Villa Rucellai - it's a true Tuscan dream. A sonata, an aria. If Ireland is a poem, Italy is music. The Villa lulled me into Medieval and Renaissance Italy. Originally built in the 12th century and rebuilt for hundreds of years, it whispers you into sweet contentment.
In the Great Hall, my theatrical genes bade me to believe I was all of Shakespeare's Italian heroines: Juliet, Beatrice, Katherine.
Sitting out in the gardens until late at night, husband and I would whisper to each other, "Can you see it? How it was - then? 12th centruy? 14th century? 15th century?"
Yes. We could see it.
Open my heart and you will see, engraved inside of it, "Italy." - Robert Browning
You surrender in a place such as this. And find yourself rewarded with its inner music - its heartbeat.
I wandered the olive groves - knowing there would be some fruity, just-pressed olive oil that would grace my dinner table for months to come. I counted on their olive oil to evoke this special time again and again.
As you can see, a picnic in the garden was not a hardship.
And we were joined by the villa cats. (Because they just knew Husband-person always shares his food with furry ones!)
We started the day eating simply - knowing the wealth of food that was in our daily horoscope.
Proof that scairdy-cat Claudia (and husband) who-are-afraid-of-heights made it up and down the "hilltop" every day...
... knowing full well that if I conquered my fear, a Tuscan sunset would be in my future. More on the history of the villa as well as luscious photos can be found here.
Sweet Giveaway: The Cuisine of Italy: All the Recipes (Giunti Demetra)
I was delighted to pick up this book in Bologna - in English. It contained many of the recipes we sampled on our journey. When I saw it again - at the airport - I realized it must be somewhat common for Italians - but with recipes such as Mozzarella in Carrozza from Campania and Walnut Liqueur from Emilia Romagna, I was intrigued enough to bring two of these cookbooks home. The measurements are in grams (easy to convert) and the sauces are Italian - they don't smother their pasta with sauce - they flavor it! The book is divided into courses: starters, breads, sauces, first course (usually pasta), meat dishes, fish dishes, vegetable dishes and sweets. And it will be soon heading to one of you! Simply leave a comment on this post today through Sunday, October 9th and I will randomly choose a winner through that random generator thing. No hoops to jump through - just a comment! (Apologies: the offer is for the USA and Canada only.) Create your own Italian dream in your kitchen.
Tales of Italy complete with recipes are forthcoming. And I will begin visiting again very soon! For I have missed you.