ITALY 2012 – PART 1

My dear blogger friends: we’re home. I’m going to “bore” you the next days with a report of our trip to Italy. We had a fantastic time and did so many things (not going to mention them all) that it seems that we have been away for much more than 11 days.

The weather wasn’t that great the first days, in Florence it was around 25C (77 degrees) and that was fine. But Sunday night it started to rain. The next two days in Umbria were “cold” and wet, around 18C (64 degrees) but the Wednesday we left for San Gimignano the sun started to shine and it never stopped shining and it became hotter and hotter with a temperature of 37C (98 degrees) on our last day.

We have met and talked to so many people from so many countries during our trip, that was fun. We’ve met people from Italy (of course), Holland, Spain, Austria, Switzerland, Germany, Sweden, Denmark and America.

One thing we noticed is that Italy has become very popular for a vacation compared to 8 years ago when we first visited it. It was almost too crowded and prices have gone up a lot too. Not for the food but mostly if you wanted to visit a church or museum. We didn’t do that because all the churches we’ve seen this trip, we have already seen from the inside the last time we were in Tuscany.

Are you ready? My posts will contain a lot of pictures.



We had a good flight with no delay and arrived at our hotel at 1.30 in the afternoon. After we unpacked we took a walk through the city. We visited the cathedral and the graves of the famous medici. Holland had to play their first soccer game in the European championship and we watched that at an Irish pub together with other Dutch people. After the game we ate at a trattoria, close to our hotel. I had a Caesar salad to start with, followed by pasta with zucchini, tomatoes and artichokes. The weather was good, not too hot but at the end of the afternoon we had a little bit of rain.

The cathedral

The first of many glasses of wine we had

Caesar salad


Sunday we took a walk through the city, we walked to the replica of David by Michelangelo, to Ponte Vecchio and then to the Boboli gardens. From the gardens you had a great view over the city.

David by Michelangelo

Ponte Vecchio

Boboli gardens

We had lunch at a pizzeria in town, I had a pizza Quattro stagione. After a little siesta it was time to go to the stadium for the Bruce Springsteen concert.

Pizza quattro stagione

We had to take a bus there and the bus was so crowded. We were in the front, I could touch the front window with my nose if I wanted too. And the bus driver was sometimes driving like a maniac. But we got there safe. When the concert started it was dry but during it started to rain very hard. There was one tribune with a roof and luckily our seats were under the roof.


It rained ... a lot

The concert was fantastic. Bruce played for 3 hours and 20 minutes. The opening song was Badlands and he kept going and going, shouting “you’re fucking diehards” to us when we wanted more and more. He ended it with the Creedence Clearwater Revival song “Who’ll stop the rain”.

The part that touched me the most and brought tears to my eyes was the Clarence Clemons tribute during Thenth Avenue Freeze Out. When he sang “And the big man joined the band” all the lights on stage went out, except for a spotlight on the place where Clarence used to stand and they showed photo’s of Clarence with Bruce and the band. Everybody was silent. It was such a beautiful tribute.


Waiting for the concert to start

After the concert we were soaking wet within a minute but we didn’t care. We had a fantastic evening.


Pietralunga – Umbria

Monday morning we picked up our rental car at the airport and began our trip to Pietralunge. We avoided the highways and took small roads through the mountains. Most of the time we were on the road alone and didn’t see people or other cars. Something you can’t imagine here in Holland. The first part of the trip the weather was fine but in the afternoon the rain started and hard. Sometimes we could hardly see the road because of the rain. We arrived at 3.30 in the afternoon at our azienda, on the top of a mountain. Because it was still raining we stayed there the rest of the afternoon and had dinner at the azienda. Antipasti, followed by pasta with tomatoes, a piece of pork meat with salad and a grilled tomato and a piece of cherry pie for dessert.

View during our trip to La Cerque


Azienda La Cerque

Before dinner


Pasta with tomatoes

Pork, salad and tomato

Cherry pie

Tuesday morning it was dry and we decided to drive to Gubbio. We have visited this town 3 years ago too but it’s a nice town. R. went up to a mountain with a cable. This time I stayed on the ground because I’m a bit afraid of heights and I didn’t enjoy it that much the last time when I did go up.


R. going up

When we left it started to rain again and we decided to go back to the azienda. At 5 pm we had a pasta workshop. This was so much fun. Mama didn’t speak English and when you did something wrong she would shout at you in Italian. The pasta we made they used for our dinner later that evening. Most of the pics of that dinner didn’t come out well but we had carrot soup, “our” pasta with mushrooms, turkey with salad and semifreddo for dessert.

Now he has no excuse anymore not to cook at home 🙂

With Mama and the pasta we made

The result of our hard work


15 responses to “ITALY 2012 – PART 1

  1. Hurray!!!! I’m so excited to read about your trip Fran, you won’t bore me at all so please feel free to post lots of pictures and give us as many details as you want. So far, everything looks fabulous!

  2. Love Part 1…can’t wait for Part 2. Italy is so beautiful. The concert must have been so fun and that was a lovely tribute for Clarence Clemons.

    All of the food looks scrumptious. Pasta making looks like a great time and it must have been hilarious when Mama was shouting at you in Italian (my Boss is Italian, so he would have understood every word…LOL!).

    Bella must be so happy to see you home again!

  3. Boring? Are you kidding? This is awesome.

    I love the architecture. I’m not even a student of architecture, couldn’t tell you anything about when things were built or what style things are but something about buildings just strikes a cord with me. Walking around in those surroundings just makes a person (from Canada anyway!) feel special.

    Don’t you love how they use those big screens at concerts now so you can really see the person no matter where you are in the stadium? Brilliant. That concert sounds like so much fun.

    Keep em coming Fran!

  4. Looks like you had a wonderful time!

  5. I love to be ‘bored’ by photos of Italy! It’s nice to see more pictures of R, too 😀

    Glad you are back – missed you in the blog world!

  6. You are not boring me at all – these pictures and the stories behind them are wonderful!!!

    Italy looks gorgeous, and you make me want to go there. I’m so glad you had a great time; love the azienda you stayed at, especially, and Mama? The pasta lesson? Awesome!!!

    Interesting on the pizza the they left the olives whole – they slice ’em over here.

    And Bruuuucccceeee!!! Nice that you had covered seats, awesome that he played for so long – sounds like the concert was everything you’d hoped it would be. 🙂

    Welcome home, and I can’t wait to see part 2!

  7. Weee! Love all the pictures Fran – so jealous – my husband and I will get there one day!

    My FIL was born in Florence (think I told you that) and my husband worked at his grandpa’s trattoria a stones throw away from Ponte Vecchio. So cool!

  8. Roz@weightingfor50

    Hi Fran!!! Welcome back!!! Glad you had a great time. For the record, the photos won’t bore me at ALL. In fact, I was so intrigued that this post makes me just want to pull my credit card out, go online and book a trip right now!!!! 🙂

  9. Sounds like you had a fabulous trip. Thanks for sharing all the photos! You and R look so happy.
    Now click over to my blog and see my new baby!

  10. WOW!!! Awesome! Love the pictures of you guys making pasta!

  11. So far it is all so wonderful! What a great vacation. Some of it brings back memories for me from my trip to Italy and other parts are wonderful and new. That hillside town looks wonderful. And you are doing a nice variety of stuff. Typical tourist stuff, driving through the countryside, a concert, cooking class. Wonderful wonderful!

  12. A beautiful report of your trip. Of course everything sounds familiar to me.
    What a pity I had to lose this concert.
    I am glad you have enjoyed the vacation despite the rain.

  13. BORE?
    you spelled it wrong 🙂
    it is m-a-k-e u-s j-e-a-l-o-u-s.


  14. FRAN!!!!! welcome back sweetie!
    Part 1 looks amazing, and how cool is it that you got to make pasta for other people too eat, I am sure you and R learned a ton!!!

    The scenery is gorgeous!

    I’m on to Part 2 …catch you on the flip side 😉

  15. Welcome back!

    WOW it looks like an incredible trip. So many beautiful sites and amazing food. Glad you enjoyed the trip! I would love to see Italy.

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