Umberto, Re (king) del Cappuccino

Umberto, named and honored as the King of Cappuccino started his training at age 14 and at age 84 continues to make his special coffees at his bar as he has done for the last 70 years, He is another one of my favorite artisans. Greeting the crowds that come daily for that special espresso… Read more »

Chapters of my book entitled “Convivio”

Introduction to Convivio  “A degree of civilization can be measured by a country’s cuisine” -Escoffier Cultural Differences at the Table The personal experience of an Italian-American suggesting that Italy not lose its food culture and why America should adopt one. The 20s and 30s: Before My Table— Food–the new cuisine began with time saving devices… Read more »

Flowers or Pheasant for Dinner?

“Don’t forget to have Francesco water while I am gone,” said Martha as she was about to leave for the States. “ The new nursery is great, all organic. I look forward to great organic minestrone on my return.” “No problem,” I assured her. After giving Francesco the order, I myself had to leave to… Read more »

Agriturismo license and our first Family

Years ago when applying for our agriturismo license which would allow us to lodge guests in the countryside, we encountered many delays due to regulations required. After a two year delay  our application was accepted and we were informed that our certificate would be in the mail and when received should be posted at our… Read more »

1940 My Italian—Italian Table

Beautiful memories, one of the best legacies a parent can bestow on a child, is a lifelong gift. The fondest memories of my youth are with family and friends around the dinner table. Our doors in Connecticut were always open, our table always welcoming, even to strangers needing companionship or nourishment. But one of my… Read more »

Where is the house?

When Jorge arrived to join me in Italy, I was having trouble getting our city water connected. Franco, my wonderful neighbor who was always there to solve my problems, suggested that I go to city hall and inform them that we can tentatively connect to his water line until we solve the problem. I considered… Read more »

Our taxi driver becomes minister

American weddings, from 10 to 300 guests, have taken place at Villa Lucia. All the arrangements are made leaving little for the bride to do besides invite the guests. Couples decide to get officially or unofficially married at Villa Lucia. Since my husband, Jorge, (doctor, butcher, wine maker and olive picker) is certified to legally… Read more »

A Cook and Surgeon in Tuscany (true experiences)

A week before Thanksgiving I prepared small Cornish game hens for each of our 20 guests. As I removed the golden crusted small birds from the hot oven, one of our guests in the kitchen called to the others announcing they should come quickly to see the “beautiful baby Italian turkeys!” She turned to me… Read more »

Making the Tradizionale Balsamico di Modena

My love for the Italian artisans led me to my monthly blog being that many of them will soon be artisans of yesterday. When visiting them I am always sad to hear that youth may learn technique, but lack the passion of yesterday’s artisans. Alessandro Taccini, like his brothers, began making ceramics at age 12…. Read more »

Marshmallows, NOT cotton balls

Our first employees came to us 16 years ago, and they have become part of our family. Venerina ( little Friday, named for being born on Good Friday) our first housekeeper, is known for her perpetual friendly smile. Francesco, our security guard and hunter more serious in character, is always ready and willing to give… Read more »