217. Cennina – Tuscany, Italy

I hesitated about giving Cennina it’s own blog post but decided how could I leave out a place we called home for six wonderful days. Our cute as can be Tuscan cottage (another great airbnb.com find https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/2287242) is a place I’ll forever remember and I knew as soon as I saw the door knocker that I had chosen the best place for us. Rather than feeling like visitors, we felt like part of the hilltop […]

216. San Galgano Abbey – Tuscany, Italy

A cross in the sky and a Sword in the Stone…..The Abbey of Saint Galgano was a Cistercian Monastery built to honor 12th-century Tuscan nobleman Galgano Guidotti, who renounced his life of riches and retreated to this area to dedicate himself to a hermetic life of prayer. Legend holds that he smashed his sword against the rock as a symbol of breaking from old ways, but instead it plunged into the stone and held fast. Set […]

215. Lucca – Tuscany, Italy

  I think of all the Tuscan villages we visited, lovely Lucca was my favorite.  What struck me most was that it just seemed more livable and not as touristy as the others. The kind of place that would come to mind when picturing a perfect sunny Italian afternoon of sipping an Aperol Spritz (the most widespread and commonly drunk aperitif of Italians and the color of a Tuscan sunset) while nibbling on anything made with […]

214. San Gimignano – Tuscany, Italy

San Gimignano is another of Tuscany’s walled medieval hilltop villages and is most noted for its series of striking towers and unforgettable skyline. Of the town’s original 72 towers, only 14 still remain. Visitors enter the town through the main gate, Porta San Giovanni. The traffic-free cobbled high street leads to Piazza della Cisterna, named for the cistern that supplied the old well in the middle of the square. It has been the center of town for […]

213. Val d’Orcia – Tuscany, Italy

The Val d’Orcia is not really one place but a region in Tuscany and no words or pictures can do it the justice it deserves (although that didn’t stop me from taking about 100). Undulating hills with Renaissance towns mounted on rocky heights, panoramic vistas punctuated with idyllic farmhouses, sinuous country roads lined by towering Italian cypress-around every bend a new discovery. The road from Montepulciano to Pienza and from Pienza to San Quirico d’Orcia along […]

212. Saturnia – Tuscany, Italy

This was another must do while in Tuscany after seeing pictures on Pinterest. Located in the wild Maremma area of southern Tuscany, Saturnia is Italy’s best-known hot spring. The surrounding area is a dramatic landscape of thickly wooded hills and valleys, olive groves, rows of vines and acres of wheat fields dotted with cypress. The hot springs is a beautiful cascading series of natural pools almost not to be believed. Legend has it that the Roman […]

211. Bucine Festival delle’ Regioni (festival of all regions) – Tuscany, Italy

On every trip there is that one place or event that wasn’t planned or on the itinerary but ends up being the absolute highlight–and I’m all about spontaneity and Carpe Diem. The Festival Delle Regioni was that event for us on this trip. We ended up finding out about it from our cottage owner who came by to check on us and see if we had everything we needed. In very broken English she was […]

210. Montepulciano – Tuscany, Italy

Standing high atop a hill in southern Tuscany is the quintessential medieval Italian village of Montepulciano. The city, full of elegant Renaissance palaces, ancient churches, charming squares and hidden corners, boasts vast panoramas all over the beautiful Val d’Orcia and Val de Chiano valleys that surrounds it. Although rather touristy with coachloads flocking in by the hour, you should not let that deter you from a stop here. I think the wine was some of the […]