Saturday, June 6, 2009

Florence & Pisa: Days 2 and 3

Well it’s day two in Florence and it was a whirlwind of a day. After we got ready, we went to the Galleria dell’ Accademia to see Michelangelo’s “DAVID.” We had heard that the line to get in was pretty intense, but we had all day so we ventured off. We hopped in line and waited for about an hour and a half to get in. However, we had a lovely chat with a girl from San Francisco. She was so nice and told us all about her European travels. Standing in a long line isn’t so bad when you have someone to talk to.

After we got inside we roamed around, but we were like that kid that goes to Disney World to see their favorite character… the other characters are nice, but your eyes are searching for that special one. Well, it’s hard to miss dear old David. He stands well over 15 feet tall (it’s even more amazing to realize he was created from a single block of marble… dude, Michelangelo, you rock!) and the light from the dome above shines a majestic light down on him. You expect to hear angelic music playing when you finally find him. It’s amazing. You cannot take any pics inside the Accademia, but there’s a faux David in one of the piazzas, so I took a pic for all to see!!

Next, we went to the bridge I told you about before (Florence: Day 1) and walked by the window displays of the countless jewelry stores.  This was our “time filler” before the main attraction of the day, of the trip really… our Tuscan cooking class.

We met our driver at 4:30 pm and he took us to the location where our class was to be held. The estate was gorgeous. We drove up the tree-lined entryway, passing the vineyards on the right side, and arrived at the villa. Momma passed the gardens on her way to the wash closet (haha, I love that name for el baño) and said that they were stunning. 

We were decked-out in our “Good Taste of Tuscany” aprons and ready to get started!!


The kitchen was an authentic Italian kitchen (with some modern appliance updates). It was so cool!!


Our time together started off by preparing the dessert, “Torta di Ricotta.”


Next, we worked on the preparation of the octopus for our “Insalata di Polpo.” That’s right, I said octopus. We watched Simone (our amazing instructor) remove the eyeballs and mouth. SO gross, but very cool!! I really liked the octopus… Momma not so much. She couldn’t get past the fact it was an octopus and she had seen its eyes removed, lol.


We then started work on the pasta dough for our “Pici all ‘aglione.” All I have to say is if I ever make homemade pasta for a guy, he’s the one. It’s too much effort otherwise, haha!


The next item of food we prepared was without a doubt our FAVORITE. It surpasses YUM-O status!! We had Flori di Zucchina (Zucchini flowers) that were stuffed with ricotta cheese and then fried… serious o-m-g!! Momma and I both loved them and could have made a meal off the flowers alone.


We also made miniature pizzas with fresh mozzarella and ricotta… they were very tasty.


After all the cooking was done, we sat down with our fellow classmates and the family that owns the villa and surrounding vineyards for appetizers and a four-course meal… soooo much food. It was a good thing we hadn’t eaten anything all day (literally). 


We even had live music!!


It was such an amazing experience, and I’m so glad we did it!! Ciao! -E


Because yesterday was SUCH a busy day (and dinner wasn't over until 11 pm... eek!!), I did not have time to update. So today you get two days in one!!

We took a train to Pisa today to visit the Leaning Tower of course!! It was so cool to see this amazing building in person. It was one of those moments where we turned the corner and there it was... amazing!

And of course, we took the tourist pics :)

Momma is pushing the tower over...

... while I'm trying to hold it up!! So frustrating!! lol

Oh, and you may be seeing this pic in the Travel section of the Charlotte Observer!!

Off to Venice tomorrow!! Ciao! -E

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