If I had to choose between Venice and Tuscany, I don't think I could. They were both so different and so incredibly beautiful. And both places have you thinking, "How is this a real place and how am I actually here?!?"
We stayed about 20 minutes outside of Firenze (Florence), in a villa nestled right in the hills of Tuscany. If it sounds idyllic, well... it was. The villa itself was charming and we were so warmly welcomed by the owners that by the end we felt like part of the family. We had the villa to ourselves but the owners' parents live on the same property and they come up nearly every day to check on things.
We spent this leg of our trip relaxing, driving around the Chianti region, feasting our eyes on the incredible scenery, and exploring the darlingest little towns. And eating. Ohhh, eating very, very well. We absolutely loved our time here and can't wait to go back. :-)
Such a view!
Olive grove dreaminess. More portraits from this evening to come. :-)
An obliging rock took our picture...
Off to explore! Niccolo, our host, driver, and tour guide, knew all the best places to stop for pictures and entertained us endlessly with stories both historical and personal. :-)
One of the castles we visited.
My personal favorite town - Montefioralle.
Now I know where all those Pinterest pictures come from.
The charming little square in Greve where we took our lunch break.
Our lunch spot! And the signature black rooster that you'll find on everything due to local history.
Gelato. Of course.
It was a special flavor, only available in the Florence area, named after the inventor of gelato, called Buon Talenti. Double cream. Heaven.
More pussy encounters!
Volpaia, a tiny town that makes wine. All the buildings are old, but inside they house modern wine-making facilities.
Awesome little tunneled street!
And our last stop, Radda.
Radda has a cool underground street.
Best cappuccino ever.
Barbara (Niccolo's wife) cooks authentic Tuscan dinners and offers cooking classes at the villa. We had dinner our first night in town and it was amazing... we were so stuffed but it was absolutely one of the best meals we've ever eaten. So a couple of days later, we learned how to create a few of the dishes.
Tiramisu in the works
Crostini with tomato and garlic
All the herbs were fresh from the garden, of course.
Crostini with walnut cream, and involtini prior to cooking
Leek and saffron risotto!
Visiting with the horses...
Niccolo's antique Vespa that he's hoping to restore!
Into Firenze for the day! It was a very cloudy day so I took limited photos.
Loved this adorable purse in a leather shop!
Such a cute baby car!
The restaurant where we had dinner... Ravioli with sage butter sauce... I nearly licked the plate.
Italy was an amazing, beautiful experience; there aren't words for the wonderful time we had. Thanks for following along in my (prolonged) retelling of my travels! Ciao!