Friday, October 14, 2005

My Italy Diary: Tuscany

Today was spent mostly in traveling from Capri to Chianti. We took the 8:30am ferry to Napoli and from there traveled by train to Fienza. The train was an hour late in arriving and then lost another 20 minutes in route. The scenery was lovely though for the most part; quaint little hill towns, huge mountains, vast green spaces with a small village at the top of hills. I’m in love with it already. Once we arrived in Florence, we rented a car aqnd headed for Toscana. We recieved great directions from a woman at Auto Europe and Mr. Man very confidently navagated the streets of Florence as well as the autostrada.

Romitorio di Serelle is eveything I had imagined, and the view—we are surrounded by vineyards and olive groves and beautiful wooded areas, with other villas off in the near distance. Our apartment is in an old stone building and contains a small living/dining/kitchen area with a half bath and a beautiful marble and iron staircase with a bedroom and separae full bath upstairs. From our bedroom we have an incredible view over the valley and adjoining vineyards, and, at night, the lights of a distance town. It is truly amazing and it is hard to imagine there is anywhere more peaceful and lovely than this.

We dined in the small ristorante (for guests only) last night to a scrumptous meal. We began with a bottle of Chianti, Santa Dame, which is from the vineyard right outside our window, along with an antipasta plate of parma, bruchetta, cheese, cherry tomatoes and mozzarella. This was followed by the most delicious lasagna I have every eaten. The layers were filled with ricotta chesse and bechamel sauce with zuccini and tomatoes, and a small amount of meat (most likely a combination of ground beef, veal and pork) with mozzarella and parmigiano cheeses on the top, which was golden brown. The look of Mr. Man's face as he ate this... We ate all of it knowing we still had a second course to come as well as dessert. Our second course was a filet of beef cooked with tomatoes, mushrooms, and onions in individual crocks with a delicious broth. We managed to eat all of this as well. Our wine was the perfect accompliment: dry, full bodied, with a nutmeg finish. Dessert was a small apple tart, not particularly favorful, but we did not care as we were too full and satisfied to really appreciate it.

We came back to our apartment and went to bed, too full of good food and wine to think of anything other than sleep. On the way we met the villa’s cats who followed us, but didn’t want to be petted. They actually made their way inside when we opened the door and I had to throw them out.

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