Happily and thankfully, I made it back to Austin last night (on my last two trips back from Europe, I was marooned in Newark). On the plane ride home, I collected some of the more beautiful images I captured with my camera on the trip. Thanks for reading!
Rain clouds spotted from the home of my friends Laura and Marco, Montalcino.
In the nearly 25 years that I’ve lived, studied, traveled, and worked in Italy, I’m always amazed by its awe-inspiring beauty and its often revolting ugliness.
Cypress trees, between the villages of Torrenieri and San Quirico d’Orcia (Montalcino).
During my trip over the last two weeks, Berlusconi tried — as usual — to distract media attention from his political and legal problems by joking that he planned to rename his party Forza Gnocca, literally Go Pussy or Pussy Party (gnocca means knuckle in Italian and is used euphemistically to refer to the female anatomy). Politician Alessandra Mussolini said she thought it was a good idea, adding that it would bring people together.
Bistecca fiorentina with my friends, father and son Fabrizio and Alessandro, Sant’Angelo in Colle (Montalcino).
After he failed to pass his budget (in what should have been a routine parliamentary vote), Berlusconi and his cabinet dodged a bullet when they survived a confidence vote. My friends in Italy say that he will continue to govern until 2012.
Gently botrytized Picolit grapes in Percoto.
Berlusconi didn’t need any help, however, finding media distractions: the so-called Black Blocs thrashed Rome in an otherwise peaceful demonstration by the Indignados. (Here’s the NY Times coverage.)
Frico served in the garden of Elisabetta’s home, Percoto.
But the thing that seemed so unreal — so unnatural, so far-fetched and unbelievable that I wondered if I was having a nightmare — was a television advertisement introducing a new sandwich at McDonald’s created by one of the greatest Italian chefs of all time and one of the architects of the 20th-century renaissance of Italian food, Gualtiero Marchesi.
Vintage bicycles in a show commemorating 50 years of the Brescia design firm Borsoni.
Blogger Massimo Bernardi called the move Marchesi’s “betrayal.” (See Massimo’s post for images of this tragedy.)
Distant Church Bells at the Monastery of Santa Giulia, Brescia.
But on the last day of the bloggers conference in Brescia, after I had ducked out of the last session to prepare my notes on the grand tasting for a talk I was supposed to give, I was stopped in my tracks by the Monastery of Santa Giulia set against a clear blue sky and the distant sound of church bells ringing.
And I remembered why the ceaseless beauty of this country has never lost its hold over me…
Thanks for reading!