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My Wanderings and Musings
The Italians make a candy the size of a Hershey kiss but that tastes far better: Bacio balls! Inside there is a fortune. In my first Italian Bacio ball, my fortune read: That love is all there is, is all we know of Love. Not helpful information, but I will continue to search for wisdom in the Bacio balls to share with you. It will be rough but I try to make sacrifices for you guys
Our group spent part of the day traveling to Rome and the other half wandering around family run winery in Tuscany. Four country dogs eagerly greeted us as we were escorted through the private home of Cecilia, the 4th generation owner of the exquisite vineyard, winery and villa. We toured the cellars that were originally created by the Etruscans! The view from the garden looked out over vineyards after vineyards and in the distance was a town perched on a hill, the steeple from the church rising above all else. The wine was fantastic! After our tasting and lunch which included a taste of Cecilia's very own olive oil made from the olives growing on her property, I wandered through the vineyard. The sun was phenomenal today! It was a pilgrimage to the Mecca of wine tasting.
I half expected Diane Lang to come strolling through the vineyard. This is Tuscany after all. Actually, I'm glad to finally have my own visions and memories of these places now that I have finally made it here. Even in Venice I expected to see Harrison Ford or Angelina Jolie come ripping around the corner of a tiny backstreet canal, clinging to the back of a water taxi. Or, darkly, Hannibal Lector savoring a glass of wine on the patio of a breezy cafe in Florence. Luckily, I have many visions and vivid memories of my own making to erase the Hollywood fantasies. Lol
After enjoying dinner at a family style restaurant near the Pantheon....OMG.... We headed back to the hotel. The grandma type lady who runs the show was completely baffled by the Vegan request, but did her best for me and graced me with a hug and kiss before I left. I think she was baffled by me. I'm excited to the point of tears to explore Rome the next couple days. I know I'm a tremendous nerd but the art and culture was all icing for me, I came to walk in the footsteps of the ancient Romans.
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All I can say is I spent my day in absolute awe and completely breath taken looking at so many works of art I cannot count. Standing in front of multiple Boticelli's, Bartolini's, Michelangelo's all in one day has has completely drained me of all energy and brainpower. Time stood absolutely still gazing at The Birth of Venus and The David was an experience I will not soon forget. Art is definitely the major theme for this jaunt into Italian history and culture.
Although, staring at countless statues of naked men can get tiresome(seriously), so our group did a cooking class yesterday. What fun! Alessandro was our chef and he had the "special" group. 3 vegetarians and 1 vegan. He was incredible! I can now prepare an entire Italian meal that is mouthwatering delicious and vegan! After making our meal, we all sat around tables in the funky old wine cellar and devoured what we created. Incidentally, this meal has rated up there with the best of the foodgasms. Bruccetta, grilled eggplant and tomatoes baked to perfection with a breadcrumb topping and fresh tomato sauce sprinkled with basil. And of course tons of delectable olive oil. Simple, but one of my favorite meals so far. When multiple foodgasms start at the table, I'll know I've hit the culinary jackpot. Still in search of that meal, though that mushroom risotto came close.
Every place I've been seems to radiate a different color. Verona had a pinkish hue with the marble sidewalks and bright sky, Venice twinkled with dark blues and grey of the fog laced night sky and now Florence embodies all the colors of the earth, perfect for Tuscany. As I head south tomorrow, I am sad to leave the area of northern Italy that I have fallen so desperately in love with, but I am eagerly anticipating Rome and southern Italy.
No big travel mishaps lately but my Italian sucks! Working on it though....