Tuscany + Olive Grove + Sunset = Magic

When in Tuscany, portrait shoots at sunset in olive groves are highly recommended.

We scrambled this shoot together at the last second. We had passed a gorgeous olive grove up the road earlier that I knew I wanted to use for a photoshoot. It suddenly occurred to me that the sun was going down, we had the next couple of days packed full of plans, and after that there was rain on the forecast. So if my sunset photo op was going to happen, it would have to be right that second. :-) I woke Tara up from her nap and we ran down the road to catch the last bit of sun filtering through those perfect trees.

I'm putting olive trees on my birthday list this year.

Toscana | Personal

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!

(P.S. If you missed Rome and Venice, click here and here).