A little history for you- When Josh was 14 he came to live in Italy for a month with the Salvatori family. His then Uncle, Joe (he was married into Laura's family), knew the family and coordinated an "exchange program" for the kids. Josh lived in Tuscany with the Salvatoris for a month, and Mateo (one of the Salvatori sons) lived in MN for a month with Josh's family. It has been 19 years since Laura has seen the family and about 10 since Josh has seen them (even though he stays in contact with Mateo).
On Saturday, Mateo and Siliano (his dad) invited us to their home for lunch, and we couldn't decline. We drove to their amazing property north west of Florence to meet up with the family and of course... we got a little lost on the way. Tutti doesn't always understand the difference between a road and a driveway in Tuscany. It was my first time meeting them, even though I've heard all about them for a very long time. They were the nicest people and very welcoming! They were gracious hosts and it was really fun to see where Josh lived for a month in his teen years.
|From left to right: Josh, Manuela (Mateo's mom), Mateo, Clarice (Mateo's wife),|
Siliano (Mateo's dad), Me. In Front: Nicolo (Mateo's son), Mike, Laura.
Their home is on an old vineyard that used to produce red wine and Vin Santo. They no longer make the Vin Santo (although they had a few bottles in the cellar that they generously gave to us), and they also make Olive Oil. The property is huge and they have orange trees, lemon trees, chestnut trees, and pomegranate trees. They don't eat the pomegranates, so they wouldn't let us leave until I accepted a bag full of them! There must have been 20 pomegranates in the bag! They served us an excellent Italian BBQ complete with steak, pork ribs, and sausages. Of course there were lots of side dishes and homemade cookies for desert. They even poured the homemade Vin Santo for us and it was delicious! After lunch, we headed back to the "party room" of the house (a large game room off of the outdoor patio) for spumante and nuts from their property. A tradition in the fall here in Italy is roasting chestnuts- they are tasty!!! My first time trying them was that day. They also had a large bowl full of almonds, walnuts, and hazelnuts.
The family is so nice and they told us that when we go to Tuscany, we are welcome at their home anytime. It really felt like we were a part of the family that day. After all, they are like Josh's Italian family.
|Mateo, Clarice, Siliano, Me|
After a wonderful afternoon visiting and getting to know the Salvatori Family, we drove down to San Gimignano for the evening. We arrived as the sun was starting to set and Josh was able to get some great shots of the city. There was a little time for some shopping for Cinghiale sausages and ceramic olive oil pourers. It was really cold that day, so we decided to have an early dinner (early here is at 7PM) just to get out of the cold. We grabbed some food and then headed back to the B&B. It was a wonderful day, spent with wonderful people! It was so much fun to meet the Salvatori family and I hope to see them again in the near future!
The final day in Tuscany we met up with "Uncle" Joe- stay tuned!!