Venezia — Beautiful Venice!

Our trip to Venice was beautiful but too brief! You need at least 3 or 4 days to explore and get to know this beautiful city on the sea! It truly is unique, and amazing to think that many of that many of these buildings have been here for hundreds of years. How they survive the water damage, I don’t know.

You need to walk this city to know its twists and turns, but you can also take a boat (we took the water bus) to navigate the Grand Canal if you don’t feel like walking. The evening we arrived, the weather was lovely and allowed some exploration, a relaxed dinner out, and a glass of prosecco at a waterfront cafe, watching the boats go by. The following day was cold and wet, which wasn’t as much fun, but Piazza San Marco was still beautiful. Unfortunately, part of the piazza was flooded, which made navigating on foot something of a challenge. And there were hordes of tourists in Venice, which was less appealing than the smaller towns we’ve visited, which were more relaxed.

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Wine Tasting in Valiano

Even though it was raining, we drove through the countryside to find a vineyard we’d researched a bit and do some wine tasting. The rain and signage made things difficult and our driver (that would be me!) got lost at least once as we tried to find the turnoff to the Avignonese Vineyard, or alternatively, Le Capezzine Estate, near Valiano. The roads are very narrow and there are few places to turn off, turn around, etc. We finally found a small cafe that was open, and a woman who spoke at least enough English to point us in the right direction.

At last, after driving up a cypress-lined road, we reached our destination, perched on a hill. Our hostess was a charming young woman from Norway who described the various wines and we had a lovely and relaxed time. By the time we were ready to depart, the rain had stopped and the sun was out, which made the drive home much easier.

In the evening, we had a girls’ dinner out in Cortona, while Sam enjoyed a quiet evening of reading and NOT being surrounded by women!

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Recovering from Jetlag

As my groups of guests come and go, I’ve found that it helps them to recover from their jet lag and general traveling tiredness if I feed them, put them to bed and let them sleep late the next morning. Most of the time, that’s meant at least 12 or 14 hours of sleeping! It’s so quiet here, and the shutters keep out the light so that it’s very easy to sleep more hours than you would at home. Very nice….

Once, they’re up and have consumed enough coffee to feel awake, I take the up the mountain into Cortona, which is such a relaxed and easy city and close to home base. We enjoy a little walk, some late lunch, a little more walking and exploring, and then maybe some gelato before we head back to the villa for a nap before we make dinner. It makes for a lovely and relaxed day for the first day of the visit. Here is this week’s group — Iris, Sam, Sally and Carol in Cortona.

Tomorrow, we might try something more energetic, but we’ll need to see how everyone is feeling at the time. We may just want to spend a quiet day reading and walking around this beautiful property.

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Day at Home

Jim and Shannon left by train for Florence, where they will spend a couple of days before heading back to Atlanta. Judy and Tim and I hiked up the hill beyond the villa in the late afternoon to appreciate the views and then had a lovely and relaxed dinner at home — a seafood pasta dish that Tim created.

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Day in Siena

Getting to Siena was easy, parking in Siena was difficult! Once we managed to find a parking spot, exploring the city was delightful. Climbing through the winding streets brought us to the piazza in the middle of the city where the Palio pageant and race are held each year. Then we climbed up to the duomo, which was stunning!

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