DISCOVERING TOSCANA

Remember the film Under the Tuscan Sun ? That was the first time we had ever heard about Toscana. Ever since, we’ve been fantasizing about going on a road trip to explore this picturesque region that extends from Rome to Florence. If I had to summarize Toscana in only 3 words, I would say it’s: CULTURE, LANDSCAPES and FOOD. However, I believe the effortless blend between the hills, the vineyards and ancient villas is what results in such a delicate harmony.

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Have I already convinced you to book your next holidays in Toscana? I have to stop you there. If you wanna go on a perfect planned trip, where everything goes according to a schedule, and no restaurant is fully booked (or has a 45-minute waiting time), then my friends: this may not be the best kind of trip for you.

On the other hand, perhaps you are seeking an authentic experience. This could go from visiting fewer places instead of trying to cover everything in just a couple of days to sleeping at a local B & B where you will be able to connect with the hosts and their culture, discovering genuine Italian delicacies…

This, my friends, is called Slow Travel, and Tuscany is the queen of Slow Tourism.

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Bearing this in mind, we were able to enjoy the charms of Toscana at their fullest. Frankly, we did have a rough idea of the little towns we wanted to visit, but also left room for improvisation in case we wanted to take a spontaneous detour.

Here are our tips for an unforgettable trip to the region of wine, pecorino and agriturismo:

How to get around?

We strongly recommend renting a car. That way you will have the freedom of improvising an alternative route and following local tips. For example, we’ve stopped countless times to admire the golden fields, a pink sunset or simply to try home-made traditional cheese. Remember that what makes a trip memorable are the moments you collect on the way.

Where to stay?

The best way to support the local economy and getting the chance to learn more about Italian culture is staying at an Agriturismo. If you’ve never heard about this concept before, I would define it as: travel that is organized around farming, small-scale food production and animals.

We were lucky to stay at two totally different places. Both of them were family owned and made sure we had a unique experience in contact with nature.

The first one was a former monastery and school, which in the 19th century turned into a family villa. At Il Bosso di Toscana, we shared the same roof with an Italian family. At their home there’s only one spare room and it’s entirely dedicated to travellers. They made our visit a special one by telling us all about the whereabouts of their home restoration and what life in such a small town as Abadia Agnano is like. The freshly home-made breakfast was one of the highlights of our stay, together with the shooting stars we were able to see in the evening !

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Afterwards, we were delighted to spend time with Elisabeta, Samuele & Django (their cute dog) at Agriturismo La Fontaccia. Offering their guests a privileged location high above Rufina, this agriturismo’s views are out this world. The olive and fruit trees surrounding La Fontaccia allows this Agriturismo to produce home-made olive oil and delicious jams, which fortunately we were able to taste.

Sunset was our favourite time of day: as the sun goes down the atmosphere turns even more magical. And what’s better than that if it’s combined with a delicious candlelight dinner ? Try to picture this for a moment: home-made italian food…a glass of wine… a Tuscan little town on the background… the scents of the countryside… the moonlight… Those are the kind of genuine, unforgettable experiences I was telling you about before.

 

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Some of the pretty towns we visited

This recommendation is only a guide, I suggest you trust your instinct and stop at the towns that attract your attention. That’s what we did with the ones at Chianti. I will let the pictures speak for themselves here 😉

Montepulciano:

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Pienza:

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Siena:

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Toscana The Light in the Road

 

Radda in Chianti:

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Panzano in Chianti:

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Last but not least: What to eat /drink ?

Well, this a very difficult question because Italian cuisine is so good, you will enjoy trying out everything, I guess. However, I wouldn’t leave Toscana without sipping a glass of the local wine from the Chianti region and tasting the Canelloni, at least once 😉

These are all my tips for now. If you would like read my following blog posts, please remember to like my Facebook page here .

Thank you for reading!

Lucila

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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POSTCARDS FROM ZNOJMO

 

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Just one hour bus trip from Vienna there’s a little town in Czech Republic called Znojmo.  This happened to be a great weekend getaway, however it would also be worth for a day-trip. Unlike Prague or Brno, Znojmo is not as crowded. That’s probably what makes the city so special and peaceful (we could even hear birds chirping!). We particularly enjoyed the laid back vibes in the city: at sunset we spotted groups of friends quietly chatting and drinking wine at one of the most awesome city’s view points.

HOW WE GOT THERE

Znjomo can be easily reached by car or by Flixbus from Vienna (one-hour drive)

THINGS TO DO

+ Stroll along the narrow, colourful streets almost by yourself

+ Try the local beer, it’s delicious

+ Go on a tour through the creepy underground tunnels and Catacombs. It’s definitely a once in a lifetime experience (we had never done this before!)

+ For the wine fans out there:  Znojmo happens to be a very important wine growing region and wine tasting tours are available.

+ Go hiking. There are some short/medium distance trails with stunning mountain views.

+ For food lovers like us: try the tasty local specialties. Compared to Vienna, dinning out is much more affordable.

I think this is pretty much it for now, I hope you enjoy your Znojmo trip as much as we did ! 🙂 Don’t froget to tell us about it in the comments!

Lucila

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

OUR MALTA TRAVEL GUIDE

Summer adventures have just begun, and we couldn’t be more thrilled about them! One of the reasons why we moved to Vienna almost 3 years ago is to be able to travel more and get to know countries we’ve never been to before. Today we are celebrating our 3 year wedding anniversary and wanted to treat us to something special. What better than travelling right? 😉 Continue reading “OUR MALTA TRAVEL GUIDE”

A DAY TRIP TO BRNO

Summer means weekend getaways! Living in Austria, the most tempting options for a short trip are the neighbouring countries. Getting on the flixbus or on a train has become one of our hobbies lately, so it was only a matter of finding an interesting destination. Continue reading “A DAY TRIP TO BRNO”

CESKY KRUMLOV: A MEDIEVAL FAIRYTALE

January is hard in Vienna. The Christmas Markets are already gone, the days are short, dark and cold… So with this panorama, the best plan would be staying at home watching Mad Men. Actually, while doing so, we had an idea: a weekend getaway. Continue reading “CESKY KRUMLOV: A MEDIEVAL FAIRYTALE”

TIROL: WHY WE SLEPT IN A BARREL

I never thought I would write a blog post about sleeping in a barrel, and yet here I am, compiling some pictures and trying to remember every detail to tell you all about it.

But how on earth did we end up sleeping in a barrel on the first place?

Let me tell you the story…

One of the things we like most about living in Europe is that we can travel spontaneously whenever we have the weekend off – and that is, without having to spend a fortune -. I mean, even within a few hours drive we can be in another country… exciting right?!

With a long weekend ahead of us, it was Gabriel who came up with the idea of going to Tirol. This is a region which comprises part of Austria and Italy, to me one of the most beautiful regions around here. We had been there before, and it was so incredibly pretty that, as you can imagine, I couldn’t have been happier to spend a few days in the mountains.

We would normally book accommodation before setting off, but this time we decided we would be MORE spontaneous and book something on our way. CHALLENGE ACCEPTED!

The trip started amazingly, we made some Mate, we had great music, nothing could go wrong. At least that’s what we thought 🙂

On our way we made our classical lunch stop at Mondsee. If you follow me on Instagram you know what I’m talking about! I love that place and always tell Gabriel to pull over here

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Once we got on the car again, we thought it may be the right time to start looking for somewhere to sleep, since we would be arriving at Innsbruck at around 4. I always search through booking, so I typed Innsbruck to have a look at our options…and BAM! To my horror suprise there was very, very few availability AND the few spots out there were all crazy expensive. Ok, I admit I had to calm down for a bit.. I tried Airbnb, and nothing… For a moment we thought the car wasn’t that bad of an idea! But then, I remembered there is the option to search near “current location”. So we did. And guess what? The Barrel Place was listed. Tadaa! They had a last-minute and very tempting offer, which was waay lower than the others. I was in for it IMMEDIATELY.  When I told Gabriel I had found a place to sleep AND that is was a barrel he laughed like crazy was a bit skeptical about it. “How will I fit in a Barrel !?” he joked.

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The second step was reading the comments and feedback of former visitors. I do this E-V-E-R-Y time. “If people say it’s good, then it should be!” I told Gabriel trying to convince him this was even a better alternative than a hotel or Airbnb.

And the truth is: it was!!!

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This camping was just a few km away from Innsbruck, in the middle of nature, I mean look at this!

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I had never been in a camping before (only when I was at school so that doesn’t really count) and I was surprised by how clean and organized this was. What amazed me the most were the shower rooms. I don’t know how this normally works in other campings, but here there were lots of shower cabins thought for families, so they were huge and even included a changing room inside them!

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And the best part, sleeping in the barrel. You know, they actually smell like a wood sauna: Pretty amazing! It was so warm and cozy inside, we slept even better than in other hotels we had slept before! And last but not least, there is something special about sleeping in the forest, we could see the stars through the window 🙂

Oh and the views in the camping…! Have I already mentioned there was a lake??

This is definitely something I  would recommend to everyone. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience we will cherish forever! “Remember the day we slept in a barrel?” 🙂

After all that is what travelling is about, exploring new places, being open to the unexpected, and making the most out of it.

This post is not sponsored. I am just spreading some love to Natterer See Ferienparadies because we genuinely enjoyed our stay. There are also bungalows for families, so if you are travelling in a group that may be a better choice.

Till next time! 🙂

Lucila

 

 

A WEEKEND IN SLOVENIA

Hello dear readers!

Today I’d like to share with you one of our last short trips. With a long weekend ahead and wonderlust in our souls, we wanted to take a trip somewhere but without spending a fortune. But where could it be? After doing a bit of research, Ljubljana became our firm option. From Vienna it’s a 4-5 hour bus drive and a round trip costs around 60 Eur with Flixbus, very tempting for our budget so we booked an Airbnb and off we went! Continue reading “A WEEKEND IN SLOVENIA”