Jet Set Zero Italy Week 3: From Pizza Man to Italian Men

Dispatches from the Road, Featured, Food & Wine, Italy, Websites and Blogs — By on July 28, 2010 at 11:00 am

The Jet Set Zero Italy cast is back this week, letting us in on their rainy walks, home-cooked Italian meals, coffee breaks, jousting sessions and, for better or worse, Italian men. The cast’s Twitter maven Courtney Scott and Lynne trekked to the site of the Oscar-winning film, Life is Beautiful, in Tuscany to attempt their very own vite belle on zero dollars. Meanwhile Sarah and Perrin cranked up the adventure in their second week in Roccafranca.

Week 3 recaps, written by Courtney and Perrin:

Courtney’s Recap:

Arriving in Arezzo: Lynne was given accommodation in a private bed and breakfast complete with its own goat. They became great friends. Courtney lived with a Tuscan family on a cobblestone street in the medieval city center, where an ancient joust competition, Joust of the Saracens, was underway.  She reveled in the citywide celebration and got to experience the thrill of victory when her quartiere won! She tried to talk her way into a duel of her own, á la American Gladiators, but it seems jousting is still a male-dominated activity in Italia.

Chowing Down: Gastronomically speaking, this week in Tuscany was the best yet. School lunches consisted of local delicacies like farro salad, panzanella, stuffed zucchini, fried zucchini blossoms and ginormous blocks of cheese. It all kept the Jet Set Zero team feeling well-fed and lusting for more.

After school, the crew stumbled upon an aperitivo to rival any in Italy at Arezzo’s Caffe’ Dei Costanti. They wound down with typical Italian cocktails like Martini Bianco and Spritz, while enjoying the FREE spread of food with unlimited servings.  All this for €5?  Even we at Jet Set Zero can handle that!  

Soggy Sightseeing: The girls maxed out their six days in Tuscany with a road trip to Cortona and two hours of randomness in Florence.  While in Cortona, they caught wind that Frances Mayes, author of “Under the Tuscan Sun,” is a full-time resident there.  After several un-returned phone calls to her listed number in the Italian white pages, the girls set out on a mission to find her — surely she’d want to swap Italian travel tales with JS0!  After hours of tromping around in the rain and asking locals for Frances’ whereabouts, the team felt defeated and was soaked to the bone. It was as good a reason as any for a coffee break – this time at Caffe Tuscher, where Illy coffee is exclusively brewed.

In Florence, rain put a damper on sightseeing, so instead we tried tracking down a pizzeria that was recommended by a friend of Lynne’s.  We were sure it was “right around this corner” about six times.  It wasn’t.  When we finally found the fabled pizzeria, Il Pizzaiuolo, there was an hour wait for a table.

Famished and again soaked from rain, we sought cover in Florence’s equivalent of Dominos pizza, Pizza Man.  We were slightly worried when our menus arrived, laminated in the shape of a big pizza, and when we saw that napkins were adorned with winged pizzas.  But that night at Pizzaman, we learned a very important lesson:  never judge a pizzeria by its napkin.  The Margherita was truly delicious, reminding us yet again that all food in Italy, even fast food, is fresh and fabulous.

Meanwhile…back in Roccafranca…

Perrin’s Recap:

Sarah and Perrin stayed in Roccafranca to conduct week two of camp; the kids became increasingly comfortable (read: lazy and rebellious) as the camp wore on, so tutoring presented new challenges:

  • Sarah was successful in steering her students away from a second murder-themed play for the final show.
  • Perrin’s students were successful in pie-ing her with copious amounts of whipped cream. Delicious!
  • We had our first experience with Italian men when Giovanni, the 29-year old brother of Sarah’s host father, took us out to Lake Garda, the largest lake in Italy.
  • We drank the world’s best sangria, which was probably tasty due to the sugar content more so than the wine; believe it or not Italians seem to be more obsessed with sweets than Americans.
  • This was followed by a dip in the pool and a wild ride home. American music was blasted and sung in full force. When you’re abroad, music from home warms your heart.
  • The host families took Sarah and Perrin to yet another round of castles. One of the tutors decided to scale one and got stuck halfway up. This was the most exciting moment of any of our castle visits.
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    6 Comments

  • Annie says:

    Sounds like a great experience! We love Pizza Man here in Florence, and it’s actually recommended by the locals, isn’t that funny? Glad you enjoyed it!

  • Courtney says:

    Hi Annie, so great to know that Pizzaman is a favorite among locals. Who knew? We truly did enjoy the pizza…it rivaled our Neopolitan pies down South. Are you a Florence native?

  • Not sure why laminated menu’s in the shape of a big pizza, and napkins were adorned with winged pizzas would worry you – but sounds like it all turned out…LOL

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