Saturday, January 9, 2010

Portafino, Florence and Piombino

Luneday, 4 January 2010.
Has it only been a day since my last entry? Wowza. So, Yesterday we all went to Portafino. It was an incredibly beautiful day with the perfect little breeze and just the right amount of sunshine to make patterns in the clouds. We walked around the town and went to the light house where we took some pictures of the coming storm that was supposed to hit last night.
After some walking and tasting and as my mother would say, "bipsing" around, we caught the train for a late supper Italian style. Mauro had been talking about our dinner excursion all day and my appetite was just aching for some Panigaccio. Panigaccio is like nothing I have ever had before. It is made by pouring a mystery batter on terracotta plates that have been fired on hot coals, topped with another hot plate, some more of the mystery batter(not bread, not pasta) and so on and so forth.
The product is a chewy, delicious tortilla-ish/nann-ish food that is topped with all the fixins'. When you order Panigaccio, you eat it the way THEY want you to. The ONLY way. The first round was served a little soft with olive oil, garlic and cheese, the second dish was with a creamy pesto, the third with a mushroom ragu.

After the softer version of this slightly more tough, pancake type food, they just brought baskets and baskets of deliciously, slightly harder Panigaccio which was accompanied by two different types of cheese and a vibrantly red and white trio of cured meats. Would you believe it when I tell you it was more than we could eat? The last basket was served with a bountiful supply of Nutella. Just when I thought it couldn't get any better, it did.

Of course, we all had espresso at the end of the meal and red wine during. All of this, with more than we could eat with six people, it was less than 23 Euros per person. This was not just a meal, but an experience. Panigaccio is only served in this specific region of Tuscany. Well, I hear, it is the only place where you eat it well. After we ate, Mauro, his sister Claudia and lovely ragazza Rosa drove back to Milan and I joined Corrado and Clara in Florence. After many hours of tossing and turning, I was able to sleep about four(the jetlag is still with me)and awoke to get ready to go into the center with Corrado on his scooter. He went to work which is in the center of the city and I spent the day walking in the rain, getting lost, getting found.

I had been to the Duomo 8 years ago when I studied in Italy and I remembered it well. When I arrived in the Duomo, I walked right up to the candles, almost in a daze, dropped a few euro in the donation box, lit one candle and immediately began to cry. Of course, and I have said this before, I am only Catholic in Italy. I lit a candle for Grandma Juanita. I told her I wished she could be there with me physically, I told her I feel she is with me in spirit every day and I hoped that she knew how much of an impact she had on my life. And still has. Suddenly, it was just me in the Duomo. No one else was there, just me, my tears, my memories, my love for my family, the presence of my Nana. It was just how it should have been. I lit a candle for Whitney too. I have been wearing her headband that was sent to me after she died. I know she would have liked it to go to Italy.

The Uffizi and the Accademia were closed as it was Monday and they are closed on Monday. I guess even 500 year old naked statues need a day off sometimes as well. I would get a little tired of people gawking at my package day in and day out. So, no David today but it was made up for as my other Davide was there to meet me(fully clothed) at the train station after some confusion with station locations, in Piombino. He is here for a festival of improv. I just ate some dinner with about 15 Italian improvisers. I may forfeit the festival party tonight to grab some sleep. Honestly, I may just sleep all day tomorrow. My body needs it. My anticipation of meeting the Theatrino tour grows every moment. I am so glad I have had a couple days to be with friends and get acclimated here. I hope to be refreshed on the 6th where I will finally experience what I have waited a year to be a part of.

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A bohemian lifestyle making good, touring Italy and teaching children through the magic of theatre.