Monday, June 29, 2009

Roma Roma Roma....

This weekend, we went on a little weekend getaway trip to the historical city of Rome. What epic things did we see?
--> The Coliseum (the place where thousands of gladiators were slaughtered for sport)
--> The Pantheon (the oldest building still standing in Rome)
--> The Roman Forum (the remains of the beginning of the Roman empire)
--> The Trevi Fountain (Salvi's breathtaking Baroque style fountain, and the place where wishes come true!)
--> The Sistine Chapel (the Pope's private chapel, and the location of some of the most ornate and famous Michelangelo frescoes)
--> St. Peter's Basilica (the incredible church in Vatican city)
--> The Pope speak! (we saw the Pope speak to 1,000's of people in 4 languages!)

There is only so much you can say with words when you have such a life changing experience.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

John the Baptist Holiday in Firenze!

Yesterday was a city-wide holiday in Florence which celebrated "Saint Giovanni Baptista", or as we know him, John the Baptist. There was a "civil" soccer game (district team against district team), which was played in front of Santa Croce church. The game took place about 100 feet from our apartment, and therefore we were barricaded inside our street quadrant for most of the day. But, the most glorious fireworks show closed out our first and only Italian holiday in a lovely way.

The streets were jammed with people!

The breathtaking dusk-time view of Florence from the top of the city.

This is my roomie/latte drinking partner, Jessica!

And I thought I would miss out on 4th of July fireworks! Even better :)

The deserted soccer stadium after all the festivities finished- isn't it a little strange to see such a majestic church practically attached to the field?

All in all, it was a wonderful holiday to be had. I won't miss our Independence Day one bit! (okay, maybe that's a little white lie) =]

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

San Lorenzo Market Trip

As an alternative to our cooking class, Chef Vincent took us to the biggest market in Florence, San Lorenzo Market. Here are a couple of cool things we saw.

PS: Megs, I thought of you so much- you would have had a hay-day picking out veggies for your juice :)

These are red-shelled beans. Uncooked, the beans look like root beer jelly beans. Cooked, they become blood red.

Check out the size of that mushroom!

Beauuuutiful flowers! The roses smelled amazing, too. (Smelled them for Sarah!)

Typical Florentine tomatoes. The edges are always super bumpy- almost like a pumpkin.

Incredible squash blossoms. They are stuffed with goat cheese and deep fried here.
(We must make them at home, Mom and Dad)

REAL Parmigiano cheese from Parma, Italy. Chef Vincent said all other Parmesan cheeses (like the ones we have in the US), are like all bubbly claiming to be Champagne.

Wall of meat.

We also tasted balsamic vinegar (aged 5,10, and 20 years), honey with white truffle chunks, and nectarines with balsamic glaze. Beneissimo!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Non Si Fa...

Here are a couple of unspoken Italian food rules we've picked up on: (Non Si Fa= we don't do)
--> NEVER twirl your spaghetti in a spoon. It indicates lack of manners and motor skills. Children are the only exception to this rule.
--> Do not put parmesan cheese on everything you eat, especially something with a delicate flavor, like fish. This is highly frowned upon.
--> Cappuccinos are not to be consumed with food, other than at breakfast time. Order a cappuccino at lunch, and you'll get a weird stare from your waiter.
--> Drink your morning latte at a table before you pay, not when you order. Italians think it is dirty to handle money and food at the same time.

When in Rome....!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

No Maps, No Plans

Our Venice day trip turned day trip to Siena today. I refused to allow a map in the hands of anyone who came within 2 feet of me (my theme of the day: no maps, no plans). We meandered aimlessly around Siena for 6 hrs, seeing castles, Italian weddings, villas, and forests. We ate yellow plums and figs in the rain storm, mused about Renaissance construction, drank cocktails at 11 am in a store that looked like the one from Chocolat, ate gelato several times, and discovered what manual escalators are. When an hour-long hailstorm rolled through, we sat inside a gelateria and I chatted in Spanish with a lovely couple from Madrid. We sang songs and laughed as we bonded and discovered the lovely little town of Siena. Hands down, the biggest and most wonderful adventure of my life.

Cobblestone streets of Siena mid thunderstorm.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Via della Brache

Via della Brache is the street I live on. Today in our language class, we learned that it means, "the street of old-fashioned underwear".
So, I live on Granny Pantie street! Not super glamorous for a romantic trip to Firenze.
Our Italian teacher, Nada, got a good giggle out of that one!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Gelato Update

Ciao Bellas!
I am keeping my promise and am attempting to try every flavor of gelato in Firenze. My progress as of day 3:
extra fondant
nocciola (hazelnut, and my favorite so far)

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Hellllllooooo Firenze!

The river near our apartment!

And my first Italian latte!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Dove Vivrò?

Where will I be living for the next month?

The Santa Croce district in Florence.

What will be down the street from our little 2 bedroom apt?

The Santa Croce Basilica! Not a bad view, eh?

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

I Solemnly Swear...

To try every single flavor of gelato in all of Italy.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Firenze... where I will be in exactly 1 week!!!!