Posts Tagged ‘siena’

Roman Holiday

Monday, May 25th, 2009

chieftainThe clock is ticking on Montalcino and Italy.  We have been enjoying the company of Andy, Lisa, Jeane and Kathie in Florence, Siena, Montalcino of course, and now headed to Roma.

We have heard lots of horror stories about pick-pockets and gypsies so we go with some intrepidation. And to top it all off, the SuperBowl of Soccer is this week.  It has been so hard to find accomdations . 

We covet you prayers for our safety.  Did i mention we have a Heat Wave  90+ and humidity?

So we are off on another marvelous adventure!!!


This little piggie went to market…

Wednesday, May 13th, 2009

veggietruckThe market is a big thing in Italy.  No malls, no Costco, and not many people have cars, so the market comes to them.  We have our market in Montalcino on Fridays (8 AM to 1PM), Buonconvento on Saturdays and Siena on Wednesdays.  Vendors pull up in trucks, open the side panels and display their wares so all the locals can come to do their shopping. 

pigmarketMontalcino has about 3 food vendors (fresh fruit and vegtables and at least one large pig) and about 12 clothing vendors (purple is the “in” color this year).  Siena on the other hand probably had 75-100 clothing vendors. 

marketclothesNo real “deals” but a fun way to spend a part of the day. (Steve hopes to catch a deal on a leather jacket at the Florence market place)

Mother’s Day

Monday, May 11th, 2009

jeffcarolynportoWe celebrated Jeff and Carolyn Serfass arriving from Washington D.C.  They have joined us in the celebration of Mothers Day and Steve’s Birthday.

Walks, wine, Siena, Buonconvento and more good pasta all enjoyed with awesome weather.  This is the first Mothers Day with no flower shop in 20 years (and we could celebrate Steve’s birthday without him being on delivery).

I was a good girl and did not volunteer at the local flower shop, tho’ the owner is a delight!


Madonna’s Greatest Hits

Monday, May 11th, 2009


There is always something to celebrate in Montalcino.

This past weekend was the celebration of their patron saint:  Madonna di Soccorso.

Her image saved the day from a seige by the Spaniards  in the 1500’s, and since then the 8th of May is always a big deal with parades, church masses, first communion, community suppers, tombola(italian bingo), and more.  This ends with Mothers Day.  


I was asked to play the organ in the exquisitely beautiful Madonna church for the Archbishop of Siena and all went well on yet another relic organ.

The Italian people really venerate the past and teach their children to hold it dear also. Though outsiders, a few Montalcinese have opened their hearts to us, and in giving back in some small way, we are  a little bit Montalcino and a little bit Catholic!

Whether You Like It Or Not

Friday, May 1st, 2009

OK, it’s my turn to write (Steve).  That old adage, “If you don’t like the weather, wait 5 minutes,” really seems to apply to Montalcino and the surrounding area. 


Sheets of Rain

This week we went to Siena (20 miles).  We woke up to beautiful dark blue skies without a cloud to be seen.  By the time we got to Siena it had turned cold and blustery (and of course I left my jacket at home).  Before the day was over it had rained 4 times (each storm lasting 7-10 minutes).

When it rains, it is either a light drizzle or it rains in big “fat” drops. It’s difficult to see in this picture, but if you look closely in the middle you can see where the “fat” rain appears to be coming down in a sheet. We were only about 1000 yards away and as dry as could be. 

The dramatic cloud formations have been amazing also!  Whether they are billowy, white puffy clouds or dark ominous ones, the shadows they cast make the hillsides look like a checkerboard. 

Even when there is nothing to do, there is something to watch.


Savoring Siena

Monday, April 20th, 2009


What a beautiful town and very user friendly!  We drove 40 minutes from our little hideaway through Tuscan hills and even found parking.  We left breadcrumbs to find our way back home.  We really enjoyed the Duomo, the museum, and the famous square–all of which were teeming with people due to spring break.  We had warm weather and we encountered lots of different languages, colors, aromas, architecture and art inspired by faith.


Jenson’s Take Montalcino by Storm

Monday, April 13th, 2009

debbieronmaryWhat great fun, and how humbling to have good freinds join us here in Italy!!  We love having them here and their support in our explorations of Tuscany.  Great meals, great wine, and great fellowship.  They see things we don’t see, and explore things we might be a little timid to strike out on our own and do, and join us for Buon Pasqua!!  Today was Sienna, tomorrow is tours of wineries, and Wednesday is Florence!!  Praise God for the Gift of Friendship!!

Monday Plans

Monday, April 13th, 2009

Today is also a holiday here, I don’t know if they call it something special.  We are headed to Siena, it is cold and blustery today, but there is sun.  We have zero complaints as we have had awesome weather.  Hopefully the e-bars will be available to us this afternoon (if we don’t get seriously lost).

Easter Italian Style

Sunday, April 12th, 2009

Buon Pasqua!

What an Easter!  The taunting task of 4 services was not the walk in the park I thought I might be.  The tension of liturgy coming at me in Italian, in two different venues, sequestered in an organ loft that was lofty, and organs that had been around for over century.  Feeling the nudge to offer my services was my easter giving, it came back at me as maybe a way to fill the void of not being at Lake San Marcos – they have so much been in my heart this week.

The Maundy service was tense being the first one on the antique organ in the Duomo, but then Saturday night’s service started at 10 pm and didn’t’ end until midnight!

Sunday at 9 and 11 am were filled to capacity with easily 40 plus standing at the first, and maybe 100 standing beside the packed pews at the 11am.

wildboarThe town is bursting with tourists and family that have come back home to visit for the holiday.  We felt very lucky to find room at a restaurant we wanted to try after the first one was all booked.  What a meal!  I had homemade ravioli in burro as primo piatta, Steve had  zuppa di funghi, Mary and Ron had crostini .  For our secundo piatta,  Ron and I had roast chicken in brunello sauce and sauteed spinach with lemon, Steve had cingheri stew (wild boar).  Mary had boar in padetti noodles and a side of white beans.  A bottle of Rosso di Montalcino topped it off. 

gelattoWhile walking off our meal, several were tempted to have a gelato chaser to a great meal!

We are so enjoying having Ron and Mary Jenson as travel buddies!  So brave and so far to travel, but they immediately sensed how special this place is.

Tomorrow we will drive to Sienna and on Tuesday we will have a private tour of wineries and points of interest (we hired a private driver).  On Wednesday we will attempt an early train to Florence .  Thursday will be a quiet day, and then return Ron and Mary to Pisa for their flight home. 

They have been such support this weekend with all the organ stuff.

Our hearts have held our families close today as we celebrate loving you, and our Risen Lord from so far away. 

We have just finished a meal of bread, cheese with honey, bruschett, rolex replica watches and Italian pastries, and, oh yes, more wine.  We were sitting around a coffee table listening to jazz and counting our blessings.  You are all at the top of my list!