San Gimignano

San Gimignano experience

Tay Travels

San Gimignano
…or, as I like to say, San Chimichanga…
is a hidden gym in Italy out in the Tuscan countryside.

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Imagine driving an hour through nothing but Italian vineyards
until you look up and see a medieval skyline on top of a hill out in the distance.
That’s San Gimignano.

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It’s literally in the middle of nowhere,
and it looks as if nobody has touched the city since it was built in the 13th century.
The only sign of change is the shops inside of the ancient buildings.
Old homes, trades, and shops have been transformed into hotels, gelatarias, and trattorias.

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I could write about this town for pages and pages,
but I’ll spare you some time and narrow it down to my three favorite highlights-

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1. Lunch with a view
My meal was easily in my top five meals of my month of Italian food,
and my view was…

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Italy, Day Seven: Tuscany

oneyearincali

We just got back from a eleven day trip to Italy. I’ll be posting my travel journal entry, along with photos from each day.

Kirk braving the coldWe took the morning off! Kirk got us breakfast in bed, and is downstairs now, braving the cold to do a couple of laps in the pool. I am keeping warm and snuggly in my bed, writing and reading.

Tuscan CountrysideI took a (very muddy!) hike through the countryside behind the villa, and then we got our day started.

Around noon, we headed for Cortona, a walled city that is very well preserved and is about 30 minutes away from our hotel. Il Teatro

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Firenze, San Giovanni, e I Vini del Marchesi Ginori Lisci

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Making Pasta In Florence

For about 23 years I have considered Florence my second home. I feel 100% at home in that city where I had a home for six years in my 20s, a magical time to roam and live in Florence. I confess that I was not the cook in my home, my ex was a fabulous cook.

Strips of Pasta

His mother was and is the best cook I have ever met. She would be happy to see me making pasta with friends in her city. Today is the Festa di San Giovanni, the patron saint of Florence. The whole city celebrates and my friends and I always used to as well. These photos are not from a San Giovanni party but from last November when I was in Florence.

Elisabetta

Elisabetta, the wife of a dear friend, was in charge of the pasta operation. Great fun was had by all as my friends seem…

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Siena adventures

Siena is my favorite city in Tuscany

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12th of June – 14th of June: Siena.

The trip from Florence meant a long walk to the station, on the day that the temperatures started to climb. It was a two hour bus ride that landed us in Siena, having to search for our accommodation again. Eleanor took on responsibility of navigation this time, and must of done a wonderful job, as we found the place fairly quickly.
After goading riding ourselves of our backpacks, we set out looking for lunch – still trusting the handy owl stickers, and enjoyed a delicious meal. Once our stomachs were no longer rumbling, we headed to the main square and bought a ticket to climb the town tower, in order to see the spectacular view of the city from above. We had been told while in Siena there where three must sees – the tower, the fort and the basilica, so we…

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I’m off to Play your Tuscany!

Cut the Kitsch

Four weeks ago, I was selected as a blogger for Play your Tuscany, which means for 4 days I’ll be touring the best of Tuscany’s sea and nature!

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As I fall asleep, I’m already envisioning the delicious Italian dinners and other fortuitous moments that Italy will inspire. If you’ve read the itinerary (on the site), you’ve notice this isn’t your average tour to Tuscany!

You can follow my journey on Twitter and most recently, my newborn Instagram account, akfrisky.

The best part: you, too, can apply for a future date with Play your Tuscany!

*On a seperate blogger’s note, I was recently published online with the Cultureist. My article’s catchy (and perhaps wordy) title, “Forget Sangria, Madrid’s Craft Brewery Trail is Reviving the City’s Thirst for Inspiration.” It is, in the least, 300 additional words as why you should come visit Spain’s capital right now.

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Fall in Love in Cortona

Cortona is a wonderful city!!!! I Love it!!!

Blogging In Italy

IMG_0006Italy is a popular destination for weddings, and Cortona ranks second, behind Venice, as the city of choice. Not difficult to see, as this lovely Etruscan town offers an incredible historic and romantic setting. I have written about weddings in the past, including one local wedding where the bride and her father arrived at the church in a horse-drawn carriage and another, a military wedding at the Municipio. Lovely.

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This past weekend, wedding planners hosted the first annual Fall in Love in Cortona weekend. Festivities included a broad display in the park of everything needed for a destination wedding including clothes for the bride, groom, attendees, and children; table settings; floral arrangements; make-up; honeymoon locations; food service; bar service, etc. On Saturday night, a speed dating event took place in the piazza. On Sunday night, a fashion show graced the steps of the municipal building. Wonder if any of the…

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Tree Swings and Cherries

Strada Toscana

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About 7 years ago my husband, Luigi, hung a tree swing for me in a cherry tree – right at the edge of our uliveto (olive grove). I love that swing! It’s one of my favorite spots – like a little retreat – where I can swing and swing and swing, and meditate on the green forests and open pastures that share the valley below our house in Umbria.

This year my beloved cherry tree – and 2 others – are spilling over with (you guessed it) cherries! So we’ve started to harvest.

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One of the trees is a wild cherry – at least that’s what our friends and neighbors have told us. The cherries are smaller, yellowish pink when ripe, and oh-so-delicious. But we don’t even try to preserve them. They’re very delicate (and nearby impossible to pit) so we’ve found it’s best to just eat them fresh –…

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The Magic of Waiting … Italian Style

Strada Toscana

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You’ve said it, I’ve said it, we’ve all said it … “I’m sick of waiting.” “I don’t like waiting.” “I’m tired of waiting.”

Actually, tourists here in Italy say things like that a lot. Because when you visit Italy (particularly rural areas) there seem to be a lot of things to wait for … waiting for sheep to cross the road (how big could that flock be?), waiting in line at the post office (what could possibly be taking so long?), waiting for the little scooter to get out of your way (why doesn’t he just pull over?).

Yes, there are definitely plenty of things to wait for here, and what a wonderful gift that is!

pecoraThe rhythm of life in rural Italy might be different than what you’re used to, but that creates a fabulous opportunity (Opportunity? Yep, opportunity.) to surrender to that particular moment. It’s an opportunity to…

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