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The Midseason Report from Italy
After almost six weeks in Italy, I have so many stories to tell you, but I’m woefully behind on publishing them. So as not to neglect you any longer, I’m sharing a little peek at what I’m working on, as well as a new episode of Untold Italy which you can go ahead and watch here before it is published as a podcast.
In June, I revisited Irpinia, a mountainous subregion just a short drive from the Amalfi Coast, with excellent wine and hardly any tourists. My friend and colleague, Sarah Pompei of The Authentic Irpinia, organized two days of wine adventures. Over unforgettable home-cooked meals, the winemakers we met opened their hearts and shared their sadness over being unable to save the grapes rotting on the vine this year because of the monumental rain across Europe. What stood out to me was how they all said that not even their oldest family members had any wisdom for dealing with these challenges, yet, they will — they must figure it out. The early story of this period of climate change is told by wine, and we have much to learn.
If you’re considering a trip to Puglia, I recommend staying at Masseria Battaglini for no other reason but to spend time with the proprietor, Giovanella Russo. After a long career in the male-dominated world of risk management, Giovanella felt drawn to the kitchen so she could better connect to her feminine instincts. Stay there and get to know this fabulous person over breakfast, where she serves freshly baked brioche bread and cornetti oozing with hot cream.
Rome is currently disgusting. There’s a huge garbage problem linked to festering political corruption, though being dirty may be one of the longest traditions in the Eternal City. I spent a lot of time walking around Rome and thinking about descriptions of how much it is today like it was in the 1st century. I also want to tell you about my experience of the 6 am Key Masters Tour of the Vatican Museums with just 20 other people. I saw the Lacoon up close and stand by the idea that it is a forgery by Michelangelo. I was also broken down in the very best way by my experience alone in the Sistine Chapel. Even if the weeds are devouring it, Rome is always worth it.
What else is happening:
I have an online class about the Black Madonnas of Southern Italy on August 8th.
Lastly, I’ll be launching a new series of food and wine workshops for 2024 that go on sale on August 1st. If you’d like to be among the first to know and receive a discount code, get on our mailing list now.