Sunday, July 20, 2008

More detail on the trip soon. See pictures of the excursions off the cruise ship here.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Yeah, it sucks being on vacation.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Notes from Toscana 

Villa Rignana was our home for 6 days during our vacation to the Chianti region in Italy. Having visited Tuscany before, we focused on visiting the small hill towns in the Greve area near our villa. We were most enamored with Montefioralle, a small and quaint hill town with a single brick elliptical street and beautiful views. We had some great meals there with scenery that makes you happy to be alive. The first at Ristorante La Castellana, which had a plate lickingly delicious truffle pasta; and Taverna del Guerrino, a simple trattorie with a nice terrace whose cook looked like a sweet grandmom!

The other town we enjoyed was Badia a Passignano. This hill town is dominated by its monastery dating back to 1049; it looks mythical as you approach it. We ate at Ristoro L'Antica Scuderia, a nice, modern restaurant with a peaceful terrace and a small "public park" next door where the kids ran around while waiting for the grownups to finish their meals.

Hands down our favorite restaurant while staying in the villa was La Cantinetta di Rignana. This locals' favorite restaurant not only had great views, good BBQ with hearty slabs of meat, but a play structure for kids to play in between courses! Perfect!

We also visited Greve, a larger town located at the bottom of the valley. Piazza Matteotti was a pleasant walk. A highlight was visiting Macelleria Falorni, one of Italy's oldest butcher shops. We also stopped by Panzano, a small town with views of the rolling hills; known for famous butcher Dario Cecchini at Antica Macelleria Cecchini.

Rich mapped all the places we visited in Tuscany here. This is also a good website which covers all restaurants in the area we were in.

The Chiantigiana roads were too nauseatingly windy for Isabella, so we did not explore too far. But that gave us an excuse to just relax at the villa amongst the breathtaking scenery, watch the kids play gleefully, and eat well. That's all we wanted on our Tuscan holiday.

See more pictures of the Italy trip here.