Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Things to Bring Checklist

Imagine our surprise when we got to the hotel...

We realise that packing most of the items below is commonsense, but we thought it might be useful all the same.

- Converter
- ATM Card (easiest way to get money – travelers checks really are not used anymore call your bank to make sure you’ll be able to use your debit/ATM card abroad – ask about any fees)
- Alarm clock (there are no clocks in any apartments)
- iPod + travel speakers (No stereos in apartments)
- extra towels for by pool (bathroom towels are provided, but you might want a bigger one)
- Swimsuit
- Sunblock
- Sun Glasses
- Michelin (or other) road map of Italy and/or Tuscany (available in US at Barnes& Noble / Borders) (For a better selection of maps and guidebooks than maybe anywhere else in the world, visit Stanfords of London)
- Up to date passport
- Drivers’ license
- Italian phrasebook
- Italy/Tuscany Guide Book (we recommend the “Rough Guide” series)
- Phone card / international calling card (see cellphone)
- Hairdryer
- Immodium
- Pain killers
- Camera/Extra Memory Card
- Batteries

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Pocket Billiards Anyone?

We've recently read in Tobias Jones' excellent commentary on modern Italy The Dark Heart of Italy that it is customary for Italian men to touch their testicles should a priest or other cleric cross their path. The belief is that since priests are forbidden to have relations with women, they are so jealous of lay men that they put a hex on their balls. This hex, however, can be warded off by making sure to give your plums a quick russle everytime clergy is sighted.

The issue of what happens at Italian weddings when man, wife and priest are all in close proximity, and are dependent on one another for a successful outcome (both on the day and in having future offspring) remains a mystery to us, so if anyone out there could let us know before Thursday, June 28th, we'd be much obliged. Naturally, we would not want to be furtively tossing our salad before God, his representative and the congregation present if custom forbade it, nor indeed would we want to risk a curse by failing to do so.

On a more serious note, and since we dearly want you all to be able to be there to witness said game of pocket billiards, here are some links to directions to the town of Bucine from various places.

In addition, we recommend that you purchase a road map of Tuscany or Italy to help you get to Lupinari and to other places in the vicinity. We think the best maps are the Michelin series available at most Barnes & Nobles and Borders.

To Bucine from Florence Airport (Amerigo Vespucci)

To Bucine from Florence (city)

To Bucine from Pisa Airport (Galileo Galilei)

To Bucine from Rome (city)

To Bucine from Rome Airport (Fiumicino)

To Bucine from Rome Airport (Ciampino)

For other routes, visit viamichelin.com and punch in your coordinates.

Visit Lupinari.com for a simple map of the area or click on the image at right to see a map showing how to get from Bucine to Lupinari. And, click here for easy to digest directions to Lupinari from Bologna, Rome and Florence.

Buon Viaggio!!

Friday, June 8, 2007

Practically, though not actually, related...

Thankfully, we're putting the finishing touches to the wedding planning and you'll be pleased to learn that you can help us do this by answering two very simple questions.
  1. Do you have any special dietary requirements? [vegetarian/vegan, kosher/halal, macrobiotic(?), food allergies etc.] Please let us know so we can have the caterers fix up something appropriate and delicious for you.

  2. Will you be at Lupinari on the evening of Tuesday, June 26th? We are planning a short wine n'cheese welcome / get-together, so please let us know if you will be around.

Note: The consumption of wine and cheese is not mandatory at said welcome event, and definitely not for those with certain food allergies. However, those among who you believe they are lactose intolerant will be reassured to learn that not only are very few of us so afflicted with this condition that we cannot drink a daily tall glass of milk without ill effects, but cheese contains no lactose. Lactose is a sugar found in milk, 98% of which is drained off with the whey (cheese is made from the curds) and the other 2% is quickly consumed by lactic-acid bacteria in the act of fermentation.

So, in two weeks time, let's eat (cheese), drink (wine) and be merry!

P.S. - the interesting cheese factoid comes straight out of Jeffrey Steingarten's witty and informative book, The Man Who Ate Everything. We highly recommend it to everyone, but especially those who are fussy eaters.

Monday, June 4, 2007

To Reiterate, I'll Say This Only Once

There are always problems with new technologies. Indeed, the older ones amongst you will remember the days when a man with a red flag had to walk ahead of every car to warn pedestrians of the death-trap rushing their way at, well, walking speed. This was but a bump in the road compared to the problem we've identified with blog software, which causes the older posts slip off the foot of the page and then searched for manually. Can you imagine the inconvenience?

In order to counter this problem we're having to repeat the very first post our little fingers ever typed on our, then, barely conceived wedding blog, back in January. We don't like to repeat ourselves so we're saying this only once. Read and absorb the details below as if this website were about to self-destruct, a la Mission Impossible, in five, four, three...

General Information

As a helpful reminder, in case the oh-so humorous Save the Date card we sent you in the fall happened to fall off your fridge, here are the basic details of our wedding again.

Location - Tenuta di Lupinari, "I Lupinari," 52021 Bucine, Arezzo, Tuscany
T: 055/9912011 F: 055/9911870

Date - Thursday, June 28th, 2007, ceremony at 6:00 p.m.

Attire - Business/lounge suits for gentlemen and dresses for ladies(hats optional).

Here's how the "big day" is going to shake out.

Ceremony - The wedding ceremony will take place outdoors on the property at Lupinari, adjacent to where guests are staying.

Cocktail Hour - The ceremony will be followed immediately by a cocktail hour at which our guests are invited to slake their thirsts with a selection of chilled beverages and take the edge off their appetites with a variety of hors d'Ĺ“uvres and local cheeses.

Reception - Guests will be invited to take their seats for the reception at around 8:00 p.m. Speeches will be made and several people will probably be embarrassed. Dancing will follow the dinner, and is compulsory. We expect everyone to embarrass themselves at this point.

End - since we're all staying on the property, there are no carriages at a certain hour. We intend to party until we can go no longer and hope that some of you will still be there with us at the end.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Bucine - Piccolo, ma Corposo...

Lupinari as the better-informed amongst you will know is adjacent to the small town of Bucine (pronounced Boo-chee-nay, emphasis on the nay). At first glance, which is probably all you'll have time for, especially if you blink while driving through it, Bucine looks remarkably similar to many other small Tuscan towns, particularly those not on the tourist map. It seems prosaic and ordinary, without the wonderfully-intact medieval architecture of Montepulciano or Greve in Chianti - "fly-paper for tourists," according to ultimate travel nerd, Rick Steves - and in some ways it is.

However, it almost certainly has several things going for it that the more touristy towns do not - useful shops: butcher, baker, electrical supply store, florist, and food co-op (supermarket); a movie theater (open two days a week) - see at right; and a polo club. Indeed, scratch the surface and there is much more to Bucine than meets the eye. For example, according to local legend, Jesus Christ appeared to the villages' children, standing on an oak log at what is now the site of the sanctuary church of San Salvatore. Then, many followers then led a procession to the site carrying stones for the temple. These stones were all different shapes and sizes, and they can still be seen cemented around the gates of this rural church. Roots of an oak tree were found on the site during renovations in the 19th century and have been preserved for posterity in a display case inside.

For the less devout amongst you, who are looking to spend an afternoon poking around Bucine, perhaps walking off a large lunch of the local specialties, boiled meats and bread soup, you might be interested to visit the town's Palaeontology Museum. On the other hand, palaeontology might be a bit hard to digest, and so, after strolling around the town, you may be curious to know the meaning of the net in the shape of a seashell held by a lion you've seen in various places. Well, wonder no longer, wedding-bloggers, the symbol is the coat-of-arms of one of the former ruling family's of the area, and features this strange trap which was used to catch fish and small birds in the abundant local rivers and streams. The trap is known as a bucine, and is thought to be the origin of the town's name.

All in all, Bucine is perhaps more typical of modern Tuscan towns than the best-known places on the tourist trail. That's not to say that you should avoid one or the other, but that different towns cater to different populations. Bucine caters primarily to its residents and the local rural population, and Montalcino caters primarily to tourists fresh off the bus and jonesing to be shaken-down for souvenirs and over-priced lunches off the tourist menu. It's useful to bear these things in mind, that's all.

Anyway, here's a link to directions/map of Bucine, which is probably more helpful than most of the pointless witterings above.

P.S. - the post title means "small, but full-bodied," which I think fairly sums Bucine up.