The children were in heaven in the pool while we packed up the campsite and cabin this morning. The skies have been nothing but blue since our first day in Rome, and it is just so hot that the pool is the best place to be!
We drove away from Sorrento on that narrow road that had seemed incredibly scary at night. Today it was just beautiful - nothing menacing about it except the scooters that kept coming at us head-on, then darting back into the line of traffic at the last minute. Suicide mission.
We decided to break our long drive to Tuscany at a spot called "Villa D'Este", just North of Rome. I had heard it had wonderful fountains, and in this heat, any water is good! The cherries and peaches are so good that we loaded each car with them and decided on a late lunch at the villa.
I think the Villa will be one of our enduring memories. It was truly spectacular. We wandered the paths, going down stairways lined with fragrant jasmine, and finding cool little grottos, all with running water in fountains that have been working
View from the terrace, Villa D'Este
We were standing in the middle of the fountain.
for hundreds of years. One of the huge fountains has water which runs through pipes to play a tune - like a pipe organ - at certain times of the day. The relection pools are a stunning deep blue-green, and as you walk down from the villa, you pass through parts of the main backdrop to the reflection pool - paths within a huge fountain. We paused at one fountain in the grounds where the children squealed with delight on spotting the most enormous tadpoles. Luckily a groundsman was close by, and was able to tell us in Italian that I could understand, that the fountain's name meant "Fountain of the Frogs", and originally, the enormous frogs that came from the enormous tadpoles had been bred there to eat! The fountains had also attracted many birds, which were trapped for food. We could have stayed a lot longer, as we barely touched on the inside of the villa, but we were hoping to make it to Asciano before dark, and needed to head off. As we were going up the stairs, we heard amazing singing, and when we got to the courtyard at the entrance to the villa there was
One of our favourite places so far
a choir singing madrigals. An impromptu concert was too good to pass by, so we lingered just that little bit longer to listen.
The drive further North was quite easy, until we exited the Autostrada and began the winding drive to the Villa near Asciano. Asciano is a tiny town about 30 minutes South of Siena, but the villa is about 15 minutes from there, in the middle of nowhere. Once again, the roads became narrow and there were virtually no signposts. We had cars tailgating us on roads that were barely wide enough for one car, and they didn't slow down until they were almost pushing us along. The i-pad came to the rescue, and the little blue satellite dot on google maps made us feel more secure about where we were going. There was no 'real' address for Podere Cavoni, you see, but the computer map along with the e-mailed instructions from Carmelina the owner combined to get us there! I still can't quite believe I blithely transferred cash to an international account, to stay in a house that had no address!
As we eventually rounded
Our Tuscan Villa
The children were so excited they ran the rest of the way. The pool was waiting!
a corner on a dirt road, and spotted the house on the hill, we let the children get out and run the rest of the way. It was like something out of a movie - sun going down, golden light, and a stone villa on a hillside. We were all happy to unpack our bags and get ready to stay in one spot for a while.
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