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james 05-18-2007 02:30 PM

More Tensioner Photo
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I thought you would find these interesting. We were out for a weekend walk and came across a nice hilltop village called Montecatini Alto. The olive trees fell away down the hills in every direction. This area of Italy was hotly contested in the middle ages, and this village was part of a network of fortified towns across central Tuscany. It was all built in the 12th century, so I am guessing they have a lot of work keeping the buildings in good shape.

The first two tensioners were particularly noteworthy, as they are basically new, and a few of them are right next to some very old ones. There is also one custom build to support an angled external wall.

As they say, a good house is never done.

DrakeRemoray 05-18-2007 02:48 PM

Re: More Tensioner Photo
Ah Montecatini Alto! Did you ride the funicular (oldest in the world?) Did you eat at La Torre?

Here is a picture of me in front of a big basket of fresh porcini mushrooms in front of La Torre in Montecatini Alto on my Dad's birthday, what a great day we had...

james 05-18-2007 11:14 PM

Re: More Tensioner Photo
Great looking mushrooms (oh, and you two look OK too). :-) We literally stumbled on the old town. We'd spent the day in Colodi at the Pinnochio park, and in the way home we wanted to go to the coop olive mill and find an ice cream cone - boy did we find ice cream. We turned the corner, and there it was - the piazza with the bars and restaurants (including le Torre). We missed the funicolare -- but we did get to see a car scratch a brand new Porsche Carrera 4 in the very crowded parking. That's something you don't see every day.

Drew, what did you have for dinner? le Torre looked like very traditional Tuscan.

DrakeRemoray 05-18-2007 11:56 PM

Re: More Tensioner Photo
Very traditional, I had Tagliatelle with porcinis (of course) and a Tagliata sliced steak with arugula...

A better restaurant out that way was De Cecco in Pescia...really excellent. Made to order risotto, tuscana rosa beans with bortagga and peposa (stewed beef snout...peposa sounds so much better). A very classy joint.

Have you been out to Barga in the Garfagnana...kinda far maybe, but a very cool working mountain town, the view from the top is outstanding...


james 05-30-2007 01:36 PM

Re: More Tensioner Photo

That's a really nice photo. You are way out there -- right behind Carrara, where the marble for David, the duomo's in Florence and Siena, and much of ancient Rome was quarried. Is that the back of the mountains facing west? What a great spot.

DrakeRemoray 05-30-2007 02:32 PM

Re: More Tensioner Photo
Definitely west facing. Barga was really a nice town. You should make a trip out there...

james 05-31-2007 03:56 AM

Re: More Tensioner Photo
I just checked and it's nearly two hours from the house -- I'm not sure we can get the kids to do that. It's funny how things go, but another family we know made it to Barga a few weekends ago, thought it was great, and just told us about it. Things seems to come in groups I guess.

Still, we are looking for a day trip this weekend. What about Pescia? Would you recommend that?

DrakeRemoray 05-31-2007 03:42 PM

Re: More Tensioner Photo
I don't think there is much to see in Pescia except that restaurant I mentioned. How about the train ride out to Cinque Terra, have you done that...amazing...

Hendo 05-31-2007 08:17 PM

Re: Cinque Terre
Stayed a few days in Manarola in 2001 and walked the lower trail between the five villages - Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso.

Fantastic walk with fantastic views - highly recommended!

Long way from Florence, though ....

DrakeRemoray 05-31-2007 10:27 PM

Re: More Tensioner Photo
Two hours by train each way to La Spezia, then 10 more minutes to the first town on the local train. I think that is Riomaggiore. We hiked from the first to second town (Manarola). Very very easy hike. The other hikes looked tougher so we took the train between each town. The kids loved the beach as well as the views.

I think worth it for a day trip...

Here is a shot of Vernazza that I found on (not mine). We had a great lunch at Gianni Franzi in Vernazza. It is under all those umbrellas in the cetner of the picture. All kinds of very fresh seafood including stuffed mussels and sardines 3 or 4 ways.

I also got an excellent hand painted mask of Bacchus in Manarola. I hang it on the pizza oven during parties. How is that for a forno bravo tie in...

If that is too far have you been to Lucca yet...another great town. I can list many fabulous meals there too, just say the word.


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