How To Host an al Fresco Tuscan-Themed Lunch Party

Catered Sunday Lunch in a Private Tuscan Villa

Primavera in Italy calls for celebrations of the beautiful Spring-Time sunshine and cool breezes.  What better way to do that than with a 3-hour long lunch with friends and family out in the grounds!  One of my favorite pastimes in Italy is eating & Italians sure know how to throw a lunch party! Viene a pranzo da me!

Recently I attended a celebratory lunch that was catered and served poolside in a luxurious Tuscan Villa in the country-side.  Take these notes on how to accomplish a Tuscan Themed Lunch with friends and family:

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Florence Italy Points of Interest for a Walking Day Trip

View of the Duomo in Florence, Italy from the Tower in the Palazzo Vecchio

Florence Italy points of interest: Duomo, Uffizzi Art Gallery, Shopping, Bistecca ala Fiorentina, Palazzo Vecchio, Piazza Signorina, Living Sculptures… Firenze is a town enriched with history, art, fashion, & culture!  The following photos of Florence Italy Points of Interest were all taken in a single afternoon in a leisurely afternoon in Firenze, Italia.  Enjoy the beauty of Florence Italy.

Mannequin in the Store Window of Luisa Via Roma, the most cutting edge & exquisite fashion boutique in Florence, Italy. Luisa Via Roma Vetrina - Firenze, Italia

Mannequin in the Store Window of Luisa Via Roma, the most cutting edge & exquisite fashion boutique in Florence, Italy. Luisa Via Roma Vetrina – Firenze, Italia

Ponte Vecchio (The Old Bridge or the Jewlery Bridge) in Florence, Italy. Firenze, Italia Centro Storico

Ponte Vecchio (The Old Bridge or the Jewlery Bridge) in Florence, Italy. Firenze, Italia Centro Storico

Looking down from the Tower of Palazzo Vecchio at the crowd of tourists in Piazza Signoria Florence, Italy

Florentine Tourist swarming the square like little ants on the ground

 

Metallic Balloons Reflection in a Store Window of an exquisite fashion boutique in Florence, Italy. Fashion Boutique Vetrina - Firenze, Italia

Metallic Balloons Reflection in a Store Window of an exquisite fashion boutique in Florence, Italy. Fashion Boutique Vetrina – Firenze, Italia

 

Store Window of an exquisite fashion boutique in Florence, Italy. Fashion Boutique Vetrina - Firenze, Italia

Store Window of an exquisite fashion boutique in Florence, Italy. Fashion Boutique Vetrina – Firenze, Italia

Horse Drawn Carriage parked outside of the Channel Store in Florence, Italy. Chanel Firenze, Itlia

Horse Drawn Carriage parked outside of the Channel Store in Florence, Italy. Chanel Firenze, Italia

 

An Enoteca / General Alimentari in Historic Center Florence, a little bit of everything

An Enoteca / General Alimentari in Historic Center Florence, a little bit of everything!

An Enoteca / General Alimentari in Historic Center Florence, a little bit of everything

An Enoteca / General Alimentari in Historic Center Florence, a little bit of everything

Living Sculpture outside of The Ufizzi Art Gallery, Florence Italy.  This artist/living sculpture mesmerizes passersby and speaks to them through his eyes with a silent stare.

Living Sculpture outside of The Ufizzi Art Gallery, Florence Italy. This artist/living sculpture mesmerizes passersby and speaks to them through his eyes with a silent stare.

Living Sculpture outside of The Ufizzi Art Gallery, Florence Italy. This artist/living sculpture mesmerizes passersby and speaks to them through his eyes with a silent stare.

Living Sculpture outside of The Ufizzi Art Gallery, Florence Italy. This artist/living sculpture mesmerizes passersby and speaks to them through his eyes with a silent stare.

Bistecca alla Fiorentina / Florence T-bone Steak cooked Rare to Medium Rare / A FLorence Specialty

Bistecca alla Fiorentina / Florence T-bone Steak cooked Rare to Medium Rare / A Florence Specialty

Americans Put Ketchup on Everything!

Americans Put Catsup on Everything!

I was warned in advance, don’t sit beside any Italian Mamma at the dinner table; they will continuously shovel spoonfuls of food on your plate.  “Mangia! Mangia! Too skinny… you need to eat!”  It was the summer of 2003, one of the most scorching summers in Italy’s record the first time I met Grazia, my adorable Italian mother-in-law.  It was that night that I realized we Americans have a stereotypical obsession with ketchup!

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Il Palio dei Micci or The Donkey Derby

Il Palio dei Micci Donkey Derby

Have you any idea what is Il Palio dei Micci or The Donkey Derby ?  Finally after three years of attempting to witness this Palio dei Micci, or as I call it… the Donkey Derby, I now fully comprehend this Fantastic Event!  I have been every year only to have it rained out due to it presiding  outdoors.  Its an annual competition/festival event that takes place in Querceta, Italy.  This year was the 59th year of participation. Eight different teams, each with their own color symbolism, compete to win in four categories: The Donkey race, the Performance, the Drummers, and the Parade/Fashion Show.

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Il Palio dei Micci – The Donkey Race

Il Palio dei Micci is a famous festival near the beach in Tuscany, near Forte dei Marmi & Viareggio Italia.  It’s an annual Medieval Festival that incorporates all of the different neighborhoods, le contrade, to compete against one another.

http://www.dovealucca.it/da-vedere/curiosita-folcloristiche/252-il-palio-dei-micci-di-querceta

One of my very good friends is in charge of her team’s very elaborate & costly costumes that they annually recreate.   Last year she won first place for costume design!  Years ago she walked in the Parade as the Queen… Her husband once as the King…  as her children also participate in the event.  It involves almost every member of the Versilia Italia Community.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Versilia

The neighborhoods take this event very seriously, with everyone donating their time and money to be the best Contrada!  Members of the community start to prepare for the following year almost immediately after the event is over.   They have sagras throughout the year to raise money for the elaborate costumes and the unique parade platforms.  I heard that they even inject the donkey with a shot of cocaine before the race starts to make their donkey go the fastest.  IDK, never seen that before. It’s a year of hard work for one day competing to be the best!

I have been to the event two years in a row & have never seen the Palio or the Parade, la Sfilata.  In the event of rain, the event is postponed to the following weekend.  It has rained EVERY time I have driven to the coast to attend.  Today we are driving to Forte Dei Marmi to attend the Palio tomorrow and there is a 40% chance of rain.  Please Mother Nature, smettere di piovere! Please don’t rain tomorrow!