We are having too much fun. Which is in part why I haven’t posted in a while. I completed 2 weeks of Italian lessons and (again) graduated from Level 3. While going down the steep stairs at school, with stiff joints after freezing for 2 hours in class, I hyperextended my knee and hit hard on the step and the sucker blew up like a melon. Very aggravating. A few weeks of elevation, Advil and frozen spinach, along with a knee brace, and I am back in business-whining incessantly about not getting any exercise while eating and drinking like I was training for a marathon-but now back on the streets.
And we went to Venice for 3 days, riding the Vaporetto because of the bum knee. Since we didn’t take the computer with us it will take me awhile to edit the 300+ pictures that will eventually be posted on the blog. Also, I did some video of the Grand Canal and, God willing, I will be able to edit and post that.
Back to the present. What we love about Florence, and Italy in general, is that every day can be a delight, full of surprises. Like stumbling onto a parade of people in period costumes with no idea what it is about.
Here’s the link to the other parade pictures. http://flickr.com/gp/susanarnietravel/7XU51v/
Or, taking a walk at night and seeing a beautiful full moon. Here’s the link to the rest of the night shots: http://www.flickr.com/photos/susanarnietravel/sets/72157626425241720/
Or, the ability to have a dinner party for friends, with food we can’t find at home, and within a 5 minute walk of the apartment, like fresh pasta and fresh artichokes; chicken with roasted grape sauce; agretti (spring vegetable) and fabulous chocolate tart. Here’s a link to all of the party food pictures: http://www.flickr.com/photos/susanarnietravel/sets/72157626425263474/
Or having drinks on our friend's terrace upstairs.
But the most unexpected delight was meeting Angelo Bencista.
At my graduation lunch at Antico Fattore, just behind the Uffizi, via Lambertesca 1/3, tel +39 055 288975, our waiter brought a bottle of olive oil to the table and told us that if we didn’t like it we could complain to the man at the next table because he made it. Next to us was a table of 5 gentlemen of a certain age, all enjoying themselves with empty bottles of wine in evidence along with a bottle of Gran Marnier and then a bottle of Grapa. It seemed that the olive oil business was fun.
While we were eating a group of 6 American women came in, shopping bags and cameras in tow. This greatly entertained Angelo, our olive oil producer. From across the room he was chiding the waiter in Italian to introduce him and to tell the women that he made the olive oil. The waiter told him to be quiet so he turned to me as his interpreter.
We became best friends. He also became best friends with the women, having his picture taken with them, kissing them, inviting them to his farm the next day. As luck would have it, they had a driver for the following day and were going to Chianti, Angelo’s neighborhood. I’m sure that they would have had the time of their lives if they made the visit. ( obscured the faces to protect the innocent.)
Angelo doesn’t export but if you are ever in Chianti you can call his cell phone, +39 337 677003, assuming you speak Italian, and arrange a visit. He is located at Via Mazzini, 154, Strada in Chianti.
Angelo invited Arnie and I to join him and his friends at the Olive Oil Consortium meeting that he was off to. We declined but he told the owner of the restaurant to give me a bottle of his olive oil as a gift from him. The owner complied but rightly stated that the gift was from the owner, not Angelo, because the owner had already bought it from Angelo.
So, we came home with a great bottle of olive oil and a fun story. And I felt proud to have graduated (again) from Level 3 in Italian because my Level 3 Italian made our little interlude possible.
Off to Bologna tomorrow for another adventure...
Here is a link to some of our restaurant meals in Florence for the month of March. http://www.flickr.com/photos/susanarnietravel/sets/72157626280800369/