A week in a Tuscan villa . . .

Saturday, May 10, 2008: We spent most of the day in Siena, some of the group opting to stay at our hotel to sleep, wander the grounds, read, whatever we wanted. The birds and flowers are everywhere, and Carol had her binocs and Birds of Europe with her much of our trip. Colleen, Calla and I had a bit of a picnic in the sitting room of the Palazzo, and by about 3:30 we were ready to head out to find our private villa, nestled in the hills about 45 minutes southeast of Siena.

My plan was to make sure I stopped at a grocery store before arriving at the villa so we would have coffee, fruit, juice, eggs, and some other basics for food on Sunday. But of course our timing in the town closest to the villa was not great, and the grocery store, the InCoop, was closed for mid-afternoon naps. Gee . . . that meant that Barbara L, Kay and I just HAD to find a little bar that sold gelato . . . you know, just to kill the time until we could buy our groceries. And every little town, even those withOUT grocery stores have bars that sell gelato.

After all that, we drove up a dirt road toward Podere Camera, our half-of-a-villa on an agriturismo, a working farm that offers hospitality to travelers. This was a new villa for my groups, and I must say I was very pleased with the sight-unseen choice. Five bedrooms, five bathrooms, a kitchen, living room, dining room, several patios and terraces, a swimming pool, and all on the property of a winery!

We had arranged that Maria, one of the owners, would cook our dinner tonight, and were treated to a typically sumptuous Italian meal, complete with the true vino della casa, the wine of the house. Insalate Caprese, pasta, mixed meat dish, cheese, and a delicious fruit torte before the evening was over. With enough left to feed us the following night, we fell into our “new” beds with thoughts of the daily adventures ahead of us for the next week.

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