Buon Giorno! I’m writing to you from one of my favorite places in the world: Italy. In my humble opinion one would be hard pressed not to find at least some joy here. At first it is the beauty that surrounds you and then you sit at the table and the goodness that is prepared for you is delectable in a way you almost cannot comprehend. You go into the towns and you are enjoying architectural wonders all around you along with hand created wares that pour out of the shops. There is music in the streets and not just from the street musicians although those you will find along with opera that flows out of music school windows, the melody of church bells on the half hour and the choirs of angels floating out of the open doors of churches. The colors of the landscape sing in simplicity with their terra cotta and verdant greens set against a bambino blue sky. You are so grateful to be here and yet dreaming constantly of ways you can stay longer or perhaps forever. It’s not that you don’t love those people and things of your current home it’s just that you are so completely immersed in a dream like place that has remained simple and tranquil as if resistant to and miraculously untouched by the modernization of the rest of the world. In the opinion of many; what life is intended to be. It’s the knowledge that the place you came seems to have lost it’s way somewhere along the line or perhaps in its short little life never gained the respect for endurance that comes with living in a place steeped in so much history. Whatever it is; I am forever changed for having experienced this abundant place. I hope the joy you find today, this week or this month will leave you as transformed as well. Ciao!
Photo by Michael Pascolla
To have the opportunity to cook here in Casa Stellini is a dream come true. It is a galley kitchen; efficient and equipped with 4 gas burners and stove, a small fridge and a microwave. We take turns cooking in here, divided quite simply as morning beverages and dinner entree by Michael with salad and side dishes along with breakfast and lunch by me. As Michael points out the kitchen is not so much the point as is having access to the freshest and dare I say the most delicious ingredients on the planet. And so with this belief we are spinning out tasty dishes each day and delighting in our visits to our local grocer, pesheria and markets.
We are finding trails near our place here in Montefollonico to take in the solitude of nature and are constantly amazed at the quiet of waking up without a trace of the sounds of traffic. We spent our first week exploring our own village and neighboring towns. Montalcino, Torrita di Siena, Montepulciano, Pienza, Foiano, and Trequando. Sleeping in the tranquility of the open air breezes leaves us refreshed after a nap or night of rest.
Created in our first week after shopping at the market in Montepulciano. We have found a lovely list of markets by town and what day of the week to visit making our time enjoyable and productive for the Cooking Simple Per Tutti segments we look forward to bringing to you.
Although our first week did not include visits to formal gardens we were able to see many of the giardinos in our village and nearby towns created by the residents within their own properties. Appreciation for homegrown food is alive and well here in Italy and the frutta is some of the sweetest we have tasted in our lives. Peaches, plums, cherries and watermelon are in season and we are happily eating our share of the harvest. There is a plum, fig and pear tree on the property of Casa Stellini and I have delighted in picking fresh plums off of the tree.
Stay tuned; we are here in Italy for the month of August so September promises to be chock full of memorable la dolce vita.