There is always something new at the Uffizi Gallery in Florence that is worth seeing. The priceless other works of art aren’t too shabby either. I think the best thing about the Uffizi is the fact that it can be done in a reasonable amount of time – even in 3 hours. The rest of […]
More San Gimignano at Night
At around 1 am the town goes quiet with hardly anyone roaming the streets, except people like me aimlessly wandering through the narrow streets with a camera in tow.
San Gimignano by Night
We are, for the first time, not just visiting San Gimignano but staying in the city for a few days. We parked the car at the bottom of the hill and will spent a few days just walking around and exploring all the great gelato places this city has to offer, but really just concentrating […]
It appears that after Castelmunzio, Montisi is our next favourite place to over eat at dinner. Montisi is a tiny and serene village, steeped in tradition but largely unspoiled by tourism. It’s also a quiet retreat for a good number of celebrities who come here to hide from the crowds.
Perched 600m up on a hillside Cortona is a medical town with narrow and steep streets and architecture. The city overlooks Chiana Valley and Lake Trasimeno, scene of Hannibal’s ambush of the Roman army in 217 BC. Legend has it that Cortona was built some 273 years after the Great Flood. After Arezzo it is the […]
Siena Shopping Spree
Bypassing the usual tourist sites and sticking to what we know about Siena we stuck to a lot of gelato, a bit of espresso and a whole lot of shopping which was not only productive but also very satisfying with exception of Evelina who opted to save her cash!
Daily Trip To Pienza
We either come here for gelato or to have lunch but mostly for gelato since it is the closest place to Sant’Anna. I am not sure for how much longer we can keep up the 3 square meals per day plus gelato once or twice a day. The rest is Sant’Anna getting ready for the first concert […]
Ballooning in Tuscany
Since our flight on Sunday was cancelled due to inclement weather we were happy and thrilled to re-book it for this morning. Six in the morning, generally speaking, is not our idea of fun hour but there are exceptions and this certainly was it. There is really not much more to say other than – what […]
Podere il Casale – Pizza Making Class
Pizza making class is always a blast, especially at Podere il Casale. Making great food together is a great way to spent time with friends and family. A bit of good wine helps too. We love coming here, we love the stories and the experiences Sandra shares and are always in awe on how rewarding […]
Abbey of Sant’Antimo
While pretending to know where we are going without the use of the GPS we took the wrong traffic circle exit out of Montalcino but luckily ended up here. This is an old Benedictine Abbey dating back to 813 A.D. Like most of Tuscany it fell under the influence and rule of either Siena or […]
On the way to Montalcino
It is the one and only day it is supposed to rain mid day today so we are not going to the thermal baths, but taking a short scenic drive to Montalcino and catching up on dealing with hundreds of pictures which need to be sorted, edited and posted.
Sant’Anna in Campera
Sant’Anna in Campera from every which angle you can imagine. After a massive storm last night the air is so clear you can easily see the mountains far in the distance. The power is still on and off but they are working on it.
Internet out, WiFi down, power out and biblical thunder, lighting and rain. That is the kind of evening and night we had. At least the temperature dropped below 40C which was a relief.
Cappella della Madonna di Vitaleta
I think everyone knows or at least has seen Cappella della Madonna di Vitality. Alternatively if you have seen a calendar from Tuscany or have visited Val d’Orcia or drove between Pienza and San Quirico d’Orcia then you should instantly recognize this UNESCO protected landmark. This time we drove up closer to the chapel and took a […]
When in Montepulciano
Last time the four of us were here was almost 7 years ago. Things have not changed much!
Finally we got to see some fog in the morning, covering the Tuscan hills. We did not get up at the crack of dawn to see the sunrise because – we ate and drunk far too much last night. Still, though, this was a great view, right here from Sant’Anna. SaveSave
Sunset at Sant’Anna in Camprena
Take your pick the sunset was imply glorious. Sitting in the orangery with a glass of wine with fine company – what could be better?
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 […]
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.
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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.
The Magnificent Sant’ Anna in Camprena
We are back. We love being back and it is easy to see why Sant’ Anna in Camprena is the best kept secret in Tuscany. Quiet and quaint, with amazing hosts, Stefano and Ornella and breathtaking views of the countryside. The food is amazing and the atmosphere second to none. We just love this palace […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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. […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
Our second stop is Castiglione d’Orcia, a small town of 2500 residents on a top of a mountain which was mentioned as a settlement for the first time in 714. The town lost it’s independence to the Republic of Sienna in the 14 century and became part of united Italy only in 1861. We did not get to […]
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 […]
Today we went for a drive. This is a typical Tuscan route very reminiscent to the Romantic Road you can take through Bavaria. Basically, you drive through one of the most stunning parts of Tuscany where each hill is doted with a typical Tuscan farmhouse, and a long driveway which in turn is occasionally lined […]
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 […]
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 […]
Today we are spending a simple day without a schedule. We got into the car and started driving around from one small town to the next starting with San Gimignano our favourite of Tuscan towns. We did a bit of shopping and had a great lunch and got soaked. It rained on and off all […]
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. […]
For all the planning in the world we did to get to Uffizi without much hassle, we almost blew it today by being late for our scheduled time. In July the line ups to get into Uffizi Gallery are up to 5 hours long. Uffizi has the usual collection of Italian and other European greats like […]
Settled in Tuscan Hills
For the next 6 days this will be our home away from home. We decided to stay in one place and simply drive out to where we want to go as opposed to moving from place to place to place. It is quite lovely here. Tour of the inside maybe tomorrow. We have a busy […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
If you don’t know what you are looking for, you would more than likely walk by this place without giving it a second look. The place is just outside the main part of the old town in the middle of a residential neighbourhood, off on a side street in the middle of nowhere really. This, however, […]
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 […]