Many people have asked how my trip went… And here’s how it went down:
Milan 3 nights: It was just our place to sleep. We didn’t get a chance to explore the city because we were too busy taking day trips. Day Trips: Lake Como and Venice, both equally spectacular and totally different!
Florence 2 days: We had no agenda, which was great! We just walked and walked… around every corner was something incredible to look at. We felt more secure there than in Milan.
Tuscany 8 days: I could move there tomorrow, it was that great! I really don’t know how to describe it, but pure perfection! It reminded me so much of where I grew up in N.E. Georgia, but with little villas and mountain top villages with castles. We met up with a group of Alaskans for a tour of mid-evil Italy. Basically towns that were mostly in their original form from lack of money to keep them growing. Sienna, Pienza, Voltera, Monteriggioni, Montalcino, San Giminiano…
Podere Paugnano an Agricola Biologica (organic farm) in Radicondoli, Tuscany is where we stayed. I didn’t research it before leaving so no preconceived ideas would be formed. It was beyond anything I could of ever hoped for! All the city stuff was great to look at, but this farm stole my heart! It was spread out on many acres up on a hill facing a small valley and the town of Radicondoli on the next hill with its quaint castle tower watching over the Tuscan Valley. This farm produced sheep cheese and olive oil. Since it took me until the end of our trip to switch to Italian time I woke before dawn every morning to hear the sheep being moved to the field below our house. Some had bells around their necks and it sounded like wooden wind chimes and very relaxing! Every morning at 8:30 we sat down family style to a breakfast of coffee with steamed sheep’s milk, fresh bread with butter and local honey, fresh sheep yogurt with granola and an assortment of jams, fresh fruit (figs) and fresh scrambled eggs with olive oil. After breakfast we would leave on our tour to discover a new town. Every night we would come back to the farm for a delicious family style meal cooked by the matron of the household, Giovanna. She and her husband Giovanni and their daughters Tamara and Natalie were very welcoming and generous hosts. Natalie and Tamara spoke English and with their translations and lots of hand gestures we all carried on quite nicely!
I know you want to get to the pictures so I’ll stop rambling on… Enjoy!
(All images taken from my iphone)
Our tiny apartment in Milan Central Station
Our first official Italian meal near our apartment
Milan – Fashion capital of the world!
Our first pizza! AMAZING! It was our mission to eat our way through Italy!
Little villages along Lake Como. George Clooney has a house somewhere on this lake…
Bellagio, Lake Como
Venice, Day 3 we were wiped out!! Major jet lag for me because apparently I don’t adjust well ;D
Florence, we splurged one night and got a fancy hotel 🙂
Yes, we climbed the tower! All 50 million steps, but it was worth it!!
Podere Paugnano, Agricola Biologica (organic farm), Radicondoli, Tuscany
Heaven on Earth!
Sienna, established by the Romans as a military outpost in 30AD and is called one of the most beautiful cities in Tuscany.
I am not kidding you, we both lost 10lbs on this trip! Probably from all the hills and towers we climbed.
Meanwhile, back at the farm…
Abby of Saint’ Antimo, we heard monks sing a Gregorian chant. Records show that this church was in existence in 814 AD and its foundation dates back to the 4th an 5th century. It was quite amazing!
13th century Crucifix
Views of the Tuscan Valley from Montalcino.
Voltera – I looked for sparkling vampires, but unfortunately didn’t see any!
Remains of the San Galgano Monastery built in 16th century. We really enjoyed this place because for once we weren’t wading through crowds of people. And we got free grapes fresh cut from the vineyard!
Back at the farm for Ravioli Night!
We stayed at the farm instead of touring one day and relaxed!
A day at the beach. I can now say I’ve stuck my toes in the Mediterranean Sea 🙂
Franco and Victor. Victor, who works with Steven, was our guide.
Massa Marittima – Now don’t stare too hard at the mural painted above the Abundance Fountains!
We arrived in this town during siesta so not much going on, so we got to walk around quiet streets. Bagno Vignoni – This was one of my favorite little spots! There are lots of natural hot springs in Italy and the Romans built a pool around this one and a shower. The Romans used to stop and bath here on the way to and from Rome. This was a public pool and two images below shows the public showers. The water still flows from the ground and is comfortably warm.
I Can.Not.Wait to go back!