Every time I visit a new place, I say “This is my favorite place in the world, we have to move here.” I don’t know why, but new places, new landscapes, new architecture, new people, new cuisines, when everything is new and unfamiliar, it excites me. And visiting Toskana, "Tuscany" had the exact same affect on me. I had already been completely charmed by the flat landscape surrounding Mirandola on the opposite side of the country, but the moment we drove into Tuscany, I was in enchanted.
Everything you’ve ever heard about Tuscany landscape, it is absolutely true. The whole area looks like it was designed by a master gardener. If there is an opening into the Garden of Eden, I'd like to believe it is here. Rolling hills, meadows, vineyards, fruit trees, fig orchards, small stone towns with windy cobblestone roads on hill tops, each with its own private castle, and fountains in town squares, staircases winding around the towns and into the stone farms down below. In every direction, there is a stunning view.
The cottage we stayed in is part of an agriturisimo, a former building on the farm that was used for storage and wine making, and it was later turned into small cottages to rent out to tourists. The family has owned the farm for a century now, and they have a private vineyard, from which they produce their own private family wine. It’s hard to believe that the cottage we stayed in was once just used for wine storage. It has high vaulted brick ceilings in the bedrooms, exposed wooden beams in the living room and kitchen. The floor is tiled with terracotta, and the windows have heavy, well preserved wooden shutters on them.
There is a large fireplace in the living room, and beautiful brick arches that show you where the walls didn’t used to be. The door still locks with a skeleton key. Underneath us, the family converted the winery into a lounge for it’s guests, full of large rustic wooden tables and benches. All around the house are various outdoor tables and shelters, as well as chairs and a soccer field complete with nets, in which the kids and I have spent hours playing. It is still too early for mosquitoes. Lizards scurry around in and out of holes. The children ran around outside unsupervised without me worrying they would get hurt while I prepared dinner or did the dishes.