At the Tuscan farm we stayed at on Christmas eve, the lovely owner Emanuella made a special nativity scene just for our unit. They put fresh moss on the base and then lights and all the little nativity figures with the animals . It is made fresh every year with a new little village and maybe a new character added. it was really wide and a lot of work to set up. I was very moved by the effort she made. Our apartment was on a sheep farm so they made at home the pecorino cheese which was to die for.
She also gave us some home made Bresciola – little bits of liver wrapped in sheep’s intestine and fried. I watched her making them and it made me feel a bit squeamish as I am not used to offal… but they tasted divine. However I could not eat more than a bite (as I used to spin human livers in the blender as a research biochemist) ….. I had to hide them in the bin from her when we were leaving as to not offend (felt really guilty doing that but yes i eat anything else but liver and brains.!!!)
The Christmas lights have been so classy and beautiful in every city. Italians are very good at lighting and it is always so tasteful. Understated but exceptional not garish. Ju loves going into the butcher shops as they always give us free gifts as a little bonus because we are Australians. One butcher in Montalcino gave us a great bottle of home made red wine for christmas as this area makes some of the best reds in Italy and another butcher gave us some of his home grown herbs to put in the Osso Bucco and today the man at the fruit shop gave me a whole bag full of herbs for free . They must think I am like the Italian women – cooking at home all day…( ha ha yeah right!!!) oh to have the time but instead I have to do this beautiful website www.passionforitaly.com
New Year’s Eve we were at the Colosseum for the open air concert in Rome with a million others and it poured torrential rain, so we could not do or see a thing and we had to walk home in cyclonic wind with rain blowing sideways and turning the umbrellas insidie out as all the buses and trams stopped (this is Italy remember – no public transport on New Year’s Eve – Yes – that makes sense!!) and got soaked to the bone. Lucky it was not too cold in Rome. In fact it was quite warm compared to Tuscany. When we finally got back to the apartment – what relief- the fireworks started!! All over Rome they were spectacular. Seemed like they were set off in every piazza and a lot of home jobs as well. Henry and Ju joined in too with their own ceremony as they were delighted to find fireworks for sale, having never been able to use them as they are banned back home.
ROME BEATICATION OF JOHN PAUL II
PERUGIA’S FESTIVAL FOR LOVERS OF CHOCOLATE
JAZZ IN ITALY UMBRIA JAZZ FESTIVAL 2011
WHERE TO GO IN ITALY
Siena’s Palio Horse Race
VERONA OPERA FESTIVAL 2011
PINOCCHIO’S BIRTHDAY MAY 2011 TUSCANY
LA BOHEME AND CARNIVALE IN VENICE FEB 2011
ANDREA BOCELLI IN PISA 29 DEC 2010
CELEBRATE NEW YEAR’S EVE 2010 IN VENICE