I am in Cinque Terre, specifically at La Torretta in Manarola, with a wi-fi connection in my room for the first time in a week, so I have a lot of catching up to do.

The last time I posted, we were leaving Siena, headed for our villa in the southern Tuscan countryside, and it was pouring outside. We were hoping for better weather, and slowly we have gotten what we asked for. Slowly, I said.

Saturday, May 15, we arrived at Podere Camera in San Giovanni d’Asso, greeted by the owner, Mary, and her daughter Sara. We could smell the aroma of the delicious dinner Mary had prepared for our arrival. Local cheeses (such as Pecorino) and bread, ribollita (a delicious Tuscan bread soup), and herbed roasted chicken, followed by sauteed spinach and an enormous serving bowl of tiramisu! Wine from the vineyard at which we were staying . . . and we gratefully found our way to our rooms, leaving the unpacking for the morning.

Sunday, May 16 . . . we had stopped at a local grocery store in Torrinieri so we had coffee, bread for toast, jam, fresh strawberries, eggs, and all the usual fixings for breakfast. I made a big omlette and we settled in for most of the day. Overcast skies did not invite us to venture far from the villa, and we unpacked, read a bit, and studied the maps, planning for the day-trips for the following week. By mid-afternoon, the sky had cleared a bit, and I suggested that we try a short trip to Pienza, perhaps 30 minutes away by car. It’s one of my favorite spots, the countryside full of those amazing houses with a cypress-tree lined driveway. They make wonderful postcards, and I’ve bought plenty of them (cards, that is, not cypress trees OR the amazing houses) over the years.

The English Patient shot a couple of scenes in this little hill town and I always love coming to Pienza. We visited Mezza Luna, a local ceramics shop, two churches, a gelato shop and the internet cafe, though I didn’t have enough time to actually post to this site. If I ever really fulfilled my dream of owning property in Italy, it is near Pienza I would look first.

We returned to the villa and finished the dinner from last night. More chicken, more cheese, more tiramisu! Yum . . .


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