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Food & Fountains, Horses & History. Our Italy!

Food & Fountains, Horses & History.

Our Italy!IMG_5076

Here I sit under the beautiful dome of Dubai International Airport on the return leg of our European adventure. It is with a twinge of sadness & a twinkle of fondness that these last 10 days of food memories are penned…

We spent our last night together as a group of 9 women in Pisa, where the city was abuzz with the annual Battle of Power, an historic rendition of brute strength between warring communities. Who will take the bridge? May the best team win! The Leaning Tower itself was a remarkably pretty structure, white, gleaming & intricate, after having recently been carefully water blasted.

We settled on antipasto platters for dinner after another big day, showcasing produce from the surrounding area, & red wine of course. We wandered together, over 3 different terrace gardens & roof top platforms, with our salamis & cheeses, drinking in the festivities & the panorama below us, all reluctant to say our goodbyes & separate the company.IMG_4942

Four of us then moved on to Siena, lovely special Siena! The home of rich panforte! On to yet another city in celebration, as the trials of the famous Palio were under-way.  With  anticipation building & the colours of each contrada proudly displayed from every window & human chest, the animation, involvement & affection were tangible.

We staked our position, claimed our section of paving & became swept up in the wave of magic as the thunder of the bareback horses race around the town square, with 1000’s of us in the middle.

On recommendation from the receptionist at our 600 year old hotel, we found this fabulous little hole-in-the-wall trattoria just a few paces away from all the action. Buried below street level, windows witnessing all the feet scurrying by, amazing stone walls, warm family welcome, excited chatter & fabulous food, made with care. You know how you can feel that?

And what a feast we consumed!  The ever-present breads, premium balsamic vinegar & olive oil, juicy veal, saucy pasta, crisp & crunchy vegetables, local wine, rich coffee, a selection of hand-made desserts, assorted biscotti & baby cakes galore.  A little gem discovered!IMG_5059

Lots of travelling through gorgeous typically Tuscan scenery finally got us to the longed-for Elba Island. Three days at a much needed slower pace, time to rest a bit. (Funny girls:))

Each day we awoke to a symphony of birdsong…we wandered, explored ancient little towns both seaside & high in the hills, partied excessively with friends, danced in the street, made memories, & ate & drank aplenty.

The breakfasts were always a lavish spread…fruit, juices, coffee, water, cereals, eggs, sometimes boiled, sometimes scrambled, salami, ham, breads, rolls, croissants & pastries, tarts & biscuits. Panini’s or salads for lunch, loaded with all the good things. Often a gelato or 2 might have been consumed while out walking :))

And dinners, always the antipasto platter, artichokes, olives, cheeses, cured meats, tiny tomatoes, grissini…barbequed whole fish, vine leaves, roast potatoes, pizzas, shell fish & pasta. Dessert, please, no more dessert! Always the choice of crème caramel, panna cotta, tira misu & several others.IMG_5050

And then off to magnificent Roma!

There is so so much to say about Rome, you simply MUST see it for yourself! History seeps into you with every step, an outstandingly incredible assault around every corner. The wonder & awe of huge, beautiful sculptures, exquisite & inexplicable architecture & construction, is truly gob-smacking. We are but an insignificant speck…

The fountains, some amazingly detailed, some plain, are dotted throughout the city, delivering clean, cold water for everyone. Awesome.IMG_4709

Oh & the food! Choices unlimited…from little pop up side walk cafes, fabulous sandwich bars (Italian style:)) ancient converted structures producing atmospheric restaurants of all calibre, slick new displays of impressive food variety, particularly vegetables, & everything in between.

We had people drawing us maps & directing us to little back alley trattorias, giving us the freshest wonderful meals we would never have found otherwise. The delight is in the adventure & the reward is in the treasure. Waiters deftly filleted our fish at the table. During a sudden downpour, street tables were hurriedly pushed together under umbrella canopies, & new friends were made.IMG_4725

Succulent veal, moist seafood, tender steak, crisp potatoes, a plethora of veggies, & delicately made pasta in many forms were consumed with gusto. Baskets of in-season artichokes, porcini mushrooms, rosy vine tomatoes, figs & lemons adorned many café door-ways, inviting all to sample their absolute freshness. And always with wine…IMG_5053

Cold, pretty, tasty gelato became our standard staple on our joyous walk back to the hotel…deliciously sated. We will miss all of these sensations! And so…

A thousand thank you’s on gossamer wings,

For the generous gifts our time with you brings,

The moon from the roof top is beauty & grace,

The treasures are multiple in this special place,

So as your warmth so graciously flows,

We are grateful, ( fatter) & rested, & our heart glows :))IMG_4537

 

12 Comments
  1. Nothing like the sight of food and fresh produce..

    • Thanks for finding it stimulating & uplifting like all we other lover of gorgeous foods Pheno…& thanks also for taking the time to stop by :)) cheers Roni xx

  2. Beautiful photos! I would gain 100 pounds!!

    • I thought I would too Christa, but I think all that exploring & all those stairs are fair compensation…at least that’s the big plan :)) cheers & thank you! xx

  3. Life is nothing more than an Experience and then a Memory … What amazing memories you have … Thankyou for Sharing … Sharing is Caring xx

  4. AAhhh! thank you for understanding….there’s something so special about Rome, about Italy! I love that you get how it touched me.
    Remind me when I’m old about memories…:))
    Thank YOU for sharing….& caring, love Roni xx

  5. What a wonderful journey of tastes, aromas and textures Roni… thanks for the delicious reminder of our adventures together. The food in Italy sure was the tastiest and freshest I’ve ever experienced… can’t wait to return! Belissimo x

    • oh yes lovely lady…it was such an awesome adventure & I’m so pleased we could experience much of it together. And I’m coming with you next time too! :)) love love xx

  6. Looks delicious! Love your photos, makes me want to go right now!! 😀

    • That’s awesome Camille…thank you so much for sharing the excitement!! Have you been before? Hope you do get to go real soon….so, so worth it! cheers, Roni.

  7. Hi Roni, a thousand thank yous for bringing back the memories of my trip to Italy. Yes, Siena was especially wonderful! On a bleak winters night my Italian memories are keeping me warm. Love Kristina x

    • Oh Kristina, it is my absolute pleasure…I am so delighted that you can feel the joy once more, & understand mine :)) Can’t wait to go again….squeal!!!Thanks so much for stopping by & sharing your inner smile xxxxx

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