9 long months of grey and cloudy German skies made us long for the sandy beaches of California. But since a trip over the ocean back to the West Coast wasn’t in the cards we looked closer to home to refill our Vitamin D tank. Tim had a full month’s worth of block leave so we settled on renting a villa in Tuscany. Oh, the dreams we had when thinking about this holiday: afternoon hours reading by a sparkling blue pool, pounds of pasta sprinkled with pecorino cheese, old stucco buildings rich in Roman history and gallons of wine, chianti classico to be exact. And, dreams do come true!
It only seems fitting that when one plans a holiday in Tuscany, the reading material of choice would be “Under the Tuscan Sun,” First published in 1995, Francis Mayes’ book recounts her love of la dolce vita and her foray into the crazy world of restoring a fabulous Italian villa. Our home for this holiday, we’re happy to report, had already undergone upgrades and included air conditioning in each of the bedrooms as well as a terrace perfect for morning coffee and afternoon drinks overlooking the vineyards below. Finding a place to stay in the Tuscany region during the high season (July-August) can be a challenge. I relied on the Rick Steves website graffiti board to get insider reviews of places that aren’t readily listed on homeaway.com. Another fine way to locate vacation rentals is by searching agriturismo list services, each Italian region sponsors their own. These homes are typically located on working farms and we were pleased to be surrounded by the I Sodi winery vineyards and hundreds of rows of San Giovesee grapes. There are three villas located on the property but we were the only renters, which meant we got the pool as well as frequent visits from a friendly dog and finicky cat to ourselves. For the next 7 days, this would be our little piece of heaven.