July 4th we wore our red, white and blue and went to San Felice for dinner. Normally, we cook burgers and let off fireworks in the vineyard, but our firework’s man hasn’t arrived yet.
Going with the theme “go while there ain’t a lot of people” I rallied the troops for some extraordinary vacay away from vacay.
Florence, out my window
First stop Florence for someone’s 14th birthday. Yes, I realize Florence is only an hour away, but I don’t like driving at night (Italian drivers stay in your lane!) and Florence at night is extraordinary. So, away we went. There are certainly more people but better than any year. A lot of my old go-to stores have way less product. Which might be a good thing. We had truffles with a truffle man who explained you pick truffles – or a good truffle is determined by – its texture. Very interesting and the hotel made us some eggs and he shaved it on it…and well it didn’t really taste. But…off to a great dinner with pear ravioli. Mamma Mia.
Then it was a drive (me) a driver (big van) another driver (a smaller “car”) and we made it to Cinque Terre! I have always wanted to go but feared the crowds. Stayed at Monterosso, so charming and would have been miserable on the tiny quaint streets with tons of tourists and except for leaving a closet full of my stuff that had to be shipped it was great. Colorful pretty town. Great pasta and fish. Surprise surprise.
Elba Feast and Art
What was good enough for Napoleon in exile is good enough for us. Five nights of eating three squares, Italy winning the Euro2020 cup and days spent beaching and reading, good God I’m exhausted. Thank goodness there was plenty of time on the beach to relax. Mostly same staff, except a new bartender who made a juice papaya or mango or some fruit drink, with smoked lavender. He literally put the glass with the drink under a glass cover thing and smoked it. Looked amazing.
Santa Margherita with My Own Umbrella
Because we have been resting so much, we had to rest some more at Santa Margherita Liguria. Wow. Just wow. Incredibly gorgeous, easy town. The pesto pasta is INSANE. The best places served it with green beans and potatoes, and I could shovel that in every day. We stayed a couple nights with our besties the Clyne’s who spoiled us with a boat ride (bumpy!) to Portofino (which I keep calling Positano) which is equally beautiful and then hopped a zodiac on the way back after an amazing dinner at Delfino. Okay here is the quirky thing. The original boat driver said he stopped working at 7 as did some water taxi guy. We went about 6, walked around, had a leisurely dinner and had no way to get home unless we waited for the 11 something ferry. A little weird system, but we finally found a zodiac willing to zip us home. Which, if you haven’t been on one, is so smooth, fun and we could have stayed on it all night. Even Coco.
Okay because Santa Margherita wasn’t enough fun (it was) we spent a couple nights in Capri, which I’ve been longing to get back.
Capri was hopping – which I love – so many weddings. I ended up seeing two friends, one from SB and one from Rome (the kids’ former Italian teacher since kids were babies) and a new friend who owns a cool cameo jewelry store Amedeo. Packed streets, humid air, Pavarotti floating over the city at night, a full moon (in Aquarius I believe, my sign). Heaven on earth. So special and nothing like it.
So that almost takes me to the end of July, and I have to go rest . . .
Holy Moly I’ve read some GREAT books. Just going to list two here (more coming out in the Montecito Journal, and I always post more on my IG). But you must must order The Last Mona Lisa by Jonathan Santlofer. The book starts with a brutal murder and takes place between Florence and Paris. Luke, our artist hero is looking for answers to his great grandfather’s theft of the Mona Lisa (it really happened in 1911). You’ll be turning the pages. And, In my Dreams I Hold a Knife by Ashley Winstead. A group of 7 college friends. A horrible murder of one of them and now it is 10 years later and they have reconvened at college for a class reunion and to confront who might have done it. They all seem guilty, and you will be guessing right and left. Trust me, if you like thrillers you’ll love this and the one above.
Burlesque and Pinup Emojis
If your BOOK CLUB would like me to visit via Skype, I’m available AFTER SUMMER. It’s been fun coming into your homes, sending specialty FAN cocktail recipes before for you all to try, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want me to join in. A questionnaire is on the website to download for your Book Club.
And what I’m reading or recently read
for complete list, I have everything on Good Reads
as I can’t remember them all!
Hopefully not too many typos . . . See ya between the pasta dishes …ciao.