I was sitting in my kitchen yesterday and began to draw the painted ceiling beams. It is a beautiful ceiling, but it is so complex that I haven't seriously attempted it. According to a friend who is an architectural historian, our beams were decorated in the late 15th century (the mask design) and again in the late 16th (there is a floral and shell stencil pattern on some of them). The beams alternate with small sqaure casonetti... the rosette design is surronded by a twisted border called a guilloche pattern. The beams were painted over with several layers of paint, probably in the 17th century. Later on they were completely hidden by a plaster ceiling. When we bought the long-abandoned and in-ruins apartment, the beams were revealed, so we had them restored. I will try to make a drawing some day that gives a better sense of the room. Maybe I will make a painted version so you can see the colors.
On the facing page is a recipe I wrote down for a risotto made with Amarone (a superb wine from the Verona area) and radicchio di Treviso. We have eaten it before in Verona, but I was reminded of it recently because it was one of many courses at a big party we attended in Verona last weekend. It is so beautiful to look at, with its gorgeous purple color, and is divine to eat. Yesterday we had lunch at our friend Valter Crema's restaurant, La Cucina di Crema, in Giavera del Montello, provincia di Treviso. While Valter was driving us to the train station, I remembered to ask him to tell me how to prepare it. I haven't tested this recipe myself (it was just last night and we are clean out of Amarone). He said you can substitute Valpolicella Classico, which is younger Amarone.