Lungo il Tevere Roma

Leslie took this fabulous photo of us on her last night in Italy

solar train

Is this a new thing in Italy? This was our Borgo-Lucca commuter train last week. Perhaps understandably it was running late…

tavolo di gusti

so much yumminess here: fresh bread from this morning’s shopping, Lucchese olive oil, truffle butter from our local deli, and homemade jams from our local produce shop: pear, apple-pepperoncini, apricot-almond.

La Mora… no mora :(

We were very sad to find out one of our most favorite restaurants is no longer open.

one of our top 3 favorite restaurants in the area

This being our first long stay in two years, we were hoping to visit La Mora. I tried to call for a reservation, but fast busy. Website down. We’ll drive by and see if we can get a last minute table. I was a little more suspicious when we didn’t see signs on the highway directing us to the restaurant, which we always relied on. We found it eventually, but it was closed-closed.

So we decided to try the nearby Antica Locanda di Sesto. We very fortunately were able to get a last minute table. The staff was very friendly and the food excellent, much of it grown and made right there — including the wines, olive oil, and cheese. Many of the dishes were similar to the La Mora menu, with the same emphasis on local traditional dishes served in creative combinations. We thoroughly enjoyed our meal and the double-birthday party next to us.

Leslie bravely asked what happened to La Mora, and the first waiter told us it was no longer open… ever. A very sad thing happened to the owners. Then we asked the waitress and she told us more details about the tragic story, which we looked up when we got home:

Sauro Brunicardi found dead in the river, the owner of a famous restaurant
Sad news: Sauro Brunicardi dies, owner of La Mora

We have enjoyed many many excellent meals there. I think the first was in February 2007, when Bella was 9 and ordered a glass of milk and Sauro brought her “vino bianco!” Since then he remembered us every time we visited, each meal getting larger and more elaborate! Our last visits were in Summer 2009, and Bella had taken to having a glass of moscato at the end of the meals, which she was looking forward to last night as well. We also discovered this excellent wine there.

Fortunately, Antica Locanda did not disappoint and has joined the list of favorites to visit when we’re here. I’m sad we don’t have many photos of La Mora, but I’m still looking. And that we didn’t get there more often…

Birra Artiginale al Farro

Finally made it to Piazza al Serchio and had this excellent brew at the local pizzeria, along with Speck + Mascarpone and Zole e Cipolla pizzas. Ventured a little further to the village of Petrognola and saw them setting up for a movable feast tonight (and tomorrow – maybe we’ll make it back there). The factory was closed (owner on vacation), but we were able to get a mixed case of various kinds: bianca, rossa, castagna, nera & 100%!

kievski snack

Villa Fiori

Once again, it’s our last full day in italy for this trip. We went to Bagni Caldi for facials and then discovered this little park on our way back…


The villa is being renovated as part of the Bagni di Lucca Master Plan.





Fortunately, we’ll be back again in July so we’ll try to remember to come back on the 10th for event!


La Petrognola

I wanted to go to Piazza al Serchio for Easter, but I didn’t know it was the home of my Favorite Italian Beer.

Next time I am going to insist we visit!

cacio e pepe

On my flight back from Dubai earlier this month I watched some crazy travel show — Anthony Bourdain goes to Rome, or something… the host was extremely annoying — one of those shows better watched without the sound. However when they got to the food, I turned up the sound. He raved about this particularly Roman dish where they saute the cooked pasta with pecorino and pepper just enough to make a sauce, and then in this restaurant they serve it in a Parmesan bowl. I told Bella about this and we had to try it.

Thursday night, we attempted our first Parmesan bowl with a beautiful chunk from our local Self Service. I had a little chopped rosemary, so I threw that in as well.

The first one was perfect, the next one, close.It turned out perfectly — the trick is to bake the cheese circle just enough so that it’s light brown — it should hold together but still be soft. The second one was pretty good, but I think we let it get a tad too cold before we pressed it onto the bowl for the mold and we lost a little on the side. Still delicious nonetheless. And especially with the linguine alla castagne we had acquired earlier in the week.


chestnut pasta with cheese and pepper


In fact, it was so good, we made it again on Friday night, but this
time we threw chopped basil in the Parmesan and sauteed chicken and
broccoli with the pasta. Two courses in one!

With Santa Cristinaa complete meal!



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