This is my catch-up, the promised one. I will do it in segments, since there is no way I can figure out how to make paragraph breaks or indentations which actually post to the site.
This is a new paragraph! Montepulciano is situated about 45 minutes from our villa, in my favorite part of Tuscany, and is quite close to Pienza, site of some of the scenes in The English Patient.
We drove our three cars to Montepulciano and all ended up in the same parking area within 5 minutes of one another! Amazing! We all walked through the old medieval brick and stone arch, tasted a bit of tuscan toppings on tuscan bread, but agreeing that it was too early in the morning for the wine. The sun hadn’t yet crossed the yardarm, as Neil likes to say.
I bought six jars of my favorite pasta seasoning mix, saving five to take home and earmarking one of them for the pasta I would cook for our group that evening. We found the lovely Caffe Polizziano for lunch, a recommendation from one of our last travelers two years ago, and then we all split up to shop or write or find the internet cafe. Unfortunately, we left our restaurant just at about 1:30, which is the time the shops are all closed. So we were forced to stay in the only store that stayed open, a beautiful leather shop with journals, pens, shoes, purses, and I found I just couldn’t resist a soft red leather journal. It came with an old fashioned pen, the dipping into the ink kind, and I was told I could choose a color of ink to take home with me. I certainly hope my clothes aren’t purple when I unpack them!
On to Pienza for the last half of the afternoon, the beautiful little place tucked on the edge of the Tuscan valley. There I finally bought a ceramic pitcher made by a woman who owns MezzaLuna (half moon), and I will carry it home on the plane.
Back at the villa, several of the women chopped mushrooms, onions, garlic, and peppers while I made the pasta sauce. Salad and a nice Chianti topped it all off well.
We even had a fire in the huge old kitchen fireplace in our villa. Sleep until the next day. See next entry for Lake Trasimeno, Isola Maggiore, and Cortona.