Fall in Love in Cortona

Cortona is a wonderful city!!!! I Love it!!!

Blogging In Italy

IMG_0006Italy is a popular destination for weddings, and Cortona ranks second, behind Venice, as the city of choice. Not difficult to see, as this lovely Etruscan town offers an incredible historic and romantic setting. I have written about weddings in the past, including one local wedding where the bride and her father arrived at the church in a horse-drawn carriage and another, a military wedding at the Municipio. Lovely.



This past weekend, wedding planners hosted the first annual Fall in Love in Cortona weekend. Festivities included a broad display in the park of everything needed for a destination wedding including clothes for the bride, groom, attendees, and children; table settings; floral arrangements; make-up; honeymoon locations; food service; bar service, etc. On Saturday night, a speed dating event took place in the piazza. On Sunday night, a fashion show graced the steps of the municipal building. Wonder if any of the…

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Tree Swings and Cherries

Strada Toscana


About 7 years ago my husband, Luigi, hung a tree swing for me in a cherry tree – right at the edge of our uliveto (olive grove). I love that swing! It’s one of my favorite spots – like a little retreat – where I can swing and swing and swing, and meditate on the green forests and open pastures that share the valley below our house in Umbria.

This year my beloved cherry tree – and 2 others – are spilling over with (you guessed it) cherries! So we’ve started to harvest.

cherry tree

One of the trees is a wild cherry – at least that’s what our friends and neighbors have told us. The cherries are smaller, yellowish pink when ripe, and oh-so-delicious. But we don’t even try to preserve them. They’re very delicate (and nearby impossible to pit) so we’ve found it’s best to just eat them fresh –…

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The Magic of Waiting … Italian Style

Strada Toscana


You’ve said it, I’ve said it, we’ve all said it … “I’m sick of waiting.” “I don’t like waiting.” “I’m tired of waiting.”

Actually, tourists here in Italy say things like that a lot. Because when you visit Italy (particularly rural areas) there seem to be a lot of things to wait for … waiting for sheep to cross the road (how big could that flock be?), waiting in line at the post office (what could possibly be taking so long?), waiting for the little scooter to get out of your way (why doesn’t he just pull over?).

Yes, there are definitely plenty of things to wait for here, and what a wonderful gift that is!

pecoraThe rhythm of life in rural Italy might be different than what you’re used to, but that creates a fabulous opportunity (Opportunity? Yep, opportunity.) to surrender to that particular moment. It’s an opportunity to…

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Tuscan panzanella

We suggest to eat Panzanella. It is my favourite tuscan dish!!!!

Bangers & Mash


Panzanella is a tasty and satisfying Italian summer salad, perfect for picnics and eating al fresco. We enjoyed it last weekend when the sun was shining and it felt like we were on holiday in our own garden. The weather has sadly turned greyer and damper, but I am hopeful the blue skies will return. Hope, hope!

I took this recipe from a cookery book called Yolanda’s Kitchen, written by Yolanda Pearson who was born in Normandy to a French mother and an Italian father. With that kind of a background, it’s not surprising Yolanda can cook. Yolanda is a good friend of my husband’s family. As a boy, Jason used to play with Yolanda’s son Simon whenever they visited their holiday cottage up in Shropshire and he has very good memories of eating well at their house.

According to Yolanda…

This traditional Tuscan snack gets its name from…

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Exploring Tuscany

The Old Man's Tale(s)

Many people go for drives in the country on Sunday, but few have the good fortune to take them in Tuscany. Much of Tuscany resembles a man-made garden: collections of vineyards, groves of olive trees, or fields of sunflowers flow over rolling hills that are interrupted now and then by small, ancient villages. Often on the summits of the hills one sees a row of cypress or umbrella pines. What a place for a drive!


Florence (Firenze in Italian) was one of our Sunday destinations. Those of you who have visited Florence have probably struggled through throngs of tourists to visit its many splendors. Imagine walking it streets on a Sunday and encountering relatively few tourists, let alone people. Olive went there with my brother on a weekday and did see many people going about their business, but Florence was hardly crowded.

Of the many sights to see, two…

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Changing the World One Door at a Time

Under the Tuscan Thumb

We turned around and saw one for the first time. It was outside the coffee bar, just across the narrow street in Fiesole. On the sportello (little door) that covers the gas meter was a painting of a street scene—specifically, the very house that belonged with the painted door! It was signed FL and dated 2013. We smiled at our discovery and asked Riccardo what that colorful picture was all about. He told us about an artist in town who likes to paint pictures on those little utility doors. Interesting!

Days later we were having lunch outside at Vinandro just down the street, and noticed another colorful painting in the same style. There it was, in all its glory, on the metal door just outside the restaurant. We went over to take a closer look. Sure enough there was another FL and date in the lower right hand corner…

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