Memorial Day Weekend – Wining in Chianti and Dining in Pisa

After a pretty horrible weather day last Saturday (down pouring rain, lightning, etc.), we pushed back our Chianti trip until Memorial Day.  Two weeks ago, we went to an event called “WineTown” here in Florence and tasted several Chianti Classico, Ruffino, and Super Tuscan wines.  From that, we built a list of wines that we’d like to buy, so what better way than to visit the wineries themselves?  We are incredibly lucky to live in Florence, as the drive to the Chianti region is only thirty minutes and the views are stunning on the way.  We visited the Marchesi Antinori’s new cantina, which is an architectural masterpiece, and the Vicchiomaggio castle, both of which create amazing wines.  The day before, on Sunday, we also traveled to Pisa, where we had a wonderful dinner celebrating Eva (Bobby’s sister) and her fiance Geremia’s engagement.  Geremia’s parents live in Pisa and we were treated to a real Tuscan feast.

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Tre e mezzo Terre (formerly Cinque Terre)

We made it to Vernazza!

My mom and dad flew into Florence this week and after a few days of rest to correct the jet-lag, we headed off to Cinque Terre to see the villages and do a little hiking.  Last October, as many of you know, two of the towns (Monterosso al Mare and Vernazza) in Cinque Terre were devastated by flooding.  It is because of this that I now call it 3 1/2 terre. :(  Many of the famed hiking paths along the shore were washed out and most of the shops, restaurants, etc. in Monterosso and Vernazza were destroyed.  While we were there, a lot of work was being done to get the towns up to speed before the tourist season begins in May. Monterosso was coming along pretty well, but we heard it would be at least 6 months for Vernazza to be up and running.  As of now, only the vital services in Vernazza are open, including a pharmacy and bank.  We read that the President of Italy, Giorgio Napolitano, is coming to the city on Monday to see the progress and the country just gave the towns 5 million euros to help restoration efforts. It was quite sad to see nature’s wrath, but we were rather happy there weren’t many tourists around.  On the way to Cinque Terre, we stopped (again!) in Pisa to see the tower.  … [Read More]

Making History – USA beats Italy National Soccer Team!

And the USA wins!

For the last few days, Bobby and I have had house guests, Mark and Marla, from Seattle.  Bobby went to high school with Mark, so I was excited to meet the couple and spend some time showing them around Florence.  I don’t know how they knew me so well, but they came bearing the best gift I could ever ask for – a dozen doughnuts from Top Pot Doughnuts (one of best doughnut places in all of the US in my opinion!)  Marla hand carried the delicious treats on the plane from Seattle to London and then on to Florence.  Bobby and I ate 3 each the very first night.  Yep, that’s right, 3.  And they were to die for…. [Read More]

Pisa + Lucca

Duomo (...and The Leaning Tower of Pisa)

With every week that passes in Italy, Bobby and I still can’t believe we live here.  We feel so blessed to have this amazing opportunity and thus, we are trying to take advantage of every weekend and all the free time we have to visit new cities or sites.  There are so many places to choose from, but little by little, we are going to add pins to our Italy and Europe maps.  (We are marking all our adventures on a large pin board on our wall!)

It’s November and we’re waiting on the other shoe to drop.  It’s STILL 60 degrees during the day here, so until the weather breaks and we cannot really enjoy the outdoors, andiamo!! Today, we chose to drive the short hour and 15 minutes to Pisa and Lucca, two cities near the west coast of Italy…. [Read More]