Sunday, September 30, 2012


Now, this is just the food in Monsummano Terme.  Only two nights ..... but man, oh man..........well since I also hadn't eaten a night meal the previous 4 nights....don't know if I was just starving or it was just THAT good.  It was THAT good.  And scusi the pics battery had run down in the good camera so this was my little one.  No to my was not the wine causing the blurriness!
Chitarra fresh home made pasta with guinea fowl sauce!
Fillet of beef with red wine sauce and the BEST spinach I've ever tasted.
chocolate mouse!
Next night!

Fagottini meat pasta's bundles with black truffle.....I'm not even lying, could eat this everyday!
Sea bass filled with fresh tomatoes and olives
Vanilla yogurt (home made) with fresh fig sauce!
 I'm just sayin.......!!
I've now been in San Gimignano for two days and completely fallen in love with another town....the town of towers.  See if this rings a bell...scusi the pun....but in ancient times each family would try to outdo the other families by bldging the highest tower....then someone else would come along and build even taller.  You should have seen me trying to explain to the priest after mass this morning that we call that "keepin' up with the jone'es"  back in Texas!! Led to some interesing conversation!
There used to be 72 towers but now there are only 14 remaining.  And my ass has been up almost all of them today  Have to be later on that tale....tomorrow is a travel day to Assisi by way of bus, and two no likey buses and trains..
Later taters!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Hello Monsummano Terme!! ...with update

Talk about another adventure with a capital "A"!!   woooooooo-weeeeeeeee!  A bit sceery but so worth it in the end. Suffice it to say that my butt is on the very tip-top of a mountain in a castle that has only 5 rooms in it!!  Had to get Franco to bring me here because the taxi-drivers don't know where it is and there sure ain't a bus that comes up here!!  Even Franco had a hard time finding it and I was a leetle concerned most of the time.  Kept repeating to myself the mantra from my boyfriend....."The difference between and adventure and an ordeal is the attitude"!!  I may have said that to myself 20 times on the way up here!  check out that site because their pics are from the air.
So, when we finally got here yesterday, it was cloudy and drizzling and COLD! big time cold.  It hasn't been cold the whole time I've been here.  Get checked in and wowza.....paradise. And when they give you not one, but two, bottles of prosecco as a welcome for welcome and one for appertivo........well, hello!! of my new best friends!  Lisa....he said to tell you HI!!
yep folks...that's my B&B!
view from my room!
This castle looks out over 6 provinces of Italy!
Look at the shower! It's folding glass doors that when folded out maked into a square! right on the floor with a drain in the middle.  works like a charm!
the bell tower on my walk from room to restaurant last night.  oh. the food? Well, thats a whole nuther post in and of itself!!
And the only shot of sunset last night because of rain....
Have to run now to catch the dusk time here at this magical place!  Will update with more pics later!
 Wanted to show you just how magical this place was....the owners are a mom, pop, son and daughter. And they do EVERYTHING. Mom and daughter are the chefs....never see them unless they come to pick fresh herbs by the rooms. Dad runs business side of all. Son is the reservations man, the checker in guy, the waiter...and he brought me 1hr 40 to my next destination because they were all so upset when a taxi driver tried to charge me 190 euros to do it!!  Dad and son shook their heads and said they were very ashamed that Italy tried to snake me.  He took me for nuthin...with a complete tour of every city, road and vineyard we drove past.  So so nice.
entrance into the b&b.  church and bell tower
beautiful shrine right inside
saw this lil walk out of corner of my eye driving in
as I walked up to it, look what I found on the edge of the mountain...
a beautiful cemetery!
front of the church and bell tower
where the 5 b&b bedrooms are .... used to be the monestery
the view on the other side. my room was first 2 windows on left bottom
sitting areas like this all over the property
Little unassuming door to the restaurant...
that looked like THIS on the inside!! First night I was only guest and they served me like it was a full night. I had the same table both days....for the breakfast part of B&B and for dinner..right by the window!
they also have an outside terrace for pretty days and wedding receptions....this is that view
looking at the restaurant from my room
the tower by the gates leaving San Bastione....I think I left a leetle piece of my heart at this place. It was definitely a photographer's dream!
So wait............guess what else I did?
their pics are copyrighted and I wasn't allowed to take my camera in but this is grotta giustispa, underground caves, that you are led to in a heavy tunic where you sit in comfy chairs for 30 min to sweat..then you make a rest stop for 10 1/3 of the way up and another 10 min rest almost back to the top.  crazy, eh?
It was delightful!  Little weird at first because you feel slightly claustrophobic but after you acclimate, you sweat your guts out.  Then you have a mineral water shower and swim....SO MUCH FUN!!  check out the link up's fun to read about!
And next?? THE FOOD!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Ceramics and Olive Oil!...updated

So, my buddy left me on tuesday morn and I was a wee bit in cried my eyes out for an hour after she walked down those steps.  Not only because she was leaving me in Italy but also because it will prolly be a yr before I see her again.....not fun living a million states away from her.
But man, oh man............did we ever manage to have Good Times in the time we had together!! A lifetime memory maker, for sure! in Italy continues.....that night I was invited to the gardens for apperitivo and vino with marie and lorenzo...and their friends who own a B&B in Buti, Italy....who actually are from Santa Fe.  It was fun to listen to their stories, actually in english, and eat real live italian pizza...
ever seen how capers grow??  these were growing out of stone wall right near us!
Next morning bright and early I was up to meet marie for cappucino in the piazza and then off to walk to the ceramic shop that has been owned and run by Guido and Clara for many years!
The actual name of their shop is Guido Nesti Ceramiche.
Guido talking to's all in the hand talk!!
he hand punches every single design onto the pottery and tiles before he draws the design on
and then Clara, his wife, hand paints each piece!
Marie is the owner of the apt I stayed in, who has much knowledge on the history of her town (and she's actually from the UK!), was about the best tour guide and hostess that I've met, and now has become a very dear friend as well.  We will continue to communicate and share our "girl stories"! heheh.
the olive grove she took me to
but even before we got into the grape vineyard or the olive grove, we came upon this...a kiwi orchard!! and they make a kiwi liquer that is killer....I mean, killer! Their grandmothers told them to drink this because it serves as a laxative...hmmmm, me thinks granny had secret staches of this stuff!
I'd never seen how kiwi grow before!
cute lil tour guide...ahem!  he and 2 others actually manage the groves, weigh the olives, press them, separate them and bottle it.  and they are tour guides.  Multi-taskers? nada,,,,,just hard workers. His uncle owns the business!
First, you smell-a the olive oil-a
Then you taste-a and swish-a the olive oil-a
then you taste-a the olive oil-a on the bread-a
then you buy-a the olive oil-a to take-a home because it's the best dadgum olive oil-a you've ever put into your mouth-a!
you taste cinghiale (boar) because it's a native tuscan food and you must try all things native to where you are.  They hunt the boar in their fields because they eat all their crops....hmmm, does that sound familiar?  My boys would love this but me?....not so much. Pretty wild taste. Acuna Matata!
But this??? Oh MY!!  They make a chocolate sauce like Nutella but instead of using butter, they use their olive oil!  This, my friends, is to die for!  Also has hazelnuts in it. If you're at my house anytime soon, you'll definitely be tasting this!!
So, as I wind down this post, I realize I not one pic of the actual olives on the tree!!  hahaha....after sitting for almost 5 hrs at the cutest lil tasting table, with 2 other couples from austraila,  and their wines? Well, I guess that just got left out. 
These Italians DO love to sit around a table for a very long time-a!!
Goodbye Vicopisano!!  I love this lil village and truly felt right at home here....especially the park where I sat for hours and wrote and watched the people.  Truly a unique experience!