Sunday, November 22, 2009

Italia - day four afternoon

Perugia was a lovely town in Umbria that was full of history, charm and Baci (a Perugian chocolate that means "kisses" in Italian). Our tour group only spent an afternoon there, but when we return to Italy someday, I will spend several days there to really take time to soak it all in.

A lush, green fountain. Could it be reproduced in my backyard please?

Walking through the Rocca Paolina, a historic underground fortress built in 1373, was an incredibly surreal experience. All of the architecture and buildings were so incredibly mind boggling considering the lack of technology 700 years ago. It made me think of all the life that had been lived on those streets and I wished that the walls could talk to tell me the tales (although if they could, they'd probably speak Italian and not English). :)

Oh, the beautiful streets of Perugia. It allures you in and makes you want to do crazy things like sell your home and start a life there. (If I only spoke Italian. Minor detail.)

Lovely buildings everywhere.

Gorgeous architectural details everywhere you look.

Zucchini blossoms. One of the absolutely mouth-watering, day-dream worthy delicacies we enjoyed. These were at the grocer, but we ate them several times lightly breaded and fried at the lovely restaurant we ate at during our trip. They're one of those things you can't get enough of, can't stop thinking of and promise yourself you will master when you get home.

No caption needed. Just yum.

Craig and Randy solving the world's problems one beer and cigar at a time. Meanwhile the wives were shoe and purse shopping.

Jan and Craig viewing her photos. (She's a real photographer. Thank goodness we had a pro on the trip. Jan was very helpful as I stumbled with my new camera.)

Oh the shoes in Italy. They're enough to make this shoe-lovin' lady swoon. Absolutely amazing that this was the only pair I came home with - however - I had to tote MANY edible gifts home.

Close up of my new shoes.

Thank you Perugia for a charming afternoon and a divine new pair of shoes.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Italia - day four lunch

Lunch in Italy is my kind of eats. Several courses, usually finished off with a lovely dessert.

After visiting the charming walled city of Assisi, we took a 15-minute bus ride and stopped at this lovely restaurant for lunch with the group.

This particular type of pasta is called "Stranglers" because people choke on them. The Bolganese sauce was divine. I will find a recipe to recreate it in the very near future.

A lovely little salad with tuna on top. The dressing was a light lemon/olive oil combo. Very refreshing and light.

Unfortunately this lunch did not end with a dessert, but with a cup of espresso instead. Oh well, there's always dinner!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

The Doors of Assisi

I found while in Italia my common themes were beautiful doors - which are everywhere - and dogs. The dogs of Italia to come soon. For now, enjoy these rustic, if-doors-could-talk, pictures. All were taken in Assisi. That city was pure eye candy. 

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Italia - day four

Assisi. Who knew what an enchanting place this walled city would be. It's most famous for St. Francis and the Basilica named in honor of him. It's so difficult to put into words the feeling you have when you're there, so I'll let the photos do the talking. I spent lots of time editing these photos, hence the long overdue post.

The wall around Assisi as we approached.

Just outside the city wall.

Another outside the wall.

Inside the city wall.

The beautiful sights of Assisi. I could have stayed there a week, or two, or really never come home as long as Randy would stay and my dogs could come.

Santa Maria degli Angeli. Absolutely breathtaking basilica made of marble. It took over 100 years to build: 1569 - 1679. The arches pictured here were added later to support the structure.

Front view of Santa Maria degli Angeli. 

Detail shot of Santa Maria.

My friend Betsi and me at the fountain in front of Santa Maria. Yes, we look like tourists with our "Whispers" around our necks. :)

Randy snapped this shot of me in front of Santa Maria.

Had to snap a few food pics. Actually there are many more to come, just didn't eat in Assisi. (But I couldn't resist snapping this shot of beautiful confections.)

Charcuterie hanging from the store front doorway. Love it. 

One of the many enchanting stairways along the street. Everything looks so inviting. Wish I could have climbed these stairs, but alas, we were on a schedule.

A staged portrait. (Thanks so much Jan Wilson for your fab photography skills!)

Inside the Basilica di San Francisco (St. Francis). This is actually two bascilicas - the old one down below. We were waiting to get into the downstairs one. The lower bascilica was finished in 1230. The the upper basilica was finished in 1280. (Kicking myself that I didn't get a good shot of the grounds in front, it was quite lovely.)

This gorgeous bride was outside when we walked along the outer walkway. I had to snap a picture of her. She's so beautiful and looks so incredibly happy. I love weddings and brides - I must be a romantic at heart.

Inside the outer walkway. Leaving Assisi for this trip, but I shall return.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Italia - day three

This was our first day to actually wake up in Italy. Randy and I both woke up at 5 a.m. that morning. It's no oddity for Randy to wake up that early, but I don't think I've ever woken up AWAKE at that time before. We both managed to sleep a bit longer, thank goodness.

Our "Campus Director," Ines (pronounced En-nes) was fabulous. Every step of the way, she was there to help us with questions, and her warm hospitality. Ines gave us a lecture about Tuscan history and treated us to all kinds of "tid bits" of information throughout the trip. It was wonderful.

We went on a walking tour of Cortona where our guide, (oops forgot her name) took us to the City Hall and to an Etruscan museum filled with incredible religious art including The Annunciation by Beato Angelico.

All these beautiful little alleys adorned the streets of Cortona.

Inside City Hall. Gorgeous room in there. Lots of people marry here. I wanted to pack 4 of those chairs in my suitcase for my breakfast nook. On the hunt now though and I will find some!

One of the piazzas in Cortona (in front of the gorgeous historic City Hall).

The Robinsons and us by the shrine of St. Marguerite in Cortona.

A little rain in Tuscany never dampened the mood. We had lunch on this beautiful patio and right after dessert (yes you heard me, we ate dessert at every lunch!), it started to rain.

After lunch, we were off on the bus to Montalcino to a wonderful winery called Altisimo. The scenery to and from, at the winery, the wine and the hospitality there did not disappoint.

The beautiful wine barrels. I swear I drank a whole barrel while in Italy.

Randy trying to decide what to buy.

We bought 4 bottles of the fabulous white wine, all of which is gone. But I did find out that we can purchase it right here in Wichita. (A win-win!)

The unbelievably delicious, mouth-watering proscuitto and pecorino cheese. I brought home some cheese, but didn't bring proscuitto. I get my wonderful charcuterie from La Quercia and it tastes exactly the same as it does in Italy (hence the owners lived there for many years).

What a fabulous way to end our day - dinner in the winery at our hotel. The food was magnificent every day. And how cozy is this little winery?