Posted By Kathleen David on July 9, 2012
(and boy are my arms tired)
This is going to be an odd week for a couple of reasons. On top of that we are switching back from Italy time to Eastern Daylight Savings Time.
The trip back was pretty uneventful and that’s the way I like my transatlantic trips. We paid a little more for Economy Choice which gave us about 6 inches more room between the seats. There was a big difference between the trip going and the trip coming back in terms of comfort. Air Italia’s entertainment system is more fun but we did fine with the Delta non-version. They had two movies I wanted to see and we supplemented it with our portable DVD player and our copy of “How to Train Your Dragon”. Food was good on both and it was nice to have real meals back and forth during our 8 to 10 hour trip. Caroline ate what was put in front of her, which I was very proud of her.
Caroline has now petted cats on three continents.
We spent most of our time in the town of Pienza in Tuscany. Pienza has a very interesting history. It was the project of Pope Pius II to create the ideal Renaissance Town. And he did a pretty good job of a planned city. We stayed at a Bed and Breakfast in one of the original building which the exterior has not changed but the interior has been made for comfort.
This is how our day broke down for the most part
Breakfast was between 7:30 and 8:00 then we took a walk or hike through some part of Pienza or the Val d’Orcia which surrounds it. Back to the B&B for lunch and activities around the apartments. I got a lot of reading done and played games with Caroline and my parents. It was very relaxing. We would then have dinner either at one of the many wonderful restaurants that are in Pienza or my mom would cook up some really tasty dishes. We would get cappuccino then gelato after that was our passeggiata which we would start while eating our gelato. We would return to the B&B and go up on the rooftop terrace to watch the sunset and the moon rise. Then off to bed and do it again the next day.
We did go to Florence and went to Rome for our last day in Italy. In Florence we went into the Baptistery which in the Piazza del Duomo. I have admired the doors before but had never been able to go inside which we were able to do this time. It was amazing. Didn’t get into the Duomo itself due to the line. It was very hot that day as well. We did get over to the Basilica di Santa Croce and wandered around. While we were going in, we saw a poster for a gallery show entitled “Americans in Florence” and it happened to be on our way back to the train to Chusi. It was a lovely exhibit and should be an example on how to set up a show for the public to be able to read and enjoy it. They also had things for children to read and think about while going through the exhibit so it was fun for Caroline too.
Rome was very hot. We made it to the Basilica Sanctae Mariae Maloris that had amazing mosaics all through out it. We all started to overheat but some gelato and water really helped to pull us back together for the trip to our hotel before we had to get up very early to catch our planes.
Photos will be up soon. I need to download everything to one computer and sort through them for the best shots.
The food was good through out Italy. I tried Cinghaile (wild boar) and really like it but did find myself thinking about the comic book Asterix each time. Didn’t have that much pasta and pizza only once but that was fine since I got to try other regional dishes. Did have a lot of bruschetta. The tomatoes were fresh and tasted like tomatoes should taste. And the Coca-cola tasted the way it should rather than the post new coke version. Lots of good wine was to be had as well.
The most interesting church to me was Pieve dei Santi Vito e Modesto a Corsignano that had what looked like Etruscan influences and some non-Christian iconography on it.
We met a lot of interesting people on our journey. There were people in Pienza that we became nodding acquaintances with and exchanged greetings while passing, “Buon Giorno” during the day and “Buona Sera” in the evening. Most of the shopkeepers spoke pretty good English along with a number of other languages.
There were tour groups each day touring the town. It was fun to go out and figure out where each tour group had come from. A lot of Chinese and Japanese tourists in Pienza along with Germans, Russians, and Americans. Not as many teen groups and older folks but it was still interesting to listen while passing the plaza at the various languages being spoken.
We had a great time. Caroline learned a lot and absorbed it all. Her first words in Italian were to ask for water “Acqua, per favore”. It was an adventure for all and went very well.
I am grateful that we went and all the fun we had in Italy.