Florence is one of the major destination cities of the world.
Tuscany’s Green Michelin Guide says we must allot four days to Florence.
We won’t need a car for our time in Florence.
Thereafter we will.

We’ll drive to Siena, an hour and a half from Florence and go between Siena and San Gimignano, forty-five minutes from Siena.
Either of these is a destination city, and together, we’ll estimate that they add a day and a half to the four days we’re estimating to spend in Florence.

San Gimignano is a small walled medieval hill town in the province of Siena, Tuscany, north-central Italy. Known as the Town of Fine Towers, San Gimignano is famous for its medieval architecture, unique in the preservation of about a dozen of its tower houses, which, with its hilltop setting and encircling walls, form "an unforgettable skyline".
Within the walls, the well-preserved buildings include notable examples of both Romanesque and Gothic architecture, with outstanding examples of secular buildings as well as churches.
The Palazzo Comunale, the Collegiate Church and Church of Sant' Agostino contain frescos, including cycles dating from the 14th and 15th centuries.
The "Historic Centre of San Gimignano" is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The town also is known for saffron, the Golden Ham, and its white wine, Vernaccia di San Gimignano, produced from the ancient variety of Vernaccia grape which is grown on the sandstone hillsides of the area.

Not many cities or towns rate three stars from the Guide Michelin. San Gimignano does. With good reason.

Not many cities or towns rate three stars from the Guide Michelin.
San Gimignano does.
With good reason.

Siena, (not another town called Sienna,) is the capital of the province of Siena.

The historic center of Siena has been declared by UNESCO a World Heritage Site.
It is one of the nation's most visited tourist attractions, with over 163,000 international arrivals in 2008.
Siena is famous for its cuisine, art, museums, medieval cityscape and the Palio, a horse race held twice a year.

Siena, seen from Santa Maria dei Servi.  On the left, top of the hill, the cathedral of Siena (Santa Maria Assunta or Duomo di Siena) and the Facciatone.  On the right, the back of the Palazzo Pubblico and the Torre del Mangia.

Siena, seen from Santa Maria dei Servi.
On the left, top of the hill, the cathedral of Siena (Santa Maria Assunta or Duomo di Siena) and the Facciatone.
On the right, the back of the Palazzo Pubblico and the Torre del Mangia.

Obviously, on the trip from Florence to Siena and thereafter we will auto-tour.
Enjoying Tuscany’s countryside.
And its small towns.
And surprises.

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Tuesday, October 9, 2018
My 182nd consecutive daily posting.
Time is 5.02am.
Boston’s temperature will be 59* and it will be cloudy.

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Question of the Day:

Can you name a popular variation of the Aglio e Olio recipe we published here yesterday?A reminder: The Aglio e Olio sauce can now be found on our website under recipes.

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Movie Review
The Twilight Saga is a series of five romance fantasy films based on the four novels by American author Stephenie Meyer.

The films star Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, and Taylor Lautner.

The series has grossed over $3.3 billion in worldwide receipts.

The first installment, Twilight, was released on November 21, 2008.
The second installment, New Moon, followed on November 20, 2009, breaking box office records as the biggest midnight screening and opening day in history, grossing an estimated $72.7 million.
”The Twilight Saga: New Moon” (2009) was directed by Chris Weitz and written by Melissa Rosenberg.

The film follows the Cullens' departure from Forks, and Bella Swan's fall into a deep depression until she develops a strong friendship with werewolf Jacob Black.
Jacob and his tribe must protect Bella from Victoria, and a gregarious herd of vampires, the Volturi, who call Volterra, Tuscany, their home.

Part of the”New Moon” is set in Volterra.
The movie version of the story was shot in nearby Montepulciano, but for those familiar with the Twilight series, there are sights within Volterra that are referenced in the book. Volterra’s clock tower is just one example.
The sprawling stony mansion that the Volturi coven call home meets the description of the entrance to Volterra’s Viti Mansion.

The Volturi vampires use Volterra, Tuscany, as their home. Since I’m planning a trip there, perhaps I could visit and suck up a mouthful.

The Volturi vampires use Volterra, Tuscany, as their home.
Since I’m planning a trip there, perhaps I could visit and suck up a mouthful.

One Answer to the Question of the Day:

CLAM SAUCE, WHITE
12 little necks per person for a full order
Recipe for 2

THE CLAMS and broth
Cover a pan and simmer-steam little necks open with 1 cup dry white wine.
Remove the clams from the steam bath as they open and set into bowl.
Allow clams to cool and then pull out the clam meat, cut the clams in halves or quarters, and set aside.
Measure the broth.
If less than one cup, return the volume to a full cup by adding more wine.

Note that if we have to add wine, we’ll have to actively-simmer the broth to evaporate out the alcohol from the newly-added wine. Five minutes should do it.
Cover the clams with some of the broth and hold aside until ready to add the clams to the sauce.

Make a simple AGLIO e OLIO sauce:
8TB olive oil
6 garlic cloves sliced thinly

Very slowly fry the garlic slices until lightly browned.
Purpose here is to infuse the oil with the garlic flavor.
In turn, the oil will flavor the pasta.

When we are happy with the fragrance of the oil and the color of the garlic, stop the fry quickly, by pouring ¼ cup water into the pan.

To taste, add none, one, or more of the following.
Use your imagination.

1 small dried red chili, coarsely broken up.
2 or more canned anchovies, to our taste.
2TB leeks.
2 TB lemon zest chopped fine.
¾ cup chopped fresh basil and/or parsley.
Black pepper

And the clams. Without any of the clam broth.
And if we’re not using leeks, slice two scallions into thin circles and add them.

Cook the adds for a little bit: a simmer for less than five minutes.

THE PASTA
Use a wok to boil the linguini.
Don’t have one?
It’s worth buying a wok just to boil pasta.

Use 5 to 6 quarts of water to boil a pound of pasta.
Add 3TB of salt to the hot water.
Then add the pasta.
Use tongs or a cook-fork to separate the pasta strands from each other.
This is most important at the beginning of the cook.
As the pasta absorbs water they won’t adhere to each other as easily.

Stop the boil when the pasta is still chewy.
Very chewy.

Clam sauce is a topping for pasta, usually linguine.   The two most popular varieties are   white, usually featuring minced clams, olive oil, garlic, lemon juice and parsley,   or red, usually a thin tomato sauce with minced clams.   Other variants include the incorporation of whole clams, hot pepper flakes and other ingredients.

Clam sauce is a topping for pasta, usually linguine.
The two most popular varieties are
white, usually featuring minced clams, olive oil, garlic, lemon juice and parsley,
or red, usually a thin tomato sauce with minced clams.
Other variants include the incorporation of whole clams, hot pepper flakes and other ingredients.

Drain the pasta. Thoroughly. Leave no water.
Quickly return the pasta to the wok.
Add the cup of clam broth and heat the pasta until all of the broth is absorbed.

The pasta will soften from very chewy to a simple al dente.
Add the garlic sauce and 1TB fresh lemon juice to the pasta and toss.
Portion out and drizzle 1TB of extra virgin olive oil over the top of each plate.

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Delicious smells, tastes, and sights.
Great way to start a day.
See you.
Love you
Dom