Category Archives: Tuscany

You “Massa” Check Out This City (Massa, Italy)

Man, do I love the bad puns in my titles or what?  Probably about as much as I love posing rhetorical questions to my readers…hercules__bad_puns_by_masterof4elements-d75obi2

Roughly twelve days ago, I was as proud of myself as Arvind Mahankali when he successfully spelled knaidel to beat Pranav Sivakumar and secure the championship title during the 86th Scripps National Spelling Bee (apparently, this particular Indian-American knows a thing or two about Jewish comfort food).  Why was I so pleased with myself, you ask?  Well, I thought that I had finally caught up with our stories on the blog.  And then a whirlwind of activity commenced in a flash as Jen’s sister arrived for a visit with her boyfriend.  We had such a nice time traveling and eating with them (really, is there anything else you would want to do in Italy?) that now I have a ton more to write about.  Additionally, we left them to their own devices while we embarked on a rewarding road-trip, which I cannot wait to tell you about.  So, now once again –  I am behind the times again faster than you can spell prosciutto.

An accurate portrayal of me as I struggle to keep up with the blog
An accurate portrayal of me as I struggle to keep up with the blog

When I was looking ahead toward the next 5-8 posts, I realized that I would be remiss not to step back and mention our visits to Pisa and then Massa in northern Tuscany.  When I last wrote, I detailed our trip to Lucca (HERE).  During the drive home we detoured to marvel at the Torre pendente di Pisa (Leaning Tower of Pisa) before getting back on the road.  We hadn’t traveled too much further when our perfectly timed Italian stomachs told us it was time for lunch (at first I thought our three stomachs growling in unison was a tractor-trailer honking furiously at me).  I was more in the mood for a leisurely lunch than a quick stop at an AutoGrill (picture a rest-stop along the NJ Turnpike with better food and espresso).  I turned to my trusty “TripAdvisor” cell phone app and searched for a restaurant near us.  I discovered Il Fatty (yeah… you guessed the translation; The Fatty) in the city we were approaching.  With a name like, “the fatty” – how could you go wrong?!  I took the exit toward Massa and headed into the center of town. Continue reading You “Massa” Check Out This City (Massa, Italy)

“Lucca Over Here… This Tuscan Town is Amazing”!

If you read the title of this post with your best impression of an Italian accent, then you probably nailed the pronunciation of one of our new favorite Italian towns.  Lucca has been on our bucket list to visit for quite some time and now we can happily say we’ve been.

Lucca, Italy
Lucca, Italy viewed from the Torre Guinigi
Torre Guinigi - Lucca
Another angle from Torre Guinigi
Lucca viewed from the city walls
Lucca viewed from the city walls

The city is renowned for many things, not the least of which is the giant annual gathering of comic book nerds and fantasy film geeks. Lucca plays host to Europe’s version of Comic-Con, the Fiera Internazionale del Fumetto (International Festival of Comics) or as it’s commonly referred – Lucca Comics and Games.

Some participants of Lucca Comics.  Photo courtesy of Francesco Petrucci
Some participants of Lucca Comics and Games. Photo courtesy of Francesco Petrucci

Continue reading “Lucca Over Here… This Tuscan Town is Amazing”!

The Tallest Man in Italy

I have no proof that when my sister, Michelle came to visit with her husband and daughter (David and Elsa) that he was the tallest man in all of Italy… but I’d say there’s a good shot!  When I picked them up at the airport, I simply looked for the tallest/shortest couple combo possible (he’s a hair over 6’8″ and she’s a modest 5’2″).  I spotted them instantly and helped them get some caffeine before taking them home for our big Italian lunch.
David, Elsa and Michelle – he’s crouching down to make it in the frame

Julia’s younger cousin, Elsa was her newest obsession and she had been excited all week leading up to their visit.  She would wake up every day and scroll to some of the video’s or pictures we had on our iPad and scream “ELSA!”  When the real thing walked (or rather, crawled) through the door – she was like a kid on Christmas.  She couldn’t stop hugging and kissing her.  Although, she had an awkward way of pulling her in by the neck – so much so that we dubbed Julia the, “Scranton Strangler” (you “Office” fans will get the reference).

The girls all reunited – Julia just wanted to kiss Elsa all the time
“Is my cousin trying to strangle me?!”

Michelle and David have a high-paced, action-packed lifestyle in Chicago and they were looking forward to a couple weeks of unplugging from their demanding jobs that they both do so well.  We were happy to accommodate and show them a slow-paced trip filled with lots of good food and wine.  We spent a couple days in the area, taking it easy.  We visited the local park with the girls, we walked around downtown Como, we drove through many of the smaller lake towns.  I showed David my favorite 5k loop and we went running together nearly every morning.  Michelle cracked up one day after her privacy was invaded by our little Julia, somewhere in the beginning stages of potty training.  She barged in and saw Michelle on the “potty” and declared to her, “Michelle… potty… YAHHH!” Continue reading The Tallest Man in Italy

Edward and Bella – We’re Here!

Well, we didn’t run into Edward Cullen, Bella Swan or that creepy little girl that can induce pain in people’s mind (I suppose the world’s largest and most powerful coven of vampires was in hiding) during our visit to Volterra in Tuscany.
Now this is Tuscany!

For the Tibetan monk that has been living in isolation in Bhutan… and my sister, the only two people in the world that haven’t a clue who Edward or Bella are – I am making a playful reference to the Twilight Series.  Buddhist monk and Michelle, listen up – the premise of the fictional story is simple. Girl falls in love with boy.  Boy happens to be a blood-sucking vampire.  Girl also falls in love with another boy.  Boy happens to be a shape-shifting werewolf.  Love triangle ensues.  They all get in trouble when the Volturi (fictional Vampire royalty from the non-fictional town of Volterra, Italy) get involved.  Giant battle rages.  Extend story over five books.  Produce six movies and collect hundreds of millions of non-fictional dollars.  You know – your classic love story. Continue reading Edward and Bella – We’re Here!

Facebook Brought Us To Tuscany

Facebook is great for a lot of things.  First of all, it’s a wonderful time killer.  It is a spectacular medium for sharing funny videos about cats.  The site is also great for shameless self-promotion of your unimportant blog (ahem).  Facebook keeps me and Jen apprised of popular youtube videos and trending pop-culture stories we would have otherwise missed living in another country.  But perhaps best of all – it helps reconnect people after many, many years.

This is how you “like” a post on Italian Facebook

This was recently the case when my wife re-connected with a high school friend of ours, now living in Tuscana (Tuscany).   Continue reading Facebook Brought Us To Tuscany