Phase two in Italy and how to move on

Phase two in Italy and how to move on

Lockdown in Italy

Last week I have seen our Prime Minister Conte on TV saying that the measures will be more relaxed from May 4. What changes?

Prime Minister

Sometimes it’s a bit confusing for me to understand well Italy’s new rules. But in general I know what I may do and what is still prohibited.

We will still have difficult months ahead. To protect ourselves we must maintain social distancing, wear masks and gloves in supermarkets and shops.

Here a few new lockdown rules:

  • We may walk, bike or go for a run more than 200 metres from home. Totally my thing!
  • We may travel in our region. In my case: Tuscany.. not too bad.
  • We can visit relatives. Count me out. I have no relatives in Italy.
  • The parks and factories reopen. Ok with me.
  • And there will be take away food.
    Restaurants will offer pizza for take aways only. Yummy, finally a good pizza!

Pizza at Rosso Vivo

It is a small return to normalcy. But all with social distancing, masks and subject to local and regional rules.

On May 18 team sports can train again, museums, libraries and retail stores will reopen. Dining in restaurants from June 1 and reopening of bars, hairdressers and beauty centers.

My life in Montepulciano

The battery of my car is low. Today I have tried to start my car. It wasn’t easy as it sounds. Fortunately my neighbor and the *ACI were willing to help me to get this problem solved.

To give the battery a good charge they advised me to drive for at least 30 minutes. So I drove to Pienza and back to Montepulciano. It seemed everything normal, but it wasn’t. I was more than happy!

Road to Montepulciano

Luckily we have good weather in Tuscany. I am working on new wine projects -to be continued- and I do a lot of workouts at home. I didn’t stop tasting wines as well. I love my daily appetizer. I love wine.

As we are allowed now I went this afternoon for a short bike ride today: Montepulciano – Acquaviva – Montepulciano. This is my cycling route nearby my apartment. It’s about 20 km total downhill and uphill. A wonderful bike experience that I will repeat soon.

Cycling route

Visit Holland

In this period I should have been in Rotterdam for family matters, but my Transavia flight from Perugia to Rotterdam has been cancelled. My travel ticket is refunded.

May 4 is “Remembrance Day” in Holland. It’s a day when the Dutch can remember and commemorate the soldiers and civilians who died in WWII and other conflicts.

Tonight I saw one of my best friends in Rotterdam “Paul van de Laar” on the Dutch television (NOS website) about 75 years of liberation. He is director of Museum Rotterdam.

May 5 is liberation day. Another good friend of mine in Amsterdam has made an amazing website with images from Haarlem then (WWII) and Haarlem now. Take a look at this website.

I would like to go to Holland soon. Maybe when the phase three begins we can travel? I hope we can keep the virus down. Because if the curve sill start to increase again it will take much more longer before flights restart again… please no!

*ACI is the roadside assistance in Italy

At home in Montepulciano

At home in Montepulciano


As we all know people in Italy have been staying at home since 9 March. Schools, shops, restaurants, bars and many offices are closed. Since then I only go out for a good reason: grocery shopping. I live nearby the Conad grocery. It’s only 5 minutes walking.

Not only people but also cars are in lockdown. Like my car. The battery is low. I cannot even unlock the doors by pressing the button. Not that I have plans to drive but for getting some heavy stuff home from the supermarket a car will do well. I don’t know how to fix this problem though but every problem has a solution!

It’s a very strange and hard period. I am doing ok. At the very beginning I watched the press conference at the Rai24 station every day. Now I hardly see it anymore. For me it’s fine now to stay updated by reading some Tweet news from two Dutch journalists in Rome.


The last two days I was trying to get some walks and short runs nearby my house. I am allowed to do that only if I stay 200m away from home. I have run a piece with a face mask. It’s inconvenient. You can’t get fresh air. A face mask is not for runners. But in case the police stops me I have one with me.

I haven’t been fully recovered from my knee arthroscopy. My meniscus was very bad damaged because of the runnings. As doctor Ceppi told me so. I do my exercises every day to develop my leg muscles. It helps but it takes much longer to be back to my previous running shape. I guess..

Wine and Food

I didn’t stop tasting wines and eating good food during the lockdown. Honestly since we are at home I prepare more often delightful dishes for myself.

I am not disappointed about my cooking! But I am always struggling with a good Carbonara… any tip?

And yes I have good wines in my wine cellar. There’s no day without a good glass of wine. I do not only drink Sangiovese wines. As you might know Tuscany is known for it’s Sangiovese based wines.

To improve my palate I recently purchased some nice wines from winery Piandaccoli in Florence. They make excellent Chardonnay-Malvasia and Rosé wines. These wines pair well with fish dishes, antipasti and pasta.


In Holland we say every disadvantage has it’s vantage. That’s true. I got to know new neighbors since I am at home. They are lovely people. We got friends. This is wonderful. I can’t wait to have a dinner or an appetizer with them. Hopefully soon!

I also started studying my WSET level 3 wine exam. Every time when I read new things about wine I realize that I love the world of wines. It is interesting to discover new wines from all over the world. Knowing more about different grape varieties, how wines are made and how they might taste. I hope to be well prepared for the upcoming lessons and wine tastings.

And the good news is, I am working on a new wine project. A friend of mine suggested me to realize a new wine adventure now the tourism in Tuscany is shut down. An awesome idea! It is a lot of work, but I like it. I see this as a new career opportunity for myself with a lot of possibilities for Sylvia Italy in the nearby future.

Stay tuned!



The Wine & Spirit Education Trust, WSET, provides education and qualifications in wines for professionals and enthusiasts. Level 2 Award in Wines is an intermediate level qualification.

During the course we studied about wines, grape varieties of the world, the regions in which they are grown and the styles of wine they produce.

Through a combination of (a lot) wine tasting and theory we explored the quality, the style and how to describe the wines.

Emily O’ Hare

Our teacher for WSET level 2 is Emily O’Hare. Emily is wine writer, sommelier and she teaches WSET courses in Tuscany. Originally she’s from London but is now based in Siena.


I personally enjoyed the wine study and the courses with Emily. We had a lovely group. Some participants were from my FISAR Sommelier course and some people were new. It was a nice experience and definitely a do thing. I look forward to start soon with WSET level 3.


I got my classification! I passed my exam. Result 94% and Grade Pass with distinction. Now I have two wonderful certificates, FISAR Sommelier and WSET level 2 Award in Wines.

I still need to learn a lot more about wines. But I have a lot of interest and I am passionate about wine. I live in a wine growing area and I work in the tourism and wine business.

The best is yet to come!

Olive oil mill in Montepulciano

Olive oil mill in Montepulciano

Il Frantoio di Montepulciano

Frantoio means olive oil mill or olive oil press. Many olive oil producers rely on an external frantoio. Il Frantoio di Montepulciano is established in Montepulciano and counts 600 members. It is a farmers cooperative that supply members various services for the production of extra virgin olive oil.

Olive oil production in Siena

The olive groves are cultivated in the province of Siena. The gently rolling hills around Montepulciano are suitable for cultivating olive groves. The altitude of the hills are about 300-650 m above sea level.

In the province of Siena are many small producers who cultivate olive trees. The farmers take care of the plants by pruning and harvesting for having good olive oil every year.

After harvesting by hand or with mechanical shakers the farmers bring the olives in boxes to the olive mill “frantoio”. 

The olives are washed to remove dirt. When ready, the olives will be crushed and pressed cold (26-28 degrees) in a modern machine.

Thanks to the cold press the olives keep their properties for a high quality extra virgin olive oil.

After the extraction of the oil, the olive oil will be soon packed in bottles, cans or in small tins.

Different types of olive oil

Il Frantoio di Montepulciano produces different types of high quality olive oil. Olive oil extra virgin from il Frantoio di Montepulciano is obtained from the olive varieties Leccino, Frantoio and Moraiolo.

Olio extra virgin di Oliva 100% Italiano

Oil produced with a range of traditional Tuscan olive varieties and other Italian olives (Puglia). This extra virgin olive oil presents a bitter taste.

Olio extra virgin di Oliva DOP Terre di Siena

DOP (Protected Designation of Origin) guarantees the area of production and qualitative characteristics of the olives. Olio extra virgin di Oliva DOP Terre di Siena is a very high quality olive oil.

The olive oil is green in colour. It has a strong taste. An excellent olive oil for dressings.

Olio extra virgin di Oliva IGP Toscano

IGP (Protected Geographical Indication) is similar to DOP. IGP olive oil extra virgin is obtained with olives grown in Tuscany. This oil is quality guaranteed.

Olio extra virgin di Oliva Biologico

Organic extra virgin olive oil is olive oil produced following the European regulation on organic production and labeling on organic products. The olive oil must be obtained from locally grown organic olives. These olives are not treated by chemicals.

This organic oil has a smooth flavor and a soft taste. 

Information olive oil

All products mentioned above have different flavors. But the fresher the oil is, the better it tastes. Above all extra virgin olive oil is rich in antioxidants and consumption of olive oil may benefit your overall health in several ways.

Throughout the year you can visit the mill “Il Frantoio di Montepulciano” and taste the oils that are produced.

Allerheiligen in Rome Italië

Op 1 november is het feestdag in Italië, oftewel “Ognissanti”. De kantoren, fabrieken en banken zijn gesloten. In de meeste grote steden zijn de winkels wél open. Italianen gaan er dan vaak op uit.

Elk jaar op 1 november is in Rome “La Corsa dei Santi“. Een hardloopwedstrijd van 10 km. Dit jaar, het jubeljaar 2016, was de 9e editie.

De stad wordt gedurende de wedstrijd afgesloten voor het altijd drukke verkeer. De start is op het Sint Pietersplein. Vanaf het plein loop je richting Piazza Venezia langs het Colosseum naar Piazza di Spagna, Piazza del Popolo, Castel Sant’Angelo en weer terug naar het Sint Pietersplein. Een prachtige route waar veel mensen langs de kant staan aan te moedigen.

Parcours: Garmin Connect – Citta’ Del Vaticano race

Van mijn marathon in Amsterdam ben ik goed hersteld. In Rome heb ik daarom geprobeerd een PR te lopen op de 10 km. Het parcours in Rome is niet vlak, en je loopt bijna altijd over de “kinderhoofdjes”. Wat niet bevordelijk is voor je snelheid.

Mijn tijd was 42:47 met een gemiddelde van 4:16/km. Een nieuw persoonlijk record. Ik ben 2e van mijn categorie (40+) geëindigd, 19e van de vrouwen en 413e van de totale kwalificatie. Er waren ruim 4000 deelnemers.

De prijs die ik had gewonnen waren twee flessen Biologische wijn, pasta “penne” en een treetje Melinda appels.

2e prijs categorie 40+

Nu staat Firenze marathon op het programma op 27 november a.s. Ik heb in de tussentijd weer een paar keer getraind. Lichamelijk en geestelijk voel ik me fit. Ik heb weer zin om een marathon te lopen. Florence zal mijn 10e marathon zijn in 10 jaar. Mijn eerste marathon was in NY 2006.

36 kilometer training

De TCS Amsterdam marathon is niet mijn 1e marathon, maar vandaag 36 km gelopen te hebben vond ik toch wel een hele prestatie. Ik heb nog nooit in mijn voorbereiding op een marathon meer dan 34 km gelopen.

24 september 2016
16 km training: Garmin Connect
20 km training: Garmin Connect


Mijn hardloopparcours langs het Trasimeense meer

Omdat ik de laatste tijd last heb van mijn heup, gewoon overbelast, doe ik het iets rustiger aan om een serieuze blessure te voorkomen. Elke dag doe ik veel stretching en ik moet zeggen dat het enorm helpt. Ik heb momenten gehad dat ik het somber in zag voor Amsterdam. Ik ben zelfs naar de orthopeed geweest voor mijn heup, maar het is te overzien.

De Amsterdam marathon op 16 oktober gaat dus helemaal goedkomen, en daar ben ik enorm blij mee. De 36 km van vandaag heb ik gesplitst. Mijn trainer Fulvio heeft goedkeuring gegeven in de ochtend 15 km a 5’00/km te lopen en 22 km a 4’40/km. Ik heb het zelf iets aangepast, maar de resultaten liegen er niet om, en dat is een goed teken. Volgende week nog 25 km lopen en dan zitten de lange duurlopen erop. Hopelijk kan ik op 2 oktober meedoen met de Montepulciano run (25 km), maar het parcours is erg heuvelachtig. Deelname wordt mij sterk afgeraden, maar voor mij zou deze run symbolisch heel belangrijk zijn. Hardlopen langs de wijngaarden van de Vino Nobile. Prachtig.

Vanaf eind mei train ik 4x in de week, en ik kan niks anders zeggen dat ik er nu wel naar uitkijk om na Amsterdam een pauze in te lassen. Ik heb me ook ingeschreven voor de marathon van Florence op 27 november, maar hoogstwaarschijnlijk gaat h’m dat niet worden. Alhoewel…

De herfst is aangebroken in Italië, het is momenteel de periode van de “vendemmia”, de wijnoogst, en straks in november worden weer de olijven geplukt. De zomer is voorbij en ik kan niks anders zeggen dat de tijd vliegt.