Posts Tagged ‘tuscany’


Tuesday, October 28th, 2014

Carol and breakfast in Certaldo, Tuscany

Carol and breakfast in Certaldo, Tuscany

We found a hill town in Tuscany smaller than Montalcino and have relaxed and enjoyed the ambiance and flavors of this region that is anchored between Sienna and Florence. This is Chianti region!

It has been a sad year for the olive and grape growers all over Tuscany. Damaging rain came when the olive flowers were due to bloom  thus crippling the olive oil crop for this year. I know Italians who are gonna have to buy their oil from out of the country. And just when the grapes were to soak in the sugar- encouraging sunshine in August, the rains came again and most of their harvest was ruined.

But Certaldo is a little gem of simplicity high on a hill with their claim to fame as home to the writer Boccacio (the “Decameron”) and to the Blessed Julia of Certaldo (hometown example of sacrificial faith).

Enjoyed worshipping with them this morning and Tomasso, their organist, invited my to play. I met him yesterday as he practiced and we shared ‘shop talk’. I declined the honor but loved his spirit. Isn’t it great God speaks italian too?

While enjoying the view from our second floor sitting area, we watched the hotel staff get ready for a big wedding. The beautiful couple had a wedding luncheon, were married next door at the town hall, and came back for cake and champagne. As the gals from the hotel were placing the cakes, a gust of wind tossed the ceramic cake top onto two of the layers and then splat on the brick patio. Seeing the panic that ensued, Carol and I rushed down there, helped them repair the cake (whipped cream in a can!) and glued the pieces back together just moments before the happy couple walked back in. It lasted for the photographs and cake cutting, but a couple of the youthful guests picked it up and it came apart again (the worst break was the groom lost his head!). The staff sent up wedding cake for us to enjoy after we retreated to our lookout, and the next day they gave us a nice bottle of chianti as we checked out. Italy becomes special when you connect with the people!

Where For Art Thou?

Thursday, September 18th, 2014


Not the home of Romeo and Juliet?? Say it isn’t so!

That’s right, an eager tour guide in 1970 thought this romantic courtyard with photogenic balcony would be just the key to kick up tourism for the city. Was there ever a Juliet Capulet? Probably, but money has it that she was most likely from Sienna. You see, a little further south, tuscan towns had neighborhoods that inspired incredible loyalty. In Sienna they are called contrades. Your identity was first and foremost that of the contrade, then your city, then your country. I am Catepillar Contrade (they are all creatures in Sienna), I am then Siennese, and then I am Italian! The loyalty was pretty intense and you wouldn’t dare marry outside of you contrade; don’t even think of it!

But the world needs romance and something to believe in, as evidenced in the 1,600 Japanese tour groups that come through yearly illustrates how that yearning is world- wide. So they come by the bus-load and drive right by the amazing roman coliseum to crowd this tiny niche and rub the left breast of Juliet’s bronze statue and to pay to lean out that balcony. Notes are delivered, and even the entry wall is plastered with bandaids with tiny inscriptions on them (and while there, keep an eye out for pick pockets)!

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On The Go

Thursday, May 12th, 2011

We are seeing so much it makes one’s head spin. Old testament, new testament, modern war site, etc and jumping all the time.

I’m keeping a log of where we go and what scripture mentions it, but commenting on everything would bore us all.  But today, I think going to the top of Mt. Carmel where Elijah  double-dared the priest of Baal to bring down fire and they couldn’t and then Elijah soaks his offering and God zaps the crap out of it. Did it for me. But it is because he did this overlooking the Jezreel Valley, otherwise known as Armageddon. It almost  looks like Tuscany with all the rolling hills and lush crops.  It’s a beautiful panorama, but kinda eerie too, to think it all ends here!