Italy Day Two: Perugia and Cortona

Before I forget, I was notified by one of my friends last week that although our Italian selfies were lovely, she wanted more food posts. Those pictures we only took on the nice camera, so let me share with you our first meal in Tuscany. Once we got to our villa after leaving Rome and unloaded everything Saturday night, we made our way 2 km up the mountain to what will probably be one of our favorite places on earth for the rest of our lives.

Ristorante Malborghetto was a haven of unreal food, wine, and people. We were already signed up to take a cooking class there on Thursday morning, and we definitely came back for another dinner that week; we just couldn’t stay away. Truffles were everywhere, handmade pasta, the sauces, the meat, the cheese…where was I again? Oh yeah, so we ate dinner, filled ourselves with an amazing Chianti, and then went back and COMPLETELY PASSED OUT into a delightful sleepy bliss.

Happy accidents can make for the best memories. After struggling to get up on Sunday morning (which also contained a nice Daylight Savings time switch, so that was fun), we made our way by car to the train station in Montevarchi about 30 minutes away only to find out that we had missed the train. A combination of Timmy getting up too late and me reading the incorrect time on the printout wasn’t the greatest start to the day.

So we sucked it up and decided to drive 1.5 hours to Perugia in order to enjoy the 2014 Eurochocolate Festival. Yes, that says Eurochocolate. I unknowingly planned our week vacation to coincide with the final day of the week-long Eurochocolate festival, and you better believe that was one of the first things I added to our agenda when I found that out.

On our way through winding Tuscan roads to the Umbria region, we spotted a few things that made us wonder if we were imagining things. On the side of the road (and keep in mind we’re talking RURAL roads…early on a Sunday morning), not once but twice, we saw hookers.

Hookers. Hooking. On a Sunday morning in the middle of Tuscany.

So yeah, that happened.

Anyways, we got to Perugia, which happens to be one of the best preserved medieval cities in Italy, parked, and made our way to the mini-train to go up the mountain. The mini-train was freaking adorable, and felt like we were on a ride at Disney, making our way up the side of a mountain to the town.

We arrived, and HOLY CRAP. The views were unbelievable.

Perugia in panorama

Perugia in panorama

Unreal. We walked around the town, trying to control our anxiety through MASSIVE crowds, bought a few chocolate goodies, and loved the town all-around.

We found our way back to the car and on our way home, we saw that Cortona was just a short drive away. So we decided, why the hell not? It wasn’t on our original plans, but we made it happen anyway. A good college friend of Timmy’s got married in Cortona last year, and we weren’t able to make it. We wanted to, but after having moved to Florida and starting new jobs, it wasn’t in the budget. And now, after having visited this town (during a sunset no less, which definitely didn’t suck), we can see why they chose this magical place to marry.

Side note: there was a sweet little cafe in one of the main piazzas that cracked me up and I had to share with you (although you probably won’t enjoy this is as much as my family). My Yaya (the one who turned 100 in March) has always said my name as though it were in Italian. She is a full española so it’s funny that she can’t say my name in Spanish. She leaves out the “c” altogether so that it sounds like Vittoria. And lo and behold, what do we see in Cortona?

We loved this city. It was unbelievably beautiful, and the people, oh the people! We stopped in a wine store and were perusing the selections when an older Italian gentleman stood up and just started telling us which ones to get. “Very good wine” as he pointed to some Tuscan choices. He was dead right, the Syrah was DELISH. And he didn’t even work there. 🙂

Later that evening, we went to the local restaurant, La Grotta della Rana. We only ate there once because we could NOT figure out when they were open. Some days they were open for lunch, some nights they were open for dinner, but never when we walked over (this place was literally 50 feet from our villa). So that was definitely unfortunate because the food was incredible and we never got to the try the wine made from the village’s vineyard. And you may notice the wine bottle we ordered, which was delicious. We tried a lot of Chianti this trip simply because we were in the heart of Chianti region and we would’ve been dumb not to.

We may or may not have ordered a bottle of wine at every lunch and dinner that week, minus 1-2 meals. Yeah, it was that kind of vacation.

So that was day two. Don’t say I didn’t warn you about the massive amount of pictures. More to come!

♥, VB

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