And then.....

Sunday, May 31, 2009

and the marvelous miss m brings joy to the world

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Ciao Lago di Como

Villa d' Este above.
Heading for Chiswick ( Chis ik) tomorrow. People pics to follow. Work of the day: consume pasta, red wine and the last lunchtime espresso for a looong time. Ciao!

Saturday, May 23, 2009


A dreamlike place right out of another era...many other eras in fact.

In the first image you can get an idea of the entire shoreline of this large and gorgeous lake. Many little villages made up of both very old multi-storied buildings and villas complete with vast, maticulous gardens dot the edge and hillside of the lake.

The lake by day and the lake by night follow. In these two images you can make out, at the far left, the shape of the floating pool of Hotel Villa d'Este. This is one of two pools. The other is indoors and heated. Thus, there is a pool, there is a lake and there is a pool in the lake.
more to follow!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Post Hike Lunch

It is so great to hike hard and end up at a tiny and wonderful little restaurant like the great to order pasta with impunity!
you have to look closely to even see the restaurant in the first image. In the second you can just make out the two chef size kitchen ( think basil and fresh bread and scents of fresh fish sauteing ). The view however is grand in every sense of the word.

For Marco - the REAL gelateria

What you have to imagine is the two pints of gelato ( i gelati?) in my sweaty little palms.... the REAL gelateria and the perfetto treat for a day of REAL hiking!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Cinque Terrre - the five lands

Ciao from Cinque Terre where, until the 80s, these five breathtakingly beautiful little towns were " undiscovered". Today they are still somewhat daunting to reach by car but, alas, easily reached by trains and boats that are, even slightly off season as this is, jam packed with humanity and not infrequently little leashed dogs.
They are, nonetheless, so beautiful and the hiking superb.
I walked from Monterosso to Vernazza yesterday and the rest of the way today. Some of the walk is straight up, straight down but all beautiful right by the sea and often along side gorgeous gardens and olive groves.
T joined me at Coniglia and walked with me from there to Riomaggio where we had a great lunch at a tiny, tiny restaurant, La Laterna di Massimo. After lunch, at our Roman philosopher friend Marco's suggestion, we found a true gelateria, one not all dolled up with colors and signs but simple, small and understated. E vero Marco. Il milgiore. Photos will follow.
Think we will remember this as a dream.
Lago di Como tomorrow.

Friday, May 15, 2009

And so...

...we move along leaving La Foce in teh morning and headed for Cinque Terre with a planned lunch stop in Lucca. More posting when it is next an available option.

Wild Lilacs for Gitta

self portrait at the Weds. market in Chianciano. ( look closely.

Thursday, May 14, 2009


Our place, Belvedere, is at the opposite end of the castle gate above, a long and gorgeous garden stretching between the two. Belvedere was housing for farmers for years, probably centuries.
Castelluccio is part of the La Foce property and is located about 1k from the estate house and garden.
There is a sign placed by the county in front of the castle that reads:
We do not yet know the full history of this castle which existed already in 1320 when it belonged to the Community of Montecchiello. It was fortified by the Sienese Republic towards the end of 1300. Later it was given to the Hospital of Santa Maria della Scala which used it as a fortified farm and later made it into one of the most important centers for teh administration of its lands.
Should you aspire to a royal experience or lust for a medieval fortification experience, La Foce lodging is available in the castle.



This area is where the Etruscans held forth for 12 centuries be3fore Christ.
There is a marvelous museum nearby in Chianciano.
In four floors there are four different aspects of the amazing, sophisticated and above all culture utilizing bronze, terra cotta, and stone in the production of weapons, utensils and sculpture.
Directly above is a vase depicting the important of women. Indeed, an entire hall was given to women...their make up, dresses etc. Not JUST cooking and cleaning!
You will also see long iron spits used for grilling sacrificed animals. This was done by the wine pouring servants as the guests of banquets and symposiums imbibed and listened to flute players.

Pienza - Ristarante Fiorello

The espresso after lunch, stoked with sugar, becomes a habit in no time!


Pienza - think peity - was created as a "new town" by Pope Pius II who was born there. History has it - rather cattily it seems to me - that he wanted, in creating this 'new town" that was to out Siena Siena - that he was attempting to denegrate Siena for treating him unjustly. Bad old buggers turned his family out of town. The project ended with the pope's death leaving Pienza a very sweet, small and romantic walled town that specializes in the pecorino cheess of the area, wine and pasta shops and almost no parking to be found.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

An Afternoon Distraction

Maybe I have been hanging out in the magic kingdom too long. After a day of much touring about in the picture book countryside, I went upstairs for a bit of a rest and became totally smitten with the window at the foot of the bed - its Wyeth-ness - and Tom's SHOES!
i write here at La Foce in a bright courtyard and on a 9 inch computer. i can barely make out the images as I post them and am typing as if in the dark because the tiny print and the glare are leaving earything pretty much to guess. Maybe you can though make out a window and shoes and sun.
Next post will be about Pienza, the quintesential walled town not far from La Foce.

Oasi La Foce

The cafe was formely the men's community club, the Dopolavore ( the after work) when La Foce was in its hey day as a massive working farm. for more info.

Oasi La Foce

A morning walk down to the little cafe Oasi La Foce, the house that we can see from a bedroom window. ( the girl's hair is, delightfully, that color...a fine electric burgundy!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

St Anna and The English Patient

Yesterday, after a failed attempt the day before, we finally found the "monastary in ruin" where The English Patient was filmed. I dont know why this became important to us. Tom has never even seen the movie! But find it we did. I think maybe its brief career as a movie star had a distinct effect. It is no longer a ruin and no longer a monastary but rather a sparlking center for agrotourism ( guests rooms ) and photo workshops ( among other big names on the faculty was David AllenHarvey).
There are no english patients in the little cemetery which i suppose is good news!

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