Road Trip Part IV: Tuscany

August 23, 2012

Villa Campestri was the perfect spot in Tuscany to rest, relax and take in the picturesque countryside. This villa, 35km outside Florence, was built around a 13th century fort and is surrounded by olive groves, from which they make their own oil. Since we were only staying a couple of days, we decided not to take advantage of any of their activities - which ranged from olive oil tasting to truffle hunting - and just take it easy. I knew when my mom heard we were taking her to Tuscany, Under the Tuscan Sun is what she pictured, and so that is where we took her.   

While it rained a good bit at the start of our only full day there, it let up early enough to do some exploring of the extensive grounds before lunch. At one point, I found my mom reading outside in a lovely spot overlooking the whole valley. When I asked if Tuscany was everything she thought it would be, she replied with a very emotional: "It's more." Even though my mother never dreamed of traveling Europe like I always did (and honestly might never have gotten a passport if it weren't for my emergency surgery in London all those years ago), she was definitely enchanted by each place we took her. It means the world to me that I can take her places she never would have gone to on her own, yet still have such an impact on her. Living halfway around the world from her makes these experiences all the more special.

The afternoon provided even more luxuriating. We enjoyed a light lunch from the Villa's kitchen of simple pastas, the most beautiful bruschetta I've ever seen (the tomatoes looked unreal!) and a bottle of wine, overlooking one of the hillsides. Afterwards, we took advantage of the increasingly nice weather with a walk through the olive groves and up a nearby hill, providing lovely views of the resort and the surrounding valley. Being out in nature, we were seeing all kinds of insects and lizards, not to mention the deer and hedgehog we saw on our drive up the night before, which just added to the magic of the location. As luck would have it, the sun continued to gather enough strength to warrant laying by the amazing pool for a bit before dinner.

Dinner at Campestri was one of our only all-out, really nice meals of our whole trip, and it was definitely worth the wait. We enjoyed a bottle of wine, starters, entrées and dessert. Like lunch, everything was quite delicious and especially beautiful. It also felt good to finally put some of the fancy clothes we brought to use.

Speaking of clothes that had just been sitting in our luggage, the following morning broke so warm and sunny, I got to wear a dress for the first, and only, time the whole trip. This of course made it even harder to say farewell to such a spectacular stop on our trip. The lizards were all out basking in the sun, as if to flaunt the day's activities we would be missing. I too wished I could have spent the rest of day soaking up that Villa Campestri warmth, but Innsbruck was calling and we had to hit the road. One final look at this lovely place from the next hill over, and we were off...


The last stop on our road trip, up next: Austria. 

Daily Drop Cap by Jessica Hische
Some photos courtesy of Mom