The Daily Diary of a Wandering Restaurateur
April 27 - Umbria

It is almost a surprise to have only two days left before we leave. Time seems to be flying despite the fact that our pace on this trip has been much slower than in the past. We seem to be placing more value on quiet time. Perhaps it is that we have been here so often that there are few "must see" sights left. It could just be age (oops!)

In any event, after running another load of laundry through, we headed off for the wilds of Tuscany to see Alison Leeming and Bob Monroe, owners of Summers Leases, the company we rent the houses through. We spent some time with them last year and really hit it off so we thought a return engagement would not only be fun, but informative. Ali and Bob are originally from the UK but have been living in Italy for 18 years with no intention of returning to England.

They have been restoring a house in Tuscany about a 90-minute drive from where we are staying. They have a one-bedroom apartment in an attached side building that they rent. It was a construction zone the last time we were here but it looks great now that it is done. Apparently it was a photo finish getting the final pieces in place before the first guests arrived ... but all's well that ends well, right? Now all they have to do is finish the needed work on their part of the house!

Alison gave us some great insights into the rental market in Italy as well as where and how to buy property. I think we have a much better idea of the sort of places we should be looking for if we intend to rent them out. In the end, the best thing that could happen is that we give up on the idea completely. After visiting for awhile, we all drove down the hill into town for a nice lunch and more chit-chat, political and otherwise.

But Sandra was coming in to cook us another dinner so we finally had to call it quits and head back to Gudiolo. Tonight she did two types of bruschetta (that's pronounced broos-ketta, by the way) -- one with fresh tomatoes, olive oil and garlic, the other with an olive tapenade. The first course was gnocchi with tomato sauce followed by veal with lemon sauce, mashed potatoes and fresh green beans. For dessert we demolished a pannacotta with pureed strawberries. Wash it all down with a few bottles of Rosso de Montepulciano and you have another wonderful evening ... with wonderful friends ... in a wonderful place.

Life is good in Umbria today.

Photos del Giorno

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