Thursday, October 23, 2008

So much more to tell - but let me catch my breath!

Home again, home again and the stack of work on my desk isn't even HALF of what I've got to tackle before Monday!
But then again, I did get to go on a marvelous vacation!
I thought what I 'd do is take a few minutes each day and post a couple of good images. It'll take me a while to tell all the rest of the stories I want to share (not only did we have a great time the last several days in Florence, Italy but I had 2 incredible 'post card perfect' days in NYC before coming home.
Lucky, Lucky Girl!
The first image was taken on one of my last days in Florence and the skies were perfect. The quiet gray skies lifted by noon, but I knew as soon as I stepped out of the apartment that I'd be able to catch a perfect 'mirror' image of the Ponte Vecchio with the light. What a beautiful city!

The next photo was taken inside an Etruscan tomb (and without a flash- so it's definitely a soft focus pic) beneath a winery in Montepulciano. It was one of the highlights of a day spent with Luca Garrapa, the brains (and charm) behind Hills and Roads, a tour company based in Sienna. As someone who really detests tour groups, van tours and anything that looks like organized vacationing I have to admit that Luca offers tours for people like me! He speaks with such passion about art, culture, Etruscan history, wines, olives, Tuscan geography and medieval hill towns that he could create a day trip that even the most jaded traveler would thoroughly enjoy!
Did I mention he was charming?
Oh yeah!
Anyways, we arrived at Gattavecchi cellar and tasting room in the afternoon and were given a tour of the cellars by Daniella, who shared her family story and the story about Santa Maria, the church where the cellars are located. From the cellar, we walked down the ancient hand carved steps into an Etruscan tomb below the cellars which are below the street level! You can see the chisel marks of the tomb which was nearly a perfect square with a vaulted ceiling and niches on the walls. It was an impressive way to shift gears and prepare for wine tasting!
The Vino Nobile Riserva was a stunner, I thought the Vin Santo was as heavenly as any I've tasted and we were all taken by the intense color and fresh fruitiness of Daniella's olive oil!
We walked throught the streets of the walled city until the moon started to rise and then shared stories about our favorite parts of the day on our way back to Florence. Like I mentioned, there's so much more to tell about Serre di Rapalano,the Travertine mines, and Castiglion del Lago on Lake Trasimeno but there's plenty of time. If you are lucky enough to plan a trip to the region of Tuscany in the near future be sure and note Luca's web address - it may be the highlight of your time in the land of Tuscan sun, Fleur de Lis and red, red wine!

And then, there's New York City!

A cloudless afternoon and a wonderful walk across the Brooklyn Bridge followed by another 7 hours of wandering around Manhattan - a fabulous day! Another visit to Carrera, the divine Spanish wine and tapas bar in the East Village and a little bit of shopping. But wait, I'm getting ahead of myself.... there are many more Italian stories to tell before I share tales of the US city that I love more every time I visit!
It's good to be home, even better to return with such a big smile!

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