Just back from the breathtaking Tuscan beauty of Montegonzi and beyond. We slept in our friend's family house, a wooden-beamed nook next to the town's little church with the most punctual chiming bells that only disturbed our slumbers on the first night. In addition to gazing at the lines of olive trees that dominate these hills and makes the region famous for its olive oil production, we enjoyed plenty of relaxed evenings sitting by the fire, letting the kids be kids, and sampling some of the region's culinary specialities (I passed on the meat and was very happy with the cheese and wine). The days were filled with long drives on windy roads that took us on what always seemed like a circuitous path to a number of lovely destinations.
Rapolano Terme was good for the body and soul, not to mention the lingering winter chest colds. A stop in the heart of Chianti wine country at Radda, was just a place to get a coffee, enjoy the views, peek in the church, and wander the narrow streets en route to a lunch date in the area of another friend's house in Badia a Passignano. Here we discovered he lives in a virtual Tuscan dream, that would be the beautifully restored former stone barn with a tower. I still don't know if it was more enjoyable being awed by this gorgeous home, or the 10 minute drive on a dirt road to the unlikely ending of a sit down lunch in a rustically beautiful converted farmhouse restaurant.
We also made it to Florence. In fact, spent an entire day doing nothing but strolling around with an almost 3 year old while hubby attended to his work duties. I am convinced the rain stopped just for us. The little boy discovered the excitment of climbing up a bell tower (that would be the Duomo), got over the disappointment of the Natural History museum being closed, got wet chasing pigeons in a neighborhood playground (I actually had the foresight to stuff a change of shoes and socks into my backpack), behaved nicely at a sit down lunch, rested (at least I did) at the friend's tiny apartment overlooking the Arno, glimpsed Galileo's telescopes at the Science Museum, and for the rest of the time was more than content to be pushed around this lovely city following his Mama's whims.