Nota bene.

ROME, ITALY

Santa Maria della Concezione Crypts

 

“Quello che voi siete noi eravamo; quello che noi siamo voi sarete.

“That which you are, we were; that which we are, you will be.”

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On the Via Veneto in Rome is a small church, Santa Maria della Concezione, attached to which is a crypt of Capuchin monks. The burial ground consists of a few small chapels, the pilasters, arches, and vaults profusely decorated with the bones of four thousand exhumed monks that were brought to the church in 1631.

 

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You may not know this about me, but…

I have always been afraid to drive in Italy!!  Not because, as is generally known, Italians ignore rules and regulations; not because the signs measure kilometers and not miles; not because I don’t the directions to where I’m going….but because I have never been sure I could find my way out of and then back in to the city!  Whether the city be Roma or Firenze or wherever.

I could always picture myself going around and around some round-about, not being able to get off; or, driving wrong way both up and down one way streets in the historic center.

So, it is not with a little pride that I share with you that I not only rented a car myself last weekend, an adorable Fiat Cinquecento, as seen below:

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But I successfully drove it out of Florence, through Tuscany, to the area around Val d’Orcia in the south of the region, then back through Tuscany and into Florence!!  Woo hoo!  I got the car back to the rental agency in the center of Florence, with nary a scratch or bump!  I am a very proud driver!

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I think you can see my pride above. Ad below.

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And, not for nothing, this winding road, the most iconic in Italy, is one of the places I drove on Saturday!

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I will happily share with you that part of my confidence came from the fact that I had an Italian friend with me.  My friend made sure I made it out of and back in to Florence in one piece.  Next time, I’ll do it myself!  Face your fears, people!

 

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Dopolavoro, a restaurant

The perfect spot at which to end your day of visiting Val d’Orcia and Iris Origo’s Villa La Foce is at the restaurant owned by the descendants of Origo.

If you look hard at the picture below you will see the words: Dopolavora Rurale – La Foce.  That’s the name of this great dining spot and its menu and dining garden will delight you.

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I enjoyed the steak and rustic potatoes.

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The al fresco dining area is the stuff dreams are made of.

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The Dopolavoro La Foce was built in 1939 as a meeting place for the workers on the La Foce estate. Country dances and plays featuring the farmers’ children were held on the little stage, movies and news of the war were screened and people came from miles around to share a glass of wine and play a game of bocce (bowls) in the shade of the lime trees.
Along with the kindergarten, the school and the clinic, the Dopolavoro is part of a series of buildings built by the Origos in the 1920s and 1930s, when they carried out a vast plan of land reclamation and social innovation.
When Antonio and Iris Origo bought the vast estate of La Foce in 1924 the Val d’Orcia, for all its spectacular scenery, was a poor and uninhabited region, a land of low clay hillocks and stony, unfarmed soil. Not only did the Origos dream of reclaiming the barren fields and turning them into fertile countryside, they also aimed to improve the living conditions of workers on the estate.
Today the Dopolavoro once more belongs to the Origo family and reopens as a restaurant in which traditional Tuscan dishes are flavoured with the delicious La Foce extra-virgin olive oil and created with the best seasonal local produce. The restaurant boasts its own vegetable garden across the road, guaranteeing a genuine farm-to plate process. A path connects the vegetable garden to the famous La Foce gardens, which can be visited on request.

The most iconic roadway in Italy; the Strada di Valoresi

The Strada di Valoresi from Villa La Foce.

And the surrounding area.

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