#4 Italy, July 5, 2011

Dear Everybody,

We flew to Rome via Amsterdam; then our train going to Arezzo was delayed and delayed some more, but we eventually got there and were met by Marco and Lorenzo’s parents. Partina, the village where my son-in-law grew up, was unchanged—the castle, the 16th century church, the grocery store where we buy our prociutto, and the main street going through town, along with the people, were all there!






The boys caught up on all the news and enjoyed their cousin, Martina, and her friends, as usual. Their older cousin, Mateo, was at the beach visiting a friend but returned after the weekend, so they could reconnect with him, too.




Each evening the boys’ aunt and uncle were busy in their ‘Speedy Pizza’ shop making pizza, which the boys and their cousin took full advantage of. We three grownups took some pizza back to the house, along with a nice bottle of Chianti Classico and I especially enjoyed the ‘tartuffo’ pizza (made with black truffles).




On Sunday we had dinner at my favorite restaurant, Il Casentino, which is on the grounds of the 13th century Poppi Castle a few kilometers away. As always, it was so good, and we enjoyed eating outside on the verandah of the main building which was the long ago stable for the castle. The view from the castle is pure Tuscany, always beautiful, but this month it is extra green and pretty. The boys’ aunt, uncle and cousin joined us, and we stopped for wonderful gelato afterwards.

Monday was the 4th of July and so we spent the morning preparing for a party. We planned an American menu with grilled brats and hamburgers along with potato salad, fruit, and Brownies, most of which the Italians are unfamiliar with. We went to the nearby Coop where we could buy our supplies and spent much of the day cooking and preparing.

While we were doing this, Claire went with Martina and her parents to Caprese Michangelo (yes, he was born there) to survey the boarding school that Martina will attend next fall.



That evening Roberto’s two sisters’ families and two friend families came to celebrate with us. The huge potato salad that I had made was gone by dinner’s end, much to my satisfaction as they don’t ‘know’ potato salad. Roberto grilled hamburgers and sausages until everybody was happy, and the Sangria helped with that, too. We finished off our meal with Brownies made by Claire and enjoyed by all.  The boys managed to buy sparklers and firecrackers with which to celebrate the 4th of July—the neighbors didn’t seem to mind.

Tomorrow morning I shall be driven to Arezzo where I will get the train to Rome, and then fly to Vilnius, Lithuania.

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