To Montepulciano for the coppersmith, not the wine!

We had one last place to visit from Cheryl’s “wish list,” and we had arranged our week to aim for a Thursday trip to Montepulciano, home of the Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, but especially the home of Cesare Mazzetti, the coppersmith that Dee, Barbara and I had met in 2006 when Dee . . . → Read More: To Montepulciano for the coppersmith, not the wine!

A Quick (and long) Day Trip to the Home of Puccini

Still intent on finishing up Cheryl’s list of places that she had wanted to visit, we were off to Lucca on her last Tuesday morning, October 14. We had already been to the stazione to see what our train departure and return possibilities were, and we purchased our tickets the night before . . . → Read More: A Quick (and long) Day Trip to the Home of Puccini

“Gap days” in Florence, between Cheryl’s destination trips

Various “neighborhood” people to whom I have introduced Cheryl

The first person Cheryl met was Benita, who runs Pork’s Sandwiches, a restaurant inside the Mercato Centrale, and just across the piazza from our flat. I met Benita in 2005, on a sub-zero day, when she met me and my . . . → Read More: “Gap days” in Florence, between Cheryl’s destination trips

To Panzano to meet Dario, the #1 butcher in Italy!

Before my visit to Italy in 2006 with Dee LeVan and Barbara Killeen (my original roommates from winter, 2003), I had been given a copy of Heat, by Bill Buford, a “foodie” book chronicling the misfortunes of cooking amateur (but professional writer) Buford as he tried to follow in the footsteps of . . . → Read More: To Panzano to meet Dario, the #1 butcher in Italy!

Hiking the Cinque Terre is not for sissies!

At the top of Cheryl’s list of “must see” destinations was the Cinque Terre, Italian for “five lands” and now an Italian national park featuring five small towns on the northwest coast of Italy that seem to be tumbling off their rocky perches into the sea. Packing only our daypacks and best . . . → Read More: Hiking the Cinque Terre is not for sissies!

Assisi and Cortona are fine, but Spello is in my heart!

Friday morning began frantically, packing for Spello to clear time for a stop at the Internet Train to post both the Vicenza blog and the one from San Gimignano—Venice is still pending (hope I can remember by the time I get it written). I am behind, and not finding time to get . . . → Read More: Assisi and Cortona are fine, but Spello is in my heart!

A quick dash to San Gimignano with Cheryl

After a brief break yesterday to catch up on laundry and sleep, we were off to San Gimignano, another of the places on Cheryl’s list of most-desired places to see. I had limited her to eight, but some of her choices were fudging just a tiny bit. For instance, one choice is . . . → Read More: A quick dash to San Gimignano with Cheryl

Venice and Vicenza–visiting the Veneto

After leaving Bologna, we took the train to Vicenza with Laura, where we slept through her early departure for work the next morning. She is a speech therapist at the schools on the nearby US Army base. Cheryl and I got ready for a day trip to Venice, walked back to the . . . → Read More: Venice and Vicenza–visiting the Veneto

Off to The Race in Bologna (sing the spelling with me!)

“Stiamo in Bologna”—we are in Bologna for the Race for the Cure, and met Cheryl’s friend Laura here. (I met Laura this summer, when she visited Sacramento from her home in Vicenza.) Laura is volunteering for the Race, and we are here to assist, if necessary, and to walk the race with . . . → Read More: Off to The Race in Bologna (sing the spelling with me!)

Beginning to cross off destinations on Cheryl’s checklist

Although we had planned a day trip to San Gimignano, reading our guidebook and seeing that Siena’s weekly street market would be on the same day diverted our plans. Cheryl got to have the experience of buying her first train tickets, so with a scenic ride to Siena and . . . → Read More: Beginning to cross off destinations on Cheryl’s checklist