by Melinda Gallo

Nourished by both Tuscany and Florence

Itís not just because I have been physically living in Florence for over ten years that it is my home. Florence has a powerful energy that I enjoy and appreciate. Itís a city that not only inspires me, but also supports me. I love Florence more than any other place in the world. Whenever I go somewhere else, I wonder if maybe it could become as special as Florence, but no matter where I go the answer is always no.

Living in Florence :: Nourished by both Tuscany and Florence

It wasnít until my beau and I drove to the Chianti region for lunch at a winery that I realized that maybe my sense of home is much larger. Even though Chianti is not far from Florence, I donít go as often as Iíd like. Who doesnít admire the rolling hills, the large valleys, the olive trees, and the perfectly aligned rows of grapevines? My whole body softened when we drove through the Tuscan countryside as if it were familiar to me.

Each time I am out in Tuscany, I love to drive around it. I find it to be one of Italyís richest regions: not only does it have magnificent cities, like Florence and Siena, but it also has quaint villages, lush countryside, national reserves and parks, and a varied coastline.

While we were enjoying our lunch at the winery, which included many of my favorites, like pappa al pomodoro, risotto ai funghi porcini, crostini, tagliata di manzo, rosticciana, and salsicce, served with Chianti of course, it dawned on me that the entire Tuscan region nourishes me. Not only have the Tuscan specialties been a part of my diet for years, but also much of what I eat comes from Tuscany: olive oil, wine, pecorino as well as the homegrown fruits and vegetables, which we call nostrali.

Even though I enjoy many of the Italian delicacies, my favorite cuisine is Tuscan. I love how there is a strong connection to the land and an honoring of the seasons. Florence will always be my home because I would probably never want to live outside of the city walls, but Tuscany feels like my homeland. I feel as if Tuscany nourishes my body while Florence nourishes my heart and soul.

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