In 2006 the kids and I tagged along on a business trip with my husband to Florence and Venice. I know, right? I have always loved the Italian Renaissance and being in Florence was a dream come true.
While in Florence we took a family cooking class with Judy Witts Francini of Divina Cucina. It was a great way to dig into everyday Florentine living, learn some Italian, wander the great Central Market with someone in the know and then cook, and finally EAT, a slow, beautiful lunch. We learned how to make Tuscan chicken under a "brick", cheese ravioli with tomato sauce (for my then 8 year old son), gnocchi with gorgonzola sauce, fried squash blossoms with ricotto, fried artichoke hearts and chocolate "salami". All washed down with a "table" wine that tasted of the Tuscan hills we could see from her kitchen window. The recipes now reside in my journal and every time I get it out to cook one of the dishes I'm magically transported back to that slow, molto bene afternoon.
On another page I made a little pocket for my Venice walking map out of a piece of handmade paper from a little, tiny shop close to Peggy Guggenheim's former home, now a museum. If I could go back to any place and any time to be an artist, I think it would be Renaissance Italy and I'd have to flip a coin for Florence or Venice. Maybe Rock, Paper, Scissors. Anyway I can, or could, go back, I would. I will.