Tag Archives: Italy
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Pizza Class

There are a few things that are easier to make than pizza.  Apparently, things which appear simple are quite complex if you break them down.  Long story short – I have been doing every aspect of the pizza making, right down to holding the dough all wrong, absolutely every single part, all wrong.  This was […]

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Tuscan Splendour

On the way back to Sant’Anna in Camprena from Montalcino we stopped a few times to take in the magnificent vistas and enjoy the serenity of this spectacular landscape. This truly is a wonderful place and the pictures simply don’t do its justice.

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Montalcino for Lunch

There appears to be about a thousand wine shops in this village.  There are places where you can sample over 100 wines in a single wine store.  It’s bonkers!  However, our search is for some food, because it has been at least 3 hours since our last meal, and to find another gelato place, because […]

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Paggio Dell’Aquila

Promptly after breakfast today we drove out to a small family run winery nestled just below the quaint town of Montalcino.  This place produces only 18,000 bottles of wine one Rosso and one Brunello, (read no cheap and pricey)  The local oenologist, Maria, who is Spanish, gave us a great tour and a great wine […]

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San Gimignano and Gelato

San Gimignano is synonymous with the very finest of gelato, some great artisan shops and phenomenal galleries.  There is no shortage of the run of the mill tourists traps like the Museum of Torture and other junk stores but for a refined gelato junkie this place is a paradise.  True to form, we parked the […]

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Sunrise Hunting

The idea was great, the plan brilliant, the execution none of the above.  We did not find the right hill to see the sunrise, I guess you have to be in the know to be in the right spot at the right time.  We will do better next however as we have acquired a map […]

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Back to Siena

We are back to Siena.  Unlike our last time here, this time it is all about sitting around and taking in the sights.  We did go and visit a couple of places, but mostly we just ate, sat around and admired the views – including the Piazza del Campo and Siena Cathedral.  

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Tuscany – The Scenic Route

We are taking it easy today – in the plans is the short trip to Sienna. Instead of the regular Autostrada we are taking the SR2 which is essentially a local secondary road that winds through the Tuscan country side.  Slow and enjoyable, lazy morning drive, it’s perfection.

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Sunset in Pienza

About 10 min drive from Sant’ Anna is Pienza.  A small town that came to prosperity and prominence under one of the Popes.  But we did not came here for religion, we came to experience something much more spectacular, something much greater than god – a stunning Tuscan sunset.  We also scoped out some places we would […]

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Orvieto

Today we are travelling to Sant’ Anna in Camprena. We stayed here last year in the spring and loved it so much we thought we would come back and bring some friends with us to enjoy.  However, because the drive from Rome to Camprena is not long we are taking some detours.  First on the […]

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Last Night in Rome

Today is our last day in Rome, tomorrow are going to pack up and head for the Tuscan Hills.  Having said that though, there are still a lot of places to explore.  This morning we started with Eataly and a lot of food sampling and a huge lunch – naturally.  Then we wondered around through […]

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Ciao Roma!

The only thing on the agenda for today was to take it easy and relax and eat less. Failed on all three accounts.  We stopped at Eataly, an old train station that has been converted to a 5 story Italian Shop with 18 or so restaurants.  The store has pretty much everything you can imagine […]

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Villa Borghese

Our schedule for today is very relaxed.  A nice stroll through the Borghese gardens towards the Spanish Steps and a bit of shopping.  The Borgheses were  a wool merchant family from  Sienna.  The head of the family, Marcantonio, moved to Rome in 1541 and this Sienese family rapidly gained access to the upper echelons of Roman […]

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Revisiting Rome

After the morning museum trip and an extensive siesta from the unyielding and relentless heat, we set out for a lap around Rome.  Last time we were here the Trevi Fountain was being renovated and cleaned, which apparently is done once every 50 years or so. There are over 2000 fountains in Rome but this one […]

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MAXXI

MAXXI – National Museum of the 21st Century Arts, is a national museum of contemporary art and architecture in Rome and is about 5 min walk from the gorgeous apartment we are staying in. The museum was built on the old and decommissioned military compound site.  This spectacular building was designed by Zaha Hadid who passed away this […]

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Path of the Gods

We set out for a short walk, from the village of Agerola to Priano – it turned out to be about 8.5km.  Path of the Gods is one of the most famous and most spectacular trails in Italy with stunning view of the Amalfi coast and its towns, mainly Positano, Priano and Amalfi.  There are […]

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Divina Costiera

We are finally here… We are checked into Divina Costiera which is located in the Latter Mountains, 2 km outside Agerola.  We are really really hight up in the mountains, it is 10:44 and it is 26C and humid! It’s beautiful, despite the heat.                         […]

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Bagno Vignoni

Our last tourist stop on this trip is the ancient village of Bagno Vignoni located in the heart of Tuscany, in the Val d’Orcia Natural Park.   At the heart of the village instead of the usual piazza is the “Square of sources” – a huge hot springs pool dating back to the sixteenth-century.  This spot was […]

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Vitaleta Chapel

If you have ever seen a calendar of Tuscany, postcards or even some promotional material chances are you have seen Vitality Chapel in at least one of the pictures.  The chapel of Our Lady of Vitality originally built around 1590 is located on a private property on the road between Pienza to San Quirico d’Orcia and […]

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Back to Siena

This is our third visit to Siena.  We always find something new to see and to do. After two hectic days of driving around and looking at towns and villages today we are taking it easy.  This time around in Siena, we decided to climb the Torre del Mangia which is 88m in height – same […]

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Sant’Anna in Camprena

Sant’Anna in Camprena is in the heart of Tuscany – about 6km from Pienza.  It is a monastery from the 15th century perched on the top of hill with spectacular views of the rolling Tuscan hills.  The buildings are beautiful, the garden is huge and the food is simply amazing.  Having said that this place would be nothing if it […]

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Foiano della Chiana

Relatively speaking this is a large town compared to some of the smaller villages we visited.  There are about 10K people living in Foiano della Chiana today.  This is also an agricultural town which used to be surrounded by marshes on three sides, and not a hill top town like all others.  If it was […]

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Lucignano

Liciagnano is a remarkable preserved medieval walled village of about 3500 people.  It’s strategic high altitude and its location on the road between Sienna and Arezzo meant that between 1200 and 1500AD it was it was continually the subject of battles between these cities, involving also Florence and Perugia.  It is as beautiful as it is picturesque  and it […]

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Monte San Savino

Monte San Savino is a small town of about 8000 people and it is famous for two things.  First, it was one of the first urban settlements in Tuscany, Italy, which  originated around 1100.  Second Giulio Salvadori a poet and a literary critic was born there.  An interesting thing about Salvadori is that he covered to Christianity  in 1885. […]

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Back to Arezzo

Really we are back in Arezzo for views, wine, food and of course gelato.  We found an amazing wine bar with an even more amazing food. Luckily we got the second last table and had a phenomenal lunch.  There must have been no less than 25 to 30 people that were simply turned away because the […]

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Cortona

Today is day two of – what else can we eat?!, I mean what other wonders of cultural significance can we find on a morning drive across Tuscany.  First stop, Cortona.  Some say the first settlement started 273 years after the great flood.  The earliest recorded history is from the 7th century BC.  Cortona then […]

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Radicofani

Last on the list today was a town of Radicofani. About 1100 people live in this village with has been restored in the 1990.  The village is dominated by a massive fortress on the top of the hill with a 37m tower.  There are two sets of defence walls at the fortress one pentagonal and […]

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Cetona

Some of the oldest human settlements of central Italy were discovered at the base of Monte Cetona, such as the early neo-Paleolithic Gosto cave (40–80th century BC) and Lattaia cave (9–10th century BC).  The town of Cetona developed around 900 AD around the fortress which to this day is privately own.  Next to the Cetona is a small hill […]

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San Quirico d’Orcia

Today we started a medieval tour of Tuscany.  First stop a small town of San Quirico d’Orcia located half way between Pienza and Montalcino.  The town gain it’s notoriety in medieval times as it was on a pilgrimage route connecting  northern Europe to Rome.  Today the town is a host to a 3 day wine tasting extravaganza where 17 local […]

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Radda In Chianti

Located about 11 km from Castellini in Chianti is an even smaller village of Radda with 1700 inhabitants.  It still takes about 20 min to drive here because the roads are narrow and twisty and suicidal when wet.  The town is nice, the views simply spectacular and my shoes are still soaking wet, and I swear to […]

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Castellina in Chianti

Castellini is a small village in Tuscany located between Florence and Sienna.  The first settlement in the area dates back to 800BC and the current village dates back to 1100s. Perched on the top of a hill and surrounded by olive trees and vineyards this is a quaint little town with great wine, cheese and olive oils which […]

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Around Florence

Since we visited Florence before we were able to skip a lot of the major landmarks and attractions and simply concentrate on things we have not seen yet.  Having said that, it is nearly impossible to be in Florence and walk by the main cathedral and ignore it – it is simply stunning and quite spectacular. […]

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Pienza

Penza is a birthplace of Aeneas Salvias Piccolomini who later became Pople Pius II. Once he became Pope, Piccolomini had the entire village of Corsignano rebuilt and renamed to become an ideal Renaissance town. The place was intended as a retreat from Rome, and it represents the first application of humanist urban planning concepts.  The humanist […]

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Masters Class

Masters Class

I finally got around to getting these uploaded, converted and here they are for you to enjoy.  While at Villa Medici, this was the Masters of Piano graduating class, with formalities of the evening being done, everyone was a lot more relaxed and the music they got out of that wooden box with strings and […]

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This is Monza

Monza is an integral part of F1.  It is one of the first 7 tracks that  hosted the F1 championship in 1950.  Since then 64 F1 races were run in Italy and all but one were held at Monza.  Monza together with Monaco, Silverstone in England, and Spa in Belgium are four of the original tracks still used today […]

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Home Alone

It is 10:30pm.  The owner of the villa is staying in the private part of this complex behind a big iron gate, in a huge manicured private garden in a smaller private villa more suitable for a family.  Alexandro the caretaker and Fiona the lady who makes breakfast sleeps next to the kitchen which is […]

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The Concert

After my day out at Monza, I got back to the Villa Medici for the piano concert which I was invited to by Maestro Kanno.  Together with a number of other guests and the owner of this fabulous place we watched 4 young musicians show off their polished skills after  a week of teaching and a […]

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House Of Music

Villa Medici has a different look and feel to it in a daylight.  Last night I just wanted to get to bed, today I had a chance to walk around this place, in its endless maze of hallways and rooms that lead to even more hallways and rooms.  This place is truly huge and on […]

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