LATE SUMMER IN TUSCANY
Fatty pig sandwiches were served to me in the garden at the wonderful Torre di Bellosguardo hotel on the hill above Florence’s Puerta Romana. After a drive from Rome, and that was after a non-stop from SFO. When I saw the hotel at the end of its driveway above the road to Florence’s Porta Romana, I recovered immediately.
It’s a hotel with the perfect amount of shabbiness – if you count un-restored Renaissance palazzo architecture in any way shabby. It is not just the fact that any hotel with parrots in an enormous loggia would win my heart instantly, or the fact that when you are submerged in its rose-surrounded pool the only other thing you see is the dome of the Duomo.
Or that there is no restaurant, only smoked salmon sandwiches, fresh white-peach bellini, and rigatino steso served poolside. This pork belly, or lardo is seasoned for four months on wooden boards aromatized with lots of salt, pepper, and wild herbs. It was sliced tissue thin and heated briefly on top of foccacia. Perfect food and world-class views. That first night I threw open all the windows of my huge corner room.