Buon Martedì Grasso! Or in English, Happy Fat Tuesday! Carnevale (Mardi Gras) is a big deal here in Italy. This past weekend there were parades everywhere around the country. Children throw confetti at each other in the streets as people in costumes dance around the floats going by. Bakeries filled with fried treats to celebrate the occasion. In Tuscany they can be called “stracci” Pictured below are some stracci E’s grandma made, she fills the dough with a sweet ricotta filling flavored with lemon zest and fries them. I recently learned the reason behind the colors of Mardi Gras. Purple symbolizes justice, gold symbolizes power and green symbolizes faith. I’ve blogged about Carnevale before so I won’t go in detail about it. I indulged and had a few stracci this morning accompanied by a nice espresso.
Saturday I was invited by my friend Giulia to go on a hike through the Tuscan town of Casale, 10 minutes away from the town I live in. Believe it or not it was my first time in the town which is shocking seeing as how close it is to my house. This place never ceases to amaze me.
It was really sunny out but the wind was strong and cold because it was coming from the mountains.
It was out first time joining this hiking group and believe it or not, I wasn’t the only American in the group! A couple that lived half of the year in San Fransisco and half of the year here in the area were in the group too. It’s always a shock when I hear anyone speaking american english around this small area, it was a nice surprise.
As we hiked through the countryside I noticed there were shell fossils in the dirt. (SO COOL) I learned that the land we were walking on had once all been covered by the sea! I dug up a seashell fossil and decided to take it home. I was fascinated! It felt really good to be spending time in nature. A great way to spend a Saturday.
Can you spy the fossils? I am easily amused.
Another fun fact I learned on the hike was that these rock formations were carved out by war refugees in world war 2 and they lived in these to protect themselves. Benito Mussolini allied himself with Adolf Hitler in 1939 and was ousted in 1943 and Italy surrendered to the Allies. As a consequence partisans and civilians were killed by SS soldiers and German Armed Forces on Italian terrain in 1944. Tuscany was one of the hardest hit regions when German troops retreated North following the liberation of Rome. In fact, Cecina, the town I live in was almost completely destroyed in world war II. Such rich history everywhere and I absolutely love learning about it and finding out new things especially when it involves history in Italy and getting to see the sights in person.
My sweet friend Giulia and I.
These gorgeous mimosa trees are blooming everywhere around here. Aren’t they beautiful?