Tuscany. Summer in Tuscany
There’s nothing wrong if you haven't booked a house at OT homes, but have already planned a two, or even better, a four week vacation in Tuscany and are still wondering where to go. There’s still plenty of time to do that – if you're ready to go in 2020, since 2019 could already be booked. But that’s ok, even if you get there in 2 years, you will totally love it.
Tuscany has the shimmering sea, blue water, dark beaches, and bomboloni sellers, screaming as loudly as they can, since a doughnut is the one thing you desperately need when it’s +31 and the sun is burning you like a chef frying an egg. Nevertheless, Tuscany is the most perfect vacation spot, if traveling in all shapes and sizes. Be it romantic getaway for “just the two of us” or a family or two family trip, it is all you have dreamed about if you know where to go, of course, and I have some tested local places (2 years in a row).
Once seen, it is never forgotten. The Tuscan scenery is something that we all imagine, even without having been there – the dark green cypresses, olive trees, vineyards, and sun-burnt grass in summer that turns a deep dark green during winter. Life in Tuscany is something we all fall in love and never stop loving. It is a love affair that we all have, aside from our husbands and wives. A love affair that we don't mind the other having, because it is a way for us to get there. Although a plane is the easy way, by car is the best to be able to experience the beauty of Tuscany from A to Z.
There is no reason you shouldn't, and there are tons of reason you should visit Tuscany and live there for at least 2 weeks (we did 3 and 4 weeks two years in a row staying at OT homes). It is located at the most amazing location with the sea just 15 minutes away, with the white beaches of Vada or volcanic ones at Marina de Bibbona, with the stunningly beautiful Casale Marittimo right over the valley, the beautiful marble hills, and the world famous Lardo di Collonata just a 1.5 h drive away. The charming and famous Bollgheri is just around the corner, as is charming Bibbiona, fishing capital Livorno (with the best drive along the small coastal road), and Cecina with all that you need. Do not forget that Firenze, Lucca, Sienna, and Volterra are also easily accessible and definitely worth visiting.
The abundance of fresh produce, great fish, meat, gelatos, and everything else you need to survive and prepared for in the coldest of winters, is there. Firenze is just 2 h away, Amedei chocolate factory (worth visiting for private tasting) is 1 h away, Siena, Volterra, San Vincenzo. Livorno, Colonnata, Luca, and so much more is not far. If you are willing to trade days by the sea soaking up the sun for driving around, you have places to go. Cooking at home is the best, but if you don't want to – there are plenty of local restaurants (see further) to enjoy good, not average food. Wine flows there as do the rivers and olive oil.
They say: “When Siena weeps, Florence laughs”. It took us two years to finally get to Siena, have an ice cream in the local gealteria, and coffee in a local and most historic bar Pasticceria Nannini. Three hours was enough to feel the pride of the locals and the extravagant city walls, but not enough to see all of it, as Siena (exaggerated or not) hides some very small and charming streets in forgotten places. Full story here
Sometimes confused with not so charming Chechnya, it is not at all like that. All you have to be afraid of here is spending way too much money in the local Tuesday market or shopping mall, fresh pasta shop, or the Pescheria just next door and eating way too much ice cream and local cantucci. Full story here
Living at OT homes, all roads lead to California because of two places. Pasticceria where you will die happy having eaten their freshly baked croissants, and Macelleria (butchers shop). Full story here
With its tiny roads, even tinier streets, and yellowish buildings, is the local gourmet stop for anyone who prays for good pizza or a fantastic restaurant experience. Full story here
For an escape from country life (if you must), take a picturesque 40-minute coastal drive to the capital of fishing – Livorno. Stop by the Mercato centrale or Mercato delle Vettovaglie for some indoor shopping every day or the fresh produce market outside on Fridays. Full story here
Once you've been there, you'll dream about that lardo melting on your tongue as you watch how the marble is cut from the steep mountains of Colonnata. This place, a 1.5 h drive from OT homes, is a must in every way – to taste and to see. Full story here
There’s are two things I have in mind when thinking about Casale Marittimo - Dosaggio Zero and amazing Taverna Via di mezzo. But thats not all. Full story here
With its one way street and way too many tourists, Bolgheri is still a great place to visit and more often than you would think, as it has one very local and special place where the line never ends – Gelateria. Full story here
Located up the hill, Volterra needs patience to get there. The roads are winding until you stop, but it’s all worth it, as the views get better with “every breath you take, every move you make”. You just keep going up, until the moment where there’s no more up and down is all you would love to see. Full story here
There's nothing surprising, but yet so much to know about Florence. As with every city that has books about it and guides in all the languages the world speaks, it is as naked as any city can be, but if you look closer and more carefully, there's just so much to find out. One can never get fed up with Florence, even if the summer heat stays there and you understand the saying “who comes to Florence, stays in Florence”: it is as tempting as their freshly-baked cake straight from the oven. Full story here
Stay at www.otwine.com
Fly to Milan or Rome
Rent a car either in Rome or Milan or Cecina
Car is essential
Sea is just 15 minutes away
Volterra is 40 minutes away
Siena 1,5h drive
La California, Bibbona and Cecina - 15 minutes
Bolgheri - 20 minutes
Livorno - 1h drive
Colonnata - 1,5h drive
Story and pictures: Signe Meirane
Camera: Sony Alpha 7s