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July 14th 2013
Published: July 14th 2013EDIT THIS ENTRY

Tuscany! What can I say? It is devine, the villa gorgeous, set in the sweeping countryside of fields of beautiful sunflowers, corn, chickpea crops and many others. The geese, chickens, roosters, dogs and cats add to the country atmosphere looking out at the hills and mountains. The Medieval town of Cortona, the setting for the movie and book "Under the Tuscan Sun" is the highest town in Italy, sitting picturesquely on the side of the pretty mountain, surrounded by high walls. One thousand people live in the centuries' old buildings. There are numerous grand churches and pretty squares. The town is dominated by Chiesa di Santa Margherita where the Saint's remains are encased high on the altar, and the enormous Monastery built for St Francis. We dinned every night at a different restaurant, each with a particular specialty, and swam daily in the beautiful pool overlooking the sunflower fields. The endless opportunities to buy superb leather goods and hand painted ceramics has proved too tempting for us all!

We visited Siena and lunched in the spectacular Piazza del Campo, where the famous bareback horse race is held; strolled through San Gimignano, another medieval township taking us back a step in time and enjoyed a delicious gelato from the award winning Pluripemiata Gelato Shop, winner of the best ice cream in 2006, 07, 08, 09.

Our cooking class with renowned Chef Donatella was a fantastic treat, enjoying a three course meal in her spectacular gardens after the class. She is a delightful host as well as a brilliant chef!

Florence was spectacular. We took in the sights, beginning at the highest point overlooking the magnificent city, our walking tour finished at the famous Galleria dell Accademia, the home of the most famous sculpture, Michelangelo's David. We also managed to visit the Ponte Vecchio, the only bridge to survive WW11 bombing, the Dumo e Museo, Palazzo Pitti and Piazza Santa Maria Del Fiore.....a busy and long day!

Chianti, a famous wine growing region in Tuscany,is picturesque with incredible views, where we we treated to a tour and wine tasting at Mazzei Winery. Established in 1435 from historic roots at the Castello di Fonterutoli it is well known for the Chianti Classico. We visited Greve and Castellina in Chianti before returning for dinner in Cortona.

Our last day here was spent leisurely enjoying the pool and a few cool drinks. The day concluded with a jewellery tasting, and again, dinner in Cortona.

Next stop, Venice!

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17th July 2013

Helen, This looks amazing and thank you for sharing all this with us. so glad to see you are all having a wonderful and very special trip. We miss you here!

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