Italy travelogue, part XV

Getting all our luggage in the car proved a puzzle, but one  eventually solved. The two bellmen worked together, with us, and were so proud  once we got everything in for our trip into the Tuscan  countryside.
The car guy programmed the GPS with our coordinates, and we had  printed directions.
We got lost anyway.
But boy, what beauty. Once you navigate out of the city–easier  than navigating into the city, the world starts to open up. Pretty villages with  narrow winding streets, yes, but then the hills that roll and rise. Dusky green,  rows of tidy vineyards, olive groves–and further out the acres of sunflowers,  so gorgeous and cheerful.
We drive and drive–turns out the car guy didn’t click the deal  that allows toll roads, but we finally ignore the polite, female Brit voice of  the GPS and merge with the Autostrada. She’s obviously annoyed and shut off and  ignores us.
We make much better time, and try to follow the directions. It  seems we’ve making strides, and stop for lunch in the big–and still  charming–town of Satreano. I think that was it. Snag a couple of tables in a  little pizzeria.
Fabulous food! I got a simple green salad, but the balsamic was  amazing–and fries on the side that were wonderful. BW’s sausage pizza was  beautiful, and though I don’t generally like it, I had a skinny slice, and  MMMMMM!!.
We walk around a bit, then get back in the car–restart the GPS.  Follow her directions.
The hills are so beautiful–dusty greens, deep greens, intense  golds, rich browns. We turn on a steep gravel road as directed–and we’re  supposed to turn on a steep gravel road.
We pass a farm, lots of equipment outside, a very dilapidated  house, but she says keep going, so we do. Then in what’s essentially the middle  of a field she claims we’ve reached our destination.
God, I hope not!
Turns out, after some fiddling, the longitude and latitude were  entered incorrectly back in Florence. We’re close, but have no real idea what to  do.
Kat comes to the rescure. I still have no earthly idea how she took  the printed directions–we have two copies, with different coordinates–figured  it out, and wound us back–to the town where we stopped for lunch, and on  through. More roads, more glorious hills, but it’s been awhile now, and I’m  pretty nervous. Plus I’m completely out of my depth.
But she’s confident, tells us what to look for, where to turn. And  lo and behold, we find the road, the gate, and our lovely, lovely villa where  Asia the manager is waiting.
It’s unbelievably beautiful. The views everywhere of the hills, the  colors, the sky. And the gardens of the villa–tomatoes red on the  vine,  bushes of rosemary, roses, trees, vineyards.
It’s rustic, but also boasts WiFi, comfortable rooms, gorgeous  baths and bedrooms that open up on those breathtaking views.
She takes us through, the common rooms, the bedrooms to choose  from. We both pick the first floor–above the main. Ours has an enormous and  beautiful tub, and a separate shower, a pretty bed. I’m using the third bedroom  up here as a little office, and looking out now at the hills, the vineyards, the  olive trees.
The kitchen! We have a cook who’ll come in every day if we want to  make us food. It’s HUGE, and fun, and rustically gorgeous. I want to play in it.  And think I’ll go down and watch her cook and get tips.
Beautifully terraced with those views everywhere, and the light so  brilliant and gorgeous. It’s unreal.
There’s a pool–one of those infinity deals–you walk up the hill,  among the trees, and there it is–dark blue water–with a patio above–and an  ice machine and fridge so you can have drinks. Even a little kitchen if you want  to cook there.
We enjoyed an hour or so just winding down up there.
I could stay here a month. Working with the views outside the  window, taking some time to walk the gardens, snag a plum from a  tree.
It’s in the middle of nowhere–Asia’s term–and just exactly right.  So beautifully quiet.
There are villages to explore, restaurants and shopping not that  far away–but I don’t know if anything can get me to move away from right  here.
I could just sit and look for days.

22 thoughts on “Italy travelogue, part XV”

  1. I went to Italy with my choir. Tuscany was exactly the way I imagined it. I loved the curved lines of slender cypress trees, marching up the hillsides like an honor guard. Thank you for bringing back so many happy memories.

  2. Some years ago, my brother attended a wedding in the Tuscany countryside. It was in one of the small towns where the town gathered to escort the bride to the church. There was three days of celebrating with some of the best food he had ever tasted! To me, it sounded like something out of one your books! I am so jealous. Glad you are having a terrific time.

  3. Reading Nora’s travelogue has brought back so many great memories of our trip to Italy. I am now planning to revisit Florence next year. Thanks so much for bringing us along on your vacation.

  4. Your descriptions are breathtaking. As usual, it makes me want to plan a trip there soon. Please post some pictures!

  5. I love reading everything Nora writes and this description of the Tuscan landscape and villa don’t disappoint. I visited Italy many years ago on an art history tour but we did not get get to Tuscany. Thanks for giving me a peek I can almost feel.

  6. What an adventure, getting to your villa in Tuscany! At least getting there was beautiful. I sooooo enjoy being along “for the ride” on your vacation, Ms. Roberts! I love your writing — and this is like reading a special little book of yours. (P.S. I am a world-class vacation-packer — and would gladly volunteer to accompany you on future trips to help get all your things packed in suitcases and then in vehicles. 🙂

  7. One of my favorite movies is “Under the Tuscan Sun” and now Nora and family are living it. I’m green with envy yet thrilled she’s sharing this experience with us. And, please, please, set a book in Italy, or make Eve and Roarke go there.

  8. It’s almost sunflower time in the hills, have you seen any? I loved this time of year with unending sunflowers that were always moving to face the sun. The villa sounds lovely and just the type of experience everyone should have at least once i a lifetime!

  9. I went to Italy on the same choir trip as Lillian. Tuscany was one of my favorite places. We had lunch at a beautiful farm house overlooking the vineyards. Beautiful memories. Thanks for sharing..

  10. Thank you for the wonderful sharing you are doing for us. I hope BW doesn’t mind the time it takes for you to do it which in turn takes away from vacation time. We were there during 9/11 and the people could not have been more wonderful to us. We saw a lot on our tour but you descriptions let me know how much we missed. Thanks, Nora.
    P.S. will we have an Italian story in the future sometime?

    1. Villa by Nora Roberts is set in part at least in Italy – Europe really great read or listen if you get the audiobook. I wouldn’t mind if there was a jewel thief story set in Italy where the woman is the thief that would be an excellent story…

  11. Glad you made it ok sounds like the Villa will be as good for writing as a treehouse away from the familiar with excellent views. Thanks for sharing the adventure Nora and for posting Laura

  12. Whew! I guess that was an eventful drive! But the destination sounds UNBELIEVABLE!
    It sounds like a little piece of heaven, just breathtaking & peaceful.
    Can’t wait for pictures!

  13. And the vacations begin 😉
    Geez how I hate GPS, I get lost more often with it than without 🙂
    Enjoy Tuscany, Nora. They’re fortunate for having you 🙂

  14. It’s wonderful that you can have this time in a beautiful place. I would imagine the impressions of all you are seeing and doing will be the inspiration for lovely stories to come. Enjoy!

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