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Photo courtesy of Tom Dempsey.

Tuesday, October 23

Italy's Gelato, Siena and Andrea Bocceli

The sweet surprises of Italy, from it's finest gelato, to the fabulous but understated Tuscany city of Siena, and the beautiful tenor voice of Andrea Bocceli. The recent opening of the world first gelato museum, The Gelato Museum Carpigiani in the outskirts of Bologna, in Italy's Tuscany region, has left me reminiscing about Italy's lovely treasures, beyond the typical tourist spots.

What I remember fondly of my travels to Italy was having gelato almost every day. And, why not? With all the walking one does while visiting Italy, it's logical to reward yourself with the splendor treat of a gelato. It's just as refreshing as having a beer on a hot summer day, but, even better, because the kids love it too!

Courtesy of Carpigiani
Courtesy of
Did you know that gelato was once a symbol of prestige, as its key ingredients of ice and salt were very expensive in the times of the House of Medici in Florence, a power prominent family famed for its power and producing popes. An alchemist and astrologer invented gelato in the 16th century. You can learn all about gelato's history, sample a bit, and learn how to make your own gelato at the Gelato Museum Carpigiani.

A lovely surprise while touring Tuscany was landing at the Piazza del Campo in Siena. If we didn't have to find a laundry mat, we wouldn't have discovered the uniquely beautiful city, with a square made of red bricks arranged in fishbone style, divided into a sunburst pattern by nine strips of travertine. The construction was in memory of the Government of the Nine, who ruled Siena from 1292 to 1355.

Siena hosts the famous event of Palio di Siena which is a horse race, in which ten jockeys race on bareback three times around the piazza, and lasts not more than 90 seconds. Preceeding the Palio is the Corteo Storico, a historical costume parade. The Palio takes places during the summer, on July 2 and August 16. The Piazza is also a market filled with wooden Pinocchio dolls. We still have the Pinocchio that we bought for my then 2 1/2 year old daughter.

When I left for Italy, I had a request from a dear client of mine for the CD of Andrea Bocelli. While in search for it, I went shopping in the boutiques of Siena. Although I've been to Milan prior to Siena, it was still great fun to shop and see the fashions offered only in Italy and in the boutiques. There were no Benettons there as there were in every street corner in Rome.

Now that the classical tenor Andrea Bocelli has become a household name in the US, we hear his music a lot. Every time I hear the song "Time To Say Goodbye", which sold 12 million copies worldwide, I am moved and taken back to the delights that an Italian travel could only offer.     

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