A week in Chianti

As part of our break in August we are staying a week in Chianti in Tuscany. Our dear friend Olga with her local contacts managed to find a beautiful villa for us called Il Diaccino. It is a villa located on a vineyard and olive farm and is just down the road from the village on Gaiole in Chianti.

With a pool just a short walk from the terrace and a very local vintage to sample, what more could anyone want?


A cure for jetlag


This gallery contains 11 photos.

After 32 hours of travel, and a 12 hour time difference the perfect cure for jet lag was a dinner with friends, a decent sleep and, the following day, a walk through the English countryside. So that’s what we did … Continue reading

It always pays to look the other way

Just north of Pienza in Tuscany is a stand of Cypress trees that have been photographed more often than most others. The reason is they seem to represent Tuscany to tourists and they are visible from the main road. In each season they summarise the beauty of the region.

It’s not unusual to see half a dozen cars stopped at the side of the road with the occupants out shooting the grove of trees.

Interestingly very few people turn around and look the other way to a view that, in my humble opinion, is even more Tuscan. Captured here in late Autumn.

Family advice


This gallery contains 27 photos.

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

The big freeze – a kiwi perspective


This gallery contains 18 photos.

We were warned for the best part of a week, it was from Russia and it was going to hit Saturday night. Road gritters started gritting the roads mid week and Heathrow cancelled one third of their flights in advance. … Continue reading

Then and now

The changing landscape of Tuscany – from our arrival in May to our departure in October. The photos are taken from the terrace at our place, 6 months apart.

Tuscany in three and a half days – day three


This gallery contains 20 photos.

No trip to Tuscany is complete without a visit to Chianti.  We took the back road from Siena through Castellina to Greve.  We couldn’t resist showing Charlie and Isabel the deli in Greve particularly as Isabel’s business is dairy.  Although … Continue reading

Autumn in Tuscany

Spending Autumn in Tuscany was not something we were particularly looking forward to.  After the heat of summer the thought of going from the mandatory shorts and sandals to Autumn’s jeans, shoes and socks filled us with loathing.

But Autumn has been a pleasant surprise.  The weather is settled and the days are warm.  It’s an ideal temperature for getting out and seeing things.  Mornings are crisp and sometimes misty but the day warms up enought for an al fresco lunch and a gelato in the afternoon which can be eaten before it melts – something simply not possible in the height of summer.

The countryside has taken on a yellow and orange hue as the trees prepare for winter and the days have got noticeably shorter.  All this has meant is a new and exciting series of sunsets to capture on film.

Autumn sunset

For sale – requires some work, excellent DIY project

Just up the road from us there is a villa (well what was once a villa) which commands a great view of the area and, in it’s day would have been a grand place to live.

It has an internal courtyard and part of a roof.  As with many old villas it has no real foundations so would require a rebuild from the ground up.  But, given the laws around older villas, you couldn’t change the design during the renovation – or even add in any doors or windows that aren’t already part of the structure.

This type of property, as is, on a couple of acres of land around here – about €500k.  Any takers?

An afternoon in Pienza

We haven’t had the chance to get out and about much lately, but yesterday the whole team made the short trip to the village of Pienza about 50kms from our cottage.

We had visited Pienza around 8 years ago and remember it for it’s fantastic Pecorino cheese and great views across the valley.  In respect to both of these, nothing had changed.

We were in for an unexpected treat as the annual Pienza “Fiera del Cacio” or “Cheese Fair” was in full swing while we were there.

The highlight of the 10 day festival is later in the week when they have cheese rolling in the square.  Effectively lawn bowls on a cobbled square using cheese rounds where the various contrada of Pienza compete for glory.

When we arrived, the main Piazza in Pienza, Piazza Poi II was full of flag wavers and drummers performing.  Following that, and slightly less spectacular, was the presentation of a painting of the Palio by a local arist and the branding of the cheeses used for the cheese rolling later in the festival.

The drive to Pienza is through some of the loveliest scenery in Tuscany.  Everywhere you look is another photo opportunity. One spot in particular looked familiar.  It is a grove of Cypress trees standing in the middle of a paddock which has been photographed a thousand times and makes regular appearances in books about Tuscany.

On the way back with the sun setting it got it’s one thousand and first photographic outing.

Really hot

Watching the sun go down

The last week has been unseasonably hot.

Temperatures have hovered in the late 30 degrees during the day which is great for pool life but not good for cottage life or for the dogs.

Relief comes in the evening when it becomes bearable to sit outside and enjoy the sunset.