Tuscany - Week 2

Saturday–Monday 21-23 December 2019

Loro Ciuffenna

Not a thing to report.  It rained all weekend so we used the time to catch up on our washing, posted our journal online


Tuesday 24 December 2019

Loro Ciuffenna

Off on an outing in the charabanc today – to Siena!

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Google Maps makes navigation so easy these days.  All you need to know is where you are going and not make spelling mistakes.  On the other hand you never get lost anymore so you don’t have those unexpected discoveries, revelations, epiphanies … - “We had no idea this wonderful place was here”.

We mention this because the first time we visited Siena was on 13 August 1987 on our third major cycle tour (6,600 km long starting in Spain in March and ending in UK in September of that year).  We chose Siena because it had a camping area which, when we arrived, was phenomenally packed but, being on a bike, you seldom got turned away.

“Is there something on in town?” we asked.  “Don’t you know, it’s the Palio tomorrow”.  You don’t get that with Google.  Also, that was the first time we had ever had freshly grated Parmesan on our “spag bol”, and that was because we couldn’t find any of those green and yellow Kraft tubes.  Enough travel philosophising.  Suffice it to say; it’s just not the same any more.

We arrived, parked and escalated up into the historical centre (much prefer the Italian, Centro Storico).  We notice that, given a choice, we also have developed a preference for escalators to trudging up hills.

First stop was a peek into the Basilica San Francesco which was interesting as it had a single nave which was incredibly wide and no less high.  Looking at the timber roof trusses it must have been two full grown tree lengths wide.

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Our route merged onto the main via del Touristico as we all headed for the main attraction in Siena which is the Piazza del Campo where the Palio is held (if you don’t know what the Palio is check this link https://www.visittuscany.com/en/topevents/palio-di-siena-00001/).  Although the tourists today seemed predominantly “Italians out for the day” it was nevertheless a shock to see how many tourists there are even in the dead of winter.

The piazza del Campo is a large space so even with the numbers here today it was sparsely filled and we stood and absorbed some sunshine for a while as the clock struck 12:00– it being a pleasant 13ºC before heading onward.

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We had intended to visit the Duomo, which from the outside looked magnificent, as we had missed it on previous visits to Siena.  However, it turned out that you had to pay to go in.  Our policy, most of the time (unless its really special) is not to pay to visit a church – the Catholic Church has too much money anyway.

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Quickly tiring of touristing the committee made a unanimous decision to seek out an establishment to provide midday sustenance and we settled on the Osteria da Cice.  Good choice.  Small and cosy, specialising in local fare and frequented by Italian diners.  For those of you that just have to know what we had, it was; for Clive:  Ribollita (traditional Tuscan fare of a thick soup of bread, vegetables and cannellini beans with a crust of thinly sliced onions) for primi followed by a tagliata de manzo (slices of steak) topped with thin slices of lard (not just any old lard but lardo de Colonnata – an extreme delicacy!) and for Cheryl: Scamorza Affumicata (smoked stretched-curd cheese from southern Italy) baked with lardo de Colonnata and balsamic vinegar, followed by fillet of pork with apples & prunes.  No room for dessert again – just coffee.

Wednesday 25 December 2019

Loro Ciuffenna

The highlight today is Christmas lunch.  We are booked in at the restaurant here at la Ferriera.  Not much need for words, the pictures tell the whole story.  Each course came with a glass of local wine and, apart from a few sips of Prosecco, Cheryl let her side down as usual so Clive was compelled to uphold the honour of the table and proceed with a glass in each hand.  As it was five courses in total that makes; um, two times five less half = too many!  It was over a long time though!

We were the only non-Italians in the restaurant but Italians are very friendly people and everyone was in a festive mood thanks to the wine.

Here is our menu:

PRANZO DI NATALE                     Menu Consigliato dal nostro Chef

CHRISTMAS LUNCH                      Menu recommended by our Chef

Entrè con Prosecco

Prosecco to start

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Insalata di Cappone con finocchi julienne all’arancia, mandorle e uva

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Capon (chicken) salad with julienne fennel with orange, almonds and grapes

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Primi Piatti

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First Course

Tagliolini di cavolo nero su crema di Zolfini e Tarese croccante

Tagliolini of black cabbage on Zolfini (special Tuscan beans) cream and crispy Tarese

Cappellacci ripieni di Cotechino e ricotta salata

Cappellacci stuffed with Cotechino and salted ricotta

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Secondo Piatto

Main Course

Arrosto di Vitello alle nocciole con cavolfiore viola al profumo di menta

Roast Veal with hazelnuts and purple cauliflower with mint flavour

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Dolci della Tradizione

Traditional Sweets

In abbinamento Vini della Tenuta Setteponti serviti a bicchiere

In combination Wines from Tenuta Setteponti served by the glass

Euro 45,00 per persona tutto incluso

Euro 45.00 per person all included

Link for "Zolfino"

Link for "Tarese"

Link for "Tarese"

For those of you who are interested in what “Zolfino” and “Tarese” are – check out the links above.

Thursday-Friday 26-27 December 2019

Loro Ciuffenna

Again, nothing to report.  Just a stroll down to the village for provisions each day and not much else.

© Cheryl & Clive Miller 2019-20