Tuscan Food: Simplicity, Freshness, Details and Love

Experts will tell you that Tuscan food is exceptional because it is based on “fresh ingredients.” Fantastic! What does that mean?

Imagine holding a fresh egg that is still warm from the hen. Hear the distinct snap as you crack that egg and place it on a flat surface. Take in the fresh smell. See the shiny orange (yes, orange) perfectly round, thick yolk that stands about ¾ inch high. Notice the compact and lustrous white of the egg, so very distinct from the yolk. Observe that the entire circumference of the egg is around 4-5 inches. Perfect.

You combine this egg with freshly ground (Italian) flour to make pasta dough. The color of the dough is a vivid gold, the smell of the pasta is enticing and the texture is smooth and firm in your hands.

Toss that pasta into briskly boiling salted water. It retains its shape and easily cooks to an “al dente” (firm in the middle) phase.

Finally, combine your perfectly cooked pasta with your favorite sauce or ragú (that you made using all the freshest possible ingredients). Heaven!

Compare the egg used in this case with that of an egg bought from your local grocery store. Crack it and the shell might crumble into many pieces. Place it on a flat surface; you will often see a pale yellow yolk that blends into the white of the egg. The egg white is runny and quickly spreads all over the surface.

You may, of course, not be able or willing to reach under a hen’s rear end to retrieve a warm egg. The point is, always be meticulous about using the freshest possible ingredients. Learn to read the signs of freshness and quality.

This is how the Tuscans approach cooking – with simplicity, attention to freshness and details and love. This is how my 99-year-old mother still cooks today.

Try this approach, no matter what you are making. This can apply to cooking, sewing, writing, painting or whatever you enjoy. Your outcome is only as good as the attention and love you put into each detailed step of the process, each moment along the way.

And, when your end result is something totally wonderful? Like the Tuscans, share it joyfully with people you love!

2013 Very Useful Italy Tips and Updates from Rick Steves


What’s new in Italy for 2013 travelers?  Rick Steves, the ultimate Italy tourist, shares his tips in USA Today.   Rick includes how to avoid long lines in italy, Italy’s best public squares, magical experiences in Florence and Venice, new museum exhibits, a Cinque Terre update,  and much more.

My husband and I are visiting Italy in May.  I found some good tips in this article!


Per Forbes Magazine, Lucca Tuscany is One of the Most Idyllic Placess in Europe

Lucca is one of my favorite towns in Tuscany.  Apparently, I’m in good company as Forbes Magazine has declared Lucca the second most idyllic place to live in Europe.

Lucca is full of old world charm minus the tourist crowds and its prices are lower than Florence or Venice.


Lucca is an idyllic place to live in Europe

Lucca is an idyllic place to live in Europe

Favorite Piazzas (“Piazze”) in Italy

A breathtaking PIazza

A breathtaking PIazza

A chef and a photographer name their favorite piazze in Italy (with photos) in Travel Culture Magazine.  Take a look at the pictures of:

  • Piazza Dei Fiori, Rome
  • Piazza San Marco, Venice
  • Piazza Della Signoria, Florence
  • Piazze Maggiore, Bologna,
  • Piazza del Campo, Siena
  • Piazza Navona, Rome

There are so many beautiful piazze that it is difficult to choose.

Do you have a favorite?  I am fond of Piazza Dei Miracoli in Pisa (pictured) and  dell’Anfiteatro in Lucca!

The 6 Best Piazzas in Italy

5 “Must Do” Experiences in Tuscany

From Campaya Holdiay Rentals and Emma Louise:  There are at least 5 essential experiences one must have while in Tuscany.  Have you done all 5?

Click Here


by Allard One

You Know You’re in Italy When…

Hi Everyone, I thought I’d start having some fun with Italian experiences, hence the list below. I would love to have other sayings to collect so please go to the bottom of this entry and feel free to comment or submit any of your own “You Know You’re In Italy” experiences. You are welcome to forward this to anyone, just please have the courtesy to give credit to my blog. Grazie, Serenella

You know you’re in Italy when

  • You’re back for the third time today at a store that has the “Torno Subito” (I’ll be right back) sign on the door and you still can’t find anybody there
  • You ordered a cappuccino or bought a gift-wrapped package that look like art work
  • You shower with your hands at your side because you might bump into the shower walls if you bend your elbows
  • You go to the beach and see that some older men are in denial that the Speedo fad has come and gone while the younger guys wear surfer pants down to their knees
    Read more

Inspirational Women, Tuscan or Not – Moving Experiences Working With Women

I often receive questions about why I choose to work mostly with women and have so many women clients. For starters, I truly enjoy working with women and helping women in business.


Don’t get me wrong: I LOVE men. I raised two sons as a single mother and I have a husband of two years whom I adore.


Let’s face it – men don’t need as much help in the world of business as women do. Plus, women have a special way of connecting…


I have a few criteria when I am looking for collaborators, male or female:


  1. They love what they do
  2. They are good at what they do
  3. They are professional
  4. They work well with people
  5. They have a sense of humor

Once these basic standards are met, I do everything possible to help them succeed.


This approach works for me in Tuscany as well as at home in California and has offered me the opportunity to connect with some fantastic women. Read more