Tuesday, May 10, 2011

My Mom and Dad's trip to Italy PART II

Photo credit G.F. Waters: "From Pienza - the home of Pecorino cheese. There are a million varieties. Look at the mother and son, it is just another day for them. "

May 6

There is some kind of general strike here today but it doesn't appear too serious. It hasn't affected us. We were at the Uffizi at 9:30 this morning. It is overwhelming. There is much too much to see - to get the most out of it we would have needed to prepare a list of what we wanted to see well in advance. We did see Botecellis and Rembrandts and Fra Angelicos and many, many other paintings - and sculptures by the dozens.......

We then walked to the Boboli Gardens behind the Pitti Palace. The Medici certainly enjoyed their place in Florentine society with huge palace, beautiful gardens on the hillside with views into Florence, their private passage from Palazzo Vecchio to Palazzo Pitti - a distance of two kilometres. This was built so that they would not need to mix with the hoy-polloy and also so as to avoid any attempts at assassination. A very simple lunch today - just salad but  one with gorgonzola and one with mozzarella di buffalo. As always, we had gelato in the afternoon.
Tonight we go to Quattro Leone.

May 6th continued after Quattro Leone...

The food was excellent and the service was good. We had a very nice Albanian waiter who spoke several languages. We had a very typical Tuscan appetizer - fava beans, fresh pecorino cheese, some ham, all sprinkled with olive oil. We had beautiful pasta and salads and I had a meat dish. We crawled back to the hotel - one last lazy walk along the Arno river in the evening and for maybe the twelfth time in the last three days climbed the four floors to our hotel room - the elevator was creaky, slow, and scary. Your mother counted 142 steps.

May 7

We slept in until about 10:00am - I can't remember the last time we would have spent 11 hours in bed. We then went to breakfast at our usual little place - Caffe 900 where they had excellent cappuccino and croissant. The drive out of Florence was uneventful but by mistake I had programmed the GPS to avoid toll roads. This was a very fortunate mistake. 

It made the ride about 40 minutes longer but still only two hours to Pienza. We started out on a two-lane highway (two in each direction) but much more provincial. We could count the number of trucks we saw on one hand. We ended up on a two lane (one in each direction) and thus we were eased into paradise. 

You cannot believe the beauty of this place. We are inside a walled Tuscan hill town where every building is over a thousand years old. The apartment that we have rented was the wine cellar of a grouping of homes and it has a courtyard. Your Mum and I are sitting outside in a beautiful garden with flowers, bushes of rosemary, and views into a Tuscan valley.

We arrived a little early for our appointment to pick up the keys and found a little restaurant / enoteca (wine store) called La Botte Piena. For the record, the food was as good or better than Paul Bocuse at 20% of the price. I am currently drinking a Chianti Classico, San Jacopo da Vicchiomaggio, 2009 which is the best Chianti that I have ever tasted. We go back tonight. We walk there in maybe 60 seconds from where we are staying.

We got our basic groceries done and we are settled into our little apartment. Kitchen, huge bedroom, and a little living room. We get to sign on to our host's Internet but the only place the wifi works is in the garden as the walls are so thick.

All photos and all text credited to G.F. Waters


  1. Fabulous architecture! Italy is indeed gorgeous! Enjoy the beautiful day, Kellie xx

  2. Thanks! Yes Italy is indeed gorgeous! You too! Vee