Monday, December 9, 2013

A Mother's Gift- A Month in Italy- Part 14

Tuscana Romance
North of Siena

Our little red fiat...

We rented this stone barn apartment (lower floor) nestled in an olive grove in the countryside.  
The owner lives on the top floor.

We ate our breakfasts and lunches on the piazza.

At dusk the Narnia lanterns began to glow.

The air smelled of sage, the view was divine.

Monteriggioni, a beautiful castle only five minutes from our apartment.

We bought this chef's hat for Josh from this sweet lady who ran a shop in the castle.

The view from the Monteriggioni castle walls.

Each day we took a trip to outlying medieval cities and towns.

Seems Siena and Monteriggioni were often warring with Florence.

Siena Cathedral

By September we had missed the height of the fields of sunflowers , but they were ever depicted in the wares of the city shops. 

 Gelato in Siena's main plaza.

Florence- Firenze 

Filling my water bottle at a fountain in Florence plaza.

Don took an illegal picture of the real David inside the Uffizi Gallery. 

A replica of David outside the Academia 

We searched ALL OVER Florence for this Gelato shop, Vivolis!
Don had eaten here MANY years ago when he had toured Europe with Westmont College.

A classic- the Ponte Vecchio 

Walking across the Ponte Vecchio!

We saw many churches in many cities and towns.
I can't begin to post all my photos, but my favorite day was when we drove to Cortona. 
On the way we stopped at this local winery.

Don was in heaven.  
We tasted and chatted with the sweet young gal who hosted us.
We bought 2 bottles to take home for our Christmas meal.
Our tradition is to make homemade pasta on Christmas Eve Day, then make delicious sauces and enjoy on Christmas Day. 

Cortona, a medieval village on a hill.

We were excited to visit the place Joy had spent a fews months going to art school and working.

From anywhere in the town, the view was spectacular looking down on the fertile valley below.

We were able to find Daniele, a friend of Joy's who ran the Enoteca.  
Joy worked for he and his family.
They included her family dinners and celebrations. 

They served us a delicious meal with wine from the winery we had just visited!
Then we went in search of the monastery where the art school was located.

And we found it!

Along with the infamous Gino, the groundskeeper.
He gave us an illegal tour of the school.  
We walked right to the room Joy had lived in 3 years ago. 

Exploring more of Cortona, we found this church and as we entered, we heard monks chanting just behind the wall to the right.  I studied the skull and skeleton fresco paintings on the walls.  The chanting was beautiful.  I had never seen or heard anything like it before.

One of our days in Tuscana, our last Saturday, we stayed in, reading, eating, napping.  The owner picked figs from her trees and  brought them to us.

Sadly, our trip came to an end.
  But we squeezed in one last medieval town on our drive to the airport, San Gimignano.

We flew home on separate flights.  
I arrived home refreshed, my soul renewed, my heart singing and my confidence soaring...

Ciao Belle! 

Thank you, mom. 

No comments: