Saturday, October 15, 2005

My Italy Diary: Tuscany, Part 2

We woke this morning early to the sounds of gun fire off in the distance, the shots echoing across the valley. Sitting in the window I watched a hot air ballon way off in the distance travel across the valley as the sun rose higher in the sky. We headed for Fienza as we had made reservations for the Uffizi at 12:45pm. You cannot drive a car into the city center, so we easily found a parking space and walked the few blocks, stopping for cappucino on the way. Interestingly, the cost to enjoy your coffee outside at one of the cafe’s tables is double the price of drinking while standing at the counter inside. There are a lot of shops lining the streets with beautiful jewelry and the softest leather.

There are many wonderful paintings in the muesum and you cannot take photos. I think my favorite was seeing Botticelli’s “The Birth of Venus,” probably one of the most famous, and favorite, paintings in the museum. There are rooms dedicated to Leonardo Di Vinci, Raffello, yet only one painting by Michelanglo, the “Holy Family with the Infant St. John the Baptist,”(the Doni Tondo), and is the only painting by the artist in Florence. After the muesum, we walked to the Duomo, a truly magnificent structure, and the Baptstry with its different colored marble—breathtaking. Florence is different from Rome, quieter and less hectic, although there are people everywhere and many tourists. We bought a few watercolors from a sidewalk artist of Tuscan landscapes. There are a lot of talented artists with their works to choose from, but these appealed to us most for their subject matter, color palatte, and execution.
We had a non-eventful trip back to Chianti, stopping in San Donato to buy some supplies for breakfast tomorrow. Such a quaint little town. We visited a couple small stores, buying procuitto parma, cheese, fresh bread, olive oil, pears, coke (I know), water, etc. We purchased a bottle of wine from Roberto here at Romitorio di Serelle from Casa Emma just down the road and enjoyed it while sitting outside our apartment soaking in the view.

We chose to eat dinner here again tonight and it was, again, amazing. It started with a traditional antipasta plate, followed by a penne paste with
marinara sauce and fresh grated parmignano cheese. Afterwards we had veal (a first for me) with some sort of root vegetable, both delicious, and for dessert a tiramisu and cappucino. I had asked Roberto earlier in the day the names of the cats: Carmelina, the large tourtiseshell tabby, and Bilbo, a small cream color. Carmelina followed us home again and came inside with us, and I gave her a bit of procuitto. Mr. Man and I then curled up on the couch and watched a little TV. Later, when I went to bed, Carmelina was asleep on the bed.

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