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SPT18111 Mr. and Mrs Frist in Bella Italia

Wednesday, October 24, 2018 | Ursula Peter | Europe / Italy

Day 11: Cooking Class in Villa Pitiana with the chef Mario Perone

On the last day we didn`t ride - we cooked with the  Chef of Villa Pitiana Mario Perone. Jillian`s wish was to learn how to make pasta and gnocchi - the rest was on the chef.

so first we worked on Pappa Pomodoro - a typical Tuscan tomatoe soup, ragù and salsa pomodoro. The important things are always the herbs which are growing here just front door of the kitchen
Mario is preparing a special spiced oil, cooked on low temperature for quite a time, which he uses for all kind of dishes
we made a potato dough for the gnocchi and tried different styles
pasta is next: we made the dough and than formed or cut it differently.
Jillian tries to copy Mario - but it is hard
Farfalle, all kind of Tortellini, Ravioli and on the left Papardelle
last noch least the focaccia
looks delicious
and here the ingredients for cantucchini
bi-scotto - cooked twice
Mario is presenting our meal
thank you Mario, thank you Andrea - it was fabulous

Day 10: San Marino - Florence

After 50 km on the famous “Strada del Sole” Highway, which brought all the sun-hungry Germans in the late 60th to the Adriatic beaches a beautiful, twisty road awaits us.

Before the famous race courses, like Mugello and Imola, were built, the passionated Italians closed public roads on Sundays and raced there. 80 km of this old race track will lead you up to Passo Muraglione. You should stop at the bar on top, which is a well-known meeting point for motorcyclists anyway, and watch the pictures on the walls which telling stories from the wild old days.But unfortunately it was closed today.

Time was flying! It was so much to do, so much to see, such good the "best lunches and dinners"

But it only was a taste - there is much more out there. Maybe you have to come back to this paradise.

chilly morning over the Monte Feltro mountains
best coffee stop on tour in Forli
Villa Pitiana
yes - we made it
.... at sunset

Day 9: San Marino

San Marino is known as the oldest republic in the world, San Marino offers breathtaking views, charming cafes and little shops that will catch your eye. The center of San Marino is situated on top of a fascinating rock formation, which we will reach by riding up and enjoying several switchbacks. There is no border between Italy and San Marino. We will only notice that we have just entered a different country by the different look of license plates and the fancy uniforms of the San Marino guards.

changing of the guards

Day 8: Assisi - San Marino

We had to leave Assisi and our beautiful Nun Resort Hotel. After a short ride on the highway we climbed up to Cortona, the old Etruscan town. Il Grillo served us good lunch and after many curves we reached Urbino, the birthplace of Valentino Rossi. But... there are some dark clouds coming in

coffee stop in Cortona. But where is Jillian??? Maybe shopping?
high up, beautiful views down into the valley and tight, steep streets - some impressions
Urbino - the Renaissance town

heavy rain, thunderstorm and wind on our way to San Marino - but we made it

Day 7: Assisi

Despite the millions of tourists and pilgrims it attracts every year, St Francis’ hometown remains a beautiful and tranquil refuge. From Roman times, its inhabitants have been aware of the visual impact of their city, perched halfway up Monte Subasio. From the valley its pink and white marble buildings shimmer in the sunlight.

And if anybody looks for special location to stay, the old Benedictan monastery just at the southern city walls could be one of them:


Jillian and John decided not to ride today, but exploring the city and enjoying the Nun Resort, our outstanding hotel in Assisi.

Rocca Maggiore
San Francesco

Day 6: Siena - Assisi

This is a riding day at its best! Hopefully you are well rested. We leave Siena with a lot of new impressions. Only a few miles down the road we are overwhelmed by new ones. To the average Italian tourist, an itinerary that includes Siena, Montalcino, Assisi sounds like a cultural overkill. Tonight these names will have a different meaning to us. The riding is spectacular here!
Through the Crete Senese we touch the Via Cassia, a former Roman North/South main road. We turn west to the thermal spa region of Bagno Vignoni. The water of this health resort has been well-known since the Etruscs.

Montalcino - the Brunello region
these guys are not in a hurry at all
Bagno Vignoni
and last not least a coffee at Lago Trasimeno before we headed to Assisi

Day 5: Loopday Siena

Le Crete – typical Tuscan hills, cypress alley along the driveways to the farmhouses, curvy roads in the Merse valley  - this is on the list for today. San Galgano reminds on the powerfull monks back in the days and  Abbazia di Monte Oliveto invites for lunch. There will be enough time for sightseeing in Siena in the afternoon.

San Galgano
hopefully they don`t post their marriage everywhere in the social medias
Jillian and John
Abbazia di Monte Oliveto
the cathedral in Siena
56 panels of marble inlays, 40 artists worked on them for more than 200 years. Most of them are covered for protection. Only once a year they are all visible - and yes you could see them all
and last not least an open air classic concert in front of Fonte de Gaia

Day 4: Florence - Siena

On small roads we left Florence and headed into the Chianti area again. We couldn`t miss Radda and San Gimigniano, as well as our first slow food restaurant high above in the hills.

Riseccoli - a hidden treasure along the way. Olive oil, wine, vinegar are the specialties to try and buy.
these grapes will be the Vino Santo when they are completely dried by february or march
a truck is going from vineyard to vineyard for bottling the wine
Honey, should we buy one of these containers and let them ship home?
Surrounded by vineyards, Radda is a tourist hot-spot in Chianti. The charming village is perfect for souvenir shopping and is the place to buy a real Chianti wine and pretty much everthing else.
on a tiny little street we reach one of the "Slow Food" restaurants in the area....
Ricotta gnocchi, with burrata and a Aperol jelly in butter with pistachios and candied citron from Calabria
Siena at night - quiet, impressing
and dinner near the Campo in one of the Slow Food restaurants topped the day
everything is prepared for a special Palio on Saturday, commemorating the end of WW I, hundred years ago

Day 3: The Chianti area

We start to enjoy riding the winding roads of the Chianti area. This region seems like it was made for motorcyclists, with its small villages inviting you for a coffee break along the way. Many castles and fortresses, most of them privately owned, are scattered along our way. This is also the area well known for its excellent wines, many of them produced in small wineries embedded in those same castles and fortresses. We found an excellent lunch place - some off road riding was necessary - but it was worth it.

This charming town with its triangular Piazza Matteotti has two claims to fame: Antica Macelleria Fallorni (butcher`s shop), known for its meat cuts since 1729; and Giovanni da Verrazzano, the local-boy-made-good who discovered the New York harbour. Verrazzano was commemorated there by the Verrazzano Narrows bridge, linking Staten Island to Brooklyn which is well known by every runner who has ever done the New York marathon.

the black rooster - icon of the Chianti

Italian life style
two roosters
La Cantinetta di Rignana - what a place in the middle of nowhere and vineyards
coming home

After a little rest and a shopping tour through Florence we had Florence by night!

Day 2: Florence - Arezzo

We will explore three provinces of Italy: Tuscany, Umbria, Le Marche and one other country: San Marino, maybe the oldest republic in the world.

We started  Villa Tolomei, a former old convent at the southern end of Florence in the middle of olive and wine yards

Piazzale Michelangelo

We leave busy Florence and enjoy the twisties of Passo della Consuma. Arezzo, an charming, old, typical Italian village, belonged in Etruscan times to the "Union of the Twelve". Nowadays it is the center of the Italian jewelry industry.

Piazza Grande in Arezzo_ filmset for "Life is beautiful"
on our way back along the Strada Terre di Arezzo, with thousands of olive trees we visited an oil mill
Frantoio Pasquini in Reggello. The area is famous for olive oil
these guys bringing their olives to be pressed
Belmond Villa San Michele in Fiesole
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Add a comment Rate this post
Anita Shull
Thursday, October 25, 2018 at 20:05

Hello Frist’s!
You can imagine how thrilled we are to see and hear all about your trip. It
Looks remarkable. We will visit Tuscany next Nay with friends but not on bikes, so your adventure tops ours no matter what enjoy the rest the f your adventures and we
Look forward to a
Personal account from you at Thanksgiving
Markus Hellrigl
Friday, October 19, 2018 at 12:06

Hi John and Jillian,
good to see you on the road enjoying Bella Italia. Have a good time!
Viktoria Neuner
Tuesday, October 16, 2018 at 17:10

Dear Dr. Frist, dear Jillian,
looks like you are having a good time in Italy!
Enjoy la bella vita, have fun and ride safely > I will follow you on the blog
I am sorry that I don't have the chance to drink a good glass of wine with you in Tuscany but I'm sending you a big big hug from Mieming, Viktoria


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