Part of my exchange agreement with Heather is that I both help with marketing initiatives and assist during tours, that is why I have not been posting for the last few days. I figured the business end of the Tastes & Textiles tour wouldn’t be of much interest to my blog readers.
The Arrival Day is finally here and we are off to the airport to pickup our guests for the Sapori e Saperi’s Tastes and Textiles tour. We swing by the airport, pickup one guest at the airport, then off to Lucca where we pickup three more guests and while in Lucca, complete a quick guided tour.
Inside the Basilica
We then walked through Lucca to the Duomo, where the piece, ‘Volto Santo’ now resides. I didn’t do the story any justice in this blog, but it is worth the read:
As the story goes, a man had found a large piece of driftwood and had a vision to carve a cross. He couldn’t sleep until it was completed and when he was almost done, was not able to complete the face. His creative block stopped him from completing the face, he just could not do it. He went to sleep, and had visions of angels who completed the face, and when he awoke, the face on the cross was completed. Several people had several visions, each having special instructions like ‘at this location you will find a cross, and you will put it on an unmanned boat and set it afloat’ with each person not knowing of the others visions, until it arrived in Luni and then was transported by unmanned oxen and carriage to Lucca.The very interesting story of Volto Santo can be read here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holy_Face_of_Lucca
Piazza San Frediano in Lucca
Basilica di San Frediano
painting tells story of Volto Santo
Having completed our tour through Lucca, we set off to Agriturismo Venturo in Pieve Foscana, which will be our home base for the week-long tour. If you are not familar with an agriturismo, here’s a short lesson. An Agriturismo is a farm that has added lodging accomodations and is slightly subsidized by the european union in an effort to increase tourism. When people realized they could get money from the government for doing this, you can imagine those that just added accomodation to get the assistance, so the laws changed to include a set of rules to qualify them to get the assistance. Today, this set of rules states that a certain percentage of what the farm produces must be either sold to the public and/or used in the meals of the restaurant at the farm. Two more tour participants are arrive and join us for our “Welcome dinner” at the Venturo, where we were served a sampling of local Garfagnana staples. This particular Agriturismo is run by Cintsia & Ismaele. I was here a year ago and learned how to make salumi by Ismaele. We were served an assortment of salumi and bread made on the premises, hand-made pasta, roasted beef and pork and salad.
The breakfast here includes mostly Agriturismo Venturo premise-made items such as: biscuits (both regular and chestnut buiscuits), farm-grown eggs, yogurt, bread, five different marmalades, honey, proscuitto, etc.