Returning to the Homeland

Last month my husband, Zach, and I made our way Italy to join with the Talone side of my family for a reunion in the family hometown of Roccascalegna in the mountains of the Abruzzo region. We joined with over 200 of my cousins from Italy, America and Brazil to celebrate with a day full of history, singing, drinks and LOTS of food!

The photo to the right is the view of Roccascalegna from atop the town’s Castillo (as seen at the top of the mountain in the photo above).

Interesting…and somewhat disturbing fact, the Castillo housed a chapel that doubled as a torture room the local ‘criminals’. Yikes!

Ok, ok I kind of fell in love with a litter of kitties who were hanging around the restaurant where we enjoyed an all day five course meal…gotta love the mixture of kittens and eating all day!

By the way, Zach and I are expecting our first baby this winter! I walked our little girl all over Italy and introduced her to all kinds of amazing food. I’m afraid she will now arrive asking for homemade pasta!

The day after the reunion Zach and I took our little Fiat 500 for a drive through the mountains of Abruzzo. Not a well traveled part of Italy, which made us fall in love even more! Small road after small road…the Fiat’s engine wasn’t thrilled, but she made the drive!

Since we had the freedom of a car, Zach just had to swing by Maranello on our way to Florence for a quick stop at the Ferrari Museum. He was like a kid in a candy shop!

Florence was four days FULL of beauty, history and lots of walking!

The giant dome to the right is the Duomo of the Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral and we actually climbed that beast…all 463 stairs! Sure, I thought my preggo self was going to have a heart attach half way up, but I made it to the top! This view and the view of the photo benethe are from the Pizzale Michelangelo, where one of the two copies of Michelangelo’s original David stands.

For something different, we spent the day at the Florence Cooking School learning how to make Tiramisu and homemade pasta. A delicious break from all the walking and I have to say our teachers were AMAZING!

Our nightly ritual included picking up some gelato at the Gelateria Santa Trinita and sitting on the bridge enjoying the view of the Ponte Vecchio bridge, the only original bridge left standing after World War II.

We wrapped up our Italy tour with a day biking through Tuscany with Tuscany Bike Tours which included touring Castello di Poppiano to learn all about their wine and olive oil. Next time I have to visit during November when they harvest the 0lives. The oil we tasted was already amazing but they say it is even better when it has just been harvested and pressed. Sign me up!

L~ F~:

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