Tag Archives: Tuscany
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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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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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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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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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All Roads

If it is true that all roads lead to Rome then this is where we are heading this afternoon.  On the way there we  are treated to some amazing and spectacular sites along the way.  It appears that each mountain top has its own town.  Orvieto, Moltepulciano, Fabro, Orte and countless others.   Beautiful day […]

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Pizzeria del Borgaccio

This little place in the village below Buccia Nera is where we stopped by for breakfast.  It is a bakery / pizzeria place.  Basically a breakfast with freshly baked goods and some cappuccino and espresso for the four of us, plus some cookies for good measure was just under €7.00 that is what I call […]

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Good Night Arezzo

We went out to Arezzo one more time.  First because there is a great pizza place we wanted to check out and second because we really wanted to have another go at Paradiso Gelato – some shopping seemed in order as well.  Arezzo being one of the more affluent cities in Tuscany has a lot […]

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Day of Rest

It is not like we have strained ourselves yesterday but it is early days on our Italian adventure so we are taking it easy.  We never got up early enough to get to the bakery so we had fruit for breakfast.  After breakfast –  the pool from 10 am to 7:15 pm with an occasional […]

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Paradiso

We started off in this place and I finished the day off in this place.  I think we have crowed the new best gelato place on this trip.  Paradiso I think will permanently unseat the great gelato we had in San Gimignano Italy and Cacao in Ljubljana Slovenia.  It is that unbelievably good. Paradise as […]

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Arezzo

Today we are spending the afternoon in the beautiful Arezzo.  Arezzo is very very old, it dates back, or portions of the city do, to 5th century BC.  It is a small city but the old town is quite large with at least 20 churches, some medieval, some Tuscan Ghotic and some even dating back […]

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Luck

We found a great little restaurant in Arezzo called Luck, the actual Italian name is Osteria da Luchino. Off the main street, no English menu, small and charming and just perfect.   We decided to try the Italian way of eating dinner.  You start off with a small pasta dish, then have the main course with […]

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Arezzo Cathedral

Arezzo Cathedral is perhaps one of the largest buildings in the old city.  Perhaps it is not as ornate as the Public Library or some other churches here  but it is quite impressive.  Inside there are some beautiful fresco covering the entrée ceiling of the cathedral as well as a couple burial monuments dedicated to […]

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Pool Time

Today, we are proud to say, we have done nothing at all.  We drove down to the village to have breakfast the local bakery.  We stopped by a shop to get some milk, cheese and salami and on the way back up we also stopped at a fruit stand and bought half a trunk of […]

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Buccia Nera – Italy

Unlike our last trip to the middle of nowhere in Italy where we got lost on a deserted gravel country road in the middle of night with bats flying around – and no cell signal today the expedition went a lot better.  We are still in the middle of nowhere, high up on the mountain […]

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Lost in Italy

As planned we arrived just outside San Gimignano around 8:00 pm about 10 min drive from our hotel.  We put in the GPS coordinates in and drove off into the darkness looking for our place for the night.  Soon the road turned to gravel, and then the gravel turned into big sharp rocks.  14 km […]

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