Sunshine and a private pool, what else could one want in life?
Hattivatti found life in Tuscany quite satisfying: plenty of sunshine and heat, with temperatures rising above 30 degrees C daily, and a private pool to take nice refreshing dips in. Afternoon coffee with tiramisu, some board games in the late afternoon, and delicious dinners either in some idyllic little Tuscan village or at the villa…not a bad way to spend a vacation.
To balance out the sunshine, a few thunderstorms were also experienced. The torrential downpour took with it the electricity from the villa one evening. Luckily, the owners were quick to respond (at least by Italian countryside standards) and only a couple hours were spent in slight trepidation.
Oh yes, some food and wine are welcome as well!
Stuffing 15 people (+ one baby) into one villa might have originally sounded a bit daunting, but daily life turned out to be less of a hassle than expected and the downsides were definitely outweighed by the benefits, like having a friend willing to cook delicious pasta and meatballs for six.
Also, putting together an amazing array of cheeses, cured meats, fruits and wine, in this case some “sweet but not sticky” (in the words of the producer at Villa S. Anna winery) Vin Santo, took very little effort with so many participants and actually ended up as an enormous buffet of local delicacies.
A couple of chefs arrived one evening to prepare a lovely Tuscan dinner for the whole group, which was a nice way to let everyone relax and enjoy the company of others without anyone having to spend part of the evening in the kitchen. The four course meal began with some antipasti, continued with tagliatelle as a primi and then tagliata beef with unbelievably tasty fried potatoes as secondi, and finished with tiramisu, naturally.
On top of all the pasta, pizza, and red wine, a visit to Italy would be incomplete without some gelato. Hattivatti was more than overwhelmed by the array of available flavors, ranging from chocolate fondant with candied orange to creme caramel and from lemon and mint sorbets to the tastiest pistacchio imaginable. Maybe it’s a good thing that ice cream isn’t as wonderful everywhere else; no one would ever want to have anything else!
When a tourist, act as a tourist
Some day trips were also made during the latter half of the week. Some visited Perugia, others the crazy tower town of San Gimigliano. Hattivatti decided to focus on places close by. Castiglione del Lago offerred a lakeside view but not much more. Siena was a bit bigger and crowded with tourists, but the cathedral was definitely worth seeing and lunch, consisting of four different of types of handmade fresh pasta at the Trattorio La Torre among locals, was a treat.
However, the best was definitely the hilltop town of Cortona, captured in the movie Under the Tuscan Sun. Hattivatti and friends visited Cortona once for lunch at Caffe La Saletta and then returned the following evening for craft beers at Birrificio Cortonese and dinner in the tiny courtyard at Trattoria La Grotta, well worth the half hour drive.
At the end of the week, as it was time to head back south towards the Leonardo Da Vinci Fiumicino airport, the travellers decided to opt for one more sight, the Sacro Bosco di Bomarzo, also known as Monster Park for reasons soon understood by Hattivatti. The park, originally created in the mid 1550s and restored in the 20th century, consists of tens of giant statued carved in natural stone spread out in a timeless forrest. An exciting and at the same time calming place absolutely worth visiting.
Thus came to an end Hattivatti’s short but sweet stay in Tuscany. Food, wine, scenery, sights and company were all awesome, as was to be expected. This one is certainly going on the “could definitely do this again” list!