Tag Archives: Tuscany

Autumn tour part 1: Tuscany, Abruzzo

Let me just start off by saying that the weather during the whole trip was just gorgeous. Initially I had my concerns, being mid-October and all, but everywhere we went it was beautiful, sunny, and warm with the exception of some sleet while we were upland in northern Molise. On day 1 (Tuscany) and 2 (Abruzzo) we averaged 400 km/250 miles on each stretch, made frequent stops for the dogs, and took caffeine breaks before hitting the road again.

La Muccheria, Via San Bartolo, 100, 57027 San Vincenzo (LI)

Traveling during off-season scored us some really great deals on lodging. In Tuscany we had a 1-bedroom apartment (55 m²) with fully-equipped kitchen, free wifi, and a fine view of the pool and grounds for 39€/night plus an extra 12€ for the dogs. I imagine the price triples during the summer season but the location is perfect and a short drive to the beach.

Looking out the bedroom window at La Muccheria

The following night at a donkey farm in Abruzzo was mainly because we can’t seem to get enough of them in our travels. And a place that translates to Golden Donkey Inn? No resisting that, or them, and I did have the chance to ride one but changed my mind (too scared that I’d fall off). Walking one is easier, or so I thought, and here I am with donkey in tow. The owner, Gloria, advised against “being soft” and to take the lead, otherwise our cute friend would just stop and we’d end up with a stubborn ass on our hands.

Donkeying around at Locanda dell’Asino d’Oro

Introdacqua, Sulmona (AQ) – Enjoyed our stay at the inn but this is where we had our first experience with not so dog-friendly restaurants. In the north we rarely come across this problem, but the further south we went, it was different, especially for places that we already had in mind. In the end we found a pizzeria that allowed our two to accompany us. Pizza in the south is amazing. We’ve tried napoletano-style pizza in the north and while good, it’s just not the same. The dough in the south has better flavor, better crust, better everything!

Friarelli (rapini or broccoli rabe) and salsiccia, and Diavola (spicy sausage)

To be continued in Basilicata, in one of the most beautiful villages in Italy…

Sagra dei Pesci

Castiglione della Pescaia – And on the 4th day, there was a fish sagra.

The evening before heading back home, we considered the idea of dinner service offered by the agriturismo’s hosts (the owner is a fisherman and cooks up these fabulous, multi-course meals), but then I had to spot this fish festival poster above. OH yes!

Regular readers know of my mad enthusiasm for traditional food events, and there was no question about where we’d dine that night. Held at a sports camp in the neighborhood of Casa Mora, we got there early before the crowds rolled in.

The menu was primarily fish with a couple of meat options thrown in for carnivores.

Baby sardines with onions — Spinach and ricotta-stuffed tortelli in octopus sauce

Tagliolini in a tomato-based seafood sauce — Stuffed calamari

It doesn’t look like we ate much but there was still some cheese, salumi and wine back at the cottage. Prices were a tad higher (altogether we spent 34€ which included service and a cup of beer), but that’s the norm for fish dishes in Italy anyway. The sagra was also open to dogs, so there wasn’t a problem with our two.

The following morning it was goodbye to our donkey companions (the westie saluted them with a woof!) and a promise to return soon. In October, not far from the agriturismo, there’s a festival serving mushroom dishes, chestnuts, wine, polenta, and wild boar. Che bontà!