Of all the places I was most excited to visit in Italy, the countryside in Tuscany was highest on my list. I imagined serene landscapes of rolling hills and vineyards, dotted by quaint little mountain towns. I’ll just say I wasn’t disappointed. Here are some of the scenes we came across.
The towns themselves were filled with old world charm, some of them appeared to have changed little in the past 400 years. High stone walls, falling apart but still standing strong, cobblestone streets, large wooden doors, arches…
…and lots of cute little window shutters.
We stayed mostly in the town of Montepulciano, and took trips to several nearby towns and cities, including Piensa, Bagno Vignoni, Monteciello, Perugia, and Montefioralle.
And believe it or not, in the middle of the Italian summer, we discovered snow in the mountains of Tuscany. Here is Marie freezing herself on the snow.
And Emily standing in front of an ice cave she found.
Okay, actually, this isn’t snow. These are calcium deposits left by a natural hot spring called Bagni San Filippo. In other places, the rocks were a rainbow of yellow, red, blue, and other colors. And the water temperature was nice and warm to very hot.
Here I am enjoying a nice hot waterfall shower massage. Pay special attention to my muscles.
This region is also famous for wine. I’m an extreme wine novice, having never had any drinks until I was 30, and never liked much of what I tried after that. But here I’ve found a few wines I’ve enjoyed, mostly white and dessert wines. It did take me a good 10 minutes to figure out how to open a wine bottle, though.
Sometimes they even serve free wine from fountains.
I’m kidding. That’s just water. Cool fountain though, isn’t it? That was in Perugia (Umbria province).
In Montefiorale, we saw a flier that said “Opera” and had a picture of a piano and some people, so thought we’d attend an opera performance. We went into the beautiful theater, and there was a piano, but instead of singing, we realized after using our translator app, that we were attending a lecture by a psychologist of sexology discussing emotions. The music concert was another day. We were fascinated by the topic, but it was all in Italian and we weren’t understanding much, so decided to leave early. But we did stumble upon the ending of a local flag throwing competition!
Other nights, we did hear a choir practicing, and we did attend a performance to hear some lovely Italian arias. Jen and I actually hired a babysitter and went on a date! Here we are before our date. Isn’t Jen pretty?
We also had a fun picnic earlier that day.
I like Tuscany. How about you?
Check out more pictures and videos of Tuscany below.
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First Timers in France, Part One
18 Aug 2015
Last Weeks in Italy
20 Aug 2013
If you decide to move to Italy, I might just have to join you….
Ahhh, what an amazing place to visit and experience…Everywhere we looked was so surprisingly picturesque. Glad we stayed in Montepulciano. Very much enjoyed our date night. Bagni San Filippo was a definite highlight. Loved our picnic together. Oh my gosh, you look super sexy in that photo, by the way. ;)
I loved that pale milky blue water at the springs – so pretty. And yes, Jen is so beautiful. Everyone looks so happy and relaxed – Italy suits you all.
Your photos are gorgeous! I lived in Italy for a year when I was 18 and spent some time in Tuscany (loved Sienna!). Tuscany sure is a magical land.
Beautiful! Tuscany looks like such an enchanting city. I am glad that the girls found snow! I know they have been missing it :) How fun for you guys! That water looks fun to play in. (Um… hello, muscles!!)
I have not been a fan of wine… especially red (Yuck!). However, like you, I have been able to find some white/blush/dessert wines that are actually pretty tasty!
Yes, Jen looks SO beautiful! And you look very handsome, yourself. I love the clothes you are wearing. You guys look great!
*Ditto to mom’s comment about moving to Italy….
Very beautiful and yes Jen is beautiful as well. :-)
Wow, Brandon, you really managed to capture the spirit of Italy! Those little towns with the winding roads and the amazing views, just stunning! I didn’t make it to Tuscany when I went 2 summers ago, instead I found myself working on a horse farm up near the Swiss border, in the Cuneo region. It is absolutely stunning, and so peaceful there, I loved every second of the 2 weeks I had there – I wish I could add a photo to this comment! If you and/or the girls like horses, you should check it out – the place I stayed was a horse-trekking & hotel/guesthouse place, run by one of the most generous and joyful families I have ever met! They even let me teach myself how to ride bareback! Check them out http://www.vanetcavallo.it/ and if you do decide to visit, tell them Annika from New Zealand sends her love!
Enjoy the rest of your time in Italy – truly a beautiful place :)
Oh, and yes, you and Jen look gorgeous together! :)
How I wish I could visit that place one day!