Wednesday, July 28, 2010

3 concerts in 3 day: My trip in Umbria and Tuscany, Mark Knopfler at Perugia jazz, ZZ Top at Lucca and Robin Eubanks at Montalcino Jazz

I had a whirlwind tour in Tuscany a couple of weeks ago, starting at Perugia jazz where I was able to hear  a married couple from Texas via New Orleans, Kim Prevost and her husband Bill Solley, then off to

hear Mark Knopfler who may just be the laziest performer I have ever seen live.  He got off his stool just once, but the man can surely play guitar!  Day 2 I was off to Lucca to hear Jeff Beck and ZZ Top, but not without 1st stopping at Gaiole for a visit to the Chini butcher shop where you are assured of getting top quality Cinta Senese (black pig) salami, prosciutto, guanciale, etc.  He and his brother and nephew slaughter just 5 a week and then spend the week preparing the cured meats which I think are some of the best in Italy, right up there with the culatello of Spigaroli near Zibello.  Then it was off to the Parco Scolture di Chianti which is a sculpture park on 15 acres of forest land which years ago housed wild pigs which were raised for meat. Sculptors from 5 continents have contributed works to the park and nearby is an art gallery run by the couple who started this dream years ago.

 It is up a long gravel road from Gaiole or you can reach it from the road to Valiagli up from Siena.  I didn't want my day to be empty, so the next stop was Fattoria Corzano e Paterno where you can find some of the best pecorino cheeses in Italy.  Everything from a creamy concoction called Lingotto to a blue, fresh ricotta or aged and fresh regular pecorinos.  It is well worth a trip, but be sure to arrive before 13:30 and ask for Sibilla who was in the Slow Food master class in gastronomic science the year before Raffaele and me.

 Finally, errands complete, I arrived at a wonderful little B&B between Lucca and Pisa called Marta Guest House where I met a charming couple who helped me plan an excursion, however brief to Lucca before the concerts.

 Lucca was pretty much left untouched by the Siena-Florence battles and has an intact wall you can walk, jog or bike around as well as some interesting towers, churches and shops.   Be sure to try out the restaurant Cantine Bernardini run by an old ducal family of the same name with refined cooking, a local wine list which will help you explore Luccan wines and they hand pick all the cured meats or cure them in house.
All the columns on the duomo are of a different design, mostly pagan, a view from one of the towers of lucca, the wall by night and the unforgettable ZZ Top

Day 3, I was off to Montalcino to visit my friend at Banfi, Claudia and her beau where we listened to the 1st night of the Montalcino jazz fest in the environs of Castello Banfi with the incredible trombonist, Robin Eubanks.

 It all came to an end early the next day as I had to return to Ascoli to check in with immigration at 11, but it was a nice break.


Anonymous said...

Mark Knopfler is far from lazy. He has a pinched nerve in his back, and his doctors ordered him to perform the rest of the tour sitting down.

Dwight said...

As Emily Litella would say "never mind" , but having never seen him before and not knowing his recent medical problem, let's just say he has an efficiency with his guitar playing and thriftiness of movement in general which could be construed as lackadaisical. Sort of like an excellent surgeon. no wasted motions.

Anonymous said...

What a great trip Dwight! Can't wait to get back to NDB....John and Dolores