I woke up to a beautiful sunrise this morning.
After enjoying a delicious breakfast at the Molino Restaurant (Anthony said how much he’d miss it & it ended up being THE best breakfast of the whole trip!), we packed up and prepared for a day of transport. First, a water taxi to the train station that took us through the parts of Venice where the locals go, we boarded a train (a clean & beautiful train) to Florence where we took a taxi to the car rental in the middle of the city.
After a bit of a rough start driving our way out of Florence, I have to give Anthony a lot of credit. He did so calmly without hitting a person or thing; by the end of our trip he’ll be a regular Mario Andretti in training & I an expert at deciphering Italian.
I’ m reading Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert about her journey to find herself, the first third taking place in Italy. I’ve wanted to read this book forever, but always put it off until now. This is a good time to be reading it; sometimes I think books choose the reader at just the right time. Gilbert reflects, ” All I really wanted was to eat beautiful food and to speak as much beautiful Italian as possible.” I find her thoughts resonating with me. All of the food I’ve had so far is just more than delicious. I ate gnocchi last night at a little Italian restaurant, Trattoria Dimorio, off the beaten path in Venice. The pasta was topped with a crabmeat Alfredo. I have eaten gnocchi a lot and in many places including little Italy in New York. I’ve also made homemade gnocchi. It’s often so hard for me to like Italian food other than my grandmother’s or my mom’s or my own (we are a hard act to follow!). This gnocchi last night was simply the best I have ever had. I find myself eating slowly and enjoying each bite of food I’ve had here. And the language. Aside from swearing, I wouldn’t say I speak Italian, but I have so been enjoying learning it while I’ve been here. I’m learning new words every day. I’ve come to realize speaking Italian is like putting a bunch of letters in your mouth and letting them roll slowly off your tongue while putting emphasis on the syllables at or about the ends of words. I’m hoping by the end of my trip to put a whole sentence together.
So, after a hectic, fast moving day, we arrive to Tuscany ( the antithesis of Venice ). There are rolling hills and greens with little pods of habitation. It’s quiet and the pace is slow. This will be a new experience altogether. Anthony may just have to finally learn how to relax.
For this leg of the trip, we are staying @ Hilton Grand Vacations Club at Borgo alle Vigne– which is the reason we booked this trip in the first place. When we signed up for the Hilton Vacation Club, this was the selling point for us because we had been longing to visit Italy and this gave us a way to do so cost effectively.
The Borgo alle Vigne is set high up on a mountain. The views are picturesque and it’s brand new, so it’s clean and beautiful. A spacious villa, we had a bedroom, 2 bathrooms, laundry, a kitchen/dining room & living room. I’m hoping, because it’s so new, that it’s still a work in progress. There aren’t any eating facilities on premise which made it difficult, especially for breakfast because everything in the area is so remote. But it was the nicest facility we stayed at over the duration of the trip.
For dinner we went to a local family run restaurant called Trattoria de Carlo. The woman, and owner, I presume, who didn’t speak of word of English, had an uncanny resemblance to my mother-in-law, both of us noticed it in both her looks and mannerisms. When we returned to the hotel we parked in front of a wall of flowers, which we had done earlier, but hadn’t noticed, then, a single iris amidst the roses in full bloom. Iris was her favorite flower. I do believe in signs and I believe Maureen wanted us to know she was with us on this night in particular. 😇💞