Chestnuts roasting on an open fire…
I know, it is too early to sing Christmas Carols… but roasted chestnuts and “fresh” (or not so fresh???) coconut seemed to be two big things the Italians love to sell on the streets. That and tee-shirts, purses and postcards.
I’ve been asked several times in the last few days what my overall favorite part of Italy was. Hands down it was Tuscany. Not only were we breathing fresh air, watching amazing sunsets and drinking homemade vino from our Villa owner – but we could walk or run past wine vineyards and olive groves into a small town dripping with locals and the fresh smell of coffee and pastries.
(click on pictures to see the whole view)
The Villa itself echoes a medieval period home and is surrounded by olive groves. It was recently restructured in stone and antique terracotta tiles. It was the perfect size for a home and a perfect distance from other towns such as Cortona, Arezzo, Siena and Florence. We had two cats that would visit us each early morning and each evening and a big white dog that was more interested in our view than us.
We bought fresh cheese and kept “Latte” in our fridge for the girls to mix their Nesquick (which also had a different texture) in. I made a pasta dinner one night and an egg breakfast with Prosciutto (the only kind of ham they eat) one morning. They do not refrigerate their eggs or milk (latte) so you buy them fresh – although they did have some milk in the cold section. Another thing that could not be found was Peanut Butter and when I asked around about it found that the only nut they spread on their bread is Nutella – a mix or hazelnut and chocolate. Other meals we picked at cheese or bread, some cereal or crackers. I was not in Italy to make my own food – so we ate out often. Our favorite place was Hermes cafe where we sat outside and listened to the bell tower ring every 5 minutes for half an hour. We couldn’t quite figure it out except that the first began at 7 pm – time for everyone to leave work, 7:05 pm – time for restaurants to open?, 7:10 – order your food?, 7:15 – eat your food?, 7:20, 7:25, 7:30…. eat more?… and then nothing… time to drink wine??? Albeit being confused, we laughed and talked over pasta and pizza.
One night Pig Will and I raced up the long and steep hill to the market 5 minutes to 8 to get some latte and water for the next day, since they closed at 8 pm. She was a trooper – in fact, I think I was more out of breath that she was.
Some days were spent at the town’s play ground or walking around the streets and stores – although don’t go to town between 2 and 4 pm because everyone else is napping and only your small cafe’s were open for pastries and coffee.
I could go on and on, but for now I will leave you with a few pictures.