Tuscany, Part 1
Tuscany is a place that needs to be experienced. Others had tried to warn me with their rave reviews of the food, the wine, the churches, the countryside. Everyone had a recommendation of a place to see, or a restaurant to visit, food to eat, church to view.....but no one told me how picture-perfect the countryside would be, even in winter, when the grapevines were slumbering and only the shapely cedars and dignified heathery-green olive groves retained their leaves. They didn't tell me that each heart-achingly pastoral landscape would be more beautiful than the next, leaving me endlessly reaching for my camera. I have a record of hundreds of pictures, while any shots of our trusty Euro beamer and hotels didn't make the cut. And there was no mention of just how each tiny town was more picturesque than the next. We'd approach each walled, hill-dwelling town up a tiny winding road, park in a lot just outside the walls, and hike up, passing through the gate, finding the piazza and main church, then exploring the mazes of tiny streets and alleyways affording views down to the olive groves and outlying farmhouses. Then we'd look for a trattoria and have a "simple" lunch: plates of prosciutto and salumi, slivers of Pecorino Toscano, and maybe some local honey, followed by fresh pasta in a variety of thicknesses and shapes with fresh tomatoes, or simply some more pecorino, or zucchini or artichokes. Delicious in every way!
Sun, January 10, 2010