After a restorative yoga class yesterday and a good night sleep, we are ready for more yoga. Our yoga room is a former chapel with vaulted ceilings and original terracotta flooring. Without traffic noises and just the sounds of our voices it really feels like living in a different time period and it’s hard to keep track of time – we are already into the Italian lifestyle.
Today, we are off to Cortona to savor the famous ‘prosciutto di cinta Senese’ and find out why so many people are in love with this town.
While most of us are fascinated by the lovely artisan boutiques on the main ‘corso’, our stomachs warn us about lunch time. Ooops! it's almost lunch time and our store is about to close until mid afternoon, we need to act quickly to secure our ‘panini’! ‘Maiali di Cinta’ ( pigs) have a distinctive feature around their belly: a darker row of hair that looks like a belt/cinta (hence the name). These pigs roam in large estates and are fed exclusively with local legumes. We learn that the fat of this prosciutto increases the level of good cholesterol. Although quite pricey prosciutto di cinta, produced in the area of Siena and Arezzo, is delicious and worth every penny. And for once, such a delicacy is also good for our health so... let's enjoy to the last bite!
It is time to meet Tiziana, our tour guide. She shares interesting historical facts while showing us the original walls of the city. For example, we had no clue that the reason behind most hostile sieges around these walls was forceful appropriation of salt and black pepper. In addition to being a key flavor enhancer, black pepper was thought to be the Viagra of the old days and considered essential to a good marriage!
Upon Tiziana’s suggestion we visit the famous ‘Celle di San Francesco’ , the small rooms where Saint Francis and the Franciscan friars used to live, pray, help others and love all beings.
On the steep streets of Cortona, we find an antique statue of Jesus sitting in ‘padmasana’, a crossed leg position ideal to meditate. Everything here seem to invite us to find inner peace - it works with us!