Monday, July 30, 2012

Tuscany-Hike and Homemade Meal

Welcome back to part two of my day in Tuscany.

Before we left for Italy, we had to pick the activities we wanted to do in Venice and Florence. For Florence, our options were either a hike through Tuscany or a cooking lesson. Either way, we got to eat the meal after it was made. I originally signed up for cooking because who doesn't want to learn how to cook from an Italian?!
Once we got to the site, however, I changed my mind. Fortunately Mila was excited to have another hiker (there were only five of us, including me). I am soooooo glad I made this decision because the views were absolutely incredible.

One of the first stops on the hike was a Catholic Cemetery. Standing in the entrance, you could see a white house on one of the neighboring hills. Einstein's cousin, Roberto, lived in this house with his wife and two children.  He married a Catholic woman so neither the Catholics nor the Jews would accept their children during WWII (Children are Jewish by their mother or Catholic by their father). Roberto hid in Mila's grandfather's house (which she happens to live in now) to escape from the Nazis. His wife decided to stay with the children in their home because she thought they were safe as Catholics. Someone planted weapons in their farm house in order to have a reason to kill them. Mila's grandfather had to tell Robeto that his family was dead, and Roberto committed suicide a year later. Roberto is the only Jewish man buried in the cemetery. Not only was he Jewish, he also committed suicide, which can kick even Catholic people out of cemeteries. He was buried in the cemetery beside his wife and there is a huge memorial for him. They also recently changed the cross on his tombstone to the Star of David. The rocks on the grave are a Jewish way of showing respect.

It was such a moving and incredible story. Mila got emotional while telling it to us; it was all so fresh to her. Her grandfather kept a war journal and wrote that telling Roberto about his family was the hardest thing he had ever done.

The rest of our hike took us over hills, through vineyards (yes...through vineyards), to a castle, to a count's house (now used as an exclusive bed and breakfast), and through people's backyards (Italians are just so friendly).
*cue the massive amount of pictures*

We had definitely worked up an appetite by the time we made it back to Mila's house. The rest of our group had been making pasta for our meal. Mila's husband also made appetizers and dessert. Italians sure know how to eat. I'm not sure how I managed it, but I ate every single bite. Along with over 10 cups of water (the hike made me thirsty).

The food was all so delicious, as usual. It was a perfect day exploring such a beautiful country. Fun fact: Mila actually lets people rent her house when they are traveling. Her home is quite large. Because there are so many rooms and hallways, it was a perfect spot for hiding Jews in World War II. Just being in a place so full of history was exciting all on its own. My goal is to go back one day and stay with Mila and her family. If any of you are traveling and want to check it out, email me and I will give you the details!

1 comment:

  1. Your pictures are like a dream Sarah! So beautiful. I will definitely keep Mila's house in mind if we ever make it over to Italy one day! ;)


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