My hubby and I walked out of our Airbnb at 6:45 to catch the sunrise over the Tuscan valley. We were rewarded by a slowly unfolding scene of serene, breathtaking beauty. Fertile fields, stretching as far as the eye could see, sloped to blue ridge mountains shrouded in mist.
Meanwhile, the world awakened. Below us, a white and black sheepdog barked at some unseen object. A bee hovered overhead. Cars putt-putted their way along the winding road next to our Airbnb. The sun kissed the valley, then rose in earnest.
Then we spent the day driving a loop through wine country, the Chianti region. We decided to just drive and stop and take pictures at will, foregoing piazzas or other historical features (and the headache of parking) at a dozen or so small towns referred to by their Italian name, “communes.”
We stopped for pics. A lot. Every time I got out, I exclaimed with pleasure. My husband asked me why I thought it was so beautiful; why I’ve been more excited than he’s ever seen me, over a landscape. I looked at the vineyards–their precise rows and hues, alternating with understated olive trees and contrasting with the bare dirt ready for the next crop. All that green, a balm to the senses. I tried to explain to him, but words failed me.
The beauty didn’t end with the vineyards. Everywhere, there was color and magic. Windows with flowerboxes. Faded stucco on aged walls. When God created Italy, He came through and gave them an extra dose of loveliness.
We ended the day at Volterra, another hilltop town, well-preserved but not as fancy as San Gimignano. For dinner, Drew craved lasagna. I decided I wanted to try tripe–Trippa Volteranna. It was a cold night, and a hot stew sounded good. It took some doing but we found an unassuming restaurant that served both. My stew was soft and cut in strips, in a nutty, flavorful tomato sauce. Delicious.