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Monthly Archives: June 2013

Sequel to last weekend (the bikes part)…..

Sunday morning we drove our bike to the race circuit near Modena, where we met with our friends L&S (aren’t they cute?)

The reason we met there was this one below….

The two days event was dedicated to Walter Villa, a local (and international) bike pilot. The event is at its 11th year thanks to his son and his friends, old races time companions. Two of them were there, Graziano Rossi (yes, Valentino Rossi father) and Luca Cadalora Here you can see Graziano at the circuit bar and the two of them giving interviews

In the last pic, the guy smiling at them, in white shirt is Gianluca Villa, Walter son. And the reason we were there, because he’s a dear friend of our friend L (his father was the one who taught L how to drive a bike)

Later in the day the two of them perfomed for the audience, testing bikes….

driving fast cars (Rossi)

and Casey Stoner winning bike (Cadalora)

We stayed all day at our friend box, chatting with other pilots and their partners, sharing travels memories and exchanging addresses of hotels and road tips

And then it was our friend L time to drive his Triumph Daytona on the rack. There they are, L and my husband (L calls him his personal trainer, advisor and competent mechanic) sharing the last moments before the race

We had the opportunity to finally meet a friend of L, his team mate M, a guy from Austria who works at Maranello for the F1 Team in Ferrari as chief mechanic (here with L and on his Ducati, ready to ride). Guess about what we talked all the time? Yup……team gossips!

Finally it was time for husband to try a new bike from Honda….

He registered days before for a rack test, here he is, getting the last advices and ready to go…

Luckily for me that bike didn’t meet husband expectations……we’re gonna keep our present bike a little more…..

There was so much noise, so much gasoline fumes to inhale, we had a sandwich for a quick lunch……but we did what we like best, spending time with dear friends talking and “living” our favourite hobby, bikes!

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Posted by on June 25, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Paintings and Arts and Balls and Bikes…..

It’s been a busy and intense weekend….it all started with some art, we moved on to moving balls and we finished with motors…..but all that with friends and this is the best part!

Saturday, late afternoon, it was that time of the year again, where my hometown becomes a wide open, free and colorful stage for all types of art. Mostly, by young artists and art students.

It’s called BoulevArt, as in the “streets for arts” and indeed, almost all the streets in the city center are closed to cars traffic and become an involving big theatre….some artist (very strange I have to say but with a lot of fantasy) created an unique (as in for-just-one-person ) drive-in….

some were real circus artists….

some others created fantastic cakes

or created beautiful pas-de-deux….

Someone painted on the ground….

or on someone else body…

or on old armchairs creating new terrific furniture pieces……..

As you can see from my photos, the streets were really full of people, wandering around till the evening…..

and there was even a radio station broadcasting live

At dinner time there were places where you could eat in the open among artistic work, but we decided to visit a painter exhibition instead…

This is the painter himself, posing for me but only to try to convince me to buy a pic I was very interested in….less charming was the price, about 1,000€uros (around 1,300$)………..

Eventually we got hungry, so we decided to go to a familiar place where we knew we could have fun that night….

Outside it was very windy and quite cold

while inside it was crowded, but we managed to have dinner anyway….

and after that, we moved to the adjoining rooms where we watched the billiard tournaments. Too bad we didn’t register in advance!

We made even with the beers we drank, rivers of that!

We made it to bed very late, and that was so very bad, because on sunday we had an early date with others friends at a race track. But this is another story….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on June 25, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Dinner out

Sparafucile, who’s this guy?

The other night, with some of hubby’s collegues….

Pasta with european perch

and with brown trout

spaghetti with botargo

beef tenderloin with balsamic vinegar

and crème bruléè for dessert

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on June 18, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Nose up

In my family, the one who’s really into airplanes and flight history, is my husband. I guess some genes have passed on to my daughter, so I wasn’t so much surprised when, as soon as she knew about it, she asked me if I wanted to go with her to see the Air Show that was going to be held at our local airport. Unfortunately hubby was busy that sunday, so the two of us started to make plans. The show was for free, so we knew there would be thousands of people gathering there, (it turned up there were about 28.000) and we knew as well, from past experiences, that it would have been tiring to stand for long hours in a airfield with our nose up.

The thing we really wanted to see was Frecce Tricolori (literally Tricolour Arrows)  the aerobatic demonstration team of the Italian Aeronautica Militare, based at Rivolto Air Force Base, in the north-eastern Italy. They were formed in 1961 as an Air Force team, replacing unofficial teams that had been sponsored by various commands by the end of the 1920s.  The team flies the Aermacchi MB-339-A/PAN, a two-seat fighter-trainer craft capable of 898 km/h at sea level, with nine aircraft and a solo (the most aircraft of any aerobatic team in the world). The team’s official name is: 313. Gruppo Addestramento Acrobatico, Pattuglia Acrobatica Nazionale (PAN) Frecce Tricolori.

The team was supposed to be the last performance for the day, so we decided to take the long road across the countryside (most roads around the airfield were closed for safety reasons) and to find the perfect spot just in time to look up to them.

We finally found the right place – and I can tell you, it was right for so many other people, even if the weather was not so good – it finished to rain just before the beginning of the show, as you can see….

While we waited for the Frecce to start their performance, we strolled around and obviously something catched our attention….and our cameras……..

My daughter was interested also in the people there, this is one of the phots she took with her new lens

And finally they were there, coloring the sky with the colors of our national flag………..

The Frecce Tricolori were not the first AMI aerobatics team: military aerobatics as a group began in Campoformido, home of the 1st Wing, in the late 1920s under the supervision of Col. Rino Corso Fougier, a pioneer in aerobatic group flying. Subsequently, except in the Second World War period, many fighter wings had demonstration teams such as Cavallino Rampante (Prancing Horse), Getti Tonanti (Thundering Jets), Diavoli Rossi (Red Devils), Tigri Bianche (White Tigers) and Lanceri Neri (Black Lancers). In 1961 the Air Force General Staff decided to form a single aerobatic team, the Pattuglia Acrobatica Nazionale (National Aerobatic Patrol). In 2000 they reached 50,000 flying hours on the MB-339. In 2005 they won the award for best exhibition at the Royal International Air Tattoo at Fairford, England. They were the first non-Russian unit to receive the Russian Silver Medal for Aeronautical Merit. On 8 September 2007 the Frecce Tricolori took part at the funeral of Luciano Pavarotti in Modena and honoured him with a fly-past leaving green-white-red smoke trails.

Unfortunately they have also a very tragic page in their history. On 28 August 1988, in the Ramstein airshow disaster, 70 people lost their lives due to the mid-air collision of three Frecce Tricolori jets. The burning jets broke up and crashed; one hit a crowd of spectators. If you want to learn more about them, this is the official site.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on June 18, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Back in time

While we were in Volterra, the local Tourist Office with some local no-profit organizations planned a day full of events based on the medieval times.

It’s called “Palio del Cero” (Tug of War). The eight districts of the town fight against each other in order to win the big candle that lies lightened up at the top of a sort of cart at the middle of the rope. The winner keeps the candle in its headquarter till the next year. The actual celebration day was sunday (the day we were supposed to leave) but on saturday afternoon there was a sort of preview, with all the people involved rehearsing the ceremonies, and a spectacular dinner in the main square.

So it wasn’t unusual walking through town and meet some strange people directly from the past…..

Some of them even posing for me…..

The lady above asked me for a paper tissue while she deserved a silk one so dressed up…lol… and the one below in green velvet, made me wait to take the photo till she hide her cell!

These below are the standards of the disctricts, and the table settled in the square for dinner….

Unfortunately we weren’t invited, so we had to find another restaurant and walking to it, inside a courtyard I saw these people fixing the final touches to their performance….

Back from our dinner we crossed the square once again, and the feast was still in full bloom….

 
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Posted by on June 13, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Alabaster

Alabaster is a name applied to varieties of two distinct minerals, when used as a material: gypsum (a hydrous sulfate of calcium) and calcite, a carbonate of calcium, also known as onyx-marble, Egyptian alabaster or Oriental alabaster, in geological terms is “a stalagmitic limestone marked with patterns of swirling bands of cream and brown”.In general, but not always, ancient “alabaster” in Egypt and the Near & Middle East is calcite, and “alabaster” in medieval Europe is gypsum, and modern “alabaster” is probably calcite, but may be either. Both are easy to work, with an attractive appearance, and have been used for making a variety of artworks and objects, especially carvings for indoor use, as both are slightly water soluble, and will not survive long outdoors…….

Ok, this is the dictionary description, what’s below is what we saw in Volterra, so many shops and workshops around the city……

The most amazing things made of alabaster seen there? These ones….and trust me, you had to actually touch them to see they were not real!

It was just by chance, walking through the eastern part of the city, along the ancient walls, that we had the opportunity to discover this workshop…

The artisan himself was working and not being anyone else around at that time, he graciously gave us a demonstration of what it means to make a work of art out of a piece of raw alabaster…starting with moulds (he has dozens on various shelves) he copies them with the help of some tools and all his experience and skills…..

He explained to us that there are other places in the world where the alabaster can be found (Autralia, California and Spain) but each place gives that alabaster its own specific features, so an expert can tell you where that piece come from. We learnt that alabaster can be divided into four main categories, scaglione a translucent alabaster – pietra a marmo a white, opaque alabaster that looks a bit like white marble (and this the type you can find in the 4 still operating caves in Volterra) – bardiglio an alabaster characterized by the presence of dark veins, whose color varies based on the type of impurities present in the stone, – Agata an alabaster whose color ranges between red and brown due to the presence of iron and magnesium oxides. Alabaster is found in ovaloid blocks called arnioni (or “kidneys“) that are encased in a matrix of clay and chalk. The arnione is extracted by freeing it from the rock “shell” that surrounds it, and, once completely cleaned, it is ready to be worked. Being a delicate and relatively soft and porous stone, it should not be kept in direct contact with atmospheric conditions, nor too close to sources of heat (with regards to lamps, it is advisable use “cold” light bulbs).

It was really an experience talking with that man and his assistant, so competent and passionate about their work, and being there in his “bottega” where everything was covered by a white powder mantle, brought us back in the old times when workshops like this were everywhere

Some pieces, the big and most complicated ones, can be very expensive but we managed to come home with some souvenirs….little boxes of alabaster and bronze (heritage of the etruscan era) for my mom and my mother-in-law

a hourglass that my husband really liked for us

an owl for my daughter, and another little box and a necklace for me…

 

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on June 10, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Volterra – four

We  were surrounded by history, beauty and peace………. but we didn’t forget more down-to-earth things, like eating and sleeping well!

Let’s start wit our hotel, this one, right on top of the hill at the gate of the oldest part of town, that has a long history in itself….you see, in the pic, hubby on the street waiting for me, and our friend on the balcony of our rooms….

in the lobby, a bright alabaster piece of art…

We didn’t know this hotel and we didn’t make the reservation…. You know, my collegue was in Volterra last year for a short visit, and she had dinner at a nice restaurant and talked to the owner. It came out he was a motorbike pilot on the ’80, currently driving in some local rally championship. He told her his hometown deserved a longer stay and if she was to come back one day, to contact him. She did right that, and he booked us two rooms! Obviously the evening of our arrival we had dinner at his restaurant….. We started with typical tuscan appettizers…

and this one special for me, gluten-free

then we had some meat rolls I forgot to shoot (too good to think about anything else…lol…) and these terrific desserts, chocolate-bricks, as they call it

and vanille meringue flavored with chilli pepper and a cinnamon sauce………superb!

After dinner Mr Vannini offered us his homemade “limoncino” (a lemon spirit) and this special grappa meant, as the label recites, “as a healthy cough syrup”…

and we finish the evening well late into the night (we were the last guests to leave) talking about…..bikes, what else?

The next day we had a quick lunch at a typical “osteria” where we indulged in our passion for cheese and jam…

For our last dinner in Volterra we choose a small restaurant hidden between the walls of a very narrow street, and I’m glad we did! It looks like we are somewhere in England but trust me, it was indeed Volterra….

Hubby is studying the menu, not so sure what to choose…

but it really didn’t matter because everything was so good! The “crostini” with tuscan patè…..

the “gnocchi” in a parmesan cheese nest….

scallops with potatoes cream…

and the chocolate cake with orange flavored cream…

After dinner we walked through enchanted streets till this place

that has another room in the back where we sit at an old church confessional to have our last shot of “grappa”…..

 

 
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Posted by on June 7, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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