Well,eating under the Tuscan sun is one thing, getting there is something else.
After an exhausting nine hour overnight flight from New York City we finally landed in Rome, and entered the busiest airport on earth.
We took a taxi to our AirB&B in Trastevere and lugged our multiple suitcases up three flights of stairs. Nice apartment. After a short rest we explored the neighborhood.
Not as many people as the airport but not actually serene as we learned later in the evening.
After passing many cafes we chose a lovely restaurant, dal toscana
The wives deciding to order another bottle of wine.
And then, what else, but pasta. Not just any old pasta but gnocchi with a tomato smoked bacon sauce. WOW!
And last paperdelle with mushrooms.
This meal was training for another two weeks of pasta.
I did hint earlier about Trastevere and lack of serenity.
It seems that our apartment was directly over a bar and Trastevereians seem to enjoy drinking and singing every night until 3:30 in the morning.
So,Trastevere,superb food. Just forget about sleeping.
We packed our bags, rented a car large enough to carry every item of clothing we owned for any weather and proceeded north to Cortona on the autostrada. Cars passing us at 100MPH. No speed limits. You don’t dare to drive at a normal speed in the left lane because cars will pull up to you just inches away to make you move.
This is an accepted way of driving in Italy.
Since suffering from sleep deprivation we decided to stop in Perugia on the way to Cortona where we could stay in an elegant soundproof hotel overnight.
Joel and Susan happy to just sit.
Our room had a panoramic view of the town.
Just behind the hotel and, of course, down yet another hill, is Ristorante Altromondo. This was no small cafe. This was fine dining. As far as i’m concerned one of the best restaurants in Tuscany.
Finally something other than pasta. Veal Milanese,and easily the best I have ever tasted.
On to Cortona just about an hour away passing the spectacular beauty of Tuscany from our car.
Hills and more hills dominated our vocabulary in the week ahead. Take a look at this hill town where we walked according to our i-phone health app 30 miles in our time there. Absolutely nothing is flat. Driving up the mountain competes with the Amalfi coast danger wise. Narrow roads with cars coming at you at natural Italian speeds.
After losing our way constantly we arrived at Villa Rosa, the stunning home of Christine Miles that we rented.
Our morning ritual was watching the clouds form at the top of the mountain.
We took a short walk down the hill from our house exploring the neighborhood. And what did we find? The very house that Frances Mayes wrote about in her book,”Under the Tuscan Sun.”
We took turns cooking our meals at home probably because we couldn’t handle climbing more hills in town to find restaurants. Close by in Chiusi village was a coop market with excellent produce, meats, and best of all dozens of choices of local wines at insanely inexpensive prices.
We gave up driving to restaurants and parking and climbing more hills so we called Dijean, who Christine recommended who had a taxi service. He managed the minuscule winding streets and dropped us off at the door of the restaurant.
If you thought that I exaggerated about hills take a look at Ristorante La Buccacia Da Romano in Cortona.
Buccacia has the feeling of being in an ancient Roman cave.
My friend Joel and I were craving for steak but steak in Italy is not steak at the Palm. It has no depth to it. Soft. We were not happy. But we consoled each other with a multitude of fine food.
First, a chicken liver pate.
Then a truffle pasta.
And last a wild pork tenderloin.
DeJean asked us to walk up the hill to his car because it was too steep for his mini van.
Our final meal in Cortona was in a lovely family owned restaurant.
We started off with a Caprese salad. It was so beautiful it was a shame to eat it.
Joel and Margaret took a gamble on Florentine steak priced by the pound.
Looked good, tasted good. Getting much closer to the Palm.
We had a long talk with our waitress Sarah. Strangely enough her brother had just opened up a restaurant in Hudson New York. I guess he also was tired of climbing hills.
Back to our home on Cape Cod. No hills. No pasta for a year. Less wine. Just sitting catching up on local news.
This blog could go on forever so thanking you for your time and attention I’ll save our day trips to Montepulciano, la cantina lago, a restaurant situated on the fourth largest lake in Italy and the heart of culinary Rome.