This week’s adventures held a two day trip through the towns of Tuscany, 48 hours of endless fresh air, and one night in a former monastery to distance me from Wi-Fi and bring me closer to my peers. Tuscany held a romance I had yet to feel in Rome, the sense of wonder which is found only in a place so mesmerizing. Tuscany doesn’t force itself upon you, it’s warmth instead constantly invites you in to look further, discover more. Ambling to the top of a hill in search of a simple lunch and regional wine; peeking in to storefronts overflowing with handmade pottery; suddenly coming to a break in the buildings and catching a glimpse of the expansive countryside below–every moment in Tuscany slowly comes together and embraces you like you’ve lived in and loved these villages all your life.
Perhaps, though, Tuscany is best captured through its palette. The colors of its countryside seem handpicked to complement one another, laid side by side to create a panoramic painting.
Locally made wine, anyone? We sit at a Pienza café, sampling regional specialties.
Bright flora break up greens which run together like water color.
Basking in after-breakfast sun.
I’m ready to adopt this Tuscan villa Diane Lane style in ‘Under the Tuscan Sun’.
Citrus tree shade. Maybe some limoncello is in order.
A view I’d gladly meet again someday.
All these sights and more filled the silence of our breathlessness as we passed through Montepulciano, Pienza, and finally Orvieto. We toured wine cellars designed long ago to resemble cathedrals. We hid in an actual cathedral from sudden onslaughts of rain. We tasted Pecorino di Pienza, first mild, then medium, then strong. We wandered into wine stores where the clerk directed us to a lovely bottle made by her own family. We ate in a quiet courtyard amid quietly jabbering locals, feasting on the house specialty Gnocchi made with spinach, truffles, and pancetta. And when we finally made it to our home for the evening, former monastery Sant’Anna in Camprena, we soaked in the serenity which is perhaps Tuscany’s greatest offer of all.
The monastery had Wi-Fi in only one room, making the usual Netflix/Instagram/Facebook routine a forgotten lifestyle for the evening. Instead we feasted on four simple yet mouthwatering courses at the communal dining table, prepared from produce from the monastery’s very own grounds. Later we huddled in one of the barren, creaky, slightly creepy rooms, telling ghost stories. While we lightened the mood before heading to bed by swapping embarrassing high school moments, the eerie rooms made for fitful sleep. I was glad to finally awake to a spread of croissants, a cup of coffee, and of course, the Tuscan sun.