When I was dreaming about travelling with the family in Europe, one of the things I was most excited about was living in a very old farmhouse in a small village somewhere in France or Italy, getting to know the local area and culture a little and just settling in… Well, this week has just about matched that dream. Our Airbnb is a cross between an old farmhouse and a castle. Built in 1100, with twenty or so rooms (many of which were closed off from us), a bathroom for every bedroom, a living room between every other room, a suit of armor in the main room, wonky floors, pigeons in the walls, snakes in the garden, a chapel on site, and a massive swimming pool… the pictures bring it to life better than i can in words. But it is an experience, not just a place to stay.
Whilst we have been swimming in hot springs, had pizza in Montepulciano, been on ice cream hunts in Firenze, and spent some time in our local villages of Bucine and Badia Agnano, today was my fave day so far. Time at ‘home’ in the morning meant the kids had a swim, which also means they start the day on a high. Then off to a classic Tuscan Vineyard at Potrolo, which is known locally as one of the best, and is frequented by David Cameron and Jamie Oliver for secret getaway holidays. It was beautifully understated. A shortish tour for ourselves by Marco took us into their cellars and tasting their wine next to the barrels. The kids enjoyed it (or at least they behaved), and we got a slice of what Tuscany is all about. And took a couple of bottles away with us.
Then, after a light lunch and kid ‘quiet time’ at our Villa Cini, Gabriella and Giusy came over to teach us how to make pasta and tiramisu, and prepare a 3 course meal for us in our garden. Brilliantly authentic Italian experience, thanks to two great cooks (one who cooked for David Cameron at Potrolo!) who spoke little English and no English. But they were very warm, were as good at Italinglish as we were, and loved teaching the kids. All in our very Italian little place washed down with our red wine bought at lunch time.