It was tearfully time to say good-by to the villa and our friends at the end of a wonderful week. We were off to Florence for a "last day in Italy" before our early flight home in the morning. We easily drove directly to our hotel, dropped off luggage, and headed to the Auto Europe office to return the car. let the shopping begin! I had a couple of hours before the stores would close for lunch. our first stop was Rampini ceramics (almost directly across the street from the car rental office). It is such a beautiful shop. I added a few pieces to my dishes that I bought from the factory in Radda last summer.
In the 5 minutes it took Brad to walk back across the street to pick up a walking map of Florence, I purchased a big pad of tear-off paper placemats of maps of Italian cities: Florence, Rome, Venice, and Milan. Very cute!
Next, I hit a paper shop for a few place cards and a table decoration.
We visited my favorite Italian women's clothing store (in almost every large town and city), Luisa Spagnoli, where I purchased a logo top. Every couple years I treat myself to something from here, and I was due (though I tried in Rome). Though few at home would recognize the name, this will be fun to wear on future trips. Their clothing always FEELS so good! I am saving up for another "hit" in Bologna in September, when the fall fashions will be out.
Time for lunch! We stopped to eat and relax. Brad had a lemony pasta, and I had ravioli in a sage-butter sauce.
I was happy with my purchases, and it was fun to just sit and linger over coffee. We were both a little tired, and decided to walk back to our hotel and take a nap before our dinner with Jerry and Paul.
Dinner with Jerry and Paul:
Of course it was a real treat during our week in Montisi getting to hang out every day with my "bro" Jerry, but during this trip, a true highlight was getting to really know Paul. I SO enjoyed laughing every day with him, at our own little jokes and teasing him. Feeding him was a pleasure, as he is an enthusiastic eater (I love cooking for people with that kind of gusto!), and the time we spent over bottles of brachetto, or cups of coffee was really a joy. I have adopted him forever as my wonderful "bro-in-law"!
How adorable is he?
We met the guys at one of our favorite Florence restaurants, Osteria del Chingale Bianco. All of us were somehow hungry from walking all over Florence much of the day, but we all had naps and were ready to enjoy our last night in Italy.
We began with a pasta course. I had strozopretti, and Brad had a lovely asparagus risotto.
That paparadelle with chingale sauce sure looked good too.
Next came our delicious entrees. There were a couple of these veal chops on the table, and Brad had his favorite chingale with polenta.
After dinner, we all had dessert, and then we polished off my last two bottles of Brachetto. It was only fitting to share them with Jerry and Paul, since they schlepped them to me from Piemonte!
The last Brachetto together (until October):
It was hard for me to say good-bye to the guys, but I know they will be visiting the desert this fall. It was a lovely ending to our week together.