How Do You Prolong Your Summer?
Easy: Take A Holiday In Southern Tuscany
Are you ready for the upcoming season of long nights and short days? Layers and layers of warm cloths, warming caps or hats, boots and gloves, running noses, coughing. Have you tanked enough sun to last you for the next months of low temperatures, grey skies, rain and snow?
Yes – lucky you! Or do you live in an all year sunny climate zone? If not: come and join me in reliving this year’s summer encore in Italy, in the beautiful countryside of Southern Tuscany.
It was a family holiday, me and my three old ladies: my mother, my aunt and Chica.
It is a 750 km drive from Basel to Massa Marittima, a comfortable ride in my reliable car, it took us about 10 hours as we made several stops.
First stop on the highway: St. Gotthard, Switzerland
Tuscany was lovely and I really took a holiday from the online world, pulling the plug. Well, checking my emails once in a while for anything urgent but not visiting any social media platforms or reading blog posts or commenting, an interesting experience: I have found I did not miss anything except my real life friends and new online friends.
Our temporary home
We rented part of an old building at the Tenuta Il Cicalino, a beautiful complex of old farm buildings, lovingly renovated and situated below Massa Marittima.
Our first sunset on the Poggio al Diavolo
We enjoyed beautiful summer weather except for a day or two, once a heavy thunderstorm and tons of rain (much needed as it has not rained for a long long time) and sometimes heavy winds but lots of sun and tanking up for winter.
Getting up each day very early and watching the sun rise above the town of Massa Marittima, breathing the fresh and crisp air scented with the fragrance of autumn blossoms and the promises of a good olive harvest. Leisurely drives to the sea side, playing with Chica and swimming in the amazingly warm water, celebrating the aperitivo hour and either cooking at home or eating out, going back to our favourite bar of Il Leccio for lunch. Going to bed very early each night.
Peach or apricot?
Time gained another dimension, I read a lot and started some thinking process and I also nearly finished knitting my shawl. When I took pictures it was for my own pleasure not in view of some food post, letting my own food go cold trying to find the perfect angle or aperture, no wine photography and online research for its history.
It was a slow down experience that was sometimes quite hard for me and I was wearing different hats at the same time: driver, porter, interpreter, cook, nurse and listener to 1001 tales which I have heard 1001 times before.
The dogs’ and other creatures’paradise at Punta Ala
Lazy days, interrupted by the occasional trip to the local market buying fresh produce and the latest fashion designs. And a memorable dinner at a new agriturismo on Monte Bamboli: Agriristoro San Andrea.
I can heartily recommend it (tip: come with a very very empty stomach): fantastic local food, prepared by the women of three generations: bruschette, antipasti with cheese, ham and salame, accompanied with sweet-sour relishes, frittini, handmade maccaroni with a cinghiale (boar) sugo, reavioli al burro e salvia, salad, coniglio e pollo with fried potatoes, zuppa inglese, coffee and grappa.
Our trip back, another 10 hour trip up north, from summer weather to the fog of St. Gotthard pass (there is a lovely old and narrow road called Tremola, which could roughly translate as the tremble, probably due to the cobble stones used for building it and the teeth rattling shaking) – there is a 16 km long tunnel but I forewent the pleasure of the hour long wait in a traffic jam on the highway and chose driving over the pass – and heavy rains to autumnal temperature back to Basel.
You want to see more of Tuscany? Please, here they are on Flickr.
Your turn now:
How do you recharge your batteries for the cold and wet season?