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Welcome to delicious Destinations, a GourmetStation blog. Through the charater of T.Alexander and occasional real-life guests, our aim is to share with you light-hearted fun ideas about food, gift giving, entertaining and culture. At the same time we would love you hear from you. Please share your experiences from home or abroad.

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A Day In Florence...An Evening At Casa Bellavista

Posted: August 3, 2010
by: Dave, Edie & Simonetta

It is recorded that Julius Caesar built a retirement settlement for Roman soldiers at the narrowest point of the Arno River in 59 BC.  The settlement, known as “Florentia”, was once the capital of Italy. The home to Dante Aligheri, author of the Divine Comedy, Florence has been credited with being the birthplace of the Renaissance.  The Firenze (Florence) of today plays host to visitors from around the world who seek to explore its culture, rich with period works of art such as Michelangelo’s statue of David, the world renowned architecture of Filippo Brunelleschi’s dome, and the Baptistery of Saint John.  Other visitors come for the fine leather goods and the gold jewelry of the shops on the Ponte Vecchio. 


Florence is truly a city which offers something for everyone.

As you stand at the Piazzale di Michelangelo high above the Arno River, you have a commanding view of Firenze.  Overlooking the city, you see the Arno River winding its way through the city and under the 14th century Ponte Vecchio, the only bridge in Florence not blown up by the Nazis in World War II. Beyond the river, your view takes in the Piazza del Duomo home to the Baptistery, Giotto’s Campanile and  the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore (Il Duomo).  The Duomo raises 463 steps above the city while Giotto’s Campanile raises a mere 414 steps to the top.  As you look above these beautiful landmarks, your eyes take in the distant Fiesole a small town of Etruscan origin located in the scenic countryside above Florence.  Behind you a short distance are the Palazzo Pitti, built by Lucca Pitti and the fifteenth century “Giardino di Boboli” (Boboli Gardens).  The Palazzo Pitti and the Gardens were once home to the Grand Dukes of Tuscany.  It becomes clear to you that to give Florence the respect it deserves, there will need to be more day trips from Casa Bellavista.  But now, it is time to return to the countryside outside of Cortona and enjoy a wonderful Tuscan dinner.  .

The menu for the evening’s dinner was potato encrusted baked sea bass, a carciofi insalata, Tuscan beans and formaggio.  On the way home, we stopped in the village of Monte San Savino to pick up some gelato.


It seemed a fitting way to put the finishing touches on a superb Tuscan dinner. 

Some of you may be asking, “What, a Tuscan dinner without wine?”  Fear not!  Guido, Simonetta’s husband paired our dinner with two wonderful white wines:  from the vineyards of Antinori, a light Orvietto Classico and an outstanding Muffato della Sala, 2005, from Castello della Sela.  They proved to be the perfect compliment to the evening’s dinner.

In case you would like to try some of the dishes we enjoyed, we’ve attached a couple of the recipes for you.  Buon Appitito!

Edie and Dave: www.fototoscana.com

Simonetta: www.casabellavista.it





· 1 sea bass

· 3 potatoes

· salt and pepper

· parsley

· garlic

· extra virgin olive oil

· bay leaves



Clean the fish. Place the bayleaves on the bottom of an oval oven pan.  Lay the fish, flavored (also on the inside) with minced garlic, parsley, salt and pepper on the bay leaves.  Cover the fish with the potatoes, cut to the thinest possible slices, add salt and minced parsley, drizzle with olive oil.  Place in a preheated oven to 200 degrees celcius (390 degrees farenheit) for about 15 to 20 minutes.


If the potatoes are not used, then the baking will be about 5 minutes less.






  • 4 artichokes 
  • lemon 
  • salt    
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • pepper
  • aged pecorino
  • parsley 



Dice the artichokes finely and put them in a container with water and the juice of the lemon (so that it will not become dark).  Prepair the emulsion with oil, lemon, salt, pepper and finely ground parsley.  Cut the pecorino into flakes.


Drain the artichokes completely and season with the emulsion immediately, add the pecorino and serve.