As Promised; photos from 2010

This is what the area around Monforte d’Alba looks like when the air is clear. The day before these photos we had rain all day; then in the morning we were treated with these views including snow on Mount Viso. This area really looks a lot like Tuscany but has the added beauty of the mountains.

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A little later in the morning.

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And another direction from the top of Monforte.

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We enjoyed our trip and especially our visit with Giuseppe and his family. That was a special treat. Thanks for coming along with us.

Last Day at Lake Iseo

The weather has become totally cloudy, as predicted. We spent the day in Iseo. Again…..we hit Market day! This was a big market and very busy. Lots of folks shopping and having caffé in the morning. By 1 PM….all gone and like a ghost town.

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IMG_2940.JPGThe salad was huge and delicious with lots of arugula and radicchio. As promised, some photos of this beautiful apartment near Iseo. The one window is in a room that is behind a locked door; probably storage.

IMG_2948.JPGAnd our favorite room, the dining room that has a large window looking at the lake. The furnishings here are lovely with rich, elegant fabrics. All the ceilings are wood.

IMG_2946.JPGAnd 2 more funny signs seen during the month. The sign on the church pew was for men, there was another section for singers, but none for women! I guess they are allowed to sit in the unmarked pews.

IMG_2951.JPGWednesday we drive back to the Milan airport area and fly home Thursday. We have been very lucky with weather as this area has had a very rainy summer….everyone talks about it. We never had our rain jackets out and only used umbrellas one day in Cuneo and after lunch today….both were light rains. But, the forecast for the next week is rain everyday; seems like a good time to leave.

After returning home, I am going to post a photo of Monforte d’Alba from our previous visit to show what it looks like in clear weather with the alps in the background.

Monte Isola

There is a large island in Lake Iseo, Monte Isola. There are 4 villages that are accessible by ferry. We chose to go to Carzano on the north shore. We walked from there up to a medieval village and also around to a village on the other side, Siviano. (25 min walk) The weather was fairly clear this morning so the photos are not too bad.

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2 Village scenes.

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And the surprise for lunch was a Slow Food place….an organization the emphasizes local and fresh food.

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The walk up to the medieval village…did it early AND after lunch….a woman stopped to talk to me as I was sketching….she had already made the round trip 3 times and had to go back again to meet her daughter after school. Better than a treadmill!

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Big Day, Short Post

Sunday was the big day that we have been waiting for since arriving. We were invited to the vacation home of the young man who stayed with us in our home while he was traveling with Rotary International several years ago. We were delighted to meet his wife and sons. While at our home he prepared a meal for us as he loves to cook and today he prepared a feast for us. After we had the pasta, I was full and thought we were done…..NO! there was still tuna baked with apples in a packet and desert. Whew! I forgot to take a photo of the tuna, but it was delicious. Then came his special tiramisu….a big pan….Some of us even had a second helping. 😃 We spent the afternoon eating on their terrace overlooking a lake. Sunday “Lunches” in Italy last all afternoon! The chef and my driver also enjoyed a bit of homemade grappa. The weather was hazy, but the photos are not bad.

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This is of his lake, Endina, as we drove back to Lake Iseo.

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Monforte &Iseo

We spent the whole day Friday in Monforte d’Alba. Did sketching and had lunch at a small Osteria. A very quiet and relaxing day. This area of Italy is beautiful and when the air is clear one can see the alps in the background. Unfortunately this time, the air was from the sea and hazy every day. They have begun harvesting the grapes for wine and there are tractors with trailers full of crates of grapes everywhere on these small roads.

IMG_2837.JPGSaturday we had our longest drive of the entire trip…182 miles, 3 hours of mostly autostrada. We arrived at Lake Iseo and checked In to a beautiful apartment furnished with a piano and a harpsichord….the owner is a music professor. (Photos on next post….we cannot imagine owning a place like this and renting it out!) We had lunch next door at a restaurant-pizzeria. Had pizzas for dinner too….along with everyone else who lives in the area. A very busy place.

IMG_2870.JPGAfter lunch we drove a few miles to the bigger town of Iseo.

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Bossolasco, Serravalle & Entertainment

The day started again with the fog that rolls in from the Ligurian Sea….great for the grapes and it burns off about 11. We read that the village of Bossolasco was one of the prettiest in the area. Yes, it is, but it has been fixed up for their summer tourists. It had the feel of Tuscany.

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Serravalle, on the other hand, is very small and very little has been fixed up. We spent most of the day here. There was a “mini market” in the square when we arrived, but did not make a photo. There was a vegetable vendor, one with cheese and sausage and the unusual one that had live birds, mice, gerbils, turtles in various sizes and one snake. Never seen that in all of the market days we have been through.

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This is where we had our late morning espresso; nice little place with only 3 tables. They also had a trattoria that looked nice so we returned there for lunch.

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Our evening entertainment was just in front of our hotel where 6 roads come together….all are narrow. We heard a lot of commotion, looked out and saw a huge truck trying to make his way through, but there was some problem that would not allow cars to turn right down another street to allow him through. Finally they figured it out, everyone got moving. He let a bunch of cars go past that had been following him for a long way…..I counted at least 35 and quit counting. His truck was way too big for these roads.

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Castle Towns

Our first stop was in Serralunga and then on to Castiglione Faletto. Both are tiny towns with massive castles built in the 1300’s.

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This is Serralunga from Castiglione. From one villagecan see many of these villages surrounded by vineyards. They all,have a tall tower or tall church steeple. The green areas in this photo are all vineyards.

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The church in Monforte is beautiful. A lady was working in the church and offered to turn on the lights so we could make photos. The crystal chandeliers are gorgeous. She said once a year they are lowered for cleaning; what a job that must be! The frescos are very rich. This area, because of the wine industry has a strong economy.

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We chose a very tiny place for lunch in Serralunga. Inside there was seating for 10, 2 tables in the piazza, and a few tables on a terrace in back. It was like eating in someone’s home. This lady and her chef are the only ones preparing delicious food. She makes the deserts and Gian Carlo does the rest.

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