Sunday, June 1, 2008

Grappa Can Cause Serious Headaches

Ouch...that was the first word out of my mouth this morning....too much grappa!!! Grappa is an Italian brandy made from distilling grape skins that remain after wine production. Warning: grappa can cause serious headaches!!

One of the best things about this trip has been spending time in our little town of Montespertoli. A wine festival has been going on all week and for 5 can buy a souvenir glass and use it all week for tasting at various vineyard stalls. The stalls are open every night and all day on weekends and a taste is not all you fact, for 5 Euro we could have had all the wine we can drink in one week!! Even though we have bought many (and I won't tell you HOW many) bottles of local wines at the festival, we continue to go up there every evening and drink the free stuff. We've also established the Italian version of "Cheers"...we have a restaurant in town where they now know us...and we know's the only restaurant we've been to in Montespertoli...Dick and I found it for lunch our very first day here and we've been at least six times so far in the past week. It's a family owned restaurant and although the name escapes me right this moment, it's run by two brothers (Gregory and Giuseppe), one sister (Rosa) and Rose's husband whose name has been erased by my grappa memory. The food is great and cheap...typical local, fabulous fresh salads, and white beans with local olive oil from Lucca. We are all hooked on the beans!!!

I'm sorry I haven't had more time for blogging....our days have a very slow feel to them but I never seem to have time for sitting at the computer. Luckily, the girls have been posting on so you can see lots of pics there. Today Dick and I are home at the villa...lying by the pool....everyone else is in Florence visiting David and the Uffizi. Not that we didn't want to see David again...but we both needed a down day so it's been perfect so far. I just finished reading Randy Pausch's "The Last Lecture"....what a perfect place to read a book about how to live your life!!!! If you haven't bought's a must read.

It is so incredibly gorgeous here that it's impossible to describe. The rolling hills are covered with grape vines and olive trees. The roses are in bloom right now so everywhere you look, the earth is bursting with color. They've had an unusually rainy May so it's also very lush and green.
The villa is great as well. Plenty of room for 8 adults to roam around without bumping into each other all the time...and the pool, albeit a little cool today, is perfectly relaxing on a hot May day. Now, here's a few pics to recap where we've been so far.


Greve in Chianti

Pam & Dick in San Gimignano

Angie atop a wall in San Gimignano


This is a ceramic shop in Sienna...the reason it's here is that in talking to the saleslady, she mentioned that they had a workshop in Montelupo....that's less than 20 km from our villa!!! So, on Friday, David, Sally, Gina and I headed there to see if they had a "shop" there because the prices in Sienna were $$$$$$$ but the stuff was gorgeous!!!!!!!!!!! We all dropped more Euro at the workshop.....prices were about 75% lower than retail here in Italy so I can't even imagine what we would have paid in the U.U. And we made friends in the process which we seem to do everywhere we go. Marco and Giovanni...both artistes at the workshop helped us pick out pieces and negotiate the awesome prices!!!! If you ever get to Montelupo, stop into the Ceramiche Tombelli workshop. When I get home, I'll post pics of the pieces I bought.

I shouldn't even have to label this since every person in America knows what this is. Pisa was is Italy, after all...but too many tourists. We got our pics and headed over to Lucca.

Lucca - our favorite city by far. This picture does not do justice to the colors here. We rented bikes and biked around the city for about 2 hours....our best day yet!!!
And we ended up here....Giuseppe, Stanage & Angie about to "sample" the local lemoncino.


Anonymous said...

Hey Sister - the pictures and stories are looking & sounding awesome! (except for the headache of course!) Oh how I wish I was there sharing it with you! Love ya!

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