Un arcobaleno sull’ Toscana

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Giorno due a Firenze

Oggi è molto freddo e piove! Sono bagnata. Today is very cold, and it’s rainy. I’m soaked, or my boots are. Still, it’s a good day.

Questa mattina faccio una passeggiata al San Miniato, my favorite little church that overlooks all of Florence. Quindi, ho fatto spese (went shopping) vicino a Santa Croce. Poi sono andata alla Messa a Santa Croce. Era molto freddo! I had to wear my hood and gloves during Mass. Still, it was worth it with a pew view of Giotto’s frescoes.

Devo andare al treno. It’s ten degrees colder in Montepulciano. Snow is forecast for Wednesday! See cold wet boots below.

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Un Giro a Firenze Updated

Va bene. I have requests for English, so I will translate each Italian sentence after I write it. Ieri mattina sono andata a Firenze via l’autobus e poi in treno. Yesterday morning I went to Florence by bus and then a train. Rimango al appartamento Airbnb a Via Dante Alighieri, yes, Dante’s street, just two blocks from the Palazzo Vecchio, nel cuore dell città (in the heart of the city).

Mi piace viaggiare da sola perché vedo molto. Anche, devo parlare più in italiano. Ma, mi manca cenare con una altra persona.

I like traveling alone because I notice more. Also, I have to speak more in Italian. But, I miss eating dinner with another person.

The big (sad) story I wrote in Italian is that on Friday I asked Alberto and Silvia, my teachers, if I could move up to the higher level class this week, and they said no. I even showed them that I had already done some of the lessons we’re doing last summer in my workbook. They just give me more exercises. I know I need to practice more, and I enjoy my classes, but I feel a bit discouraged. Here’s an example of my “learning difference” with languages.

On the way to class one day last week, I saw a classmate. I said, “Non pieve oggi!” He said, “Piove.” The difference is between saying what I meant: It’s not raining today! And No churches today! Just because of one vowel. I have trouble with all the vowels in Italian  because there are so many in every word, it seems. Troppe vocale! Too many vowels. They get me tongue-tied, and they are easy to get dyslexic over.

That’s why I prefer writing and reading in Italian. In reading, I get the gist, and then look up on Google Translate the words I can’t figure out from context. In writing, it forces me to go more slowly and to “check my work” for careless errors or misspellings.

So, that’s my story. I love it here. I love my classes, the teachers, and my fellow students. The teachers always make it fun but hold us to high standards. Clearly. When I speak to my Airbnb hostesses and others in public (just your general travel Italian and describing my studies, where I live, what I do, how many kids I have) they tell me I speak Italian well. It’s when I have to compose in my head that I have trouble. I also think I have good pronunciation (for a straniera (foreigner) because of listening so much to native speakers).

Okay, Richard and probably Sandra (although she’s too kind to say so) are so tired of me lamenting that I’m a “slow learner” in Italian. Most people would have given up by now, but I am more determined that ever to make good on my investment. When I retire, I can return to my classes in Austin in order to keep it up. I bet you now wish I were writing in Italian!

Questa mattina vado a Messa a Santa Croce. Voglio essere al primero filo a vedere i freschi di Giotto! This morning I’m going to Mass at Santa Croce. I want to sit on the front row to see the Giotto frescoes!
Buon fortuna! Ho “late check out” today, so I can leave my things here until right before the train at 5:15 pm. I hope the rain continues to hold off (mostly) as it did yesterday.

Un bassrivielo della strada

Un bassorilievo alla strada

Un edificio a Oltrarno

Questo Palazzo è al Oltrarno (on the other side of the Arno River)

Il bar a Piazza Santo Spiritu

Piazza Santo Spiritu

Piazza Santo Spirito, one of my favorite piazzas in Oltrarno

The Wolves and the Grape: wonderful enoteca where I had crostone con burrata e finocchio (salami with fennel)

Crostone con burrata e finnochioLe Volpi e l’Uva

Molte persone fanno questa foto.

Classic tourist photo, but I never tire of the sight of the Duomo

Il mio appartamento a Via Dante

Il mio appartamento alla Via Dante Alighieri

View from my apartment. Palazzo Vecchio is two blocks straight ahead.

La vista dal mio appartamento. At the very end is the Palazzo Vecchio!

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Castiglione del Lago Trasimeno

Oggi ho chiesto i miei insegnanti, Alberto e Silvia, si posso frequentare una classe alta la prossima settimana, e loro dicono No. Sono triste. Ma non ce importante perche sono in Toscana! Bob e io scegliamo andare al escursione questo pomeriggio al Castiglione del Lago  perché  volgiamo vedere la insegnante molto carina, Eleanora. Eleanora viva a Castiglione del Lago e la abbiamo incontrato li.

Abbiamo visitato il centro, il Palazzo della Corgna (1563), e la fortezza. Il torre e unico perche ha solo tre mure. Castiglione era una isola molti anni fa ma perche il lago e decresciuto, oggi e una peninsula. Nel palazzo abbiamo visto un fresco della battaglia di Lago Trasimeno dove Hannibal e i Carthaginiani hanno  vinto contra i Romani molti anni fa.

Siamo quattro: Rhinehardt, Bob, Eleanora, e io. Dopo il giro, prendiamo un aperitivo al bar con la vista al lago.

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Lago Trasimeno

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Il nostro gruppo

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La battaglia di Lago Trasimeno

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La Fortezza

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La Fortezza

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Ginnastica Etrusca!

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Abbiamo Cucinato Iera Sera

Iera sera Brigid, Rhinehardt, e io abbiamo cucinato la cena con Lillian (di Brasil) alla Catina Gattavecchi. Era molto divertente e delicioso. Abbiamo preparato gnocchi (con le patate), il coniglio (rabbit), una frittata, fagiolini verde con pancetta, e le salvie fritte. Era un lungo ma divertente sera. Maria was the sou chef, and she and Lillian had a comical relationship. Lillian would grow exasperated and order her around but then be sweet to her. For instance, she gave Maria the tip I gave her. Era molto divertente come la comedia situazione di tv. Mi piace molto Rhinehardt e Brigid. Siccome Brigid e Rhinehardt sono Tedeschi (German), abbiamo parlato italiano tutto la notte.

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Rhinehardt e io con Lilian, la nostra cuoca brava!

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Il nostro gruppo

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Lillian con il coniglio

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Facciamo i gnocchi

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I gnocchi

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I antipasti

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I gnocchi con le zucche e gambere

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Il coniglio e fagiolini

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Il Podere Il Casale

Il Sasso is the perfect school for extroverts traveling da sola because they have excursions planned every afternoon after classes if enough people sign up. Today Andrea, Pablo, and I went to this organic farm nearby that Maria took me to last summer: Podere Il Casale. Several weeks ago it was written up in the Sunday New York Times Travel section. Paolo, our taxi driver, took us over le strade bianche (white roads) to the farm on a bluff with 180 degrees of a bella vista panoramica. The views were breathtaking, especially with the rain storm only over Pienza. 64479049-0037-481A-A4CE-DDAE6BD847EF9C646181-CA5A-4AF0-9DA2-94DE94F1FED44772099F-DE0A-4B3E-9CB9-9710A7454E806A241307-656D-4E71-B289-DE00C06804FAThe Swiss family moved to Il Podere Il Casale in 1991 and became the first organic farm in the region. Since 2004, the whole Val d’Orcia has become an UNESCO heritage sight in order to preserve the pristine quality of the landscape and its buildings. Fifty years ago this part of Italy was impoverished but has since been brought back to life. This Swiss family raised five sons here. The second son gave us a tour of the farm, and his mother is a wonderful hostess. After our tour we had a cheese tasting. The fresh ricotta cheese is amazing. Newsflash: ricotta means recooked in Italian. It comes from the whey. I am having some for dinner. Here are some photos:

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Un agnello

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Milking the sheep

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Le capre

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Il Degustazione di Formaggio

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Una Passegiatta in Campagna

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