Italian Colors-3
Ciao amici,
come state? Io mi godo la vita casalinga e una tisana alla cannella. I'm enjoying home life and a cinnamon tea.

Are you ready to be transported, once again, to Tuscany's Maremma?
For "il ponte dei morti", the bridge of the dead, we fled Rome and spent the long weekend in Tuscany.
We call "fare ponte", doing the bridge, when by taking just one or two days off between festivities and/or weekends, we get to go on a vacation for four, five, or seven days - when stars align!
So we drove to the beach house, armed with sweaters, double blankets, and wool capes. Tuscany is colder than Lazio, and Maremma is also very humid.
The weather was clement enough to allow us a t-shirt from eleven to four, enjoy the comfort of a blanket while sipping the morning tea, and have to shelter inside only after the sunset.
For our first lunch, we barbecued bread for bruschette, the last bell pepper and zucchini of the season, ribs, and sausages. I tried to roast the chestnuts I had hunted a few weeks ago, but I burned them.

The spotted - and stained - floor around the garden inspired some preserving activity: the olive trees were letting go of their green-to-blackish fruits, so I picked a few and began the long curing process. Twenty days in water, changing it every day, and then the brine. Once again, they'll go on the Christmas aperitif table. I'm confident they'll be pulpier this year since I gathered them this late.
We alternated a homemade dinner - and that's stretching out the concept since all we did was buy "pasta ripiena" at the local pastificio and season it with a minutes-made tomato sauce - to two of our favorite spots in the vicinities.
Part of the fun of dining at most of the places I like is discovering what's new on the menu or what we've missed the previous times. Not appliable to the second restaurant, which is a very old style place if not for their new, marine wine glasses!
But much more to the first one, where we tasted a Grappa made with Marruca honey.
Marruca, we were illustrated, is a plant of the Macchia Mediterranea, the Mediterranean scrub. Here's a picture I found on
I didn't find validation anywhere. But I did sense a slight marine, briny aftertaste. And sensed it again when I took a teaspoon from the tiny jar of honey we brought home.
But I was probably just influenced.
Anyway, the Grappa was good, sweet, interesting but a bit cloying.
The other delicious I-must-try-to-replicate find was the basil and lemon sorbet that accompanied our raw fish antipasto!
The beach hosted us for morning walks - after, of course, breakfast with a view:
save the planet
- my husband saving the planet! -
and for a before-dinner aperitivo. I like anything picnic-related, so we packed tomato juice for me and a beer for Luca, bundled up, and spent a lovely hour watching the natural light go, the town in the distance light up, and the stars frame the sky. I even think I caught a falling star; see the strange stretch on the right?
The fishermen's village was a unique blend of new and old: teens and toddlers strolling the streets dressed up and asking for treats and bakeries offering one of Tuscany's traditional sweets of the dead: Pan co' Santi, a slightly peppery sweet bread stuffed with raisins and walnuts. Which was, unapologetically, our second breakfast.
sweet bread
Since celebrating far from home, I put together all I could and found around to create a Halloweenish/All Saints/Day of the Dead centerpiece. White and round chrysanthemums - Italy's flowers of the dead because they bloom in this exact period - a white pumpkin, a wooden tray found in the house, and olive branches.
We spent the penultimate day at Saturnia's hot springs. Although a bit too crowdy for my liking, the hour (maybe two!) I spent under the massaging falls were fantastic. Plus, I conceded myself a face, hands, and feet treatment. No wonder we were in bed at half past nine and slept like infants!
hot springs
The scenic drive to Saturnia is amazing. Rows of cypresses, the delicate hills of the Maremma countryside, and the dust clouds that remind you you're in one of Italy's wildest areas are one of the most energizing wonders of the country, at least for me.
Before driving back home, we pit-stopped at a farm for supplies: a pumpkin, a giant red onion, and a bunch of black kale.
Finally, I'll use the funny drawing we found on the car window to ask you if this happens only in Italy or elsewhere too: children writing on dusty cars "lavami", wash me, partly recommendation, partly insult. What caught my attention, though, is how much communication has changed: lavami has evolved into an emoticon!
Our spooky celebrations ended yesterday with the Rocky Horror Picture Show at the Olimpico, the theater in Rome that hosts most musical and dance performances, one of my favorites!

That's it for today, belli miei. Autumn is definitely here, so I'll probably guide you through the cold season's local pleasures in the coming newsletters.
Buona domenica!



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