Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Wild Summer Weather And Lunch

  Well, the weather has been exciting the last couple of days here in the center of Italy. We have been experiencing hot days and very warm evenings, and then the storm fronts moved in...Summer storms are much needed here, as most fields of crops really relay on rain to get them through.
  Unlike home, where we go months and months without rain, it's unusual to have gone three months without, which is why things are especially dry.

  We woke at 5am to the sound of thunder, the day before yesterday... I was able to catch a little of the activity:

  Yes, me, in jammies, on our terrace...watching the storm. I'm trying to get used to thunder & lightning, which freaks me out, usually.

  We had planned to head over to Montepulciano, Pienza and Monticchiello. Johnny was thinking of doing some watercolor pieces. 
  After checking the weather online, we decided to head out. Figured we might get caught in a little rain, but no big deal.

  We stopped to have a glass of wine and enjoy the view from Caff√® Poliziano...Nice.

Feeling very civilized, indeed.

Watching a little rain wash through the valley below Montepulciano.

  We started the steep trek up to the top of town, and were stopped short by the fastest moving storm cell ... ever!
  After ducking into a couple of storefronts, we finally gave up, Johnny ran across the street to buy an umbrella, and we found a balcony to huddle under until this monster blew through. It was quick, and massive, turning the steep slope into a river, for a few minutes, anyway.

  After it settled down somewhat, we decided to head back to the car. I had on sandals, as it was hot, and they were slippery..I felt like I was sliding out of them. Didn't want to risk the steep street and stairs.
  The rain finished, it became really hot again, and now muggy. Each. But we stuck with the plan, and headed to Pienza, where the fields were so dry, I couldn't believe the storm had just passed through.
  The heat just sucked up all the rain.

  These were taken maybe thirty minutes after the storm went through...

  We did a nice walkabout in Pienza, which was crowded...still not accustomed to summer and so many people, then decided on lunch in Monticchiello.
  Everyone loves La Porta, a very popular osteria, but we prefer it's little sister, La Cantina della Porta.
  We hadn't been for a couple of years, and it was good, as always.

Porcini 'tortina' with pecorino creme and truffles.

Simple bruschetta. 

The interior.

Johnny's spinach and ricotta ravioli with marscapone and truffle sauce.
So good...

I had little 'gnudi', spinach and and ricotta dumplings in a garlic red sauce.

  There was another downpour while we enjoyed lunch...evident in the photo below.
  Very wet streets-

Johnny getting inspired by this tree bark.

  We always love the view of the valley from this spot-

  Back home (I totally conked out in the car on the way back), we relaxed and enjoyed yet another storm blow through our neck of the woods.
  There were amazing cloud formations, more lighting and thunder, colorful skies...what a beautiful end to the day.

Just down the driveway, looking up at Panicle.
Crazy clouds moving our way!

  This cloud bank just kept getting bigger and stranger...

Alien invasion above Panicle?

What the?

  There were lovely moments, to be sure-

  Then, of course, a little light show-

  I wish I could show what happened later, but it was over the ridge, and I just couldn't capture it. A massive lighting storm, which we could only catch glimpses of in the clouds above. Thunder that was way big, too.
  We just aren't used to summer storms, but hey, I'll get used to them. It's all part of life here.
  Plus, everything smelled so fantastic afterwards.
  The mosquitoes were a pain, though.

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