Travel diary: Under the Tuscan sun

Toscana is a dreamer’s delight. It’s a living tapestry laced with rolling hills and valleys bursting with all of nature’s rich earthy tones. Cornfields, olive, pine and magnolia trees and an endless sea of sunflower fields stretching for miles in every direction fill the hungry heart with pure joy.

Old watchtowers, once protecting the land from invaders now stand deserted in the distance. Medieval castles and small clusters of yellow and terracotta coloured houses dot the landscape, perched up on hillsides.

Elegant cypress trees adorn the sides of long roads winding their way up the hillside to stunning villas and old churches, their long lean dark green bodies stretching upward to the heavens. And somewhere nearby rose farms prepare their precious petals to be shipped to French perfumaries.

Tuscany is a widespread region full of walled cities, gorgeous farmsteads and inviting vineyards beckoning you to come closer and sample everything on offer.

Here's my own little sample for you in pictures...

A vineyard in Montecarlo

A memorable evening was spent here at Il Poggio, a boutique vineyard in Montecarlo, with a small group of Australians + Americans, sampling the local produce which included several types of more-ish wines, olive oil and grilled meats, getting tipsy and dancing to old classics (think Elvis, UB40) under a warm, slow setting sun.

Il Poggio, Montecarlo Tuscany

Il Poggio, Montecarlo Tuscany

Inside the cellar

Inside the cellar

Boutique wines not sold anywhere else in the world

Boutique wines not sold anywhere else in the world

A walled city in Lucca

Lucca is a charming Tuscan town known for it's colourful houses and distinctive 16th century city walls. The best way to explore the city's asthestics is on foot. A cappuccino and gelato stop is mandatory.

Image courtesy of Lonely Planet

Image courtesy of Lonely Planet

A medieval town in San Gimignano + the most famed gelato in Italy. 

San Gimignano is another medieval walled town in the provence of Sienna, sitting high on a hill with sweeping panaramic views, ancient towers and walls inviting you into bygone centuries. It might just be my favourite town so far. 

In and around San Gimignano

In and around San Gimignano

Entry to the walled city of San Gimignano

Entry to the walled city of San Gimignano

The medieval walls + towers of San Gimignano

The medieval walls + towers of San Gimignano

Chianti in San Gimignano

Chianti in San Gimignano

A very famous + award winning gelateria

A very famous + award winning gelateria

Taking the gelato for a test drive. Seriously. Good.

Taking the gelato for a test drive. Seriously. Good.

The historic centre of Siena

Siena is one of the most beautiful and well-known cities in Tuscany. Eating pizza and people watching is a nice way to pass the time the Piazza del Campo.

Approaching the centre of Siena

Approaching the centre of Siena

A meeting of old + new worlds in downtown Siena

A meeting of old + new worlds in downtown Siena

A leaning tower in Pisa

I got to see the leaning tower briefly before an unforgiving summer storm rolled through forcing us all to run for cover and buy candy-coloured ponchos. 

The famous leaning tower of Pisa amongst the ominous clouds. 

The famous leaning tower of Pisa amongst the ominous clouds. 

Baptistry of Pisa

Baptistry of Pisa

I hope you enjoyed a very small slice of Tuscany through my eyes.

Next stop Florence.

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