As I was saying, our villa in Tuscany was amazing. But there was no walking into town to check out the market or go to lunch. Every destination required us to make the bumpy drive out into civilization. The town we could walk to was tiny and sleepy, so we either spent the day at the villa (Garrett, Hayden and I did that one day due to major teething) or made one trip out for the day.
The villa is advertised to sleep 11, but it could sleep more. Two stories, plus a loft, and a separate little guest house that has a gym and a bedroom attached. Complete with a pool and lots of green outdoor space. If you have to be stuck someone all day, this is the place to be! Not to mention that there are hiking trails around the property, which we took advantage of the day we stayed home.
Our hosts live in house connected to ours. We would see them coming and going and often stop and chat about what we did that day. They have a little boy too, probably about five years old, who was always playing in the yard or picking cherries from the tree. One especially memorable night, they made dinner for us. Six courses of pure, rustic, Tuscan deliciousness. Every ingredient in season, every dish prepared with love. It was, by far, the best meal of our entire trip.
The house was huge and surprisingly every room was decorated head to toe. Beautiful paintings hung on the wall, large book shelves or cool armoires in every room, lots of Tuscan pottery and other unique, rustic decor. There are so many details I must have passed over. The kitchen was fully equipped and good thing because we ate in every night. There was a large dining room table and a fully stocked wine rack (you leave 10 euro for every bottle you drink) and another large table on the back porch. The nights were chilly but we always started cocktail hour out back enjoying our gorgeous view.
We visited Siena for a day, which was lovely, but touristy as expected. Parking took FOREVER, but lunch was great and there was a very pretty Cathedral. We went to a neat open market in Panzano our first day to load up on produce, cheese, meat, more wine, and olive oil.
We went to Greve for an afternoon of shopping. Garrett and I picked up olive oil, aged balsamic vinegar, fresh pasta, biscotti, two nice bottles of chianti and three small paintings from a talented local artists who was getting ready to shut down shop and move elsewhere. After some haggling, we walked away with a bargain.
We visited a few small wine houses for tastings and saved our last day for visiting the Antinori Vineyard, which was enormous. That was the day we did all the “best of’s” according to Sylvia, our gracious hostess. We visited and tasted the best gelato in Castellina, and ordered takeout pizza in a nearby town (can’t remember the name) for dinner. Both the gelato and pizza lived up to their reputation.
And after a wonderful week in beautiful Tuscany, it was time to say goodbye. Garrett, Hayden and I were the last to leave Saturday morning. We packed up the car and headed to Cinque Terre stopping at Lucca along the way. That’s next!