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Andiamo a Assisi e Alla Madonna del Piatto

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The first stop on my upcoming trip to Italy will be Assisi, a gorgeous town, and my first full day there will actually be spent in the hills above Assisi in a cooking class Alla Madonna del Piatto.

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I can't wait! I took a similar class from Letizia last year at her agriturismo, Alla Madonna del Piatto, and it was a perfect mix of fun and fact (with some food, wine, and limoncello added for good measure!)

I borrowed the photos above from Letizia's website, the second shows the fantastic view from her patio where we ate under the afternoon sun last year. It's the perfect setting, and I think I enjoyed just relaxing at her beautiful place almost as much as I savoured the food.

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We began last year's class by all meeting at a fantastic food shop where Letizia carefully explained to the group how to differentiate between various grades of olive oil and balsamic vinegar; discussed different types of cheese and meat specific to Umbria; and allowed us to pick out some that we'd like to try with lunch. (We did not shop on this particular street, shown above, but I saw the photo on Bella Umbria and thought it looked cool.)

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It was an interesting group that I met last year: a wonderful young woman from Australia who, with her boyfriend, was staying at Letizia's agriturismo and a couple from Washington with triplets, 10-year-old girls. Once they got over their shyness, they had a fabulous time!

We learned to make pasta and prepared ravioli with swiss chard (it was so good!!) followed by pana cotta. The latter has become my speciality; it's a wonderful dessert which can be changed with different toppings. I don't make my own pasta as much as I'd like, but it was so interesting to try.

This year, I believe we'll be meeting in a different shop and discussing specialty coffees and sweets before returning to cook lasagne from Letizia's family recipe. I'm hungry already!

That'll be my first day in Assisi. The day after, I hope to devote to the wonderful Basilica di San Francesco and fantastic frescos such as this one: Giotto's allegory of the mystic marriage between St. Francis and poverty. Better him than me!

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Comments (16)

Oh my, as I sit in my classroom supervising a reading session (and my bloggers, like me, are reading blogs) - I am very jealous of you. :)

Kathy (Trekcapri):

Hi Sandra, I love this post. Letizia's class sounds wonderful. You're going to have such a great time. I'm looking forward to reading about your cooking class experiences on this trip. Wonderful photos of Assisi and those frescos are very beautiful.

How exciting for you to be in Italy soon.

Great post Sandra!

That class sounds so wonderful! And that view...wow. I really want to spend more time in Assisi some day. It's funny because I took a photo of that same beautiful shrine when I was there.

sandrac:

Leslie, I hope you have another trip to Italy in the works that you can fantasize about!

Kathy, Annie -- Assisi really is so beautiful and Letizia's home is in a gorgeous position, looking across a valley towards Assisi. I'm looking forward to the class and to seeing Assisi again (this time, without the Pope getting in the way!)

Annie, I hope you are able to get back to Assisi some time.

Mindy Smith:

Sandra, I know that without the Pope hot on your trail, magical and mystical Assisi will capture your heart (again) in a different way. I adore Assisi and long to return. I'll never forget my time there in 2004, fun and hysterical memories for me for sure!!

Your cooking class and shopping will be another one of those days in your life that you'll never forget. We must embrace these days, especially as we get older (and have at least a few brain cells left), LOL.

My heart is so happy for your upcoming trip. You are truly blessed to be returning again so soon. I'm so happy for you!!

Mindy

Anne:

Sigh...how wondrous is Assisi! I too long to return and spend more than time in this area. I'm fighting off my urge to see if I can fit in a quick visit in October! I think Umbria would be a place Dave could love so I am saving my return for a year when he is with me (unless he decides to spend his next big trip hiking the Oregon trail or something, in which case he's on his own and Assisi, here I come!)

Anne:

I forgot to say - only 15 days for you - woohooo!!!

Your class sounds wonderful. I am making notes for when we manage to make it to Umbria!

sandrac:

Thanks so much, Mindy! You're right, I am really blessed to be able to return only a year after my last trip to Assisi.It is so beautiful and I'm really looking forward to this trip (especially without the Pope!)

Anne, I know how you feel about returning to Assisi when you're in Florence this fall. I keep looking at maps, thinking "Well, if I'm in Italy anyway, how hard would it be to visit such and such a place." There are just so many beautiful places to see and things to do in Italy!

I hope you're able to convince your husband to visit Umbria and Assisi, they really are special.

Jerry, I think you'd love the food in Umbria!

Chiocciola:

Sounds lovely, Sandra! It is fun looking forward to the trip with you. Great photos, too!!

I was only in Assisi once back in 2000 for a couple of days - much too short. I am looking forward to living vicariously through your stay there.

Kim:

Sandra, I think it speaks volumes for Letizia that you are so looking forward to taking a second cooking class with her and after reading all about the first, I can't wait for the second either! I can't believe this trip is almost here!

Sandra, that is a Beautiful picture of the low lying clouds. We don't consider a trip to Italy complete without a visit to Assisi. So happy you're experiencing it from Letizia's vantage point!

sandrac:

Thanks Chiocciola! I hope to do some blogging from the road -- it seems half the fun of seeing places is the experience of writing about it later.

Girasoli, I'm pretty excited about having a digital camera on this trip so that I can actually take some of my own p.hotos I wish I had half your talent with the camera.

Kim, Letizia is great and her place is so lovely -- it would be wonderful to stay there at some point; it must be a gorgeous spot to watch a sun rise.

Deborah, I'm also beginning to become hooked on Assisi!

I am so envious. Your trips sounds lovely. Letizia is so nice and her classes sound wonderful. I hope you blog while traveling or post your journal when you return.

sandrac:

Thanks Marta -- I'm fighting the impluse to take my laptop so that I could easily blog....I'll just have to be disciplined about using Internet cafes!

Letizia is a treasure, isn't she, and that makes her class such fun!

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