Say that fast three times!
In the meantime, we wandered further and came to the Tempio di San Fortunato (Church of San Fortunato), named after the patron saint of Todi.
To reach the elaborate entrance with its ornate archway required climbing a zigzagging flights of stairs set into a green lawn. We did so willingly, knowing that seeing the church, dated 1465, would be worth it. Two lion sculptures on either side of the portal greeted us as we tried to open the huge door. It was closed, but we knew we’d be back.
Instead, we inspected a monument to Jacopone of Todi standing at the base of the church grounds. Jacopone was Todi’s famous son and is known as “the greatest religious poet of the Middle Ages.” A crypt inside the church hold the mystic’s remains.
Moving on, we came upon the Parco della Rocca lying at the highest point of the hill. Odd rock-encrusted buildings sat unnamed at one end of the park. We couldn’t guess what they were or had been — we could only admire their crumbling beauty.
A few yards beyond stood the imposing Mastio — a circular rock remnant of the castle and fortifications that once guarded the town from above.
A serpentine pathway led through the trees, winding down the opposite side of the hill. A flight of stone steps flanked by whimsical lions decorated the trail.
The white dome of the Tempio di Santa Maria della Consolazione gleamed tantalizingly from below.
We arrived at the entrance to this semi-circular church in perfect time; the skies let loose as we stepped inside.
Construction on this gorgeous church was begun in 1508. Laid out in a Greek cross plan, the inside creates a circular effect. I lit a candle for Jan and then walked around admiring the altar and statues within.
The rain was unrelenting, so we sat on the wooden pews pretending to be pious. However, when we noticed the caretaker start locking up the back, we knew our time was up and made a mad dash for a row of nearby buildings.
Inquiring about the possibility of a bus that could take us back up to the top of town, we were told one would be along soon. It was indeed and we gratefully climbed on, happy not to have to make the trek back uphill in pouring rain.
We jumped off at Piazza del Popolo and slogged the Gran Caffe’, the cafe on the edge of Piazza del Popolo, for a glass of vino and salatini — salted snacks; the cost was next to nothing. Over the next few days this spot would also become our favorite place for gelato.