Jane and Mark's Taste of Italy 2017 travel blog

Espresso or as they call it coffee in Rosenthal cup and saucer!

Punters at the Michelin star restaurant in Parma

Lovely Lucca

Assorted local mushrooms

Hello from San Gimignano.

Yesterday morning we were still in Florence. Staying at the Roma hotel near the main Duomo, the sound of cathedral bells woke us.........just beautiful.

We leave the masses, and the soldiers with their machine guns - not liking the idea of being near when they are in action. I fancy a lot of unavoidable carnage.

Years ago we just walked into the Uffizi gallery. Today, the queues are 3 hours long just to buy a ticket, then your time inside is limited.

That was the same for the Leonardo de Vinci's Last Supper in Milan.

Tickets we attempted to buy from Australia, but they were sold out !

We boarded a small bus, and were taken to the heart of tuscan wine growing area which is enroute to San Gimignano ( another very old walled - more town like in size).

An up hill and down dale walk through the wineries, passing through cypress lined groves, bay leaf hedged walking tracks and very narrow roads. ( Glad we planted our bay leaf hedge at George street), clematis growing wild with their furry seeds ready to catch the next wind gust for propagation.

In the forested areas, minature pink cyclamens flower and the yellow crocus shine in the sunny spots.

Evidence of wild pigs disturbing the soil, rumaging for acorns and maybe tubers.

Being here in Toscana is really like shrinking yourself into the picture on the Tuscan soap packet.

I must adjust my information concerning the balsamic vinegar. If the bottle has IGP on it then it was made in Moderna Italy, otherwise it could have been made in woop woop. The small 150 cc bottles with IGP contain the aged vinegar. It is worth procuring.

We had true tuscan soup - Ribollita - means reboiled basically. A thick bread, white bean and tuscan cabbage soup. Amazingly hearty.That will be on the winter menu at home next year.

So after a 12 kms walk through the olive groves and vineyards, we had lunch at a stunning restaurant right in the heart of the chianti wine region. Magically coloured tomatoes - how do they do it? And tasting so amazing. Tomato brushcetta, sliced meats, a small pasta dish, and a some chocolate. Lucky we are walking plenty. A visit to one of the oldest monastries in Tuscany. Such a peaceful life.

Then the wine tasting. A series of 4 wines, the best tasting wine sells for 240€ a bottle !!!!!!!!!!!!! How generous.

San Gimignano is just as beautiful as Lucca. Not as easy to get to, but well worth a visit.

The restaurants sell wild pig in the main courses. The food is a lot more rustic here.

Saffron icecream a specialty. Some one even saw gorgonzola icecream.........

Today we are doing another 16km walk, so I best get my boots on...................

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