First Trip to Italy

A few years before we made our first trip to Tuscany, a friend had loaned us “her favourite movie ever”, Under the Tuscan Sun. What I remember most, besides her incredibly gorgeous lover, Marcello, and maybe the food shots, were the views of the Tuscan countryside. It was so stunning I said to my husband, “before I die”, can we please make sure we go to Tuscany?


Good friends asked us to join them on a trip to Tuscany and Umbria a couple of years later. When an opportunity like this comes up, why not…

I will never forget the excitement and awe I felt flying into Nice and seeing the Mediterranean for the very first time. I had never been to Europe so everything I saw left a huge impression. We picked up our car in Nice and then proceeded to drive to a little town in northwest Tuscany. We were all exhausted after the flights.

Our friends totally surprised us when they put on a CD of Italian music just as we crossed the French/Italian border. What a surprise and a great introduction to what would become a love affair with Italy.

Everyone had decided that the homes we would rent had to have a basic, decent kitchen so that I could cook for the four of us in the evenings. After being out and about all day and coming across small outdoor markets displaying gorgeous produce that we could not resist buying, we returned “home” to share some vino and begin cooking dinner using all those things we “had to buy!”

I just love cooking in Italy! Fresh Porcini mushrooms, Florentine steak and beautifully ripe, seasonal vegetables and fruits. We bought a potted basil plant and took it with us to each place we had rented. Very handy!

Most places had outdoor barbecues (we have yet to see a gas barbecue in Italy). Eating outdoors, late into a beautiful, starry, night, what a joy. I saw fireflies for the first time!


Phyllis Signature



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