24th FAMILY REUNION
10-19 April 2019
Villa Prato al Sole, San Pancrazio, Italy

For more pictures of the reunion see: 


We have just spent a week at Agriturismo Prato al Sole in Tuscany Italy. It was a wonderful celebration, enjoying our 24 th Family Reunion, celebrating 55 years of married life (our actual anniversary in in December, but we decided we couldn’t wait) and a few birthdays in April.
Prato al Sole
The stone villa comfortably accommodated all 15 of us (Lior, Vered’s daughter, is in the army and couldn’t join us).

 

Best of all was the large wooden table in the communal area where we enjoyed lavish breakfasts and huge dinners,
barbecues prepared by Aviv and lots of gnocchi and fresh pasta.


A few of us even braved 12 degrees C water to swim a few times.


Mornings started with the arrival of the bread van of Danielle, who every morning came to offer us a variety of baguettes,
breads and a Tuscany sweet bread. We passed on the local salt free bread. Tradition suggests that back in 1540
the inhabitants began to make salt free bread in protest of a salt tax.


San Pancrazio, where the villa is situated, is well placed for touring Tuscany, even though it was about 15 minutes from the nearest town.





Prato al SolePrato al SolePrato al Sole


The Eilat Levys, Dani (Vered's daughter) and we were the first to arrive in Italy. Driving from Rome we stopped at Orvieto to view the spectacular cathedral – both the intricately carved façade and interesting frescoes inside.

 Prato al SolePrato al Sole

Prato al SoleBaci


The following day we all drove to Perugia to visit the Baci Chocolate factory.

We were surprised when we arrived at the piazza of the old city – not where you would expect a factory.
Wazes got a little confused and pinpointed a Baci chocolate shop. A fortunate mistake as we toured the old city
which included a whole underground complex.

We did make our way to the chocolate factory where we saw the multitude of machines that prepare
and wrap 1,6000,000 Baci chocolates a day, as well as Easter Eggs and other sweets, including little
KitKat. Best of all was the tasting and the ability to fill our pockets with goodies.
They have a dark Baci, which we didn’t see elsewhere which was truly excellent.







That evening Vered and Aviv joined us and we had excellent pizza in Monte San Savino the nearest town to our villa. Moran and family arrived late that night.

The next morning we all drove to Pisa wearing our specially printed T-shirts. (Click to see the picture on our Family Reunion page).
We had a great time with family photographs. Of course we all took turns propping up the tower. Most of us walked up the Tower, leaning first to the left and then to the right as we climbed the spiral steps. Special congratulations to Itamar and Amit who overcame their fear of high places. A long drive home where we enjoyed another great barbecue.

 Prato al Sole Pisa PisaPrato al Sole Pisa PisaPrato al Sole Pisa Pisa

Prato al Sole Pisa PisaPrato al Sole Pisa PisaPrato al Sole pisa

The following morning we visited San Gimignano, a medieval walled hill town with huge stone towers. When we climbed to the top of Torre Grossa we were able to identity the 14 towers that remain today of the original 72 towers built in the 1300’s.

Prato al Sole Pisa San GimPrato al Sole Pisa San GimPrato al Sole Pisa San Gim

Prato al Sole Pisa San Gim Lunch was pizza eaten on the steps of the Duomo.

 That evening we had dinner at Il Belvedere restaurant in Monte San Savino (highly recommended!) to celebrate our 55 th wedding anniversary. Great food, emotional speeches and Saba got his own shofar as a present. He used it to great effect in the mornings to announce that breakfast was ready.

Prato al Sole

The following day we visited Montepulciano for wine tasting. We admired the statue of the horse executed according to the actual design and dimensions of Michelangelo. We had lunch at Il Buco Restaurant in Chianciano Terme, where they make their own pastas. Then Vered and Aviv left to return to Israel and we continued to Pienza, the home of Pecorino cheese where, despite a full meal we managed cheese tasting.

 Prato al Sole montrplcnhorse Montepulciano

PienzaPienza

The next day we visited Siena, enjoying walking around the narrow streets to the campio where the Palio horserace is held. An impressive bareback horse race, keenly contested by 10 local clubs, on a sloping stone covered track. Everything is allowed. The first horse to complete the 90 second race, even if riderless, is the winner.


Prato al Sole SienaPrato al Sole Siena


The following day we returned to Orvieto where we walked down – and up – the impressive St Patrick’s well, which has two spiral staircases, one going down and one up. They are the width of a donkey carrying 2 water containers,  with openings in the stairwell for light allowing one to peer down and look up all the way. It was built nearly 600 years ago by Pope Clement who feared a siege by the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V.

 Prato al Sole wellwellPrato al Sole well



Civita

Our last stop was to Civita Bagnoregia, an impressive hilltop village accessible
 by a long, long pedestrian bridge, down then up.

Moran explained how olive oil is made at a local oil press and took everybody
to see some caves.

I trudged back to Eitan, down and up the other way.






On our last day together we visited Florence. We had no idea where to park until Moran found that at Park2go, a few minutes walk away from the Duomo, one could not only park but reserve a space ahead. Choosing not to wait in the long queue, we viewed the impressive Cathedral di Santa Maria del Fiore from outside and admired the bronze doors of the nearby Baptistery, which Michelangelo called The Gates of Paradise.
After wandering through the streets we found gelato, including Venchi, our favourite Italian chocolate and ice cream. Dani then went off to shop while we continued to the statue of Porcellino/the Boar, some shopping and then on to Ponte Vecchio until we arrived at the interesting Galileo Museum. Afterwards we split for shopping (those with girls) and home (us, tired).
 That night our last dinner was at Il Cassero also in Monte San Savino where over excellent food and wine we toasted the birthdays of Zoe, Anthony/Eitan and Itamar.

 FlorencePrato al Sole FlorencePrato al Sole FlorencePrato al Sole FlorencePonte Vecchia

After a final breakfast we split – Aviv and family to Rome, Moran and family to hike the Apennine Mountains.

Dani joined us as we drove to Rome airport, stopping at Pitigliano an amazing hilltop town built on volcanic rock.
The centuries old Jewish community was well integrated in the town. During WWII the Catholic residents help hide their Jewish neighbours.
We visited the underground remains of the kosher abattoir, a complex to dye material and a kitchen with a dough kneader, table and oven where they made matzot. There is a beautifully restored synagogue on the roof of the community center. Dani and I ate a satisfying vegan lunch.
We bought bottles of kosher wine that are still made in Pitgliano to drink and tell at the Pesach Seder hosted by our niece Yahel Braverman, Donnie and Rafael back in Givatayim Israel. The wine wasn’t great, but the story was.

 Pitigliano
PitiglianoPitiglianoPitigliano


It was a most satisfying week – a family strengthening the bonds of friendship not only between siblings and cousins but between all of us.

 


For more pictures see: 

Return to Doreen and Eitan's Home Page