Colette LaFleur once more reporting on the ever-expanding adventures of The Hawaiian Princess and The Wonder Puppy (THPaTWP). This is one of two extremely interesting adventures for Our Princess. We are not camping, we have caught a flight from Florida to Milan, Italy and caught the trains to Tuscany.
Monterchi is a medieval town originally built with strong walls to keep invaders out. In 1352, the first earthquake to partially destroy the town hit and the last was in 1917. Walking around the old portion of the city, you can see where damage was and how the town has continued to survive after hundreds of years.
We stayed in the new part of Monterchi that has been built along the road that leads to Arezzo. ‘New’ being a relative term, our lodging was built in the 16th century. Our apartments were in an old mill. There were four apartments and ours was La Stalla. The walls were 18 inches thick of hand-hewn stone.
Here is the website of our bed & breakfast. It was fabulous. http://cantodeglialberti.com/
The trip was organized by our dear friend, Chef Michelle Reeves-Gioviti from The Fat Tuscan in Gainesville, Florida.
There were so much wonderful food cooked and consumed completely and with much appreciation. Here’s a look at what we had.
All of us either entered Italy or exited through Milan airport and took the train to/from Milan Central Train Station. The trains in Europe are the most efficient way to travel around the continent. The station in the center of Milan is massive with 24 platforms with trains entering and exiting constantly. People crowd the waiting area checking schedules and finding what platform to hurry to so they can make their connections.
The building housing the train station is exquisite.
We traveled around Tuscany, which is more beautiful then any of us imagined. It was October and the weather was uncommonly warm. That suited a group of crazy Americans from Florida. The mornings were cool, mist filled the valleys and painted all the world with diamonds. As I mentioned in the beginning, we stayed in Monterchi, in a 500 year old bed & breakfast. Here is the name of the resort, please check out their website, but don’t be too jealous of us.
The first town we visited was Monterchi. Since we were staying there and it was, ‘just up the path’, we walked.
If you have seen the film, Under the Tuscan Sun, you have seen Cortona. It is a vast and beautiful portion of Tuscany that is also steeped in history. It is a medieval town, built with steep walls to protect the citizens from invaders. This part of Italy is Umbria. Through this valley, the Roman general, Hannibal, with 100,000 men and 37 elephants marched on their way to cross the Alps in the 3rd century B.C.
Today, Cortona is a vibrant small city with much history, art, beauty, warm and friendly people, great food, delicious wine, flowers and stunning vistas. Madame could see herself, with her humble servant, living here.
Anghiari is considered one of the “most beautiful towns in Italy”. We all agreed. The town is surrounded by high walls built in the 13th century and sits overlooking the Tiber Valley. It is a most walkable towns in Italy, with many small and secretive tunnels, hidden wells and many, many steps. Wear good shoes and be prepared for beautiful surroundings and plenty of exercise.
Arezzo is the capital of the providence and also the nearest train station to our bed & breakfast. It is a delightful mix of modern and medieval, as was everywhere we visited.
Citerna is another medieval town that sits on the large hill above our bed & breakfast. We visited there briefly after spending hours in Anghiari. We were tired, but would have had time to visit longer.
Addio per ora
The week flew by all too quickly and we had to say good bye for now. All of us have vowed to return to Tuscany and Italy. It is so beautiful.
As the four couples each went in different directions, our Princess and her entourage headed once again to the Milano Centrale Train Station with tickets to Switzerland. Check in soon for this next adventure.