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Published: June 20th 2012
Isn't life wonderful when all you are thinking is what kind of tree is this?.... I was loafing about in a chair in the shade ( very hot here) looking up at the beautiful blue sky through the shiny oval leaves- and something plops down beside me - it's a furry looking orangey-brown fruit and at first I thought it was an apricot - but it's hard so maybe its a hazelnut....must ask Palmyra , the owner of this beautiful Tuscan Locanda.
How did we get here when only a week ago ( last Wednesday) I thought Suzanne and I were going to stay at Gloucester - visit Cotswolds and Bath... but that was cancelled and the weather being awful we thought why not get away to the sun... a fe whours later we were booked to come to Tuscany and flew off to Pisa on Saturday ...leaving the rain behind.
Our first night came up trumps with a motel room 10 minutes from the Campo dei Miracoli where the famous tower is leaning. We found out that it was a special festival night where all the buildings alongside the river are covered in candlelight and the street are
thronged with everyone partying and enjoying themselves. Lucky to find a car park space we arrived at the Campo in time to see the lights go on at the Tower - and a big WOW from Suz when she saw the fabulous buildings there. A very nice little restaurant tucked away in a tree-lined courtyard tempted us to havea pizza and an italian beer of course. We jostled our way along the river bank for a view of every building lit by candles in glass containers on metal frames - it was quite a sight. At last the crowds got too much for us and we headed back - and thanks to Sally Satnav we can always find our way home wherever that is!! (She does need to take italian lessons as her computer voice pronuniciation is sadly lacking.)
And so Sunday dawned and we were off to our destination Locanda La Bandita in the heart of Tuscany near a town called Bettolle. We took the country roads and found them pretty quiet stopping on our way at San Giminiagno - one of the famous hilltop towns of Tuscany with 12 towers. Again we couldn't belive our luck as
there was a mediaeval festival going on and as we wandered the narrow streets we came upon the locals all dressed in costume - knights on horseback, women and girls carrying sheaves of wildflowers, peasant famers, soldiers and archers etc. They eventually congregated at one of the church piazzas and we could hear speeches going on. We loved it there - just so good to wander along those streets and look up at towers, walls , balconies, windows and ancient old doors. And as we drove we couldn't help exclaim how the scenery is just what you imagine Tusancy to be - rolling fields of golden wheat, hillsides with rows of vines, olive trees and everywhere the cypress trees standing out and of course some beautiful villas dotted here and there.
Arriving at La Bandita we drove along between the row of cypresses and thought we have gone to heaven. Its a lovely 1800's farmhouse, furnished with rustic antiques, tiled floors, wooden beams, walls painted that tuscan yellow. The hosts are very kind and welcoming, the food in their restaurant is fabulous - local produce, homemade pasta and we are trying all the various delicacies like wild boar sausage,
veal stuffed with sage , chicken cacciatore ...and at the same time we are learning italian from the menu!!! It's so good we are eating here every day as the menu changes and we can try something different and know the food will also be excellent. Beakfast is included and there are lots of lovely breads, homemade jams, cakes !!!! hams meats and local cheeses...we are not starving!!! And to top it all there is a pool in the lovely grounds ... bliss after a hard day being a tourist - as it is rather hot - top temp yesterday was 37 deg.
It's almost time for dinner so I will leave this post now and you can look forwadr to our days in Siena, the Chianti countryside next time.
Love to all.
Lynne and Suzanne.
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