Subject: Restaurants, daytrips - Bellagio, Siena, Florence
Hi Johannes,

What can I add to Felice's posting!... Be sure to taste the wonderful olive oils and superb balsamic vinegars at the enoteca in Fortezza Medicea in Siena. I tried a 'to die for' very old Modena balsamic .... ahhhh! Please beware of pick-pockets at the Siena market (and everywhere else too). I thoroughly enjoyed my meal at Mugolone, via dei Pellegrini in Siena (first course of home-made linguini with a splash of extra virgin olive and white truffles is a taste sensation.)

Reading though Felice's posting 'took me back' to Italy and compelled me to share what was a magical experience for me.

If you decide to a take a 'day and a half-trip' from Siena or Florence, you might want to stay in Lucca overnight (we stayed at the very charming little Corte degli Angeli). There is lots to see in, and from, Lucca (views from tower tops are breath-taking) AND from there you could attend an open-air performance of an opera during the annual Puccini festival at Torre del Lago Puccini beside Lago di Massaciuccoli. We'd travelled to Lucca by bus from Siena, i.e. no car. The bus schedule could get us from Lucca to Torre del Lago in time for the performance; however there did not appear to be a bus returning to Lucca after the performance. Soooo, the proprietor at Corte degli Angeli arranged for a taxi to take us, to wait and to bring us back. The taxi ride was NOT magical ... the driver clearly thought he was in training for a road race ... but that meant that we got to Torre del Lago in good time and got back to Lucca just as expeditiously.

We wandered through a very touristy, vendor-heavy area (also NOT magical) toward the lake and toward the entrance to the theatre. We bought gelato - delicious - and we experienced dusk descending as we waited to take our seats. The lake was still, the breeze soft and warm, and the light, oh the light, could not have been more beautifully painted. It was easy to understand how this place was a source of inspiration for Puccini. I captured one of my very favourite photographs here (just looked at it again as I write this note). As the sun went down, we took our seats for a captivating performance of Madama Butterfly, the lake providing an ever-changing back drop. The sight, the sound, the feeling was, for me at that time, magical.

Sometimes these WOW experiences happen serendipitously. I'm not sure other Ziners would recommend this; however, I know that if I ever get a chance to try for a repeat performance ... I'll do it! On the chance that you could have a similar 'magical' experience - I wanted to share mine.


Lesley Toronto, Canada