Tuesday, July 23, 2013


DAY 9, JULY 16, 2013
The day started out slow again, Emmy doesn't seem to be able to get out of bed any sooner than ten and that's being very generous. Rick had decided to make a frittata for lunch out of the leftovers from last night's dinner. Frittatas are our way of cleaning out the refrigerator. You take whatever you have, mix it with eggs in a skillet and then bake it in the oven for about twenty to twenty-five minutes. You want it crisp around the edges. When it's done it should slide easily out of a non-stick pan. Emmy thought it was going to be gross but by her fifth serving she had decidedly changed her mind.
The closest hill town to Buoconvento is Montelcino, the home of Brunello wines.
The drive up the hill to Molticino is lined with vineyards and wineries. Mirando, the Saracini's best friend, is the wine master at the Altesino winery.
Many of these wineries have been producing wine for centuries and are housed in some of the most beautiful ancient buildings,
stone buildings with manicured gardens and rows of decades old grape vines.
Cypress trees are everywhere making arrowheads pointed toward the sky.
Even if you don't taste the wine you can taste the beauty of the vineyards.
Montelcino is crowned with a fortress housing a magnificent wine store and a view from the top of the surrounding landscape that takes your breath away.
We, of course, can't go to any town without doing the shops and there's no way you can go to Montelcino without walking up and down the rolling stone alleys stopping into some of its stores.
Shops filled with linen goods.
Boutiques with loomed goods and apparel,
and stores selling tons of jewelry that is right up Emmy's alley.
It also seems that cat's have sacred place all through Tuscany much like the cattle of India. It seemed as if everywhere we went we were accompanied by a feline friend
At the end of the main corridor we stumbled upon a small little park with its homage to Disney and fairytales. As rain approached we worried about these two little vignettes. Little Red Riding Hood along with the grandmother and the hunter sat or stood stoically against the approaching storm,
while Snow White and her seven little friends seemed from tougher stock. Do you think it was necessary to acquire a permit for this? In the United States you would have to fill out reams of paper work to make this happen and what would Walt say about this infringement on his theme park territory?
We had once again made plans with the Vermeer's and the Saraceni's to meet up for a seven o'clock dinner. We were all to meet at the wine shop Julio, one of the Saraceni's sons, worked at. At about eight the Saraceni's finally showed up. This is Italian time. The restaurant was a local place called, Porta Al Cassero.
This time we all decided that we would each order a primero and secundo course in the hopes of speeding up the dinner from a three hour event to something more like two and three quarters.
We are not a sedate crowd. Dinner is raucous. The wine is plentiful and everyone is required to raise their glass, clink with their neighbors and sip every time Allesandro says. "Cin cin!".
For us teetotalers this was fine, for the rest, all I can say is I wouldn't want to be driving down that windy road back to Armena in the rear seat of their car.
Of course, no meal in any part of Italy is complete without topping it out with a trip to the nearest gelateria. In Montelcino the gelateria is Why Not, a gathering place for locals and tourists alike.
We had to push our way into the tiny shop to get to the counter and when we finally made it Rick almost jumped on the counter and all the girls screamed as this little boy popped out of huge Notella jar.
Why Not is full of surprises including an impromptu display of Pinocchioism courtesy of Rick and pretty good gelato.

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