After leaving Andrea and the boys we rode down the road to La Chiusa to check in. Unfortunately for me it is Tuesday and although they have guests, the restaurant is closed.

That means that Dania and Umberto are not there.  I always look forward to a little chat with Umberto over a glass or two of Prosecco because he can answer so many of my questions.  He also knew my Dad.  But we won’t get to see him this trip. Here we are in 2016.  The food here is excellent.  The environment tranquil. If travel plans take you to Tuscany, as I hope they will, you should definitely take a side trip to Montefollonico, walk around this peaceful hamlet and indulge with a dinner and overnight stay at La Chiusa.

La Chiusa is a restored Olive factory. The rooms are large, quaintly decorated and the bathrooms are huge with very large tub, the size of a kiddie pool and the shower is large enough to walk around and dance in.  Their toiletries are exceptional and plentiful.  The view from our door overlooks a lush valley and a view of Montepulciano. Breakfast in the courtyard is pleasant. Very close to La Chiusa is a trekking road that stretches all the way to Montepulciano.  In the 1880’s and 90’s my grandfather would walk this starting out in Montefollonico. I talk about this road in my cookbook.

After a very short refreshing nap we head up the hill where everyone is waiting for us to go on to dinner. Dinner is at LaMacine the very same restaurant where we ate in 2004 when we were able to introduce our family to my Sandroni family. Our children spoke not a word of Italian outside of Pizza and Pasta and Prosciutto and my relatives spoke not a word of English.  However we all had a wonderful time conversing in every way possible and it was because of a funny incident that happened there that I got the name Basta Pasta for my eventual cookbook that was finally published in 2014.

When we arrived the table was laden with delicious and varied antipasti  That could have been my whole meal but I spotted ,yes, Tripe or Trippa on the menu so the decision was over.  Everyone ordered and the conversations continued with more picturing taking with iPhones being passed all around. There, of course, was way too much food but we are Italians, so all was finished.  I need to mention here that in Italy meals automatically come with delicious French fries.  Per che? Non lo so! That night we had the pleasure of meeting the adorable Catarina, Lorenzo’s very serious girlfriend.  She speaks a little English and we all conversed nicely.  She is a Grammatica major at the University and will finish up this September. Catarina is also a dancer, ballet and jazz and, therefore, a very well poised young lady.  Now the fun of finding a job in some sort of finance is ahead for her.


Dinner ended with a surprise Dolci for Charlie to celebrate his birthday:

Cena over we promise to meet the next morning for coffee and goodbyes.  Too soon. Ugh!

Goodbyes when Italian families part are never short.  Ours is no different.  In fact there are many hugs and tears and promises to write and to return. My cousin Andrea gifted me a bottle of his homemade Vin Santo, which I always treasure.

To ease the pain, for me, of leaving my Italian family, a few years ago I said that instead of saying “good bye” I would say “a domani, until tomorrow. And that’s how we end our visits now. But the tears still come. Ma, a domani!