Tuscany tour, day 5

After our morning coffee Carlo took us to the villa the movie Under the Tuscan Sun was based on. I loved the movie and it was a thrill to see the pretty villa. We took photos of the now empty villa before starting our days activities.

Under the Tuscan sun villa

Under the Tuscan sun villa

This morning we went to the bottom of the hill to visit the markets in Camucia. This bustling  market is filled with clothing, shoes, linen and some amazing food stalls. We wandered around for an hour or so and were offered salami to taste and cheeses. I was tempted by a porchetta roll, but decided to save myself for lunch! The markets were fun and a little more time to explore them would have been great.

Clourfull truss tomatoes

Clourfull truss tomatoes

Gorgeous meet and cheeses

Gorgeous meet and cheeses

Porchetta rolls, mmmm!

Porchetta rolls, mmmm!

After the markets we were taken back to the villa to spend the day with Carlo’s wife Sioban to participate in a cooking school. Sioban is a chef from Yallingup and a delight to spend the day with. We pottered round the kitchen and helped to make the amazing feast she was preparing for our lunch.

Cooking with Siboan

Cooking with Siboan

Making fresh pasta

Making fresh pasta

We made, crostini, fried zucchini flowers and sage leaves, Pappardelle alla Boscaiola, Polpetone di Tacchino, Cabbage, radish, pea, mint and parmesan salad finished with Fruits of the forest with Zabaglione.

Crostini

Crostini

Fried zuchinni flower

Fried zuchinni flower

Polpetone di Tacchino

Polpetone di Tacchino

 

 

 

 

 

 

We sat outside and enjoyed with wine while enjoying the amazing views. Afternoon naps were in order before a free evening.

 

 

Parpadelle alla Boscaiola

Parpadelle alla Boscaiola

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Delcious summer fruits

Delcious summer fruits

Mum and I decided to wander up to Cortona. The town hums in the early afternoon as the families and friends gather in the town centre for pre dinner drinks while the kids happily kick soccer balls about. It is a lovely small town atmosphere. Mum and I perused the shops and found ourselves at the opposite side of town with amazing valley views. We had not planned on having dinner as our lunch was so enormous, but we could not resist the Torino restaurant perched on the hill so we could soak in the view.

This turned out to be one of the best meals enjoyed on the tour. Anyone from Perth would know how much we pay for food when eating out, let alone somewhere with a view like this! We enjoyed a glass of Prosecco, Italian sparkling, Bruchetta, Mum had ragu pasta and I had a delicious saffron and squash risotto. The bill came to 31 euro! We noticed eating out in most parts of Italy was really great value.

Our Dinner views

Our Dinner views

Cortona Town Square

Cortona Town Square

After a leisurely walk home we slipped into a food coma!

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Tuscany Tour, Day 4

Today was our free day. We had the option of milling around Cortona or hanging out at the villa and just having a relax.

Screw that! We are only here for a short time let’s make the most of it. Two others from our group decided they wanted to visit Florence which is only 1 1/2 hr drive from The villa. We decided the opportunity was too good to pass up, so mum and I tagged along.

We had no idea what to expect in Florence as we did not expect to be visiting. We arrived in the middle of the city and started to have a look around. We decided Florence was not as stunning as Rome.

Streets of Florence

Streets of Florence

We started with a wander through the markets which was full of leather and very pushy venders. We bought a cheap handbag and got out of there quick.

Mum shopping in Florence Markets

Mum shopping in Florence Markets

We continued to wander then found the gorgeous Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore, the main church in Florence. It was truly stunning. A common theme through Italy seems to be the attention to detail in their lavish, beautiful churches. An amazing building really worth visiting.

Stunning Florence Duomo

Stunning Florence Duomo

Church tower

Church tower

Our next stop was a gorgeous restaurant in the Piazza del Republica. Gilli was a great place for lunch the food was lovely and the staff were amazing. Friendly, accommodating and all spoke english which was helpful.

Lunch time!

Lunch time!

After lunch we headed towards the Ponte Vecchio Bridge. It was lined with jewellery shops and tourists, bloody tourists. We wandered up the street to get a better view of the bridge from a distance. I understand the fact that we were in an amazing place with immense history, but it was a bridge.

The Ponte Vecchio

The Ponte Vecchio

We then wandered back to the train station to head back to Tuscany. We enjoyed our day in Florence, and were really glad we visited but it was not a patch on Rome.

Dinner that night was in an unassuming roadside restaurant that was a favourite with the locals near Cortona. The decor was very  Italian with checkered red tablecloths. Pane e Vino is known for its seafood. Mum and I don’t eat shellfish and were given some amazing alternatives, An antipasto plate enough for 4 was our appetizer. Then we were given a gorgeous ragu pasta then bought a very rare t-bone steak to share. A bit too rare for us but we did our best. The chef teased us and told us we were definitely tourists if we could not handle the blue steak. A fun evening. The others at the table had some delicious looking seafood. I pinched some salmon and calamari which was fresh and tasty. The night ended with a rockmelon sorbet which was light and refreshing.

Pane e vino

Pane e vino

Bed was looking awesome tonight.

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Tuscany Tour, Day 3

Today we started by visiting the town of Orvieto. This gorgeous town is built over an ancient Etruscan town preserved by a volcano. We were able to do a tour underground and explore the town that once was.

The streets of Orvieto

The streets of Orvieto

Orvieto is a pretty little town with a Church of the likes I have never seen. The church took 400 years to build and is absolutely stunning. Detail in the facade is incredible. The photos really don’t capture the jaw dropping beauty of this building.

The stunning Duomo

The stunning Duomo

Incredible attention to detail

Incredible attention to detail

We were then whisked away to a small village called Civita di Bagnoregio. The town teeters on top of a mountain and is slowly losing parts of the town as they slide down the hill. Our tour guide, Carlo says sadly the town will probably no longer exist in a few hundred years as it is so unstable.

Civita di Bagnoregio

Civita di Bagnoregio

The beauty behind the walls

The beauty behind the walls

The town can only be reached by footbridge and is a stunning site. Around 9 people live there and include a family who runs a little bruchetta trattoria in which we enjoyed lunch. The owner cooked by an open fire and had the tiniest kitchen I’d ever seen. We were treated to many arrays of bruchetta and red wine.

Lunch cooked on open flame

Lunch cooked on open flame

In the evening Carlo’s wife Siboan, cooked us dinner in the villa. Siboan is a chef from Dwellingup and made us some beautiful salads and saltimbocca to die for. Oh and of course wine!

Dinner in the villa

Dinner in the villa

 

 

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Apologies

I want to apologise for not being consistent with my Tuscan adventure blogs.

I had hoped I would be able to blog daily and keep readers informed on my trip.

The internet connection at the villa was very unreliable and photos took ages to load and I just ran out of time to fiddle with the computer. I was too busy enjoying myself, and eating!

I returned home exhausted and picked up a nasty cold so have been unable to attend to the blog. I am feeling a bit better now and am excited to share the rest of the trip with everyone.

Stay tuned for Day 3 of the tour!

Oh and information about the tour can be found at madabouttuscany.com.au I can highly recommend it. It was an amazing tour.

 

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Tuscany tour, Day two

Montepulciano and Monticchiello

Another incredible day begun with coffee and shopping in a the pretty town of Montepulciano. Leather was a popular focus and the bright colours are amazing. We strolled and looked at the beautiful leather products before being whisked away to            for a sumptuous lunch.

Montepulciano Leather

Montepulciano

Colourful leather

Colourful leather

Montecchiello has indescribable views. I have not seen anything so stunning in my life. Our lunch was out of this world. It included capresse salad, and panzenella salad. Asparagus soufflé, ravioli then finished with coffee and biscotti. We then wandered the tiny village and found a hilltop open air art display.

Stunning view from Moticchiello

Stunning view from Moticchiello

Asparagus souffle topped with white truffle

Asparagus souffle topped with white truffle

Outdoor art gallery

Outdoor art gallery

The evening was free to spend as we wished and my mum and I walked into Cortona and found a great restaurant were we enjoyed risotto and ragu pasta overlooking the Tuscan hills.

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Tuscany Tour, Day one

Pienza and Lucignano

Our first full day of our tour started with a vigorous walk up the steep, steep road to the entrance of Cortona. We did not go in as we were waiting to be formally introduced to the city. We walked back down to the villa for a continental breakfast. After many cups of tea, coffee and bread and jam our day was ready to begin.

Entrance to Cortona

Entrance to Cortona

We travelled around an hour to the hillside town of Pienza. Pienza is a stunning little town with breathtaking views and fantastic little wine, food and trinket shops. We watched the cheese rolling game and leisurely meandered through town.

Hill views from Pienza

Hill views from Pienza

Mum watching cheese rolling

Mum watching cheese rolling

Georgeous Pienza

Georgeous Pienza

Pienza is famous for its cheese

Pienza is famous for its cheese

Pienza bella Nonna

Pienza bella Nonna

Our next stop was a stunning hamlet called Lucignano D’Asso for a lunch of organic farm produce overlooking stunning Tuscan countryside. The cheeses were creamy and the meats tasty. The tiny hamlet is quaint and very easy on the eye.

Lunch time!

Lunch time!

Pretty Hamlet of Lucignano

Pretty Hamlet of Lucignano

After a much needed rest back at the villa, We were whipped away for a traditional Tuscan dinner. Food, I mean food! I mean too much food! Restaurant Antica Rota is run by a husband and wife team whom are friends of our tour guide, Carlo. We were given pasta with peccorino and pear, yum! Then fettucine Bolognese. I was under the impression that we were done. No, we then offered osso bucco with salad and rosemary potatoes. If you think thats it you would be wrong! He then came round with the most tender rosemary and oil marinated steak. It is still not over. Strawberries in sugar ensured we were having trouble speaking we were so full! Then back to the villa for a big sleep.

Antica Rota

Antica Rota

Pasta with peccorino and pear!

Pasta with peccorino and pear!

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To Tuscany!

Today our main objective was to head off to join our tour in Cortona, Tuscany.

We had a leisurely breakfast at the hotel then wandered around town, found a great shoe shop! A great coffee at a fabo place we attended yesterday, then we grabbed our bags and attempted to negotiate the Rome central train station.

Mum and I on the Train

Mum and I on the Train

We got our tickets fine, and found the departures list. We just needed to wait till our platform number was announced. Ok, our train was due to leave at 1:03pm and our platform number 2 was announced at 12:50pm. We were waiting at platform 18! We got to the train just in time. We were then scammed by a lady helping us get on the train and find a seat. She wanted a tip for the service. I gave her 3 euro. We could then relax and enjoy the train ride through to Cortona.

Cortona from the train

Cortona from the train

The scenery was fabulous along the train line then we were greeted at Camucia train station by our tour guide, Carlo. We wound our way up to our villa to settle in and meet our group. A lovely couple from Geraldton and a hip couple from Perth city.  The views from the hills of our villa are unmatched.

View from our villa

View from our villa

We had tea and Italian wine while admiring the view, followed by antipasto as the sun started to set. What an amazing location! Fantastic spot and we giggled and told our life stories to strangers while in an Italian wine haze. Great food, great wine, great company! This is going to be a life changing week.

Antipasto

Antipasto

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