- Fizzy Thoughts: Italy Trip: Day Seventeen

Italy Trip: Day Seventeen

Saturday, October 06, 2007

9/14/07

Our last day in Tuscany. We decided to stay local and drive over the mountain to Fiesole. First we went just up the hill to see what was in Santa Brigida. We quickly discovered not much, mostly retired people. The streets were super narrow and windy - we saw a grocery store and a hardware store and people staring at us as we drove through town. So we turned around and gave them the opportunity to stare at us again as we drove back through town and headed for Fiesole.
First we stopped at the big church with its bell tower, the Cathedral of San Romolo. Then we walked over to the Roman archaeological area, but we didn't want to pay the 15 euro to go in. So we peeked through the fence and then walked down the hill a bit to see the view of Florence. You can see the Duomo and all of Florence, but it was a hazy day, so the pictures are probably crap. (Gee, I was right...no pictures of the view.)

We walked up (and up and up and up and up) the hill to the church and convent of San Francesco. They have a missionary museum in the basement of the church filled with things the Franciscan missionaries brought back/stole from Egypt and China, such as clothing and shoes for bound feet from China, and a mummy, a mummified hand, and a mummified cat from Egypt. Upstairs was much better - you could see the nun's cells in the convent, and even go into one. Very small, with only a desk, chair and a wooden shelf for a bed.
On the way down the hill we stopped for a good meal - I had gnocchetti (or was it gnocchini?) in a pepper cheese sauce. The restaurant was being photographed. Even our food was stopped for pictures as it was being brought to the table.

After that we drove down some scary narrow streets and then went back to the villa. I managed a two hour nap and then finally started reading The Secret Book of Grazia dei Rossi. The opening line...

"The Roman port of Ostia, October 17, 1526." Hey, Ostia! I was there just last week. The book starts in Rome, and then moves to Montova, then Ferrara and Bologna, where we are headed tomorrow.

At 7:30 we went down to the castle to have dinner at their restaurant. The restaurant is actually across the road from the castle, below the registration area/gift shop. It's a cave-like room with a high ceiling and about 6 tables inside. The Australians we met our first night at Torre del Sasso were there, as well as a table of 12 Danes. The restaurant has a sommelier, who is very young and so serious it was hard not to laugh. He had the old sippy thing on a giant chain around his neck. For dinner we had the set menu, except for Sue who wisely ordered a la carte. Water and a glass of white wine was poured automatically, and we ordered a bottle of the ruffina we all liked at the wine tasting. The set menu was a little disappointing. We had four salamis for antipasti, then tagliatelle with ragu, then a beef/pork sausage thing on a stick that was kind of salty, with a side of potatoes, and then fruit, followed by an itty-bitty shot of espresso. It was a fun experience, but not the best meal we've had...it was a little heavy on the meat. Back at the villa we dug into the chocolate torte that Sue and Lance bought in Montalcino at one of the food booths. Fueled by chocolate we packed for our departure in the morning.

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In a real sense, people who have read good literature have lived more than people who cannot or will not read. It is not true that we have only one life to live; if we can read, we can live as many more lives and as many kinds of lives as we wish. ~S.I. Hayakawa

The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.
~St. Augustine

Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.
~Mark Twain

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