Thursday, January 29, 2015

Off toToscana! Day one

We departed the beautiful Venezia by train back to Firenze (Florence) where we were to take the SITA bus to Siena. Nate called the hotel, Antica Residenza Cicogna, to let them know that we were on schedule. The owner informed her that it was snowing, something that rarely happens. She hoped the bus would be able to get through. So did we! After about 1 1/2 hours we arrived in the center of Siena at a bus stop. We got off the bus to heavy wet snow and I did not wear my boots and my umbrella was packed in the bottom of my suitcase. It was freezing cold but we were here in Tuscana!

Nate had directions to the B&B so off we went, slipping and sliding up and down steep stone streets dragging our wheelies. We arrived at a wooden door and the proprietor, Elisa, opened it and warmly welcomed us in, soggy as we were. She showed us our "suite", a large room with a bath and two twin beds and a connecting room (no door) with a queen bed. Charming. The place was so old but obviously cared for with love. It had a lot of history and had been in Elisa's family for years. The rooms had been rented out mostly to students or single people, "Residenzas", and the building was badly neglected. She and her husband took it over to renovate and turn it into what it is now, a B &B. They both still work full time so she was only there a few half days during the week. After the introduction we thankfully peeled our soaking wet clothes off and draped them over the radiators to dry changing into dry ones. We settled into our respective areas, plugged in cell phones, hooked up to the wifi and went over our itinerary for the next few days.The bathroom was do able for three women, (towel warming bars and all) and there was another sink and toilet (powder room) across the hall. There didn't appear to be anyone else staying here so we had the place to ourselves and it was only 69 eu/person. Perfect! Check out the link to see the beautiful painted ceilings (the blogspot photo upload doesn't work anymore).

With a few restaurant recommendations from Elisa we set off in search of food and drink. The snow had stopped and the sun was coming out. It never snowed again during our stay although it was very chilly.  After peeking in a few doors we decided on La Buca Di San Pietro s.a.s. ristorante. It was welcoming and the smells were incredible. First off we ordered wine. It came in a heavy brown pitcher and was deliciously fruity.
The beginning of a love affair with local vino

Love it already! A beautiful antipasti followed. It looked like plenty to me but we forged on.
Bucatini and the generous antipasti

Vilia had a beautiful soup, Ribollita and an order of sauteed spinach. Very Tuscan.

Mike ordered pork loin with a wonderful wine sauce and veges.
Pork loin stuffed with truffles. I ate his veges

Nate's pasta was bucatini alla Ametricana and my lunch, eggplant parmesan, was unbelievable. A creamy eggplant puree was encased in dried tomato skins with shaved parmesan. It looked like a flower and tasted devine. 
This was a work of art and the flavors were devine

A very promising start to our culinary adventures in Tuscany.
There was plenty of antipasti left but Italians do not offer take out containers so Vilia steathily wrapped up the rest of it in a napkin. Too funny at the time but we certainly appreciated the nibbles later at our "cocktail" hour.

Mike found some beauty tangerines for his Vodka cocktail. The flavor was intense and he was hooked. Again, ice was a problem. We found some little ice cube trays in the breakfast room which he failed to refill thinking "someone would".  No one did.

Next, it was time to check out the Piazza at night and find a place for dinner.

Note: This post is still from my 2013 trip. I haven't been back, yet.