After our day in Siena we drove to our villa in Castelnouvo about 15 miles away...or tried to. Our TomTom wasn't receiving signal, so I used the maps app on my phone (buying a data plan was worth it). Things were going along swimmingly as we drove through moonlit vineyards on a rough gravel road. Then, my phone said we had arrived and we were sitting in front of a huge estate iron gated entrance with a hefty chain holding it closed. Our brows furrowed. Luke mumbled "This isn't right..." I tried to buzz in through the gate intercom (maybe the chain was added security at night :/ ), but no one answered. We called the villa number not sure if anyone would answer as it was getting late. Fortunately for us, a very vibrant bilingual receptionist picked up and gave the, oh so simple, instruction of "follow signs to (insert some town name here)" three times and then hung up. We bumped along the gravel road back to the little burg of a village and did indeed find the signs and later the villa. This may or may not have been one of the times we had heated "discussions" in the car centered around navigation...and laughing, don't forget the laughing as well. I'm less pleasant when hungry, I will readily admit that. We once again avoided sleeping in our car-maybe we did need a travel agent...but we would have missed the moonlit vineyard. ;)
the villa at night-our room is in through the quarter circle shaped steps to the left
After checking in, the receptionist apologized for the onsite restaurant being fully booked and made reservations for us in Castelnouvo. Looking back, I'm glad because, this villa was full of more English speaking persons than anywhere else we had been the whole trip...and they were probably all at the hotel restaurant that night. Not that I don't like English...I simply didn't take a 12 hour flight to Italy to meet Americans is all. :)
We asked if this was local wine, to be sure. The server gave an incredulous look then pointed to the shelves behind him- "all local." Errrrrr right. ;)
the "all local"wine
traditional hand rolled noodles. Luke said they settled like a rock in his stomach ;) My truffle pasta was very yummy and settled more lightly. Good thing because that is only the "first"...they want to know what you would like as a "second"...and that is after the antipasti of local cheeses and salomi and bread. Full yet?
Luke's second-thin shaved raw beef
my second-local vegetable (like black cabbage) soup. Have I used the word "local" enough yet?
Oh wait...did I already say I liked the cafe`?
One thing I noticed about Italy, is that the streets empty out at night as people drift inside to eat...for hours (I have no major objections :)
Inside our villa - breakfast area
misty morning in Tuscany
Oh good morning dewy rose...mind if I stop to smell you...?
by the too chilly to swim in pool
Did you know pomegranates open up like that...? I didn't. I ate one. :)
One of many vineyards right along the road
Out of nowhere classic Italian cars start buzzing by. We aren't locals so we don't know what's going on.
Oh! Sure. We're driving through a bike race...got it. Classic cars are an added bonus for spectators
Some white sheep
the local cows are white too (stolen image fyi-I could never get my camera out fast enough for the ones we saw)... and some of the large trees along winding driveways are white...did I mention I love white
tuscan green power-of course it looks artistic on the slope
okay...this picture brings a lot of memories flooding back. This is Daniel (pronounced Don-yell-ah). He is showing us the boundaries of his family's farm. He goes to school in Florence and is home for the weekend. Both of his grandparents live in Florence and fight over him. :) His mother consistently yells his name from the kitchen...he keeps yelling back "I'm coming" in Italian. He is an only child because it is "very expensive" to have a family in Italy he says. He shows us the African duck's new one day old babies. "I love them." He says bashfully with a broad smile. They will soon have more animals and he's going to be a vet someday. I'm sure he will be. The red stuff on the ground to the left are grape skins from recent winemaking...wild pigs come and eat them at night. Wild pig that we ate for lunch. :)
strong wine from the farm-less rain than normal that year
bruschetta- olive oil from the farm (of course)
his mom's ravioli
Do notice that Daniel changed his clothes ;) too cute
wild boar from their woods
some killer tiramisu
Our table. My mom would use a dead potted tree as a trellis for roses too, wouldn't you mom? :)
small restaurant...big espresso machine. Normal
and we continued on after lunch... to load into the belly of a huge ferry to Elba island. Back to the Mediterranean because we missed it very much and we decided mid trip to center the last few days around a soccer match in Torino instead of driving further inland.