American in Italy / expat / food / history / italy / nature / travel / tuscany / Uncategorized

My secret Sunday escape in Tuscany

2013-01-27 12.55.59This Sunday we were treated to a nice change of pace from almost constant rain every weekend this January. I made tman promise me that we would peer pressure his parents to take us to Acone – a small town near Rufina that I have mentioned previously. We like to tell people we go just because its perfect for hiking but lets keep it real – we mainly go because of this awesome little restaurant {the only one in town} that serves the delicious penne alle aconese – the kind of pasta you dream about. Or at least I do. I would eat it for breakfast —  it is that good and they refuse to let us know the recipe.

acone tuscany

acone monte giovi

We gorged ourselves with our favorite pasta and washed it down with house wine and fizzy water. I somehow convinced them to order a bistecca alla fiorentina - the famous Florentine steak since well, why not? One of the things I really appreciate about this place is how nice everyone is. It really feels like family, we always see the same waiters and waitresses who enjoy teasing us about running out of the famous pasta  to test our reactions and chatting about future events around town or the weather.

On the 17th there was the Feast of Sant’Antonio {Festa di Sant’Antonio Abate} - this Egyptian saint is particularly important throughout southern Italy {and apparently here}, and is the patron saint of butchers, domestic animals, basketmakers, gravediggers and even skin diseases! They had a procession from the church above the restaurant and served a fixed-price menu. I was sad to have missed it since I spotted the colorful decorations on every house and on the small church. 

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When we finished eating it was hiking time. Of course that sounded awesome before I stuffed myself silly but I knew there is no way we could visit Acone without seeing some of the incredible views from the top of Monte Giovi. The reason I first discovered this place was because Tmans grandma grew up here in a crumbling house that we still visit. He  told me stories about how her brothers went around on horseback carrying rifles like the wild west and foraging in the woods for chestnuts and hazelnuts, this was when Italy still had big families. On a sad note –  they were kicked out of the house when she was five due to a corrupt landlord angry about some of their valid complaints about getting cheated and voicing it. It also amazes me that during World War II many Italian partisans hid and fought in this wilderness where now there are  hikers, the odd house, some Etruscan ruins and plenty of wild boar, horses and goats. You can spot a plaque on the road leading up to the summit.

monte  giovi

picisto-20130127185116-144155We ran into some goats, many babies which was the cutest thing I have seen in a long while. They clamored around clumsily around fighting each other for access to their mom’s milk and bleating away. We also ran into with a friendly golden retriever, most likely the ‘owner’ of the farm who just wanted some cuddles which we were more than happy to provide. :)

We finally made it to the top after trying not slip on the steep incline to the summit and ran into some mushroom and truffle hunters on the way. Tman pointed out wild boar tracks and wild musk which made me think it was too bad he wasn’t part of the boy scouts. At the top, there was still a little snow but mainly just beautiful silence and a chill wind. Sunny and cold with a mysterious fog over the mountains there are few places more beautiful to me than here. There is just something about this place that makes me want to come back and make the same hike over and over again.

Until the next time dear Acone e Monte Giovi, a presto spero.. 

2013-01-27 15.31.45

On top of Monte Giovi (and sweaty)

4 thoughts on “My secret Sunday escape in Tuscany

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