I woke up around 5, 5:30, 6:30. Each time I fell back asleep, because I could, until I woke up for real around 7am. Mandy woke up soon after that. We made espresso and tea, and relaxed in the front yard a while. Eventually, not a moment early, we began showering and packing our things. We said goodbye to our new friends, Tom and Sigrid, as they set out on foot toward town. We left not long after them, opting to hitch a ride from our awesome host, Paolo, to the center of Corniglia. We asked him where we should head for breakfast, but he said his top pick for best food in Corniglia was closed. We’re not sure if it was closed until a later point in the day, closed for the day, or closed for business altogether. He suggested we head towards the square, and that any place we could find would be great. He was not wrong.
We picked a place at random that appealed to us, Caffe Matteo. We ordered a couple of sandwiches. Mine had ham and cheese, I think mozzarella. It was quite good. Mine had prosciutto, arugula, and cheese. It was delicious! Just before we sat down, a chocolate croissant caught our eye, so we snagged one of those on a whim. Why not? Oh my god it was amazing! It was still warm, and coated with cacao crumbs. Absolutely phenomenal. So good we ordered another. I ordered a cappuccino that was really good. Matteo told us that they had free WiFi, and how to log on, so we set up shop in the corner and posted a couple blogs for you. You’re welcome. After our work was done, we started thinking of the day ahead, and timing of food. We have dinner plans, but we may not have food access until then. At about noon, we decided we should probably get some more food, because we didn’t want to go hungry. And because it was so good. We ordered Mondo pizza, which is basically everything, split into quarters. One quarter was pesto, one was prosciutto, one was veggies, and one was ham. We split it into eighths and went on a flavor tour. It was amazing. I got a local IPA by Birrificio del Golfo that was the best beer I’ve had yet in Italy. The prices were good, the food was amazing. If you find yourself hungry in Corniglia, check out Caffe Matteo. We highly recommend it.
After we cashed out, we made our way slowly toward the train station down the hill. We opted to take the road over the stairs, because there were so many people on the stairs. The road was nearly completely empty. We found some shade in the station to get out of the blazing sun, and waited for our train. We hopped on to take the ride to La Spezia, where we transferred to the next train, which was headed to Viareggio. There we made another transfer to a train which took us to Firenze Santa Maria Novella, which was the end of the line. We hopped off there around 4:50pm, and searched for a 23A bus. We walked all around the outside of the train station, and asked several people, with no luck. So instead, we broke down and hailed a taxi. We gave the driver our destination address and he took us on about a half hour ride.
When we got out, we were well away from the hustle and bustle of downtown Florence, in rolling hills of farmland with a fantastic view of the land all around us. We walked up the driveway toward the Villa Dauphine farmhouse in which we were staying, to be greeted by the owner’s son, Eugenio. He offered us a warm welcome, and showed us around the facility, and to our room. He confirmed a 7pm dinnertime was acceptable to us, and left us to settle in. We showered off the stink of travelling, which also served to wake us up a little bit. Then we headed out onto the front porch of the farmhouse to find a table set for two. Eugenio and his father, Pietro, cooked and served us a fantastic 3-course dinner in typical Tuscan style. We had a small charcuterie board with salamis and cheese, as well as home-cooked bread. Next, we were served a pasta Bolognese with pork. The entrée was thin sliced pork loin roasted with spiced potatoes. Eugenio asked if we wanted any dessert. Everything was so delicious that we couldn’t say no to more. So we opted to split a slice of homemade blackberry pie. He also suggested a sweet wine to go with it, which he brought us to have in a couple shot-sized glasses. We can’t remember what it was called, or what type it was. I remember reading the alcohol volume, which was 16.5%. It almost tasted like a liquor at first, Mandy made a face, but the finish was completely different, and really tasty. The highlight of the whole meal, though, was the red wine and the olive oil which were served with it. Both are made entirely on site at the farm, from grapes and olives which are all grown on the farm. The whole experience of going to the farm where the products are made, to have a meal prepared and served by locals who run the farm, and to stay the night in their home was really amazing. We loved it. After dinner, we went back to our room to relax with a movie before falling asleep.
"It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to."
- Bilbo Baggins
We're just an adventure-loving couple with a puppy looking to share our stories with the world.