A plant pundit comments on plants, gardening, academic life, and life in general.
The Phytophactor's Latest Posts
The most dangerous thing in Italy other than the narrow mountain roads enclosed by rocky walls are Vespas. There are two ways to die by Vespa, at least as TPP sees it. Death of the first kind deals strictly with Vespa drivers who dart in and out of traffic, even if the bother to throw out a hand signal before cutting into your lane, or cutting between buses and trucks at the rare stop sign, or zipping to the front of traffic lines. Even with reasonable vigilance TPP has almost creamed a couple […]
Italy makes a whole bunch of wine, a bundle bunch, and most of it is quite good, and astoundingly quite reasonable in price. To investigate the Tuscan wine scene a bit more thoroughly, a field trip was organized to a family run boutique winery called Campo del Monte (www.campodelmonti.it) near Terranuova Bacciolini, about 50 km away. Images of pineapples kept intruding, but a wine tasting was arranged for our party of six. This family makes some very good wine, and who […]
As a partial compensation for having dumped on Italian bread, TPP will admit that gelato is great stuff. Personal challenges can be highly motivating, so far be it for TPP to ever suggest that Mrs. Phactor's gelato challenge is anything but a righteous endeavor. So here it is: 30 different flavors of gelato in 30 days, hey, and licks or tastes don't count. The effort involved cannot be diminished, nor can the sacrifice. Her major problem is that our Tuscan residence is quite a ways […]
Bread is great, and TPP has always been a big fan of it. Mrs. Phactor bakes a mean loaf of French bread for which she has some renown. The bread in Italy looks fantastic, and we've sampled a good bit of including a small local bakery, both flat and poofed up bread. It also smells good, but the taste is rather bland. It took some thought to figure out why the flavor seemed to be missing - no salt. It doesn't even help to butter the bread, although that is decidedly un-Italian, […]
Chronological order is just so demanding, so let's back up a few days. Veronica (a very botanical name) works here at the villa and as a natural history student she recommended, once she discovered our botanical interests, that TPP visit the Giardino dei Simplici in the center of Florence. Florence is a lovely old city on the Arno River filled to the brim with Renaissance art and architecture that is presently under an assault by hordes of tourists. And therein […]
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