apparently there is something about Tuscany that forces you to write lyrically.... It may be the wine, or perhaps the moments of beauty, but whatever the reason, I apologize for my change in tone. It can't be helped.
Images of Sna Quirico d'Orcia
A garden, hidden by a stone tunnel. Voices and the clinking of silverware on plates. It is obviously a trattoria.I walk through the town; a dark church where a white ceramic statue of the madonna floats in front of gauzy silver fabric. She glows like an apparation.
My parking ticketn in Chianciano Terme put me off as I began my day, but now I have been put back together again. A store is open past 1:30; it is a miracle. Inside, linens fill shelves, frames and ceramics are everywhere, but my eye is caught by a small pillow, LE Mamme sono angeli in incognito.
A wide grassy area in a park makes me wonder why? There are bleachers... perhaps sports? No, it is for music of course. Today, though, all is quiet, only ghosts crowd around me.
I am drawn back to the trattoria. A table for one? I ask in english. Of course signora, he says. The menu has english translations... oh no! I have chosen wrong. How is it possible? The setting is perfect. A table under an awning, under a tree. A wisteria covered trellis. Everyone around me speaks Italian and smokes.
Wine? I am asked. Soft or hard? Old or new? Full bodied? Ah, this one, he says. I ask, where is it from. He tells me Montepulciano...It is made by his uncle. All is forgiven... I have chosen right after all.
So this is what panzanella looks like. It has more bread than i thought - and cucumber for crunch. I take a picture but its' essence is hidden in 'place'; this place.
Pici is a type of pasta from this area. It sounds like it should be small pieces of something but it is actually more like misformed spaghetti. With pecorino e pepe, it is as close as Italians might get to mac-n-cheese. All creamy and white, the pepper stands out as the queen of the dish.
Now I am done. Should I linger or continue on my journey? The perfect contrast between the dark pink red of the melon and the green of its' rind is compelling, but I think I will pass. A dark cloud is coming our way and I hope to find another place still today.
But no, not yet! First I meet Graciella and Guido as we wait to pay our bill. I take their picture and they take mine. Guido is very interested in my time here. It is a good place for Americans to see, he says. Yes, they should come here. They are from Torrino, it is too built up he thinks. This is what a holiday should be.
The cloud has passed.... probably I will now chase it to Montalcino