“La Mille Miglia”

Hi, Ceci, Finn, Gus, and Kieran!

This week in Italy there is a big auto race. Well, when it started in 1927, it was a race. These days, it is more like a car show, driving  from the city of Rome to the city of Brescia…and back again. By the end, the cars have gone nearly 2 thousand miles!

Of course, we wanted to see all the cars, especially the really old ones, called “Vintage” cars. We decided to go to the laundromat because we knew the  cars would be driving down that street!

In this photo, I am hurrying out of  the laundromat with my camera.  I was afraid I would miss  the cars! Can you see the “1000 Miglia” flag falling out of my purse?

Many others wanted to see the cars, too. Several people waited with us on the street. 

A  big crowd waited in Siena’s main piazza, called The Campo.  It’s where the great bareback horserace takes place on July 2.

 I’ll tell you more about that race another time, but NOW FOR THE “MILLE MIGLIA”  — 

First, we saw about 75  Italian, German, and British cars that looked like ones some people drive today.

Some of the cars looked the ones in “Cars”

I think Dad, Uncle Matt, and both Uncle Toms would like some of these,  don’t you?


This green Porsche was the first of the Vintage cars to arrive.

It was the most fun I’ve ever had doing laundry!


Hi to Ceci, Finn, Gus and Kieran!

You will be celebrating this special week with Grandpa Tom  ( I just saw a   great video about his St Thomas award). Probably you will eat lots of his 70th birthday cake with the cousins, too. 

This has made me start to  think about food you might  like here in Tuscany, so I will  tell  you about some of it.

In the morning when I am out walking, I often stop at  Caffetteria Diaccetto. I usually just have an espresso, but sometimes I have one of these pastries.

When it is hot in the afternoon, I usually have some gelato from Grom’s. Here is the list of May Flavors. You can read some of them, Ceci, and mommy or daddy can tell you the others. I am still trying looking for  a flavor I don’t like!

We usually eat lunch at home. Mommy would love the salads we make here! Artichokes are in season, so we have them chilled. Eggplant is in season, so we have it grilled (on the stove – no oven!), then sometimes we chill it and just eat it cold, later in the day.

 Sometimes we make dinner at home, too.  Last week I made asparagus and gorgonzola risotto.

About a week ago,  our Italian class and Ann and I made a special Siena pasta called “pici”. We mixed flour and water and a little oil, then stirred for awhile. After that, we took little globs of the dough and rolled them into worms. 


Finally, we boiled the pici, poured on some olive oil, then sprinkled it with cheese 

Last week our friend Megan came to visit . We went to a very small restaurant called “La Torre”.  All ten  tables are right next to the kitchen. It would be like knocking down your wall and stairs — so  you could watch dinner being made from the dining room!

The owner was very funny. He told  Megan she should order the ravioli with butter and sage. She did not, but I did, and it was incredibile.

I also ordered fish.

When we finished, the owner came over and WITHOUT LOOKING AT A LIST OR A MENU, told us everything we had ordered, from aperitivo to the last espresso!  Then he went to  the bar, which is right next to the kitchen, where his son was having a drink.  At the bar, he  figured out how much our dinner cost. You can see them both in this picture. The dad looks angry, but I think he is just trying to figure out the cost of our dinner.


Yesterday, we drove into the mountains to visit the town of Volterra. 

It is famous for alabaster. It is sort of like marble-top table in our entryway in St Paul. One difference is you can often see light shining right through alabaster! The photo at the top of this page shows a craftsman finishing a small vase he had just created.  I took this 30-second  video while he was still working on the vase.


 For lunch we had Torta di Ceci. Yes! “Ceci” is another way to say “garbanzo beans”. The Torta is thin like pita bread, and made with ceci  flour, then filled with mushed-up cecis!

The pizza chef mixes everything in a pan on top of the stove.

Then he bakes it in this brick oven.

It is very  crispy on the outside, and gooey with ceci beans on the inside. I know you’d love it…

                                                     (I REALLY DID!)