Our next stop was in the Tuscany region, in a quaint town called Noce, just outside Tavarnelle. We drove from Rome and it took about 3 hours to reach our destination. The drive felt long in the back seat of our cramped rental car. I was claustrophobic and my step-son was bored and going nuts. However, when we arrived at the villa we were going to be staying at, it al felt worth it.
Words or pictures still lack in describing the amazing views we had, right from the villa. It was a spacious apartment, with views that looked like they were right out of a movie or calendar. It simply did not feel real!
We also had a swimming pool! I don’t know how this place could have been more luxurious.
Our hosts were incredibly kind and welcoming and said hello to us with a bottle of wine. We quickly threw our stuff down, opened the wine and made our way down to the pool, and that was pretty much how we stayed for the next couple of days.
This was exactly what we needed after the business of Rome. It was so nice to unwind and relax. It truly felt like vacation.
We had a nice, spacious kitchen (with an amazing view), so we went shopping at the local market (only 1.5 miles away) and planned to cook most of our own meals.
The next morning, we woke up early, to fully explore our beautiful neighborhood, as the sun rose. We walked amongst vineyards, olive trees and luscious gardens. We were constantly looking at each other and saying, “can you believe where we are?!” I went for a 3 mile run on my own after our walk, and enjoyed the amazing views and quiet of the morning.
After a breakfast of fresh fruit, carrots and green juice, we drove about 1 hour, for a day trip into Sienna.
Sienna was such a cute town that felt very historical with medieval architecture. It still had a very renaissance feel to it and was almost like stepping back in time.
We visited the cathedral and I was able to wear one of those super fun napkin capes, since I forgot to bring something to cover my shoulders.
We had a lunch in Piazza de Campo (more pizza marinara!) and explored around some more.
I was glad we saw Sienna, but after awhile, we were all eager to get back to our beautiful villa and pool! We spent the evening wine drinking, swimming and lounging. We made dinner ourselves that night and enjoyed the slower pace.
The next day, we took another day trip, this time into Florence, which was about a 45 minute drive away.
Against Rick Steve’s advice, we arrived later in the day, and the line to go into the main cathedral, The Duomo, was already long.
We were able to go into The Ufizzi Gallery though, and even though the air conditioner was not working, we still thoroughly enjoyed the art we were able to see.
We visited Dolce Vita Vegan, in Florence (even though it took us awhile to find it). The food was absolutely amazing! I had seitan ragu gnocchi and my husband had lasagna,. We also had a vegan cheese plate, and of course, dessert!
We explored around Florence some more (in the rain, in fact, it started pouring later on) and eagerly made our way back to our villa, for more swimming and wine.
The next day, we collectively decided we needed a day for lounging, with no sites to see or plans. I can’t express how important this is for a hectic vacation! At least for me, I really need those days off every once in awhile, to re-coop and take it all in.
We slept in, and lounged around. When I was ready, I went for another run and did some yoga down by the pool. My husband and friend took over making brunch, and I actually poured a glass of wine at 11 AM, and slowly enjoyed it while reading and journaling. These are definitely the things I love about vacation!
Brunch was gnocchi with vegetables and grilled asparagus, onions and zucchini.
We did a whole lot of swimming, napping and wine drinking and later in the evening, decided to drive into a small, nearby city.
Castellina in Chianti was a small, whimsical town, about 20 minutes away, located within the walls of the old castle.
We did a few wine tastings and had dinner in the town. This was my most delicious pizza marinara yet!
We eventually made our way back and enjoyed our last night in our villa.
The next day, we prepared to drive to Venice. I was oh so sad to say good-bye to our blissful villa, but, it was time to keep exploring.