Wednesday, 1 January 2015
Orvieto, Italy to Tuscany
A lazy start to 2015 after our late night…we wander down to breakfast, through Palazzo Piccolomini’s simply elegant sitting room,and join a few late-rising musicians for coffee in the vaulted basement. Look through those alcoves in the wall to earlier centuries, remnants of Etruscan civilization over which the papal palace (Piccolomini was Pius II) was built.We’ll squeeze in one more concert, Davell Crawford, whom we heard a couple of nights ago in duet with Jon Batiste. Today it’s just him on the billing, but he calls up several friends throughout the hour – one guy on a harmonica, a seasoned gospel sister on vocals – as he keeps our toes tapping with classic jazz, rhythm and blues, pop and funk. In exuberant style, he mixes the music with heartfelt tales – of last night’s New Year’s phone call from godmother Roberta Flack, before sharing his memorable take on “The First Time”. What a superb way to kick off the New Year!Before packing up and getting on the road we stop for a quick lunch at Cantina Foresi, beside the Duomo. Alessandro carries on the fine family tradition (the cantina was started by his grandfather in the ’50s) with a warm welcome and platters of delicious Umbrian salumi to go with steaming bowls of minestrone.As we walk back to the hotel, jazz drifts through the doors of one café after another,and we stop at Bartolomei’s shop for our olive oil – yes, we can fit a bit more in our suitcases!We arrive at our next hilltown, Monte San Savino, with time to check in to lovely little Logge dei Mercanti, settle into our rooms, and take in the sunset from our windows.Dinner takes us through the impressive portal of another tiny hill town, Lucignano. We explore a bit, wandering the steep streets of this snail-shaped charmer,and then continue our Italian feasting at Il Goccino. A WOW of a meal, from the smoked goose breast and foie gras,to a “Chocolate Pearl” that melts when our waiter pours on the hot raspberry soup. Oh we eat SO well out in the Tuscan and Umbrian countryside!
Back to “our” hilltown – Buona Notte Monte San Savino, it’s nice to be back!