Purple Palate Blog

Day 32 – Umbria to Vasto

Up early for our big day on the road heading over to the east coast. Looking at the map, it was way to long to do in one day, so we decided to stay over in Vasto, about midway. It was with a bit of a heavy heart that we left out little house in Umbria. We have decided that Umbria is much more our cup of vino than Toscano. The people are lovely, the land well tended, and with a sense of pride. Far more agrarian than Tuscany, and far prettier. The wine in Tuscany, perhaps more suited to […]

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Day 31 – Panicale

Decided on a quieter day today, but since we were only a 10 minute drive from one of Umbrias hidden gems, with a Trattoria which had come highly recommended, with a great wine list, off we set to Panicale. Arrived in town, making for the nearest parking lot. You simply don’t try and drive anywhere near the old town centres in Italy. A – you don’t fit, and B – if you drive passed the “dreaded red circle of doom” aka a ZTL marker, they will photograph you, and you will have to give them your house… Anyhow we got […]

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Day 30 Spoleto

So we thought it was time to actually get out and see some of Umbria… So we set off for Spoleto, about a 2hour drive from home base… No idea what to expect, but heard they had an intact aqueduct, and, frankly, been a bit over churches, thought it might be a nice change of pace. Got to the carpark at the bottom of town, and when I say bottom, I really mean it. They have escalators that go for about a kilometre, and then you get an elevator another 2 stories up to get to ground level. This place […]

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Day 29 Feast day of Saint Francis of Assisi in Assisi

To all those religious people, the feast day of St Francis seems a little oxymoronic. St Francis, the patron saint of Italia, known for founding the Franciscan order and directly influencing the foundation of the Poor Clares, and whose name the current pope chose, believed in chastity, poverty and obedience  (Symbolised by the monks 3 knots).  So having a big slap up dinner seems out of character… That said Assisi is a wonderful city, set high on a hill, with gorgeous Roman historical sites like the Roman Theater. Lovely cobbled streets and buildings in a beautiful state of repair.  As […]

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Day 28 “and on the 7th day the Lord rested and saw it was good”

We made our way into Tavenelle and found the local wine store that has a really clever idea. They sell wine! Wait for it…..filling a bottle for you there and then. The local producers make their wine, transport it to the store, where it is held in tank to be sold by the litre/bottle. Not just Rosso, but white and Frizzante. We tried the local red €3.10 or $4.70  per bottle. Guess what? It’s good. The Secondatto Rosso, a blend of Sangiovese and merlot was eminently drinkable, so we did a tasting on the sparklings. We loved the sparkling red, […]

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Day 27 Leaving Firenza and trip to Umbria Colle Calzolaro

Woke up tired and little hungover.  So went and had the most expensive breakfast I have ever had anywhere in the world, while watching open museum day in Florence. I’m not kidding for both of us:2 eggs, bacon (3 small slices), 3 expresso, 1 cappuccino, a ham and cheese sandwich, and a piece of chocolate trifle(in a small glass) was $105 Australian dollars.  They saw me coming. We walked to the car rather than trust a bus, but it was lovely. Crossed the Ponte Vecchio and the Pitti palace. Got the car and drove and drove and drove. Then went […]

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Day 26 Firenza (Florence)

I think today I’ll let Roz talk about Florence, she is the art lover and graphic artist. Hi all, Roz here. Woke early, and left our little bit of Tuscan countryside for the big smoke of Florence.  We had luckily thought to book in for Uffizi at 11.45 and Accademia at 3.30 and given the horror of having to try and navigate Florentine traffic, we had decide to park outside the city, and bus in. We left ourselves plenty of time, and just as well. We found our carpark with no dramas, and hopped the number 23 bus for the […]

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Day 25 – Internazionale Academia de Italia Cuisine & Lucca

Having dragged Roz around for days, it was her turn to choose what we did today. Off to a cooking class just outside Lucca.  Cooking class… Simple. You know, blunt knives, silly hats and this is how you slice tomato and mozzarella for an Insalata Caprese, that will be €200 right? Nope. After navigating the narrowest road we have yet struck in Italy, we (eventually) found the beautiful building housing the International Acadamy of Italian Cuisine. A professional cooking school run by renowned chef (and all around terrific guy) Gianluca Pardini. After a briefing in Italian and Japanese, we were […]

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Day 24 Col d Orcia

Feeling a little dubious about the Tuscan region for the last 2 days, we sat down and discussed what about Tuscany we liked and didn’t. First thing was tourists, so many many tourists. Second was that every building seemed to be in good repair and was being used.  Third thing was the towns, all of them seemed vibrant, busy and expensive.  Unlike the northern areas of Italy where cities are insanely busy, but the country was less vibrant, and less polished. Tuscany:  The main factor was, in my opinion, tourists, love them or hate them, the money they bring […]

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Day 23 Antinori

Awoke in the villa and started with a casual stroll around Greve in Chianti’s bush trails. Then off to Antinori to look at their winery and wines. We drove to the facility and literally came around the corner from an ordinary looking hill to see this. The ethos of the winery is all about fitting into the region not dominating the landscape. The winery is not just impressive but a major architectural work, inspired by many artistic and pragmatic ideas. Watch the below to get an idea Antinori winery We had an outstanding lunch with lovely wines on the rooftop. […]

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