Monday, Dec. 29, 2014, Florence & Orvieto, Italy
A visit to the Mercato Centrale starts this Music and Markets day – first the market, then the music!A tasting of balsamic vinegar is always a palate and eye-opener. Who knew vinegar could taste like this?! So dense, richly flavored and thick, the 15 year old elixir is delicious over ice cream or strawberries. A taste of cheese at one booth, prosciutto at another, dried fruits of every imaginable variety here,baskets overflowing with dried porchini there.
We’ll return at the end of the tour to stock up before flying home. For now, it’s goodbye Florence, and on to the jazz – with a stop at the Prada outlet on the way. And we get there with an hour or so to check in to the lovely Palazzo Piccolomini, then pick up our tickets and walk to a 4:00 concert, a “Love Supreme” Coltrane 50th Anniversary tribute with Joe Lovano and Chris Potter. Their stellar band includes the legendary Cecil McBee on bass. The first of the impressive pianists we’ll hear, Lawrence Fields, has the longest fingers I’ve ever seen – and boy, can he make magic on the keys!The Sala dei 400 in the Palazzo del Publico is packed, jazz filling the historic hall where the council of 400 met in medieval times. Just a few traces of frescoes remain, high above, in this, the ancient People’s Palace. Scarved, hatted, and gloved, we brave the cold to join Funk Off as they strut the cobbled lanes at 6 pm. Their funky jazz can warm anybody up!A delicious dinner at the recently renovated Sette Consoli completes our day – oh it’s great to be back in Orvieto!