After our few days in Venice it was time to pick up the rental car from the airport and drive to the Tuscany region of Italy for a week of exploring. At least for me, Tuscany is what I see in my mind when I think of the Italian country side. There are rolling hills to the hazy horizon and beyond. You see vineyards on the upper hillsides and fields of grain in the valleys. In between there are olive groves, small clumps of forest, and little towns that were old in the 1400’s.
During our entire time in Italy the daytime highs were in the mid to upper 90’s and one small rain shower late in our week in Rome. That is unusual for June in Italy. Normal high temperatures for Tuscany in June is the low to mid 70’s. Last year we were told that June was rainy and cold. There are two things you can do when it is that hot in Tuscany. First, fill your water bottle at any public fountain which can be found just about anywhere. They provide fresh, cold and great tasting water from the Dolomites in northern Italy. The second thing to do is stop at the local Gelato shop and enjoy a couple scoops each afternoon. The subject of Gelato could take a month of blog posts all by itself. Let’s just say if you have had Gelato in Italy you don’t need the blog posts and if you haven’t then you need to make it your personal mission in life to find a way to get some.
In Tuscany, we spent time visiting Siena and Assisi on different days. Yes, that is the same Assisi as St. Francis of Assisi. We spent a day eating our way through Florence. We had truffles and cheese. We sampled meats, espresso, and wine. We learned about olive oil, balsamic vinegar and local desserts. Of course, there was gelato. We spent a day driving between Pienza, Monticchiello, Montepulciano, and Montalcino. Each town showed you another piece of Italian history and lifestyle. It Montalcino we discovered Brunello wine and that is definitely a blog article I need to write. We spent a day at the villa enjoying the pool and listening to the quiet of the region. Except for a few restaurants with WiFi, we spent the week in Tuscany off the grid. There is something refreshing and relaxing about spending a week without cell phones, internet or TV.
Finally, our week in Tuscany came to an end and it was time to head to Rome. On the drive though there was time to stop in Orvieto and Civita di Bagnoregio. Civita is unique in that the only way to get into town is to park and walk across a pedestrian bridge passing over the local valley. Of course, there was also gelato.
Until next time …..