The weather in England while we were there was most un-English. The temperature hovered around 22 degrees and the sun was out almost constantly. Ideal for enjoying dinner sitting outdoors with friends. Neil and Jayne and their 4 boys live in … Continue reading →
My nephew’s girlfriend and her sister are planning a trip to Tuscany in September. We have been asked for some advice on where to stay and what to do in and around Tuscany. It sounds as if the girls are … Continue reading →
Morning in the cottage means chores – dishes, bed making, vacuuming, all the usual stuff. Recently the girls have started watching this happen from the safety of the couch. Neither Jean nor I can make a move without two sets of eyes tracking us.
If we show any sign of deviating from the routine, all hell breaks loose.
Our stay in Tuscany is coming to an end. We leave at the end of October but our original plans to head home have changed a bit.
We have decided to chase the warm(ish) weather south to Positano and have arranged to stay for 6 weeks at Villa Greta looking out over the ocean. After we spent two weeks there in July we always said it was somewhere we wanted to return.
So, at the end of the week, we pack up the Renault and head south until early December.
It sounds simple when you say it fast but after 6 months we are quite settled in our tiny cottage in Tuscany. We have a lot to take with us. Slightly more, we suspect, than our 3 suitcases can carry.
I’ve shot a bit of video in Italy over the last few months but now have to relinquish the crown of family filmmaker to Jean. Prompted by our departure from Tuscany at the end of October she put together a movie about our cottage.
Jean shot it so we had something to remember the cottage by but I thought it was worth sharing.
In using a single handheld shot for the whole movie she follows in the footsteps of great directors such as Hitchcock, De Palma and Scorsese.
Over the last week or so blog posts have been infrequent – so infrequent that there haven’t been any actually. The reason is simply because we’ve had visitors – from New Zealand and the UK. We have been busy – a complete novelty after 3 months of doing, well, nothing.
In addition to Charmaine, Mike and little James we’ve had Danny Malone a mate from KiwiRail arrive on his latest European trip and Gill, Andre and Josh and Jordan jet in from the UK.
In the last few days we’ve been sightseeing in Pisa, Florence, Siena, San Gimignano and Volterra. We’ve eaten out in cafe’s, our local pizza restaurant and a restaurant with a carpark that turns into seating at night. We’ve laid by the pool, we’ve made a dent in the national stock levels of Chianti and Birra and generally had a great time.
A mixed assortment of pictures follow.
Charmaine, Mike and James at that tower
The Duomo in Firenze
Jordan in front of Florentine tapestries
Souvenirs of Firenze
Artist at work in Firenze
Piazza delle Signoria in Firenze
Firenze carriage driver taking a break
Graeme and Daisy on church steps in Castellina in Chianti
This was a phrase we had not heard before we started motoring around Tuscany. While it sounds quite exotic, it is simply the local name for dirt roads.
In Tuscany there are quite a few.
On a map you will see many roads criss-crossing Tuscany and the distance between places seems small by New Zealand standards. It’s only when you drive that you realise what sort of road it is and the trip time changes accordingly.
Clean me - please.
The road to the cottage is a white road 3kms long. As you can see by the back of the mighty Peugeot (which is a black car, honestly) in summer the roads can get quite dusty. Today, in honour of it’s impending trip to Positano, the Pug is getting it’s first serious clean.
I’ve even bought a sponge and some carwash from the local supermercato.
I’ll just wait until the temperature outside drops below 30 degrees before I start. Ah, that gives me time for a beer.
Last night we caught up with Kate and her family who are spending 2 months travelling around Europe. Kate used to work with Jean at Clemenger but she is currently based in the UK with her partner.
Jean had put Kate in touch with our villa wizard friend Olga when their trip was being planned but made sure to recommended a villa we had stayed at previously. Villa Crognole is a beautiful villa tucked into the Chianti hills with a view down the valley towards Radda.
We called into Crognole yesterday afternoon for a drink or two along with Olga and her husband which meant the afternoon was spent sitting in the sun discussing travel, news from home, and any other subject that wandered into people’s minds, all in a mix of english, italian and kiwi.
We went to dinner with Kate and her family at Le Vigne restaurant just outside Radda. It was dining al fresco with a view over the vineyards that produce some of the great Chianti Classico wines.
Dinner was lovely and all done on Italian time. That simply means that the wine and various courses rolled out through the evening until we finally left the restaurant, just before midnight.
Good people, great company and truly la dolce vita.
One thing we pondered when we arrived at Casavacanza Vesta was whether letters, packages or parcels from home could find us. While almost all of our correspondence is by email or text, we thought there may be the need for good old fashioned postage. You know, documents that need signing, letters that need reading and packages that need opening. Could the Italian postal system work it’s magic and deliver mail to our door?
We have mail.
Jean’s Mum helped us out by mailing a test letter a fortnight ago and the good news is it arrived yesterday – lovingly delivered by Mrs Patritzia. She seemed a little surprised to be the final link in the Poste Italian supply chain as I suspect we were the first guests in Casavacanza history to get mail.
So, gentle reader, let’s put Mrs Patrizia to work, feel free to write or, even better, send presents.
In an earlier post I bemoaned the fact that when we arrived in May, Tuscany was green – bright green – not the usual mix of faded summer colours that, for us, have always defined the area. What a difference 6 weeks makes.