Tuesday July 12th – Siena
Discovered our hands down favorite restaurant in all of Itay Grotta di Santa Caterina. Also known as Bagoga, the nickname of owner Pierino Fagnini who was a jockey in the famous Siena Palio horse race. Fabulous food, great service, friendly and comfortable. And lots of horsey art and riding helmets from all the neighborhoods represented in the race on the walls.
Bert finally found a latte he could get behind too!
In the afternoon we finally found Allesandro Stella in his shop! We had been admiring his store and the beautiful leather creations every time we walked by but were losing hope that we’d ever get to meet the artist himself.
It was worth the wait – Allesandro is charming and a wonderful storyteller and we spent hours chatting with him. Made a couple of purchases that we will always treasure.
7/13 Weds – Cortona
Drove to Cortona and were graced with an amazing field of sunflowers on the way. Cortona is where Under the Tuscan Sun was filmed.
Enjoyed yet another slow cooked meal – this time at Taverna Pane e Vino in Cortona. Nicest waiter ever, wonderful red wine and great chocolate pie. Yes, eating our way through Italy.
7/14 Thursday – Siena
Great Siena walking tour with Antonella Piredda. She’s a lovely person and really brought Siena and its history to life.
Lunch again at Grotto s caterina. Cannot get enough of the peppercorn fillet, wild boar pasta, and tiramisu.
7/15 Friday – Bagno Vignoni
We embarked on an early morning daisy trail drive to the spa in Bagno Vignoni, a quaint little town well know for its hot springs.
The beautiful hot mineral pool at the Hotel Posta Marcucci was the perfect place to be on a rare cool and rainy day.
7/16 Saturday – Siena to Rome
Got another early start for our 2+ hour drive to Rome. Lots of lovely rolling Tuscan hills to admire along the way.
Once we returned the rental car and checked into our hotel we went looking for lunch. Stopped by the mesmerizing Pantheon along the way. I do love that building.
We wrapped up our first Roman day sipping champagne in the St Regis ballroom which was both beautiful and surreal. They open the bottle by striking it with a saber!
7/17 Sunday -Rome and Trastavere neighborhood
Headed out early to beat the heat and the tourists to take in the Spanish steps only to discover they are closed for renovation. Made it easy to take a good pic 🙂
Most of the day was spent exploring a lovely neighborhood called Trastavere. Here we found small cafes, a ceramic and glass art studio and lots of fun shops tucked into the medieval streets. A nice change from the big boulevards that define most of Rome.
We enjoyed yet another slow food spot Grapollo D’Oro for dinner. Carbonara was amazing, great Barolo wine and really nice staff. Cannot thanks Lewis enough for this book…
7/18 Monday – Rome
Walked to the Coliseum mostly to check out the hordes of tourists. I did get to pet a police horse 🙂 I know it looks like he’s sleeping but he’s actually licking my hand.
7/19 Tuesday – Rome
Walk discovered the caffeinated nirvana of the Illy coffee store. Good coffee, good music, lots to read, air conditioning and a spacious lounge where they welcomed you to sit and hang out.
Here’s their entrance artwork constructed of coffee cups!
And then guess what we did. Enjoyed a very tasty lunch at yet another slow food find Armando al Pantheon. We are predictable.
7/20 Weds – Rome
We started the day with a lot of bones. The Capuchin Crypt is a trip – definitely not your usual tourist experience.
We thenjuxtaposed our 1631 experience with some modern art and went to see a great Banksy exhibit.
Enjoyed our final evening ritual of champagne in the beautiful St Regis ballroom.
7/21 Thursday – Rome to SF
Began the long journey home. What a wonderful 3 weeks. Until we meet again Italy.