December 29, 2012
Florence & Orvieto, Italy

Interested in a Music and Markets Tour? We’d love to hear from you!  Next on the itinerary: Our spring tours in Barcelona, Venice or Prague

Leonardo’s Last Supper in Milan may be the most famous, but scattered around Florence are several stunning renditions of that final meal, and one  of our favorites is this jewel by Ghirlandaio, in the refectory of Ognissanti church. The garden setting is so inviting, and the colors so beautiful.
Why are there so many depictions of Jesus’ last meal with his disciples? Because they were the traditional decoration for the refectory, where the monks ate, and there are dozens of ancient monasteries around the city.
As the monks quietly ate a simple meal, one of the brothers would read scripture from the pulpit built into the side wall.
And now we’re off to Orvieto, where the jazz begins! We arrive around two, drop off our luggage and look for a place for a quick lunch before our first concert.

How about some porchetta, stuffed and roasted pork that’s a traditional central Italian savory delight? Handwritten signs ” Oggi Porchetta”   (porchetta today) are tacked onto the stone walls of several shops, but the advertisement here is more eye- catching, wouldn’t you say?
Inside, a butcher has set up a table and slices the moist meat – the pig has been deboned, arranged carefully with layers of garlic, herb (LOTS of rosemary) stuffing, meat, fat, and skin, then rolled, spitted, and roasted, traditionally over wood. Oh is it delicious layered in a crusty roll for lunch!

And now to begin the JAZZ – with grammy- nominated New Yorker Gregory Parker and his band in the ancient frescoed hall of Palazzo del Popolo. A great start to our jazzy New Year celebration.

The sky’s tinged with a rosy sunset as we exit,

and below, even the parking lot is decorated!

A special dinner awaits us at elegant Sette Consoli, beginning with a warming potato and cod first course, followed by tagliolini with trout, artichokes, and roasted tomatoes.

Then a flavorful bean soup, a main of roasted partridge and prunes, a cheese course of pecorino and honey, and a finale of trifle. All in tasting portions so we can enjoy each one – superb!

Are we happy? Oh yeah!

A stroll past Orvieto’s glorious mosaic fronted cathedral, shimmering in the moonlight, and we say goodnight.