Archive | 5:04 PM

First Full Day

20 Jun

Our home is on a quiet street just around the corner from Piazza Signorelli. This morning, however, we awoke to a loud conversation between a man and woman. It felt like we woke up in a movie trying to understand what they were saying yet not wanting to pry. She was loud and agitated; he remained relatively calm. Their banter was so hypnotizing that we both fell back asleep and awoke to it again later. It was not an argument about love – there was not enough emotion. And then I understood…  he called her Signora. He was a contractor doing some work for her. Obviously, she was unhappy. But as I write, all is quiet so we’ll see what happens tomorrow.

After a great night’s sleep (despite our “movie”) and lots of fresh air, we headed out for cappuccino in the morning sun. The weather here is perfect…sunny and 80’s daytime and 60’s at night. We wandered through town noting things in our calendar we want to do while here. An early lunch at Trattoria Dardano consisted of fresh porcini pasta and the usual glass of vino. I love how the clean laundry hangs above the restaurant entrance. It’s also interesting that there are always tables of Italian men eating lunch together, but rarely tables of Italian women. Len thinks they are busy cooking…I hope they are shopping.

Several hours later, after taking in some sites, we headed back to Il Cacio Brillo for an afternoon snack. We sat outside and shortly after, a family of 10 from Pittsburg, representing three generations, took the rest of the tables. This was their first time in Italy. Len began speaking to them in English with an Italian accent, as if he were an Italian native speaking broken English. It was totally hysterical and I just sat quietly wondering where this was going. After about 10 minutes, he confessed, and they all roared.

Dinner tonight was pizza and a salad at Trattoria Fluflins, which we are told is named after the god of wine, but we always thought that was Bacchus. Oh, well. At 10 PM, we sat in the piazza watching kids play soccer. No grass, so good, so young, and very willing to have their picture taken.

Till tomorrow,


Italy at Last

20 Jun

“Italy is one big farm. That’s why everything is so fresh,” observed Len as we descended from the clouds 1000 feet above FCO. And he’s so right. For many, the mention of Italy conjures up the big three: Venezia, Firenze and Roma, or other famous cities, but truly, there are miles and miles of farms and vineyards dotting the landscape. We drove through many of them in the three hour drive from Rome to Cortona.

Speaking of driving, after all the GPS planning (never worked) , driving with one’s spouse is not for the faint of heart. The driving (in my opinion as I’m the driver) is ok, it’s just the front seat driver that I thought about dropping off at one of those farms! But make it we did, and found our Casa Celeste in Cortona to be clean and comfortable.

The streets in Cortona are all narrow and hilly and support pedestrians, dog walkers and all manner of moving vehicles, which, of course, have the right of way. One quickly learns to navigate! We found a gem of a place for dinner, Il Cacio Brillo, which loosely translates to drunken cheese. We shared a delicious cheese and salumi platter, all freshly cut, with a 2006 Brunello in a 1200 year old room…heavenly.

Much has been written about Cortona since Frances Mays’ Under the Tuscan Sun, and I must admit, it’s what brought us here as well. That said, this is our launch pad for exploring larger and smaller towns in Tuscany and Umbria, skipping restaurants where English is spoken, and just taking the road less travelled whenever we feel like it. Photos to begin tomorrow.



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