Into the Tuscan Hills

When I travel I’m usually on the go, go, go from sun up to sundown trying to get as much out of everyday as I can.  This leaves little time to actually relax and enjoy the surroundings, which sometimes, you truly need when you’re always on the go.  In the midst of my most recent trip around Europe I decided to set aside a little “me” time while in Italy which turned out to be the best decision I’ve ever made.

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It was always been a dream of mine to stay at a villa in Tuscany so I decided to check out Airbnb and see what it had to offer there.  To my surprise there are actually a lot of options for staying at villas in Tuscany and I went through them all until I found that worked perfectly for me: Forestarìa.

Forestarìa is an olive farm in Valgiano nestled in the Tuscan Hills overlooking Lucca and surrounded by vineyards (HEAVEN for me).  Want to know something kinda spooky…?  Legend has it that “Forestarìa” is the name of the ghost of a dwarfish, thin woman that haunts the hills of Lucca and likes to hang out in the big oak tree on the farm… It’s said that you can sometimes see her two eyes appearing in the tree hiding out there, and sometimes hear whistling like the wind…

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As the farm is located in the hills there’s not really any direct public transportation to and from.  The best way to reach it is if you have your own vehicle, if not the owners will arrange pickup for you from Lucca.  Lucca is also a beautiful place to explore, we spent the day exploring the town before heading to the hills.

After I was picked up and making my way up the winding streets of the hills my adrenaline really started pumping and happiness was spreading throughout me, another experience I have dreamed of my whole life was coming true!  Upon arrival to the farm I knew I had made the right decision.  The views were breathtaking and this would be my home for the next 4 days!

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The day I arrived just happened to be one where the restaurants surrounding the property were all closed so Marco & Eleonora (the owners) hosted a family-style dinner at the house.  There were other travelers staying on the farm so this was a good chance to meet and get to know everyone.  The meal they prepared for us was divine; all made with locally sourced ingredients, the olive oil they make on the farm, and lots of local wine.  5 courses, 3 hours, and who knows how much wine later it was time for bed.  I nestled into my cozy room and got the best sleep I think I had the entire trip!

The next morning I awoke to the smell of fresh coffee and breakfast, and what a view to enjoy with breakfast!  This was the start of my days of taking it easy…  Every morning I enjoyed a delicious farm fresh breakfast, did some reading, explored some of the nearby wineries, and really just took some time to myself!  In the evenings we would venture out to the nearby restaurants.  There are only a couple to choose from around the farm so every night we tried to pick a new one.  Only to find that every night we would return to our favorite even if it was just for drinks: Osteria Da Giomo.  Here they charge a set price for dinner which includes everything (25 Euros-food, wine, water) there are no menus and you better go hungry!  The server will ask if there is anything you’re not able to eat, which wine you prefer, and then still or sparkling water…  Then the courses just start coming!  Just as with our meal the first night, there are usually 5 courses  and the meal can last for hours.  It’s just part of the culture when you are in Italy, enjoying good food and wine… And I definitely did that, A LOT!  It was so lovely to get away to a place like this, one I encourage if you’re ever in Italy and another experience I can cross off my list!

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