Sunday, October 2, 2011

Grazie Mille

view from the villa patio
What a busy two weeks we had. It was fantastic to be able to share it all with Rob and our good friends Liz & Darcy. It feels more like a month, really.  Four nights on the Amalfi Coast, three in Rome, and then seven nights in Tuscany. 

It is all such a blur right now! Just back today, suitcases still to be put away.

enjoying a chilled limoncello on a hot sunny afternoon

Such sights.  Information and sensory overload. 

The natural vistas are so BIG.  Huge skies, majestic hills, vast Mediterranean sea.

The time on the Divina Costa seems so long ago.
Exploring Rome on our own and at our own pace was great fun.  Walking through piazzas and town squares, so many fountains.   Rediscovering the Pantheon. One civilization eclipsing another (Etruscan, Roman, Christian).  Indulging in tours through the Vatican Museum, Sistene Chapel, the Colliseum, Public Forum. Peeking into green courtyards tucked behind the concrete street fronts, exploring the Villa Borghese park.  And over 300 impossible to see everything we wanted to see in Rome in just three days. 

I absolutely loved the week in Tuscany.  The weather was perfect, with daytime temperatures in the low eighties and evenings just cool enough to toss on a pashmina.  After touring the Chianti hills and exploring towns and villages we drank in the views from the villa patio.  It was off the beaten path, but close enough to head into San Gimignano in the evenings after the tour buses had left for the day. Casale Rosanna was located in one of the most picturesque spots in all of Tuscany, and we enjoyed misty sunrises and starry nights there.

detail on the Duomo
A full day in Florence, obviously not enough!  I could have stared at the Baptistery doors or gazed at the Ponte Vecchio for hours.  Although I'd seen photos, I wasn't prepared for the sheer scale of the Duomo, the Bell tower, or the tomb of the Medici.  Big places with such endless detail that could take a lifetime to properly contemplate.  I brought some binoculars and put them to good use to see the detailed carvings and frescoes.  It must have been amazing to see these monuments built and sculpted.  What must it have been like to see Bruneschelli's dome or Michaelangelo's sculpture of Dawn unveiled?

The Ufizzi Gallery!  The Botticelli room, the Rembrandts, the hundreds of sculptures and religious paintings.....

We spent a few days just driving through the Chianti hillside.  Plenty of medieval castles and ruins dotting the landscape, and time enough to explore towns like Volterra, Grieve in Chianti, and Casole d'Elsa.

The wine was fantastic!  Especially memorable was a tasting Rob and I enjoyed together at a Chianti farmhouse cellar (Tentute Giachi), where they served white Vernaccia San Gimignano, Chianti, Chianti Classico, two Brunellos, a couple of Super Tuscans, some Vin Santo and balsamic aged for thirty years. All the while the grower giving the back story, "gold medal winner and 93 points from Wine Spectator..." 

Nice moments, like the one afternoon we went for a drive and packed a picnic of pecorino cheeses, Tuscan salamis, grapes and pickles.

And simple pleasures enjoyed on the patio.  Watching the olives ripen from green to black over the course of the week; sampling a glass of chilled home-made limoncello on a hot afternoon;  catching shooting stars in a starry night sky.

Bella, bella.  Grazie mille!

1 comment:

Annika said...

Sounds like a wonderful trip...