Our new Airbnb home was a renovated farm house dating back to the 1800s. It was located 10 km ( 6.2 miles) from the nearest town with the last part of the road being a 1/2 km (0.3 miles) dirt road. We were definitely in the country!
We drove these lanes every day, sometimes several times a day and never tired of seeing the fields and vineyards in differing light.
Farm houses surrounded by fields and vineyards was the just the kind of Tuscan scene I had been anticipating.
Then we turned left onto the dirt road leading to our farmhouse.
Neglected cherry trees and olive groves dotted with wild yarrow lay on either side of the road as we climbed up the hill.
After parking our car on a patch of grass, we passed the other end of our building, where our host lived with her son.
Tall shade trees and rock walls covered with moss.
The pergola draped with Jasmine lay just under our kitchen window.
The steps leading down to the terrace in front of our front door.
Our bedroom window looked over the terrace area which was for our use only.
The downstairs entrance where we stored our suitcases.
The old-fashioned marble-topped kitchen table doubled as my make-up area!
Every day the windows were flung wide open to allow the waft of Jasmine to float into our rooms.
From our kitchen window, across the Jasmine covered pergola, we could see the entrance to our host’s other, smaller Airbnb apartment. During our stay there were only 2 couples who each stayed for only a couple of nights. One was a Finnish couple. We spent an interesting evening with them, talking and sharing outside under the Tuscan stars.
There were just 2 large rooms. The kitchen, with a table and small sitting area and the bedroom, with another sitting area.
The building one can see through the window was an empty, “abandoned” barn, not used for anything.
As with elsewhere in Italy, there were many cats around, doing their bit to keep the rodent population under control.
During the first 10 days or so, we had a fair amount of rain, but rarely did it last all day.
One of our nearest neighbors was this old villa, an Agriturismo which was the venue for weddings and parties on several occasions,
and this farmhouse store selling their own olive oil and various forms of salami from the pigs they raised.
The day after our arrival we stopped and bought a bottle of their olive oil. It proved to be everything I had hoped for and far more; liquid gold indeed. When drizzled on a fresh salad, the flavors just popped out!
As we returned to our car, we saw some locals picking cherries on their return from a ride.
I took an evening stroll down the dirt road to the group of houses, and was in time to witness a lovely sunset.
We became very fond of our host, Susanna, and her son Rafael. A gentle soul, she had spent over 10 yrs going back and forth to India, learning massage therapy. Although she had a full-time job at a nearby luxury hotel and spa, she started the Airbnb on the side and was doing very well with it.
Jouko enjoyed her services a couple of times during our stay.
Usually we would eat lunch out, so in the evening I would make a fresh salad;
olives, walnuts, pears, etc, & THE local olive oil.
Local Percorino cheese and baguette.
I’m not a poet, but on June 15, I wrote this in my diary;
“As I look out the kitchen window, over the stone rooftops, up the hill and dirt road to the clear blue sky, and breathe in the sweet aromas of the Jasmine and listen to the bird song, I want time to stand still. Live in the moment and extend it. Who knows what Etruscans and Romans have stomped these hillsides and disturbed this bliss? I never want to leave -this is healthy, soul-replenishing. Just down the dirt road, wanna-be race course drivers hog the middle of the barely two-lane back roads. And elderly men still sit on benches and comment on the world as it goes by”.
Sometimes the silence was deafening……….
This was our home base as we explored the different areas of Tuscany. Next, the Hill Towns……….