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The Ideal CityOne of my favourite paintings that I had the great fortune to see on a trip to Urbino, Italy in 1999

The Ideal City by Piero della Francesca.

Entering the Sala degli Angeli of the Galleria Nazionale di Urbino on an organised tour with the Cassa Rurale di Folgaria, the painting was hanging above a beautifully sculpted fireplace and literally took my breath away.

I love the feeling of eternity it gives, the peaceful, intelligent and beautiful air surrounding the buildings and I could quite happily have this in my home as I would never tire of looking at it and dreaming I was there.

BUT, it’s not sitting well on my blog this time round. It’s not  reflecting ‘me’ and I need to find something a little more frivolous, more colourful and more vibrant.

I was in Urbino in 1999, only two years after the earthquake in the region that had had such a disatrous affect on the Basilia of St Francis in Assisi. Destroying the Giotto murals. Fortunately the Italians care so much about their history that a lot of time and money was spent on the restoration.

If you are ever in this part of the world you must also try the local food  and wine which is goddamn delicious. Truffle plays a big part in the cucina along with the national dish, pasta and red wines that are so soft and rich they’re like an elisir of the Gods.

I went on a truffle hunt that same year with a local farmer and his dogs who in actual fact looked quite scraggly and not the kind of dogs I had expected for such an expensive ingredient. However, they were extremely obedient and following the farmer’s orders smelt out some truffles for us in no time, the farmer would bark an order and the dog would stop his digging instantly salivating over the spot but  leaving the truffle intact. On collection the farmer would nip a bit off with a knife and give it to the dog to thank him.

One tip the farmer gave us for fresh truffles in order to prolong their life was to keep them in uncooked rice in a clean jar with a tightly closed lid. Once the truffle has been eaten, use the rice for a truffle risotto. mmmm

Ciao ciao

5 Comments leave one →
  1. romana permalink
    16/01/2010 11:02 am

    partendo da un’opera d’arte hai toccato dei bei punti focali dell’italia e degli italiani!
    l’arte, la cucina ed il cuore che hanno gli italiani quando si tratta di aiutare le persone colpite da catastrofi come succede troppo spesso ultimamente! purtroppo!
    tralasciamo il “peggio” 🙂
    un abbraccio baci

  2. 20/12/2010 2:38 pm

    Hi! Coming from Blog Gems 😉
    Italy is still on my to-do list – one day, ONE DAY! lol.

    • 21/12/2010 2:03 pm

      You must go, it’s the perfect holiday wherever you are. Thanks for coming by xx

  3. 26/12/2010 9:27 pm

    Oh I want to go to Italy so much, not sure my husband will thank you for reminding me lol. Thanks for joining in Blog Gems. Jen

    • 01/01/2011 3:41 pm

      I failed to read any others I’m afraid but I promise to do better in 2011 🙂

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