Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Under The (chilly) Tuscan Sun

Once again it seems every chid in Italy is in my neighborhood. It's the Epiphany today. School is out. No mail delivery and quite a few of my friends are not returning to work until next week.

The day after Christmas my friend who made the amazing Christmas lunch invited me to join her and her friends in Tuscany. You know I like to plan my spontaneous actions but decided to just go. The next day we took the train to a very small town three hours from Rome.

My friend lived there for a while before moving back to Rome. There were no other expats when she lived and there still aren't any. No wonder her Italian is perfect.

Oh I get the whole Tuscan love now. Darn Tuscany filling my head with silly dreams of a farm house on a hill surrounded by a beautiful garden, views, veggies and maybe even a couple chickens. Darn you!

The center of town was maybe a block and a half long. Everyone was super friendly. We went to the little bar/cafe/tabacchi both days. How can you not love a place where an excellent glass of prosecco is two euros!! When we ordered three glasses and the owner said that will be six euros I assumed he meant each. Non tutto.

The bar was nothing fancy. We were chilling while the TV aired Cocoon dubbed, some older gentlemen were reading the paper while at another table, a group of teenagers flirted.

The next day we went to the bakery to buy something for our host. The owner gave us free slices of this amazing bread (still warm) while we waited for her to wrap our purchases.

The family we stayed with were warm and feed us extremely well. The whole family lives together in a big house (separate wings). I was thinking about my siblings and how great it would to be able just to walk downstairs or next door and see them. Not sure how my in-laws would feel about that though, it might get on their nerves. Ha.

It must be nice to have your parents near you and not thousands of miles a way. Living with your children is the norm for older people in the Caribbean but it's very unusual in America.

I'm still thinking about the lunch we had with the entire family, the fresh bread from the town bakery with just the right amount of salt and olive oil ( the name escapes me but it starts with an "S"), the prosciutto and sausage from local pigs, the wine (I'm detoxing. In three days I drank more wine than I do in maybe two weeks.), the views, did I mention the wine? etc.

My friend said I have to come back in the spring when everything is in bloom.

It was freezing. It snowed the next day after our visit but didn't stick.

At night it was very dark and quiet. When we walked back to the house from "the town" there was one part that was completely dark. No house lights, no street lights, nothing. Were I walking by myself I would have been freaked the heck out as there are wild boars in the area. Even walking with two other people I was nervous.

A room with a view.


Wine!


View from the center.

24 comments:

Skywalker said...

jealous!

erynchandler said...

sounds sooo wonderful!

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

skywalker - ha. would it make you feel better if I told you it was really cold?

eryn - I can't wait to go back in the Spring.

Lucia said...

sounds wonderful, looked beautiful was it Ciabatta bread?

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

lucia - no...but I'm a fan of that bread as well. :)

Diana Strinati Baur said...

ragazza, I need to get you up here to Piemonte.

WineGrrl said...

I gotta get back!

SDG said...

Oh my! How lovely. It seems truly beautiful there. Glad you let spontaneity reign and visited.

dorina said...

oh it's so beautiful. so many aspects of life that i appreciate: families living near each other or together; people comfortable with darkness and not feeling it necessary to light up every inch of one's space; the wine(!); the food; the fresh produce . . ; the wine(!). it's wonderful. thanks for sharing! (my coop's manangement agency just recently installed SIX bright lights in our courtyard .. right after national geographic came out with their november issue "the end of night, why we need darkness." -sigh-)

Di Mackey said...

It's beautiful ... the post, your words, the photos, the imagery.

Thank you!!!

glamah16 said...

So thats where you have been you lucky girl!

girasoli said...

What fun! Also jealous (but would not have liked the cold). Loved your description and the pictures.

yvonne said...

Heavenly visit! Aren't you glad you went on the spur of the moment, cold or no? And the family-style living sounds good to me. I'm trying to scrape up--as if by magic--a $50,000 plot of land here in Philadelphia, PA so I can build a mortgage-free house for myself, family and friends. I blame it on the year I spent in Mexico in my mid-twenties where it is also shockingly common to share a home with your family--separate wings, across the courtyard, etc. Not a 'Dynasty'-like mansion by any means, but just enough space for everyone to still love each other at the end of the month. ;-> Thanks for the lovely distraction from the romantic comedy I'm working on....

ActsofFaithBlog said...

Oh this is so beautiful. It's like magic that people get to live like this every day and you don't even have to be rich to be surrounded by it either.

gibber said...

very pretty! marcello!! hehehehe

J.Doe said...

It sounds to me like the bread you had was schiacciata (not sure how it is spelled). It is not flat flat like a tortilla but is kind of short, like a regular bread would be if you smashed it. It's very oily (olive oil) and salty on top. They make it a lot in Tuscany which I didn't realize until a friend of mine from Torino relocated there and never heard of it (but liked it).

joanne at frutto della passione said...

Tuscany and Umbria are my two favourite regions. I can't get enough of them. Sounds like a lovely break from routine! Are you guys getting any of our weather down there yet?

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

diana - that area (along with Sicily, Sardania, Stromboli, Lake Como etc. etc. ) is on my list.

winegrrl - yes you do. :)

sdg - when she first invited me I thought of all the chores I had to do. Finally I came to my senses.

dorina - I'm not sure if I could get used to the darkness but I'm down with the wine, the food and those views. ha

di mackey - you're welcome.

glamah16 - I am finally getting over a cold so I've been spending a lot of time on the couch drinking tea and juice. I'm not a fan of being sick.

girasoli - I forgot to mention that the first day there was no heat, just the fireplace. I was freezing.

yvonne - good luck with your screenplay. On both sides of my family in the Caribbean an aunt lived with my grandparents until they died. It seemed so strange to me when I was younger. I know my parents would love it if we lived with them. I could see my mom coming over all the time to make sure I had enough food and that house was spotless. ha

actsoffaith - Nope the people who live in this village have been there for generations and most of them are or were farmers. They would not be considered rich by American standards. There was one noble family who did own a lot of land but everyone was down to earth including the titled family.

gibber - you are too funny. "Can you star 69 Italy?" "No" "I'm going to try...hello?"

j. doe - thank you. I think that is the name of the bread. They also make like bite size rounds versions of it. Man that bread was so freaking good.

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

joanna - Once the weather warms up and if I actually have some money I look forward to exploring more of the region.

It's cold and rainy today. I saw on CNN Int'l that Paris and Berlin got hit with v. cold weather and snow. This cold snap is going to last a few more days.

Los Angelista said...

That sounds and looks amazing. I'm hungry just thinking about the bread. I don't know if I could get my parents to move to Cali and come live with me. Interestingly though, I know more people living with their parents or siblings, due more to the bad economy than anything.

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

losangelista - that bread was no joke. I wonder with the economy the way it is if we'll see more extended families living together.

Kim B. said...

I read your piece at work yesterday (at the cash register computer!) so couldn't leave a comment. But I'm so glad you went and shared your experience so beautifully. That sounds like the PERfect getaway -- good for you for deciding to let them take you away!! I can't even *imagine* how beautiful it must be in the spring . . .and the summer . . and the fall

wordtryst said...

Wow. Bloody wow. I dream of going to this place, cold be damned.

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

kim b - It was fantastic. So peaceful.

wordtryst - I hope you make it Tuscany some day.