The Daily Diary of a Wandering Restaurateur
May 7 - Panicale and Beyond

Two significant things happened today -- the sun came out (at least for most of the day) and we finally broke our gelato fast! Hard to believe we were almost a week in Italy without gelato.

One of the things we hoped to accomplish by staying in town was to be able to walk to breakfast ... so today we did. The Bar Del Gallo in the main piazza is the local morning gathering spot. Some coffee and fresh pastries were enough to take the edge off before we hit the road to do the American thing -- burn up fossil fuel.

Margene had her mind set on more Etruscan jewelry so we did the great circle route through Chiusi (home to the Etruscan Museum ... that we never found) to Certona (also supposedly a good place for Etruscan jewelry -- Not!) and then to Sarteano where we also struck out. Then we did what we should have done in the first place -- headed back north to Cortona where she bought her last Etruscan treasures ... and of course they had everything she wanted and more!

We stayed just outside Cortona for a week in 2005 so we knew our way around town pretty well. The Etruscan itch having been scratched, we headed for lunch at Trattoria La Grotta, a favorite find on our last trip. The sun was shining so we opted for a table on the terrace ... so of course it clouded up and started raining as soon as the food started to arrive!

We dealt with that like true Seattle-ites and the handmade gnocci with ricotta and spinach and a tomato sauce was as exceptional as I remembered it. Margene opted for gnocci with a gorgonzola cheese sauce, also awesome. In fact, it easily filled us up enough to make the idea of dinner redundant. Of course, being full is never an excuse to pass up gelato, one of the basic Italian food groups ... and there is an exceptional gelateria on the main drag in Cortona that was calling our names. Check the photos and you will see why.

The rain clouds had passed by now and we enjoyed bright sunshine for the rest of the day. We had an impromptu picnic in the room -- bread, wine and cheese -- to take the evening edge off and then wandered around Panicale for an hour or so, just taking the place in. Finally we had to stop by Ristorante Masolino to say goodbye to Stefania and her brother, Andre ... and have one last coffee and dessert! Tomorrow we saddle up and head south for our first visit to the Amalfi Coast. Hopefully my Internet access down there will be more reliable than what I have had for the past couple of days!

Around Cortona and Panicale

Dining in Cortona

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