The view from our hotel room. We actually moved rooms, to have one with a bathtub. The room is up on the third floor, and we preferred our garden view, but this room is definitely better for our extended stay. Otto was very reluctant to leave the old room, however, with its painted ceilings, and he has asked if we could have both.
The boys needed a "down" morning, so they watched "Madagascar."
We returned to Colle di Val d'Elsa.
Another day, another pizza. This one might look sort of cardbboardy, but it got pretty high marks from Otto, especially for being a bar pizza. Plus it has the bonus of being in a lovely square with a fountain (the same one with the water fountain where we played with our Playmobil knights).
More fountain play.
Until Otto fell in.
Otto was cold and wet, so we rushed back to the hotel, but not without stopping to take a quick look at the city from the bridge.
Otto took a bath to warm up, and Max joined him.
Feeling much better.
Played Legos in the hotel's garden. They turned the empty Pringle's container into a jail.
We somehow convinced the boys to return to Colle di Val d'Elsa for dinner.
We had spotted this restaurant earlier in the day (shortly before the falling in the fountain incident), but it was closed for lunch. It turns out it was pretty lucky we had gotten to spend a quiet afternoon at the hotel, because the boys were agreeable to having dinner here with us, which turned out to be a long lovely meal at one of Italy's slow food restaurants (we didn't realize they were a declared "slow food" establishment until we were on our way out, two and a half hours later).
The children's drawings on the menu were encouraging.
When we arrived, the restaurant was empty, except for the man who sat at the front table, working on a computer. He got up and smiled to greet us, then led us to a table. I was a bit surprised there was no one else dining at all, but shortly after we arrived, another two tables filled, and by the time we were eating, another two tables were full.
Their pane e coperto included a flatbread and olive plate.
The Officina makes their own organic wine. We got an entire bottle of it for 6 euros (a little bit more than 8 dollars). Their wine glasses were etched with the restaurant's name.
Crostini with pecorino cheese and thinly sliced pears, drizzled with honey. It was so good, I didn't even stop to take a picture until it was almost gone.
Martin had a warm cheese that was akin to gorgonzola. It was sort of like a soup, and it was served with celery for swirling in the cheese...there was lots more celery, but Max ate a lot of it, so happy to have his favorite vegetable.
For my primo piatto (first course), our waiter recommended his favorite pasta, which is presented in a simple, light sauce of olive oil, bread crumbs, and black pepper (when he described it, I was thinking pepper, meaning sweet peppers, but I have to say, this was even better than what I was thinking). All the pasta is handmade, even this long thin pici, which is like a thick, uneven spaghetti. It was so delicious.
There's our sweet waiter taking another couple's order. He had no problem going over every dish with us, taking a long time to discuss the ingredients of each.
Martin's secondo: trippa (tripe) in a ragu. Not for me, but he loved it.
My secondo was some sort of bird (he likened it to chicken, but I suppose many things are compared to chicken), which was stuffed with something else that I did not understand. I have no idea what I was eating, but it was really good. Even Max and Otto agreed.
We ordered the boys a simple pasta in a ragu, which they also liked, but they mostly played their DSis while we ate. It was quite something how occupied these little devices kept them for such a long dinner.
They were interested in dessert, however.
These guys gave us a taste of their Vin Santo, which they had paired with cantuccini, the small almond biscotti that is a speciality of the region, especially when paired with this sweet dessert wine.
It was a thoroughly wonderful meal, from the cozy, simple but lovely atmosphere, the pacing of the food, the patience and smiles of the waiter, the opportunity to watch other people enjoying their amazing meals, the astonishingly delicious food itself, and we were sure it was our best meal in Italy.
We left feeling very lucky to have found it, lucky for the circumstances that led us there at that particular day and time, lucky that our lovely boys were agreeable to a long long dinner, lingering what was probably an unreasonable amount of time in their opinions.
As we headed back for our car, we walked through the city walls, and everything seemed to be magical and glowing.