A Ghost Abbey in the Heart of Tuscany

Where on Earth had we landed?… A frolicsome sprite, hidden somewhere behind a decrepit stone wall, replied to me in a hushed voice: “In the depths of the Middle Ages, in a world long sunk into oblivion…” And my daughter – who had been devouring a Harry Potter book lately, – looked up at me with her round, sparkling eyes:
“Mummy, did you hear that little voice?”
“What little voice, darling?…”

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Seaside Bliss in Capalbio

A lunch at the beach… Few things in life make my family and I as contented as sharing a nice seaside meal with our best friends. My daughter and her young accomplices enjoy the blue waters and endless sandy playground; my husband scrutinizes the distant horizon before religiously considering the menu and wine list; and I, well, I fill up my lungs with the intoxicating marine ether and exchange beatific smiles with the world around me…

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A Feast for the Eye and the Blessed Memory

It was last summer, during my very first visit to the Ca’nova Palazzo. At one point, escorted by the delightful owners of the premises, I walked into one of the spacious rooms and uttered under my breath: “Wow!” Then I glided over to the window opening onto the Grand Canal and went again, but in a louder tone this time: “Wooow!”

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The Best Time to Enjoy the Maremma Park

I must have told you once or twice, in previous posts, that the Maremma Regional Park in Tuscany is one of my favourite nature reserves in the whole of Italy. It is also known, by the way, as the Parco dell’Uccelina, the Park of the Moonraker – this beautiful word, “moonraker”, referring to the small sails flown at the very top of old sailing ships. Don’t ask me where this second name comes from, though; I haven’t looked into the story yet.

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The Tuscan Abbey without a Roof

Some road works seem to take forever to be completed… Have you ever had that feeling? This is the case with the still unfinished Superstrada 223 linking Siena to the city of Grosseto and my beloved Maremma, a highway which was already under construction when I moved to Italy to start working at the Brolio winery…two decades ago! Continue Reading →

Where Do the Children Play – PART 2

In my last post, we began a roundup of interesting things to do in Italy when you are parents with children. We had a close look at three of the activities which I particularly recommend. Today, I’ll be suggesting four more.

Italy’s flora and fauna are inexhaustible sources of fun and wonder for kids. The prospect of a mere hike in the countryside probably won’t make any youngster jump for joy. But if you put forward an asparagus hunt through the Tuscan hills, chances are your offspring will happily volunteer for the journey – my daughter did, for instance! By the way, should you wish to experience this special asparagus quest with one of our licensed nature guides, we will gladly organize this for you.

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Where Do the Children Play – PART 1

Well I think it’s fine building jumbo planes,
Or taking a ride on a cosmic train,
Switch on summer from a slot machine…

Do these lyrics ring a bell? They are from a great Cat Stevens song released in 1970. Its title: “Where Do the Children Play”. If you haven’t heard this song before, make sure you do: it’s a beautiful piece of music and poetry, and it’s become a classic.

Yes, this is a question parents always ask themselves when vacationing with their children, and one often submitted to us by our Trust & Travel clients before they arrive at their Italian holiday residence: where shall we take the kids? Continue Reading →

Paolo, the Tuscan Fisherman

Do you remember Talamone, this little harbour town lying on the Southern coast of Tuscany? I told you about it in a previous blog post. Well, true, this was almost two years ago, so I won’t blame you if you haven’t kept in mind this piece of information…

Anyway, my daughter, husband and I have made it a family tradition to drive to Talamone whenever we are staying in the Maremma in the summer months. We usually go there in the late afternoon, primarily to jump into the Mediterranean sea from the high rocks of Women’s Bay – my daughter and I just can’t get enough of these aerobatic stunts, I confess – and to enjoy a refreshing aperitivo at the beachside bar, where they serve superlative mojitos.

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Florentine Wax Anatomy and Taxidermy

“Hey, look at this one, Mummy! Is that a hippotamus?
– A hippopotamus, darling. Yes, it is.
– He looks angry!
– Well… yes. Or he may just be yawning…”

For my daughter and I, this was our very first visit to La Specola, a jewel of a museum in the heart of Florence. We were lucky enough that day to be accompanied by Gina, a good friend of mine who happened to be well-versed in zoology and natural history, the domains which La Specola is dedicated to. Gina presented us with some additional information on the “yawning hippotamus”:

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Behind the Scenes of Siena’s Palio

 

– Mummy, I want to “vote” for the Leocorno, my daughter told me with big round eyes.
– The Unicorn? You want to support the Unicorn team?
– Yes! And George says he wants to support the Elephant!
– Well… I’m afraid there is no Elephant team in the race, darling.
– Ah… I’ll go tell him to support something else then.
– Good idea. Continue Reading →



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