Monday, 22 August 2011

Tales From Tuscany

It's about time I blogged properly about my Italian holiday as it's been over 2 months since we returned. How slack am I?

I know a few photos have featured in a Gallery post and some Silent Sunday posts (here, here and here) back in June but it definitely deserves it's own post as I want a record of it (also, I know a few of you have asked me about it).

Our accomodation
Having never been to Italy before I was so excited to go. I'd heard so much about it and how I'd fall in love with it.

I did.

We booked to stay on an agriturismo in the hills of Tuscany - about a 30-40 minute drive from Pisa airport - called Bramasole e Ginestra. We also booked one night in Pisa in the lovely 4 star Hotel Bologna near the centre for our last night.

View from the pool
It was perfect.

The accommodation was lovely and spacious, the owners were so amazingly friendly and helpful and the facilities were fab.  They had lots of animals which Mini Cheddar loved - dogs, cats, chickens, chicks, roosters, sheep, goats and donkeys which she got to feed every day. They had play equipment, a barn with toys and a big swimming pool. She also got to spend the day with a large group of Italian school children and they all made and baked their own bread in the outdoor oven.

Baking fresh bread
It was just so relaxing.

With the Italians
There were only 3 apartments at the farm. Not perfect for us as we do prefer our own space on holiday especially after the amazing family friendly villa we stayed in last year but we immediately hit it off with an American couple (who live in Germany).  They had a 2 girls - a 3 year old and a 14 month old - so we also spent some time with them as the kids loved playing together too.

Om nom nom
On our holiday we relaxed, we read, we slept, we ate (boy, did we eat!), we explored the area visiting the gorgeous city of Lucca. We also visited Florence and Pisa. We visited small villages in the hills and saw                                                 some truly beautiful places.

Lovely Lucca

But what have I taken from my holiday? What does Tuscany mean to me? What are my most treasured memories?

In no particular order:
  • Tuscany is beautiful. Fact.
  • Fireflies are truly stunning at night and looking across the valley from our apartment seeing the hills twinkling with them is something I'll never forget.
  • It's fun catching fireflies and seeing them light up in your hands.
  • The food in Italy is amazing. 
  • I'll never be happy in an Italian restaurant in the UK again.
  • Mini Cheddar can give a HUGE Italian pizza a run for it's money.
  • The wine is also amazing. 
  • Apart from when mixed with a few limoncellos and a large B52 and especially not the night before you are due to fly home.
  • Hangovers and heat are not a good combination.  
  • Nor are hangovers and flights.
  • Having chicks and cats on the same farm isn't a good idea sometimes.
  • My husband is a great chick rescuer.
  • My iPhone translator app is rubbish up in the Tuscan hills. 
  • Or maybe it's my rubbish Italian pronunciation.
  • Italians are very friendly and welcoming - even when you struggle to speak to their language sometimes.
  • I now want to learn to speak Italian as well as Spanish.
  • Eating take out pizza al fresco at the farm with new friends is very relaxing.
  • Mini Cheddar can actually live without watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse for 10 nights.
  • Il Tigli Restaurant in Colleoli serves amazing pizza and pasta (and wine).
  • It is totally worth eating in a restaurant you love 3 times in 10 nights - even if it was a good 20 minute drive up some scary hillside roads.
  • Italy isn't expensive like I was lead to believe.
  • Italians love children.
  • Roosters are very randy.
  • Sheep love crisps. 
See, sheep do love crisps!

So, there you have it. I think it sums up our holiday perfectly. Here's to our next Italian adventure.

A presto!


Anonymous said...

Enjoyed this post. Your list at the end made me laugh. I taught myself basic Italian from a television series, a set of videos and a couple of books a few years ago. I found Italians really loved the fact I was trying hard to converse and we got along just fine. Lovely towns and cities, beautiful countryside, warm hearted , family orientated people and great food.

Posie Patchwork said...

Oh yay, love Italy, LOVE IT.  My husband had Italian great grandparents & boy the genetics are strong, Italians always start talking to him in Italian assuming he is one of them.  Our children are very olive (well 3 of them are) & no doubt will get the Northern Italian welcome home too, we should take them next time.  I love everything about Italy, oh & the sales, great time of year to travel.  Love Posie

greendragonfly said...

The best country in the world. I've done the North and over in Sorrento & Capri, loved them all. Enjoyed your descriptions, sounds gorgeous.

Sam x

Minty aka waterbirthplease said...

Sounds amazing! Especially the fireflies - how gorgeous. We stopped for a day in Pisa (tower) last week on our jollies - wasn't how I expected some how but very striking. Also visited Rome where I had a slighly different experience of the Italians unfortunately! Sounds like you had a great time - love the pics x

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mummyslittlemonkey said...

YUM! That pizza looks amazing!!!! I love Tuscany - can't wait to go back and see more of it one day. xx

Blue Sky said...

I went to Italy once 15 years ago when I was expecting child number two, and I fell madly in love with everything: the food, the scenery, the laid-back attitude to life...glad you enjoyed it too.  Next time I go, I'll make sure to try the wine :)

Talesofataitai said...

Looks like a beautiful holiday! I adore Italy and had some friends who stayed near Lucca once and said it was incredible! Nothing beats Italian food.... So glad you had a good time! x

jessies_online said...

sounds so idyllic - make the most of being able to go on these holidays before MC is old enough to demand kids clubs & water slides!
It made me feel quite nauseous reading about hangovers & flying....after doing it once or twice in the past I can never now have a drink the night before I fly home

Mari said...

*sighs dreamily*
Do you know how long I've been waiting for this post? 
I am so glad you enjoyed it, you make me want to go there NOW. Tuscany is beautiful isn't it, the Italians are a wonderful people aren't they? Boy can they cook and their wine...
Loved this post, I could talk to you for ever on Italy so best I trundle off somewhere else - ciao bella xx

Mummy Beadzoid said...

Oooh I am so jealous! Italy is somewhere I've always wanted to go too - ever since I had a huge Roberto Baggio crush when I was 16 *for shame*  Always heard it's really expensive too, but that;s probably only true if you simply go to all the touristy places.  One day....*sigh* And I have to say, that pizza Mini Cheddar is attacking has made me really hungry!!!! xX


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