Yesterday we went on a “Taste of Siena” walk and class offered by The Tuscan Wine School. It was great fun. We walked to some great shops tasting Pecorino cheese, various cured sausages, fantastic coffee, pastries, olive oil, chocolate and, of course, wine. We visited Bini Pasticeria operated by the same couple since 1944. Theirs is the only shop still making Paneforte, the gooey Sienese version of fruit cake, in the shop the old fashion way and only selling it there. After food, wine and coffee, the event was topped with Aqua Vitae and Lemoncino. I have no idea how we staggered home for a well earned nap.
October third, day before yesterday, was the twentieth anniversary of our first date. We celebrated last night at Traverna di San Giuseppe, rated number one in Siena according to Trip Advisor. Yet another peak culinary experience, of particular note was the traditional Sienese bread soup with black cabbage and cannelloni beans. We put away a bottle of great local red topping a day of Tuscan food.
This morning we took a bus to Florence where we were to catch the high speed train south. With a few hours to kill we had hoped to see a couple of sights we missed when we were here 17 years ago. Alas the Museum of the Duomo was closed. We knew they were working on it but thought parts would be open including Lorenzo Ghilberti’s famous bronze doors to the Bapistry, the work that kicked off the renaissance. Still it was good to wander the streets in the shadow of the Duomo and see the Arno river – great memories.
We did manage to get into the Palazzo Medici-Ricardi, former home of the ruling Medici clan. A young Michelangelo lived and studied here. Leonardo would entertain on the viola de gamba and Donatello studied the classical sculptures in the garden. In the private chapel the frescos depict the coming of the Magi. But the scenery and clothing is all 15th c. Florentine complete with the Medici clan in the procession.
After wearing ourselves out walking we are now on the aforementioned train. Tomorrow we go deep – Napoli!