Pisa is about an hour's train ride away from Rome, but feels like a world away! With it's famous leaning tower drawing huge crowds, Pisa still manages to exude laid back charm and an unhurried pace of life.
Most visitors go to Pisa to see the leaning tower. As you enter the Piazza dei Miracoli, set amidst plush green lawns, you realize that there is so much more to marvel at than just the tower. Dating back to the 12th century, this piazza is breathtaking in the sheer majesty of it's historic monuments.
There is the fabulous Duomo (cathedral) with a beautiful baptistry adjacent to it, the camposanto or cemetery where many famous people are buried and finally the Campanile or the bell tower, which definitely has a very pronounced lean!
Climbing up the tower is a fantastic experience in itself. After making our way up 296 steep steps to the very top, we could feel a very definite tilt! Holding on to the railing, we walked around admiring the fabled views of the city below. Coming down was quite another experience - the marble steps have been worn smooth from centuries of use and can get quite slippery. Best to do what everyone else does and come down barefoot for a better grip!
We were in Tuscany at the height of the tomato season and bruschetta was on every restaurant menu. That burst of pure joy from tasting juicy sun ripened tomatoes, drenched in fruity olive oil, scented with fresh basil, served atop thick slices of garlicky crusty bread is like none other. How can something so simple taste so good?! The secret lies in choosing good bread, fresh ingredients and the best olive oil you can find. Together, they make magic.
A hint of mint and toasted cumin gives this bruschetta a distinctly Indian appeal! For a more pronounced Indian flavour, throw in some cayenne pepper and fresh coriander as well. If you are looking for more tomato recipes, try my Caprese salad!
Cumin Spiced Bruschetta With Mint And Basil
4 large ripe plum tomatoes, chopped
2 tbsp each: chopped or torn fresh basil and mint, olive oil
Flaky sea salt to taste
1/4 tsp each: freshly ground black pepper, toasted ground cumin seeds
4 thick slices Tuscan or sourdough bread
1 clove garlic, halved
Combine tomatoes, basil, mint, olive oil, salt, pepper and toasted cumin in medium bowl. Allow to rest 15 min at room temperature for flavours to develop.
Meanwhile, toast or grill the bread until lightly golden and crisp.
Rub the cut sides of the garlic clove halves all over the bread.
Stir the reserved tomato mixture to combine flavours. Top each slice of toast generously with tomato mixture.
Serve right away.