Thursday, May 26, 2011

Fattoria La Loggia

25 May 2011

How utterly marvelous it is being here in Toscana (Tuscany for those of you who are English speaking). We've had the most magnificent day. My driver and especially George were wonderfully behaved and it shows in my mood.

Today the three of us did some serious exploring, I was in my element, my driver is still sick - in fact today he was more sick than yesterday whereas I have put aside my Italian illness completely. George is ready to be admitted to the home for the bewildered. My driver made some serious internal changes with George this morning so he was unusually accommodating.

We went for a walk this morning early but in all seriousness I kind of wonder why one would walk in a place like this because it is so vast and one certainly can't cover ground by foot - unless of course one has all the time in the world. I much prefer to cover ground by vehicle or scooter, that way I get instant gratification by seeing what I want immediately without having to wait for the prize. Of course the other drawback is that because it is so hot here one perspires so much that it becomes uncomfortable.

After breakfast - two natural yogurts for me and steak for my driver, we hit the road. We drove to Sienna ultimately, but went off the beaten track to discover and explore other villages. We stopped at places like Grieve in Chianti, Montefioralle, Poggibonsai, and Castellina in Chianti. These are all incredibly beautiful places and as previously mentioned, our ultimate stop was in Sienna where we parked the car and walked around the village.

I'm not sure if I mentioned this, most of the villages are inaccessible by vehicle. One can drive up to the village but then one has to park the car and walk into the village. Parking is charged at a rate of between €1.00 to €2.00 per hour.

We walked the streets of Sienna and found the magnificent cathedral, it is open to the public daily at a rate of €10.00 entry fee. The steps leading up to the cathedral are solid marble. The Duomo Santa Maria Assunta was originally planned to be bigger than St Peter's in Rome and was largely completed in 1215. The breathtaking facade was added after 1284.

I'm ecstatic to report that at this time I have been able to support the economy, albeit marginally. I bought myself a pair of handmade Italian leather shoes. Don't misunderstand me, I do not have a shoe fetish but given the opportunity to support local talent I was eager to relent. I was equally eager to support the local potters in Sienna by purchasing a beautifully decorated ceramic plate with hand carved drawings of the Toscana landscape, however my driver was unimpressed with the design, the color and the originality. He felt the plate looked cheap and mentioned that he had seen far better on the south coast - which incidentally, we are not returning to!

I'm over siesta's, honestly. If I were living here and working here then I would fully support them but seriously they happen at the very moment I feel the urge to do some shopping! I don't believe in coincidences and have a very strong suspicion that between George and my driver, they are only taking me into places where I can exercise the elasticity of my credit card after 12:30 each day. Once is a coincidence, but since this has been a daily occurrence, I fail to believe that it's not premeditated. I could always take control and insist on driving the car but then all the stress would be placed an me and I'd have to then content with the traffic, George, my driver and have to dodge oncoming vehicles and scooters all at the same time. It will be a bit like playing Russian Roulette and while I don't mind dying in Italy, I don't want to die just yet there is still so much to see.

Yesterday I asked the lady who works here if she could give me some brochures or dope on the local history. She said of course, anything is possible right? But she didn't give me anything. So I told her I would return a little later. When I returned she told me that she would print off some information a little layer still. This morning I returned and asked her for my information and she was horrified that I would even suggest that she give it to me at that time. She said she was incredibly busy with stuff. There was not a soul around, no phone ringing and nothing for her to do. I'm wondering if she simply couldn't find it in her heart to tell me it wasn't possible.

Prosseco is lovely to drink when the sun is going down and the landscape is cooling off. It is also a great anesthetic when one has injured oneself. Yesterday I fell and sprained my wrist (I'm not complaining because I am conscious that my driver is still sick and I don't wish to steal the limelight), However my point is that whilst I am injured and having to carry my arm in an imaginary sling, the prosseco is doing a marvelous job.

Ciao and arrivederci.

~ Vanessa

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