Taste Italia, a UK publication and this month we are again in it, and its sister magazine, Italia (http://www.italia-magazine.com/) in a couple of places each. We have promo cards and posters in a variety of locations and are continuing with the mini course and recipes.



For the next mini course, June 20th, the menu for preparation and eating with your guest is: antipasto of mixed bruschetta with sage, rosemary, deep fried onions - spaghetti alla carbonara with asparagus – breaded chicken breasts with fried zucchini – jam tart.


If you want to learn some traditional umbrian cooking techniques from an accomplished chef, check out the web site for the details of the week long course or the mini course. Or just phone Il Grottino di Zio Totò for a reservation for a wonderful lunch or supper.




JUNE 2, 2011



On the evening of June 1st 2011 the ‘new’ Pro Loco of Monte Castello di Vibio launched the Torraccia for the summer of 2001. The weather tried to play havoc, but held off, for the most part, and everybody appeared to have a great evening



MAY 26, 2011


Yes I did mean to spell that ending in ‘di’ rather than ‘ty’, but after a couple of visits to Montefalco during my sister’s recent visit here, the description of party might also be appropriate.


Montefalco is a place we take all our visitors, a wonderful town , the centre of the Sagrantino wine region, with a museum created from a desanctified church which includes wonderfully restored Benozzo Gozzoli fresco and a restaurant named Il Falisco which we regularly visit.



Opposite the museum there is a lovely linen shop, and my sister being passionately interested in fabric, this was a destination. Pardi Tessitura is the main store in a chain of five factory owned stores and two other shops that sell their linen and cotton products in Umbria. It is a family run business with multiple generations involved, and the hallmark is quality. The factory, located in nearby Bastardo has jacquard looms ranging in size from about 30cm to 3,3m in width allowing a diverse product line to be created. A tour of it can be arranged if you are in the area for a while.


Also there is, on the outskirts of Montefalco, Cantina Fratelli Pardi the family cantina. They sell bottled wine from there: a white, two reds, a red passito, plus olive oil. Tastings can be arranged and for a special treat, with reservation of a group tour, a meal can be served.


I can attest that the wines are every bit the quality of the loom work! My favourite, a Sagrantino secco, is wonderful, with a hint of the oak in which it is aged. Between the visits to the shop, the visit to the cantina and the visit to the factory, Montefalco took one day in my sister’s all too short stay with us!.



MAY 25, 2011



One of the nice things about our hilltop town, is that it is also the home to an International School of Art. From late May to September each year, university students, either studying or interested in Art, arrive for courses and instruction ranging in length from a week to six weeks. This provides the residents with an exhibit every couple of weeks, of student art and/or instructor work, an opportunity to view the completed pieces and discuss them with the artists. The majority of them are American, but other nationalities do arrive, and their presence further adds to the international flavor of our community. As is usual, Jody Joseph led the year with a group of her students from Canada, and given the two weeks of time here, the quantity and quality of the work was superb. As frequently happens, some of them were return students, returning the again appreciate beautiful Umbrian countryside.






rjslade.com - Monte Castello di Vibio - last modified April 5th 2015