Blogs from Tuscany, Italy, Europe


Europe » Italy » Tuscany » Florence September 21st 2023

After a couple of days in Venice, a day in Verona and a couple more in Florence, I'm feeling a little cultural overload - and I like going to museums! Lynn and I spent several hours in the Accademia in Venice and, today, in the Uffizi here in Florence. Both have wonderful collections of paintings from the Middle Ages up through the Renaissance and into the Baroque period. It's fascinating to see the gradual shift from the stiff poses and flat surfaces of the mediaeval works to the dynamic, life-like compositions of Botticelli, Raphael and Caravaggio (to name a very few). We varied the museum round with a walk in the hills north of Florence yesterday. We even broke out the hiking boots and poles again! The hills surrounding the city are an attractive mix of ... read more
A lesser-known Botticelli: the Calumny of Apelles
Walking in the hills above Florence

Europe » Italy » Tuscany » Cortona September 15th 2023

Our friends arrived around the same time at Villa Ivana on Saturday to begin our 7 day stay in the Cortona area. The 9 bedroom Villa is an historical property that is nestled on a hillside within minutes of the old town. It is very spacious and reasonably comfortable with outdoor pool and a large pergola covered patio. It was fortunate that the large facility allowed some space for isolation, although 3 out of the 5 couples ended up positive with Covid, some showing mild to no symptoms. For the first few days, our plans were somewhat restricted but eventually we were able to get out and enjoy some of the attractions in the area. Cortona is on the south east portion on Tuscany, close to the Umbria border. The old town’s origins can be traced ... read more
Outside of Villa Ivana
Small community of Osais
Relais Hotel

Europe » Italy » Tuscany » Greve in Chianti August 6th 2023

We are doing another day in Chianti, however this time we are based around Greve, not Radda. Our plan is based around a small vineyard tour and tasting at 2:30, so in the morning we parked in Greve and explored the township, stopping in a degustation cave (wine shop and tasting) which stocked about 1000 Chianti wines with many in self service dispensing units where you can preload a card with credit and use the card to purchase tastings of the wines. The service was not so good, so we didn't stay long. Our first drive up to a Vineyard was no so successful as they could take us for a vineyard tour and lunch, but it would have overlapped with our pre-booked tour and tasting so we decided to go to another Trip Advisor favourite ... read more

Europe » Italy » Tuscany » Montecatini Alto August 5th 2023

Today the new members of the team wanted to rest after their previous travels so it was a quiet start for Krissy and Greg while Mhairi and Rose went for an early morning walk around the Parc Delle Terme Montecatini Terme Rose and Mhairi walked around the Montecatini Park we featured in our previous blog. Late morning we decided to go for a drive Free-style (just following our nose), we came across a small town called Larciano Castello which was at the top of a hill and had no tourism at all, but the locals waved and were very friendly. We decided to drive on to find somewhere for lunch, after consulting Trip advisor, we chose a spot and drove to the town of Lamporecchio . While driving in, there was a open field wi... read more

Europe » Italy » Tuscany » Montecatini Terme August 1st 2023

Today is a non travel day, but we still needed to get out to explore the local towns. In the next town over, Montecatini Terme, we found a park with a local url=, cafe and an original private house turned spa. While the museum charged, the original spa and parking is free. They also has 4 sets of taps from 4 natural water sources, all with varying tastes and temperatures. The cost for glasses of water with doctors prescription was €18, however n ot knowing this at the time I tried each with my palm cup. Doh! After the lovely walk around the park and museum, we picked a local restaurant for lunch. url= read more

Europe » Italy » Tuscany » Pisa July 27th 2023

After an early morning Airport drop off of Alan to the Pisa Airport, Rose and I decided to spend the day at one of the many private beach clubs in Marina di Pisa. Our selection of choice was once again led by the stomach as the attached restaurant had some great looking dishes on their website. No, not totally, they were one of a few Beach Clubs which had a rock wall protecting the beach from the 1-2 meter waves which was great for wallowing in their lagoon.... read more

Europe » Italy » Tuscany » Lucca July 26th 2023

We decided to have a quiet day today, so we drove the 40km down the Autostrada to Lucca, this is our second time at Lucca. This time we chose to park in a different park and walk a different part of the town, although Rose did want to go back to the book store that specialised in English and Japanese books. We walked up to to the other end of Lucca and found a loverly river running through the town. We continued to find more and more Public halls and Churches. What a lovely town Lucca is and so easy to walk around as is flat. Later that afternoon we where back to the local pool for swim and sun baking. What a life we have. This night we had agreed that Pasta was off the ... read more

Europe » Italy » Tuscany » Radda in Chianti July 22nd 2023

Todays plan with Alan was to have us do 3 wine tastings, and after a nice 1 hour trip we arrived at the first winey. Albola Winery and Castle seemed like a nice place to start, we parked and went in, they were lovely and friendly sat us down in their sheltered courtyard and gave us an explanation of the operation and wines. We tried one white, 3 reds and a surprise dessert wine. The dessert wine was a unexpected treat and a long with a couple of bottles of Chianti Riserva we left with a dessert wine. We found a great little off the beaten path lunch spot before continuing our tour. Off to our second winery Cantina Castelvecchi . How ever when we arrived there was no one to be seen, we poked around ... read more

Europe » Italy » Tuscany » Montecatini Alto July 21st 2023

For Al's first day we kept it quiet and decided to go to a hill top town near by. The town called Montecatini Alto could be accessed by Car or a Funicular Train. As the train is closed from 12:30 to 2:30 for lunch and we needed to be back at the accommodation by 3pm we decided to split with Rose and Al taking the Funicular Train and I drove up. Montecatini Alto is a lovely hill top town with all the usual tourist shops and BNB's. We selected Ristorante 'Caffè Giusti' dal 1898 for lunch and I know I keep saying it, but wow, another great meal. After we got back to our Accommodation and met with the cleaning lady we went down to the local community pool for an afternoon swim. Another great day ... read more

Europe » Italy » Tuscany » Viareggio July 20th 2023

Today we are going to spend the day at a Beach Club in Viareggio, then we are picking up Rose's Cousin, who last featured in London family dinner, from Pisa Airport. We had decided to spend the day at Bagno Andrea Doria beach club. We chose this as we could book and pay for the tent, chairs and parking which meant we would be able to have a soother entry. We had a great day in the heat and the Mediterranean which was probably 30C but with a great sea breeze. They had a great restaurant and shop with ice pops and drinks. We did not take the camera, so no photos other than the one Rose added to our Facebook. Late in the afternoon we packed up and drove to Pisa Airport and picked up ... read more

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