Rain and a Hike in Assisi

We woke up to rain and I even had to buy a 5 euro umbrella. Shirley had brought hers, so then we were all set… Except that we had planned to hike. So we toured the streets, found a laundry (yay!) and Shirley found the perfect red leather purse.

Pilgrims arrive at the city gate with their umbrellas.

Pilgrims arrive at the city gate with their umbrellas.


The sun came out in the afternoon, and we were able to hike in the Bosca de S. Francesca — a recently named open space just outside the city walls. It was the highlight of our day.
Shirley pauses at a creek crossing during our hike.

Shirley pauses at a creek crossing during our hike.


We ended the day with penne pasta norcino, contourno, zuppa, insalata, and vino. (I only do post this food for you, Nancy and Cathe.) :). Buona notte.
Pasta and Grecchio wine at our dinner in Assisi.

Pasta and Grecchio wine at our dinner in Assisi.


The basilica is outlined during the sunset in Assisi.

The basilica is outlined during the sunset in Assisi.

By Train to Assisi

We managed to unravel the unfamiliar train systems and board TrenItalia in time to travel to Assisi. We sat with a young nun, who helped us when the conductor fussed at us because we hadn’t validated our tickets before boarding in Florence. I was just happy we made in time onto the train! The so-called ‘RapidTicket’ kiosk was no help and we waited in the wrong queue for several minutes before we were told we needed a number to get served. Just like the DMV at home!
Our travels were rewarded by a beautiful Tuscan/Umbrian landscape with wild poppies lining the train tracks. It started to rain as we arrived, which made for a fantastic afternoon sky and sunset.

Shirley sits on the steps of our hotel.

Shirley sits on the steps of our hotel.


We are back to very slow internet access, so I’ll try to upload more photos later. Buona notte.
Sunset in Assisi

Sunset in Assisi

Florence Day 3

The view from our room in Florence. We have our own little courtyard.

The view from our room in Florence. Our room opens onto a small courtyard.

Shirley and I enjoyed breakfast at the hotel and then headed to the Medici Palace to see more sights and art. San Marco was just a couple of blocks away so we took time to see the beautiful Fra Angelico frescoes at the monastery. (Cathe, you will need to visit here again!) Our hotel staff was able get us a reservation at the Uffizi Gallery so we spent the rest of the afternoon there.
After a rest, we decided that we should climb the campanile and take in the view. (!)

The campanile di Giotto has only 414 steps to the top.

The campanile di Giotto has only 414 steps to the top.

We decided it was lucky we are from Colorado and it wasn’t even as stressful as a small 14er-ette. But it was airy!
We finished with dinner and a walk along the Arno river.

Another fantastic dinner, this time at Santa Maria Novella plaza.

Another fantastic dinner, this time at Santa Maria Novella plaza.

Shirley stands near the Ponte Vecchio at sunset.

Shirley stands near the Ponte Vecchio at sunset.

Florence Day 2

Today was a big museum and church art day: the Uffizi, the Accademia, Duomo, Bargello, San Marco, and more. We saw more centuries of art than we thought possible. As a result, I have fewer photos today of monuments… But we still had lots of photo opportunities.

Cathe and Nancy enjoy the day near the Duomo.

Cathe and Nancy enjoy the day near the Duomo.

And Shirley joined us today in time for dinner.

And Shirley joined us today in time for dinner.


Nancy and Cathe head back to Colorado tomorrow, so they will leave the hotel early in the morning. I will miss them greatly!

Travel to Florence and Boboli Gardens

We left the farmhouse after breakfast and headed north to Florence in the car. Of course, we got lost just outside the city and were stuck in Scandicci traffic during market day –ugh. The fun didn’t stop there: it was raining we also got lost just short of the rental car depot, with a confused Siri finally telling us to “make a U-turn and then immediately make a U-turn.” So we turned her off and Google maps saved the day. (Sorry, Apple.) We were finally able to check in the car, take a taxi to our hotel, and then to walk the city a bit.

The duomo plaza just after the rain.

The duomo plaza just after the rain.

We walked to to the Boboli gardens via the Ponte Vecchio.

We walked to to the Boboli gardens via the Ponte Vecchio.

Nancy admiring the fancy plantings at the Boboli Gardens.

Nancy admiring the fancy plantings at the Boboli Gardens.

Then Cathe and Nancy found the perfect ristorante and made reservations for the three of us. The food was the star…

Arugula, avocado, tomato salad precedes the Pici pasta and pepper. Yum.

Arugula, avocado, tomato salad precedes the Pici pasta and pepper. Yum.


Chicken with Dijon mustard cream sauce and asparagus. (Note the rose petal garnish.)

Chicken with Dijon mustard cream sauce and asparagus. (Note the rose petal garnish.)

Sea bass with funghi cream sauce and taglietelle noodles.

Sea bass with funghi cream sauce and taglietelle noodles.

Santa Maria Novella shines brightly after the storm tonight.

Santa Maria Novella shines brightly after the storm tonight.