Greetings, and welcome to the five-part blog series on our recent travels to Italy!
EAT MOVE REST IN ITALY
A 5-PART TOUR
Below you will find a handful of helpful information on delicious dining, fabulous fashion, and stunning sights from the 5 places that Dusty and I visited during our summer vacation abroad!
Also be sure to check out Parts 1 & 2 for an Italian, plant-based primer, and a taste of Venice & Florence!
VENICE // FLORENCE // TUSCANY // ROME // POSITANO
Part 3: Taste of Tuscany
Grapevines + Fine Wines
The Road Less Traveled
When we were planning our trip, Dusty and I decided it would be a good idea to stay somewhere a bit more remote halfway through, to catch a break from the hustle and bustle of the cities. As much as I love to go, go, go, I knew in the back of my mind that we would enjoy the bliss of doing nothing for a couple of days. To really get off the beaten path, we rented a car!
With tensions running high, we buckled up, and hit the open road in our Fiat. To our surprise, the roads were well-paved, and we didn't get lost once--even on the winding, hilly trek to our Airbnb cottage in the middle of nowhere. I will say that I'm glad we opted for a vehicle with GPS and an international data plan for my iPhone!
This Side Of Paradise
When we arrived, we were greeted by the homeowner, Ramona, and a bottle of Lapone Vineyard & Winery's finest. After being given a tour of the grounds and our private guest house, we were shocked and speechless--it was more than we could have ever hoped for!
The old, stone cottage, accented with cherry red shutters was a picture right out of a movie. We lugged our bags to our bedroom and began to make ourselves at home. After snacking on some local cherries and figs, we made our way out to the back patio and followed the stone path leading us to the expansive lap pool overlooking the rolling vineyards. This would be our home for the next four days.
To top it all off, I was greeted by a friendly feline on the property, that agreed to join me for a photo shoot. I think I made friends with at least one cat, each place we stayed!
Under The Tuscan Sun
As sunbeams shot across the bedroom the next morning, I felt my heart skip with excitement. I grabbed my phone to drop a pin on our location to make sure that I wasn't dreaming. I tip-toed across the cool, pale pink tiles and reached for my running shoes and made my way upstairs to rinse and chop some fresh fruit. Shortly after, my partner in crime joined me, and we enjoyed our breakfast in comfortable silence, gazing out the arched window at the expansive Italian hillside. This would turn out to be one of the best days of our lives.
There were no alarm clocks, no schedules or itineraries to follow, no tours to be at, just clear skies, sunshine, and plenty of time to do it right...Eat, Move, Rest. After breakfast, we took a right, heading out the driveway, which quickly turned to gravel. We ran up, down, and around, passing small, family farms with sheep ready to be sheared, ratty olive orchards, and never-ending rows of grapevines. We re-traced our steps home, shed our sweaty clothes, threw on our bathing suits, and made a B-line for the pool.
Sunglasses, big hat, a good book, quiet music, and endless sunshine. As we stepped to the water's edge, I grabbed my phone, gave Dusty a playful shove, and caught a quick "Boomerang" as he made a splash. As he re-emerged, we died laughing, watching the video clip on repeat. We spent the next several hours enjoying the art of doing nothing.
Olives, grapes, and figs were in abundance on the property, and I'd be lying if I said I didn't pluck a few!
A Hilltop Village
Later that day, we hopped in our Fiat and drove a ways south to a tiny, hilltop village called Orvieto, where we explored the famous, black-and-white striped Duomo. This region of Italy is technically considered Umbria, but to us, it was all Tuscany. We walked the narrow, quaint, and nearly motor-less streets lined with artisanal bakeries, chattering townsfolk, and hand-made linens. The majority of the shops were temporarily closed for a mid-day "siesta," or as they call it, a "riposo," and would re-open in the evening. Most of Italy embraces this extended lunch hour, and it provides tourists time to slow down and take it all in. As we wandered down the cobblestone road, we stumbled upon a group of budding musicians, serenading a crowd.
As shops and restaurants began to re-open, we sat down to enjoy some delicious bruschetta and beautiful, ribboned avocado salads. Later on, we finally found a local produce market and stocked up on more fruit and veg to keep on hand, and some pasta and fresh bread to prepare for dinner. Three reasons we love to use Airbnb instead of booking a hotel: 1) we love to have a kitchen to cook in, 2) they are typically less expensive, and 3) they have more character and style!
On our way out of town, we made a pitstop at a park overlooking the valley below. We grabbed our cameras and walked along the path to have a look. To our left was a large, round, cement pad, where a group was wrapping up an outdoor yoga class--shortly after, was the real treat! An older man and a younger couple showed up with two wooden crates with holes drilled in the side. As the younger man placed a large, leather glove onto his hand, he reached into one of the crates to unveil a stunning, masked hawk. He removed the mask, blew his whistle, and the hawk took off and soared right over our heads. A few cues later, and the hawk was right back on the man's arm. It was apparent to us that no matter what career, job, or hobby, one had in this country, it was all done with such passion!
Find Paradise Within
The main takeaway in Tuscany was that sometimes less is more. Often times, I feel more anxious when I'm doing nothing, as opposed to having too much to do. I like to visit cities, people watch, shop, eat, mingle, and meet, but out of every day abroad, that particular day we spent by the pool stuck out most to me. I can whip up almost anything delicious and nutritious in the kitchen, but I still haven't quite figured out what the recipe for a perfect day is--but I do know two crucial ingredients--love and laughter.
Those types of days come as unexpectedly as a strong gust of wind, and just as quickly, they pass--but they are never forgotten.
Think Less, Feel More
Whether you're on an Italian holiday or right at home, practice the art of doing nothing--think less, and feel more!
Stay tuned for EatMoveRest In Italy, Part 4: Rome Away From Home, coming up next! We'll be bringing you more helpful insight on being plant-based abroad, as well as more food, fashion, and fun! Also be sure to check the EatMoveRest YouTube channel for the latest recap there! Until next time, explore more!