Wet & Wild – How To Get Ruined In Rome

This gallery contains 9 photos.

First we frolicked in Florence, tripping through ancient cobblestone streets. Picking up old friends, Edgardo and Daphne, and a new one, Frederico. We saw the Duomo and Uffizi, with its Botticellis and Medicis, ate beautiful food, and more food. Oh, … Continue reading

Poetry and Painting in Ponsacco

We arrived in Pontedera, Italy via train. Then, took a cab from to Ponsacco just a half hour from Pisa where my friend Daphne Stevens Pascucci runs an Art and English School called Arcadia Art Studio. The tiny village has just a few public eateries and one slightly abandoned village square with its own leaning tower (of Pisa) beside an ancient church. We were famished from our travels, but could only find pastries and coffee which we ate and drank. We sat under umbrellas, catching up with Daphne, whom I met thirty-eight years ago when we both worked at the Julliard School in NYC. This reunion was a long time in the making.

The town square in Ponsacco

Zena and I spent the afternoon painting in Daphne’s studio getting sage advice about the best way to contrast light and dark with oils and we finished our day at a local pizzeria talking well into the night.

Zena Marpet, Joy Rose, Daphne Stevens

Yesterday I was determined to go to Casciana Terme, where the thermal pools are rumored to have healing properties. We navigated the short bus ride in broken Italian, using animated hand signals, and waving our maps in the air. A short walk from the bus, the town square opened before us like so many of these villages, organized with cobbled stones, a pedestrian thoroughfare, a large church, and several shops. Zena waited for me to swim, sipping cappuccino and writing humorous  poems which I am happy to share with you here. 


Trip of a Lifetime

Small Italian square. 

Cigarette smoke fills the air. 

Church bells on the hour. 

Across the way a leaning tower. 

Many cappuccinos, but not past two. 

Because the Italians thinks that it is shrew. 

The Tuscan sun is hot like fuel. 

The Tuscan moon is bright but cool. 

Cypress trees, there is no breeze. 

Back in London they eat a lot of peas. 

Pasta fills me up. 

Too much salt (says my mother), 

Can someone pour more proseco in her cup? 

Campari and soda and a lot of yoga. 

This so far has been the trip of trips. 

And, back in England they call fries crisps.

The poet at work!

Food for my Mother

Pizza with cheese. 

More pasta please. 

Red meat and truffles. 

How much can I fit in my duffel? 

Steak every night. 

Salads are rare. 

Oh, no- could I be having a flare?

My ankles are swollen and my stomach hurts. 

Could it be true, I don’t want dessert? 

This puts me in the worst mood. 

Am I the only person who can’t eat Italian food? 

I’m desperate. 

It feels like the final hour. 

I cooked up some bone broth, but even that tastes sour. 

I am used to having kale and juice. 

Okay body, I call a truce. 

This puts me in the worst mood! 

Am I the only person who can’t eat Italian food?

I’m desperate. 

It feels like the final hour. 

I need more food with a lot less flour. 

I am hurt. 

I feel I am no use. 

Okay body, I call a truce. 

Maybe just a little less cheese? 

And more fresh fruit I can squeeze?

Chick peas and yogurt- the pain is now less overt. 

My swelling goes down and that’s the end of my frown. 

I think I’ll go swim nude. 

But one thing is for certain-

I cannot eat Italian food.

Mom’s swollen feet elevated on train

I hope you’ll tune in from time to time as I share bits and pieces of the next 45 day journey that will take me from NYC, to London, to Italy, to Scotland. 

Tuscany is for Food & Friends

We arrived in Umbria on the tenth day of our journey, followed the windy roads through the farmlands, up the mountain to the place where Terry and Michelle make their country home. Their villa, turned yoga retreat is named La Chimera after the ancient hybrid beast that is part lion, part winged creature.

La Chimera in Tuscany

Almost immediately, the feast begins. We spend lots of time around the large wooden table in the middle of their restored medieval kitchen. Pasta, home curedy salami, olives, breads, and wine. These delicious foods are contrary to the way my eating habits have developed over the years. I feel unbelievably relaxed and happy. I also feel pudgy and bloated. I wonder if I might be the ONLY person in the world who’s body does not love Italian food?

Michelle, Terry, Zena, Joy

Daughter Zena and our host Michelle are both rail thin with long wavy hair and slender arms and legs. I am lumpy and swollen from travel. I give up early feeling fabulous and settle for “aging fairly well, considering four kids and a kidney transplant”.

More guests arrive. Their are no proprietary friendships in Europe as far as my experience goes. It is come one, come all, as many as we can fit around the table. We travel to Monterchi for an incredible feast with Marco and his wife and three daughters. Their small outdoor restaurant is cut into the hill, meandering back into unfolding rooms of aging cheese, ceramics, and truffle oils, which are native to these parts. 

Ristorante Al Travato

After an evening of more meats, I swoon back into my room waking to an unparalleled view of the Tuscan hillside. I understand why Van Gogh painted here. Everything is alive with light and energy. Today is market day. We will discover even more.

View from my window

I hope you’ll tune in from time to time as I share bits and pieces of the next 45 day journey that will take me from NYC, to London, to Italy, to Scotland.