And what better place to do that than in the town of Pesaro, birthplace of composer Gioachino Antonio Rossini in 1792. Among other types of music, he wrote 39 operas, including The Barber of Seville, Cinderella and William Tell. As he aged, he had an uncanny resemblance to John Goodman, which is how you’ll know him when you see his likeness.
We visited his family home, just a few blocks away from our hotel. While it is nothing to compare with Raphael’s, it is at least preserved and revered. Until his retirement in 1829, Rossini had been the most popular opera composer in history. And after that, well, it’s a matter of taste.
That being our cultural fix for the day, we headed for the beach and soaked up some sun for a while, before going on a brief tourist train ride around Pesaro.
These petits trains are all over France, but haven’t been as prevalent here. Nice way to get a quick overview of the city, and to say hello to Signore Rossini in the Piazza de Populo. I’m sure he was pleased that our train was broadcasting his top ten hits as we traveled through Pesaro.
Don’s Food Corner
We dawdled so long before attempting to find lunch (mainly because we were stuffed from a vulgarly large breakfast buffet) that the restaurants had closed for lunch (as they usually do at about 3 in the afternoon). So, at 4, when we finally got hungry, the only place we could find to serve us was the casual restaurant at our hotel. This is the place that doesn’t serve Italian food. And the only choice they would give us at that hour was either a club sandwich or a salad.
I went for the salad Niçoise again as I had a few days ago. It was fine. Notice how yellow the egg yolk is. That’s how yellow the scrambled eggs are in the morning. What do they serve those chickens to get egg yolks that yellow?
Jo had what was billed as a club sandwich. It was like no club sandwich we have ever seen. It had layers of sliced chicken, crispy bacon, a little rocket, mozzarella cheese and a thin omelette. (Notice again how yellow the egg is.) All of those layers were between two slices of crustless thin white bread — then toasted on a panino hot press. Tasted OK, but it was a surprise.
An added feature here, however, was a nice little pile of homemade potato chips. These chips were also like nothing we’ve ever seen. While the potatoes were very thinly sliced and nicely deep-fried, they just didn’t have the same taste or texture of any potato chip I’ve encountered in decades of taste-testing. Maybe it was because they were deep-fried in olive oil. Delicious.
On the table at this restaurant and as we have encountered in several hotel restaurants since coming north, there was a little trash bin positioned next to the place settings. The first time we saw this we didn’t know what to make of it. But then we saw how people deposited their table rubbish into them, like the wrappings from tea bags or the lid from the yogurt container or the foil around the butter pat. In one place the little bin had written on its side (in several languages): “For a neat table.”
Is this a regional curiosity? We’ll have to monitor it as we travel on. And maybe we’ll just have to get one.