Monday, 17 August 2009


A week in Tuscany - a week out of time to enjoy the glorious Italian food and wine, and to be with family, and to celebrate my mother's 70th birthday in a lovely Tuscan villa. Highlights included a fabulous party with Cinta Sinese (a roast-pork speciality of the Sienese hills where we were staying); the rather surprising frescoes in the Collegiata in San Gimignano (I don't think I've ever seen breastfeeding portrayed in religious frescoes before, or such, er, blatant male nudity... my particular favourite was a dragon who was evidently having to apologise for a bit of mischief); the Etruscan museum in Volterra, where the most famous statue, an elegantly elongated bronze nude called by D'Annunzio l'ombra della sera or evening shadow, had served usefully as a fire poker for ages after being dug up before being identified as an Etruscan masterpiece (why that amuses me so much I can't tell); a bottle of lightly p├ętillant Vernacchia, the fresh white wine local to San Gimignano; and taking all the younger members of the family horde to explore an Etruscan tumulus at dusk, with candles...
I'm now lightly toasted and relaxed, and ready to start work!

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