We started the morning with trying to figure out the coffee machine. With the Mr. Coffee not really working we went to the old fashioned on the stove coffee percolators and made some very strong espresso. That got us going!
We tried to go for a quick hike but the horseflies were just relentless. So we sprinted back to the house and did some exercise inside. I went for a swim in the pool which was wonderful. Did my pushups and we cleaned up and got ready for the day.
Our first stop was the wonderful Villa Di Piazzano which is on the way to Cortona. I accidently discovered this beautiful place on one of my first visits to Tuscany by driving down what looked like an interesting road. It was perfectly aligned with Italian cypress trees that led into this old dilapidated villa. Well since then it has been meticulously restored and every year I have come they have raised the bar higher and higher. A couple from Australia and their daughter purchased the villa shortly before my accidental visit and I met them then just as they were about to embark on restoring the property. It has been such a delight to follow their progress and now each trip they prepare an amazing brunch for us. Definitely one of the highlights of the trip.
The food is beautifully prepared and arranged such that you are hesitant to even start as you feel you are tampering with a masterpiece. Once you take a bite you realize that the masterpiece is truly one to be enjoyed. Usually we dine on the outdoor terrace above the pool, but a welcomed storm was brewing to the west so they set us up inside. With the finishing touches on brunch coming together, the daughter of the Villa family, Alessandra gave us a tour of the villa and the newest accommodations and building they had restored. Unbelievable! Perfectly appointed, clean, simple and elegant. If you are ever in Tuscany, this is the place to come, and spend some time.
As brunch was served the storm blew in with great vigor. Wind, lightening, thunder and welcomed rain. You could almost hear the joy coming from the trees and earth. It was fantastic to enjoy this masterpiece of a breakfast to the sound of the storm and the intermittent rumble of the thunder. The storm and breakfast both wound down in harmony and it was time for our group photo and then off to Perugia.
Perugia is a beautiful city in Umbria – I believe it is the capital. It sits on a hilltop as virtually every city in this area does and overlooks the Tiber valley below and nearly all of Umbria. To the east you can see Assisi under a fog covered mountain. Stunningly beautiful. Our drive in was a bit of an adventure as we made one wrong turn getting up to the Citta centro (city center) and quickly the street narrowed, and narrowed, and narrowed until we could barely fit between the walls and the cars that were parallel parked. Br bringing the side view mirrors in we were able to get through and continue on our journey. We eventually found a public parking lot and then it was up, up, up to the main piazza.
We enjoyed a couple hours exploring and photographing, finished the afternoon off with a little vino blanco in the piazza and then it was time to make our way back to the cars and Cortona.
Cortona – what a fun place this is. Of course it has been made famous by the Frances Mayes book Under the Tuscan Sun followed by the movie of the same name. This is a popular place with the tourists but also the locals and on a Sunday evening it is a crowded place! Once we found parking spaces I made my way to the restaurant to put in our reservation as a party of 10 can sometimes be an issue. But we had good luck, and were able to get us all set up for dinner at 7:30.
I gradually found everyone in town and let them k now where were having dinner and at what time and everyone was free to shop and explore. Dinner this year was at the Trattoria Dardano and it was very good. Again a very local menu with ravioli tartuffo, local roasted meets and of course some ribolita soup. Add a little vino rosso and good conversation and laughter and you have the makings of another great 3 hour meal!
By the time dinner ended and several liters of vino rosso we were all in good spirits and the sound and laughter were all up a couple decibels. We closed out our check and made our way back onto the street for gelato and fun times!!! It’s always an adventure leaving as by this time of night the locals and the tourists all merge into one, collective, happy, singing, and laughing mixture of souls who all just want the night to continue on! We did our best to make that happen!