Italy travelogue, part XIX

Photos by Bruce Wilder


Storms last night, big booming thunder. BW reports the storm rolled  back a second time, but I slept through that one.
Fresh and coolish this morning, and pretty perfect for yoga  outdoors.
They’re working in the vineyard again, and the gardeners are here.  BW saw one braiding together a huge sting of onions, which Antonella brought in.  She made break this morning, and the aroma of it perfumed the  kitchen.
I gave her an old family recipe for bread pudding–and exchange for  the pesto. I hope she has fun with it.
We’re having seafood tonight–fresh catch this  morning.
We headed out very late morning to Pienza, a good size village  about 25 minutes away. Lovely, lovely drive through the hills, the vineyards,  the fields–we finally saw a deer, and white, white cows.
Parking is challenging, but we finally found a spot, and walk into  town. The pope at the time designed it so the main street curves at both ends  and looks longer. What it is, is charming. Full of little shops,archways and  narrow alleyways, old buildings, an old church and a pretty and smallish  Duomo.
We find sneakers for Jason–nice ones, and I spotted a scarf I had  to have for myself. Kat sees canny bottles where you put oil and vinegar in  together, but they stay separate. And in the same interesting little hardware  type store, I find wonderful wooden spoons. I’m a big fan of wooden spoons, and  these are lovely–and a wooden ladle! I love it. I end up with a big handful of  spoons.
Lots of dogs here, mostly tiny dogs who are hardly like dogs at  all. Interesting street sculptures, a nice bustle of people. I find a pretty  shirt–two layers that can be worn together or not–one size. The clerk says the  one size is no problem for me, but a problem for her. LOL. And a very cool dress  for Kat.
And it’s seriously breezy. Much, much cooler today, and I’m glad I  grabbed a little jacket. The light’s quieter with some clouds, and not so  intense, so the greens of the fields and trees are softer, too. I wish I’d seen  it all in the rain.
We walk out to an overlook–breathtaking views of the hills, the  trees. And onto lunch where I had a salad with chunks of apples and oranges.  There’s the cutest baby at the table beside ours. His mother’s trying to feed  him, but he keeps grinning, laughing, turning his head away to look at  us.
Of course we laugh with him. Mama’s very good natured about  it. 
More walking, and a trip into the Duomo. So pretty, with lots of  light and a hushed air.
It’s gelato next! I got a mix of vanilla and chocolate that brings  tears to the eyes. Just gorgeous–though Jason touted his peach gelato as  exceptional.
We obey a sign that says: Try the sheep’s cheese. It’s pretty  great. I don’t buy it–a little hard to take home, but I do buy a container–as  does Kat–of dried chili peppers. They have some olive oil here steeped with  them, and it’s great. I can do that at home.
Back to the car, and Kat takes a turn at the wheel. The GPS is  confused, or we are, as they’ve closed off part of a road. After some  round-abouting we follow the lead of another car that just went around the  pylons. And we realize they were there because they’d just painted the  crosswalk, so it’s all good.
Round the hills again, and perfect directions this time. A pretty,  easy drive.
And we’re home again where the wind’s kicking up big time. We dump  our stuff and mostly settle into the little living area on the main floor. 
We’ll probably eat in the big kitchen tonight–as we did for  breakfast. A bit too brisk and windy for the patio. I’m wonder what Asia–who’s  cooking tonight–will make out of the local fish.

9 thoughts on “Italy travelogue, part XIX”

  1. I really enjoy your books, and I hope that you would write one with the Quartets’ weddings. I would love to read about Jack and Emma’s wedding along with Del and laural’s and Parker’s and Mal’s weddings.

    1. Hi Kathy,

      There are no plans for a story about the Quartet weddings. Nora always says that when a book is done, it’s done … even though it’s hard for us, the readers, to leave beloved characters behind. We’ll have to use our imaginations and all the information Nora gave us to create our own visions of the perfect weddings for Jack, Emma, Del, Laura, Parker, and Mal. Mine has lots and lots of flowers and stupendous food!


  2. I love a good storm when I’m on vacations… barring Camping I adore the change of pace that gives 🙂
    Baby was probably thrilled with the English and having a blast 😉
    Such a nice rythim they entered in Tuscany – would do them good though there seems to be more shopping than I realised 😉
    Have loads of fun!

  3. Oh Nora, you’ve just reminded me the Pienza pecorino (the sheep’s cheese): how good it was! I went to Pienza in May, this year, and I bought one form of cheese, a soft one, slightly seasoned… really delicious 🙂 gnam gnam… Have you tasted pecorino with pears?
    I assume your villa is near the Val D’Orcia area. It’s a very beautiful setting, I stayed there in May for a very small holiday, in a beautiful restored bed & breakfast villa on a hill, near Chiusi. If you’ll have time to visit the city of Montepulciano, too, don’t miss a look at the underground cellars in the main street (free access to the public) , where it’s possible to have free – and huge – tasting of “Nobile” wine, cheese, oils, etc…

  4. The kitchen!! OMG – the kitchen!! No wonder you want to play in there! Gorgeous pictures and thanks for sharing.

  5. Nora’s lunch salad with apples and oranges sounds wonderful. A light, healthy lunch to save room for that gelato. I love chocolate, but I think I would have gone for Jason’s peach. Yum!

  6. When I am reading these blogs I am thinking of one of your earlier stories (The Villa). I hope you are having a great time.

  7. Oh, my goodness! My husband has a thing for wooden spoons too! I mean, I like them just fine – – but I guess he’s not alone 🙂
    The days that come after stormy nights are magical! I guess they have the same effect on the Tuscan hills. And the little town with the clever road seems delightful. Psyched to know there’s more shopping to be done, even in the smaller villages.
    Hope dinner is fantastic – – seafood is my fave!

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