Canoeing on a Tuscan river

The Italian coastline does not need an introduction. But have you ever explored one of the country’s rivers? After 30 years in Italy, I finally ventured onto the Ombrone River in Southern Tuscany.

The Ombrone crosses the Parco della Maremma nature reserve before joining the Tyrrhenian sea south of Grosseto. The park is a bird watching paradise, but also a place to spot wild boars and deer, and the local guides are happy to point out all the lesser known fauna and flora.

The canoes – joined together in pairs – are very stable and make for a safe activity for families with children. The Silva cooperative organizes different types of tours at dawn, in the afternoon and during full moon. My favourite one is, of course, the sunset paddle that includes a glass of white wine. The canoes are equipped with an electric motor if your group gets tired of rowing back upstream.

CANOE TOURS in the Maremma Park

Prices range from 20 to 35€ per person depending on activity (reduced rates for children up to 12 years).  Bring a hat, sunscreen and bottled water, and combine it with a bike ride or a swim.

 

Katharina's Italy

DONATELLO, THE RENAISSANCE

In March 2022, the most important Donatello exhibition ever opens its doors in Florence. Over 50 museums from all over the world have lent works by the famous Renaissance master.

The exhibition takes place at Palazzo Strozzi and the Bargello museum, the permanent home of Donatello’s David. Works from Florence’s Basilica di San Lorenzo and Siena’s Cathedral have been moved for the first time and painstakingly restored for this occasion.

From September 2022, the exhibition will be on show in Berlin and in 2023 at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. However, the works from Siena Cathedral and Basilica di San Lorenzo will be on show in Italy only.

DONATELLO, The Renaissance – Florence Palazzo Strozzi & Bargello museum, March 19 to July 31, 2022

 

Katharina's Italy

MY SECRET B&B TIP FOR THE MAREMMA

Last autumn, I took a little detour in Maremma. I had been at Il Priorato, one of excellence.villas’ high-end properties in southern Tuscany. Before heading back to Rome, I stopped for a coffee in the hilltop town Pereta.

I took a stroll through the pretty village and noticed a palazzo on the main square. It didn’t have a sign or a bell, but I marveled at its garden and the beautiful view from the town wall. “This type of setting,” I thought, “is exactly the sort of place I would love to call home.”

On the way back to my car, I checked Google Maps and to my surprise found a tag for a B&B with the enticing name “Locanda Sospesa” which could be freely translated to “floating boarding house.” Of course, the next time I was in the area, I booked myself a room there.

This is how I met Johnny and Elizabeth, the wonderful couple behind that secret door. During the first Covid lockdown, they left their corporate jobs in Rome and settled in Pereta, where Johnny had spent his childhood. Their two young daughters now go to the local school and Johnny and Elizabeth opened Locanda Sospesa to build a new life for themselves in the Tuscan countryside.

We had a lovely time and while Pereta’s beautiful palazzo may never be mine, I feel comforted now – it’s in good hands.

LOCANDA SOSPESA, Piazza San Marco 1, Pereta (GR).

 

Katharina's Italy

SUCCESSION IN ITALY

Have you watched Succession yet? The HBO series about the powerful but dysfunctional Roy family has kept many of us up late.

Season 3 has just been released and part of it was filmed in Italy last summer.

If you stayed at la Foce or visited our favourite garden in Tuscany, you’ll have extra fun watching the Succession Chiantishire episode. Insider Information: the team stayed three weeks at La Foce which resulted in 20 minutes in the show!

Readers familiar with our Excellence.Villas catalogue will recognize the scenes filmed on lake Como at Villa Rosa.

It’s just the perfect show to put on your holiday watchlist.

Buone feste and see you in the New Year.

 

Katharina's Italy

Medici Villas and Gardens

Look what I’ve just found! A website about the 14 UNESCO heritage Medici villas and gardens in northern Tuscany. In the past, I visited many of them, but finding these properties required quite a bit of detective work. Thanks to the new Medici villas website, planning a visit has become much easier.

Continue Reading →

ONE OF SIENA’S HIDDEN TREASURES

On October 5 of the year 1554, more than 250 orphans were bluntly expelled from the Republic of Siena. The city had been under siege for 9 months and its government decreed that the best way forward to hold out against the enemy was to get rid of its bocche disutili, its “useless mouths”. And during the following months, another 4000 citizens, mostly children, unmarried women and elderly souls, were sent packing by the same token.

Continue Reading →

A RENAISSANCE VIRTUOSA

Last month, my daughter returned from school one day with an elated heart: “Mummy, I have to write a theme about some artists! Female artists!”

I responded with a big smile and asked my daughter whether she had anybody in mind already. She said she absolutely wanted to talk about Frida Kahlo and Georgia O’Keefe, whose works were, to some extent, familiar to her. Then she pressed me for suggestions.

Continue Reading →

YUMMY HUMMUS IN THE MAREMMA

What do Syria and Tuscany have in common? Well, probably several things, but for sure a passion for great food! A few weeks ago, I partook in a Tuscan-Syrian lunch at the Chimera d’Albegna, a small winery founded by a Florentine family and located a few cables’ length away from the Marsiliana estate, one of our long-established holiday rentals in the Maremma.

Continue Reading →

WHEN IN ITALY, LEAVE NO SITE UNTURNED

This happens to all of us: time and time again you pass by a place without ever paying much attention to it, and then one day, God knows why, you finally decide to stop and have a close look at what you’ve been disregarding for so many years.

One morning, last July, my instinct made me deflect from my usual route and call in at the Tuscan town of Chianciano Terme – which you may have heard of if you’ve ever stayed at our nearby Trust & Travel La Foce estate. Chianciano Terme had its heydays in the 50s and 60s, and the spa vacations he spent there inspired Federico Fellini with several scenes of his 1963 feature film .

Continue Reading →

THE CREAM OF ITALIAN FOOD BLOGGING

Take my word for it: most Italian food lovers own dozens of cookbooks, restaurant guides, treatises on the history of Italian cuisine, and what have you. And I’m no exception to the rule.

The problem with books, though – well, at least in my case – is that when I have the leisure and peace of mind to try out a new recipe, nine times out of ten I’m away from home and from my treasured “library”.

Continue Reading →



NEWSLETTER

Subscribe to Katharina´s Italy

Enjoy monthly highlights of the best posts...
Sign up here
© 2012 Katharina´s Italy | Privacy Policy
Site design by InfinVision