Does anyone remember this movie? Depressed divorced woman buys a villa in Tuscany on a whim and it changes her life? Although I am neither depressed nor divorced, this is kinda exactly what I want to do after spending a week in Tuscany this past April. Actually, I don’t want just any old villa, I want one that looks like this:
This was the AWESOME place that, thanks to Mo’s superb accommodation finding skills, we were able to stay at during our time in Tuscany. The villa is in a tiny (and I mean teeny tiny!) town called San Donato, about 45 minutes from Florence. Although it was about an hour bus ride to the big city, staying here was totally worth it (If you are staying for a while though, renting a car would be much better. There are tons of other great day trips from the area as well!).
The tower was built in 1100 and other parts of the estate in the 1500 and 1600. The sweet family who owns it lives here and they rent out just a few parts. You can even stay in an amazing apartment INSIDE the tower! The owner told us the villa was once a home for orphans and also sheltered refugees in WWII. Given its history for providing refuge for those in need, they believe they are carrying on the tradition by housing travelers as well! We loved it and I really can’t say enough about this place. The owners also give homemade cooking classes and wine tours (post to come!). They even have a skills exchange program: give two hours of your time, get a free night stay! The villa can be found on Airbnb or on their website, The Accidental Tourist.
When we were not drinking wine on the little veranda adjacent to our apartment in the villa, or commuting to Florence, we spent our time walking. The tiny towns scattered across the rolling hills were like something from a fairy tale. Simple was the way of life. Olives and grapes, the staple crops of every farm we passed on the narrow roads. I took a long walk one day and found an abandoned Monastery to explore. After tiptoeing through overgrown shrubbery and climbing over a few fences I was probably not supposed to climb, I stopped to eat some raisins in the sun on a stone wall along a long stretch of olive trees. Ahhhhhhhh. Another day, Mo and I walked together and not only found several rustic little farms where you could do farmstays (work for accommodations), but also an overlook with sweeping views of the countryside and the entire city of Florence far off in the distance. It was amazing.
Here are a few pictures of this beautiful countryside!
Away from the hustle and bustle of the big city, it was easy to see that Tuscany is about nature, simplicity and all things good in life. At least that was the way it felt to us. :)