This is the perfect re-entry into Italy — a trip to the Poggi Coop to stock up on everything we could possibly need. For 150 euros we bought four great bottles of wine, prosciutto, hamburger, cheese, chocolate, a huge pool raft, an amazing assortment of fresh produce, and much more. Even though it’s a bit touristy in the summer, this is where real Italians shop.
I have a mild case of plantar fasciitis from our long walks with unsupportive shoes. If you’ve had it you know the problem – the bottom of your foot hurts a lot, especially when you wake up in the morning. So I visited the doctor in Castellina and he told me that I should buy better shoes and quit walking so pigeon-toed — easy for me to change that at 61! He also taped a piece of paper towel inside my shoe:
And it helps! Price for the doctor visit: zero.
We visited the beautiful Galileo Science Museum in Florence Saturday morning. The first floor is filled with the Medici family collections of sundials, telescopes, compasses, globes, tools for understanding astronomy, time, navigation, warfare, etc. The second floor includes the Lorraine Collection which is similar but includes more pieces like chemistry sets, precision measuring instruments, and tools for teaching and popularizing science. My favorite was the thunder houses, which show how lightning rods work: take away the small diagonal piece, add electricity, and your house blows up!
After this visit we made our way to La Casalinga where we had a perfect lunch. It included an amazing Chianti Classico, peps, 3P’s pasta, lemon gelato with vodka, and grappa. Too much maybe?
This is how you know you had a great meal:
We drove up to Bologna Saturday morning in less than two hours, parked near the station, and spent the night at noisy but nice Hotel I Portici. Returned to Castellina Sunday afternoon after an incredible lunch at Trattoria Anna Maria.
Erin’s lasagna and my tortelloni with Gorgonzola:
We visited three gorgeous churches, enjoyed several spritzes, devoured insanely delicious plates of mortadella, salami, prosciutto, and cheese at 051, and did some shopping. We bought small gifts for Elena and Viola at a little French store, bought Erin a beautiful beige sweater, plus we picked up some useful kitchen tools.
Here’s Erin just outside of San Francesco, the oldest church in Bologna (c. 400 AD)
In Bologna we need to add a few food and market photos:
And finally, here’s a shot of Piazza Maggiore late Saturday night:
Swimming yesterday at a big indoor pool in Poggibonsi was fabulously Italian, of course. So many little informal rules, like you need to buy your own lock (4 euros) and if you have dirty shoes you need to put little footies on. And I need to get a robe and a smaller bathing suit! Didn’t really fit in with my T shirt and gigantic bathing suit. But the lanes were awesome, the pool warm and not very chlorine-y, and a nice guy told me who to share lanes with. All very positive and welcoming.
Etiquette update: Don’t put your shoes, socks, pants, sweaters, or jackets in your locker. Just your shirt, underwear, valuables, and gear bag go in there. Hang your pants on a hook. Is this to avoid odors in your shirt? Wrinkles? When you leave you must leave your locker door wide open. For cleaning later?
Frankie happened to walk by as I was taking a photo of the moon last week. Later that night there was a partial eclipse.
Osteria il Campanellino in Barberino di Val d’Elsa overlooks Chianti hills and valleys. We found it on a quiet Sunday after a 5-mile walk. We were both hungry and tired and about to give up looking for a restaurant when Erin spotted it on a sunny piazza. Erin had read good things about Campanellino and the food was amazing. In addition two these two dishes, we had perfectly prepared gnudi with spinach and pecorino,and a side dish of spinach that tasted like fresh, sweet leaves. Plus Monsanto 2014 Chianti Classico.
Yesterday we drove to Panzano and had lunch at Dario Cecchini’s small restaurant with 3 items on the menu — all very meat based! We sat outside on long benches with about 20 other people, all Italians. They gave us an enormous bowl of carrots and other veggies.
Here we are outside Dario’s, sending a postcard to Shannon!