Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Falling in love with Tuscany

I knew I was going to like Tuscany, but I must say that I did not anticipate how much I would love Tuscany. Alex and I both agreed our stay here in the town of Chianciano completely exceeded any expectations we'd had for the visit!

After the hustle and bustle of the past week, a week packed with train rides and airplane flights, it was glorious to have our apartment waiting in Italy where we had no plans and no agenda for three whole days. Alex had discovered this "agriturismo," or farm-stay, online, and we liked the idea of staying here, touring the farm (if we liked) and enjoying farm fresh meals every night. We also realized that after the small hotel rooms of London and Paris, it was actually a great luxury to have a spacious apartment with its own kitchen awaiting us!

Our hosts were a couple named Franco and Sylvana. After we got settled in, we somehow had it communicated to us that Franco would take us to the local supermarket for provisions if we liked. I took advantage of a few spare moments to explore the landscape and began to realize that gorgeous roses were everywhere here — even more magnificent because of the scenic background!

This cream colored rose was one of the most perfect blossoms I've ever seen in my life!

And this variegated pink one wasn't too shabby either!

I was admiring a lovely (and huge) patch of something lavender when it dawned on me to touch a blossom and sniff: oh, lavender! And oh, the fragrance …

Soon we were on our way to the supermarket, which felt just like a trip to the grocery store back home except that a) I didn't understand what anybody was saying b) I couldn't read the signs and labels and c) I had a sweet Italian man standing with me in the produce aisle pointing to the pears and saying something that I completely did not understand. I found it funny then and even more so now! Happily, though, I knew that "tè" and "thè" mean tea, so I got some "Angelica" herbal tea (I liked the name) and some "tè with pesca," which the box helpfully showed to be peach tea. I also bought an Italian cooking magazine at the store (it had a feature on London and scones) and was amused to find this ad for the Solidal brand of tea I had just purchased. I love how they fashioned a shopping bag out of the tea bag!

Large bottles of ready-to-drink tea were also at the supermarket, so I got "pesca" and "limone" flavors. You can see how tall and thin these bottles were compared to Alex's diet Coke bottle. (Or "Coca-Cola light," as they apparently call it there.)

After we returned from the supermarket, it was time to get ready for dinner at the restaurant of La Pietriccia, the agriturismo where we stayed. I love this rock guy pointing the way!

And here's my handsome hubby at the entrance. I like this photo of him because he looks so relaxed and happy! (And boy, did we need some R&R by that point!)

We were just bowled over when we were ushered to our table and saw where we would be dining. No, we don't quite have a view like that back home!

The meals at La Pietriccia were always four courses: antipasti, pasta, the meat course, and dessert. Everything we ate we swooned over, but my favorites were the antipasti and the pasta dishes. This wonderful bruschetta was, as a friend of mine says, "to live for!"

And this potato gnocchi was served with a pesto sauce that was no doubt made with some of the fresh herbs I saw growing there. I can still taste it!

They speak a little English, and we had an Italian phrasebook, so we learned the grapes aren't harvested until September and the olives aren't harvested until October. Still, they're a glorious sight to see there in Tuscany as the sun goes down. Alex and I agree that if we had it to do over again, we'd spend at least a full week in Tuscany — maybe two!

Tomorrow: An unusual "tea room" in the hills of Tuscany


  1. Oh, how beautiful! What a wonderful place to stay. I could see staying there for a couple of weeks.

  2. What a lovely trip you had! Oh, I do love the smell of fresh lavender! What a view from your dining table too! Thanks for sharing!

  3. Such wonderful experiences... and accommodating hosts!

  4. What a wonderful recap of your visit to Tuscany, and your dining experiences. Looking forward to tomorrow's post about the tea room.

  5. Oh, Angela how DIVINE!

    What a wonderful vacay you and your handsome fella have enjoyed!

    Boy, I sure am enjoying "travelling" with you - doesn't look as though we're going to be going anywhere soon with home improvements and a wedding and teeth repair costs around here. )-/

    I am living vicariously through you and I LOVE where you have been taking me! : - )

  6. Beautiful pics of Tuscany and the roses. I am traveling vicariously through your posts...I miss Italy!!

  7. What wonderful memories of your fabulous trip!

  8. Oh wow, this looks like a wonderful way to spend 3 days. I agree a week would be great.

  9. It's these kind of adventures when traveling that make a trip more wonderful. Your food does sound to die or actually to live for.

  10. Just lovely, Angela - I am so enjoying reading about your trip and seeing all the gorgeous photos.


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