Friday, June 6, 2008


No matter how carefully we pack and choose the most comfortable shoes, a day on cobblestones requires a good foot soak...even if you are young! This is a picture from 2 years ago when we met Christy after her semester in Italy, one of us has gotten a bit broader.

While my tiny washer is running once again so that I can re-pack my bags for Boston I thought I'd post just a few pictures of the countryside as we drove from Florence to Montisi, with a side trip to Sienna. The pictures just don't do justice to the green rolling landscape scattered with poppies but when I close my eyes I can still see Tuscany on a beautiful afternoon. The day we left we could see that the fields were beginning to be harvested and soon would take on the golden color of dried wheat.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Pasta, Pasta, Pasta!

This post is a tribute to PaPa Hall, who knows how much I love Italy but can't quite figure out what I eat when I am there. So here are some great shots of some of our favorite meals!

We usually started our day with a cappuccino, strong coffee with plenty of hot milk, and a sweet pastry or croissant. Lunch could be an antipasto of crostini, pasta, pizza, or a bowl of ribollito - literally meaning 're-boiled' vegetable soup thickened with bread and served the day after it's prepared. Usually before five o'clock wine and cheese we would sample a new flavor of gelato. Dinners were either prepared by our "Master chef" Palma Bella and her husband, Brad"ll do it!" or involved an adventure to a local restaurant with dishes we could not pronounce but eagerly tried and enjoyed.

Not a time to diet!

Monday, June 2, 2008

For my girls!

Aunt Sister and I did some shopping!

"How much? Is that Euros or Dollars?"
Now here are a few affordable, quality Italian designs!
Some purchases have to remain a secret but between our trip to China and this trip to Italy - my bags will be full for my trip back to Boston next week! Can't wait to see you two!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Eating our way across Tuscany

It should not be surprising that a good amount of our time was spent eating...we can confirm the saying, "You will never have a bad meal in Italy!" One of the highlights for me was our cooking class with Alessandra in Cortona. She has a beautiful linen shop in town but also gives group cooking lessons in her home. " I do not pretend to be THE REAL ITALIAN COOK in terms of being the one and only true one, but more a REAL, down to earth Italian mother who feeds her family, and her friends, with good food, sense of humor and a lot of love and passion!"
We started the day shopping the different markets for our fresh ingredients - the vegetable market, meat market, bakery, and wine store. Everywhere we went the owners had to approve her menu.

Some of our accomplishments included Polpettine all'ascolana (meatballs made with olives), tagliatelle alragu di Funghi (handmade pasta with mushroom tomato sauce), Carciofi saltati (fried artichokes), Risottino alla Milanese (risotto with bone marrow), and Tiramisu. When the cooking was done we all sat around her table and ate....we laughed, and some of us cried!, and congratulated ourselves until we were so stuffed, but we discovered that a few sips of Grappa settles the stomach!

Buona sera!

Our week in Tuscany was fabulosso! (I made that up for those of you who speak Italian) Each day was filled with another exciting activity, delicious food, and perfect weather.

Rick traveled with us to Pisa and spend the first few days with us in Florence. We stayed in a tiny hillside village south of Sienna, Monitsi, in a beautifully renovated villa with 14 other travelers, including some of Sandi's slow travel buddies and a group of eccentric older women from Columbus, Georgia who kept us laughing most of the time.
Over the course of the week we took cooking lessons, art lessons, toured wineries, shopped for pottery, and Sandi even took a hot air balloon ride over the Tuscan countryside.

Between the two of us we have such great pictures and stories to share that you will have to read about our adventures for the next couple of posts! Ciao.....for now!