LAGO DI BOLSENA
Our next wonderful memories were made when we set out to explore the Italian lake ‘Lago Di Bolsena in the province of Grosseto. Many small medieval towns sit with their castle walls surrounding this vast volcanic picturesque lake. Winter travel in rural Tuscany is a pure delight. We were so inspired by this lake that we parked the car about 2 kms from the beautiful town of Capodimonte and walked along the black volcanic sand beside a still skinned lake. It was like a fairytale lake with two small islands in the central. Wild ducks floated aimlessly on the lake water. A local fresh produce market was coming to a close in the town overlooking the lake. Yes we are in Rural Italy where 4 hour lunch breaks are very common. Rest and family live is part of the ritual here. We also explored the next small lake town called Marta where we got to try a mouth watering Italian ice cream biscuit we decided these were every child’s dream, so I indulged in a second one. After taking in our last glance at this tranquil lake we both could imagine how popular this place would be during the Italian summer months. A hive of activity filled with canoes with happy sun kissed children. We journeyed back to enjoy one more amazing sunset and glass of wine on our rooftop. This was definitely the land of paradise.
The next morning we headed for new promised land to Montalcino one of Tuscany’s highest fortified medieval towns. We stayed in a converted horse shed – a beautiful accommodation once more. Rob enjoyed pretending he was the castle archer sending arrows through the arrow slit windows in the castle wall. His medieval history degree playing in his head. The surrounding vineyards make up the prestigious Brunello wine region. The view from within any spot in town was to die for.
SAN QUIRICO & PIENZA
Over our 4 day stay here you couldn’t help it by being constantly shocked by the surrounding views, landscapes and medieval towns. This is a place that inspires you to want to explore. The cobbled narrow village lanes are full of adventure spilling over with eye popping window flower gardens, medieval timber doors, cast iron horse rings, medieval candle holders to light the streets during the darker midnight hours and numerous medieval characters churches waiting for the next soul searchers to fill their womb. On our numerous explorations meandering over Tuscan roads Rob constantly spotted villages in the distance that he described as a little village of heaven as the sun shone down through the clouds. We visited the rural medieval towns of San Quirico and Pienza.
We enjoyed sampling grappa a fireball of a spirit made from grape skins that is taken as a shot. Forty percent pure Tuscan alcohol with a hot after burn to match. Just what we need on a cold winter night to warm your soul. We were told that grappa here in Tuscany is seen as a daily digestive drunken after your nightly meal. We loved this rural region as we were always experiencing a new flavour or taste. It felt like we were on the tour of eat and drink your way through Tuscany. And I felt so special as I had my own personal Ozzie young cute dimpled fancied tour guide. We tried local honeys infused with ginger, chilli and clove, devoured copious amounts of crust over baked bread, munched on fig and walnut ancient cakes, savoured local mature and infused cheeses, we enjoy fine quality prosciutto and sucked on home made lemon soft fruit pastilles.
ABBEY OF SAN ANTIMO
But Rob’s favourite find was at the Abbey of San Antimo. This Abbey is set amongst vineyards and olive groves in a landscape of tranquility. A back to basics life style full of daily meditations and worship in a spares majestic Abbey. The Abbey itself is very impressive. As Rob spotted the home brewed beer, wine, licorice liquor and honey mead he was contemplating that maybe a Monk’s life was his destiny. We did splurge heavily in the Abbey gift shop but I am afraid to say all our purchases were consumable and Rob will enjoy these spoils for weeks to come.