Paying a taxi ten euro was such a ripoff, yet worth every cent if it saved us from lugging our luggage up the mountain to the Varenna- Esino train station. We were warned to validate our tickets before boarding, or face a hefty fine. We were never checked. We had to switch trains in Milano Centrale. The train cruised at 300 km/hr.
We went to pick up our Audi-or-comparable Avis rental car just outside the Bologna train station. The rental lady apologized, "Oh sorry I have just one automatic car (that's really a piece of crap) in your category, but for just a little bit more euro a day you could get a BMW" no brainer there. Then "it takes only diesel petrol". And "you have two drivers now, it is €7 / day more. Oh, and you want to increase your coverage to be full... Oh and..." I tried to slip her my AAA card, but she's never seen one before.
Matthew was gps coordinator and l was the driver. Somehow we weren't in the center part of the autostrada and we got off at the wrong exit. But really it couldn't have been more right. It took us on quite the journey. The hills were gorgeous, but I couldn't get a good gander because I was busy taking crazy turns. Like the ones you have to beep the horn first. One after another, after another. M called them 'N-turns', all on inclined roads barely big enough for one car, never mind two.
Somehow, not sure how, we arrived at the place M has been salivating about for years - since the first time we watched Tony's Emilia Romagna episode: the legendary, Trattoria Fita, in Borgo Tossignano. It was the real deal - wood fire stove and a woman making Talgliatelle from scratch at one of the tables. We HAD to get the Florentine steak and we HAD to get at least one pasta. The server advised us to stick with one primi. With one glass of light red for pasta, and another heartier red from Tre month to hold up to the steak. We ordered the minimum poundage for the Florentine. The steak was mammoth. 1500 grams = 1.5 kilograms = 3.3 pounds = A lot. M assures me that that was partly bone. It was still a lot! In order to be Florentine, it must be four fingers thick and cooked rare. It was charred crispiness on the outside and red in the middle. Sprinkle a little olive oil on it with some salt and pepper and it was delicious.
We came kinda close to conquering it. M was in a meat-sweats-coma. He shimmied over the bench to get up. But just like seesaws work, he picked up the rest of the bench. It was time to leave.
Matthew fibbed on his match profile- he is far from fluent in Italian. Between the two of us, we couldn't really understand any of the three sets of people we stopped to ask for directions to our agritourismo. We found an old couple in front of their home, a bunch of guys at a bar in the centro of carpineti, and lastly a woman walking her dog. I think they each had it right, but the whole kilometers thing threw us. Oh, and the language thing.
We finally found il Casante on Via La Costa in Carpineti. How silly of us not to know the different names: Agritourismo name, street name, province name.
Stefania greeted us and upgraded us to the "Laura" house. We lucked out- a whole floor to ourselves. At the moment a whole house actually, wooden beam ceilings and stone walls, a stacked spread, and gorgeous views. And quiet.