Hello there! I’ve been having a bit of “blogger’s block” recently but tonight, I finally sat down and decided to share with you some images that have been floating around in my head for the last week. You see, one of the mom’s at Grace’s school is a horse woman and she has just gotten back into riding. I think that is so fabulous! I’m completely useless on a horse so I always admire those who connect with them! Every time we get one of those perfectly, crisp Autumn mornings, I think of her riding her horse through golden fields and falling leaves. For some reason Autumn and horses just go together don’t they? A bright fall sky, the crunching of leaves, a touch of morning fog, the reds, oranges and yellows, warm sweaters and riding boots…I mean it’s a match made in heaven really. Don’t you think?
Hello friends! How are you? Hope all is well in your world.
My head is in the clouds a bit today…I’m dreaming of jumping on a plane destined for Paris and spending entire days drowning in all the treasure at the flea markets. I just found out that there are actual travel companies that take you on guided tours of these magical markets – totally brilliant! sigh. I want to go so bad!
Okay, so the reality is…I’m not going anytime soon so what’s the next best thing? – I’m going there vicariously.
This would be my Parisian apartment for the week. A perfect place to lay my head after a day rifling through French antiques! Isn’t it dreamy?
Happy Friday and welcome to our Vicarious Vacation. Today, I’m going to whisk us off to the quaint, little town of Casole d’Elsa in the hills of Tuscany. Strolling down the ancient cobblestone alleyways, decadent wine tastings, a visit to the Siena marketplace, a brush with history and of course a large helping of the local food are all on the agenda. Sound good? Okay, come on!
Let me tell you a little bit about this beautiful town. Casole D’Elsa is located in the Tuscany region in the province of Siena. Conveniently located between Florence and Siena, it provides a peaceful respite from the bigger, touristy cities. See map here. Pedestrian friendly streets, intimate cafes and a few notable historic attractions should keep us busy but not overwhelmed. Leaving plenty of time to soak in the Italian sun, sip Chianti and gobble up the local delicacies. Now where are we staying, you ask? Well…
I hope you don’t mind but I booked us into a rather fancy hotel just outside of town. I think we deserve it, don’t you? Welcome to the Relais La Suvera. Steeped in history this medieval fort turned sumptuous Mediterranean villa is our place of relaxation and refuge after all that sightseeing. Sigh…isn’t it simply dreamy!?
Fit for a princess right? Okay, freshen up and let’s go exploring. I know you are tired from the trip but it’s nothing a glass of Chianti can’t fix! Besides, we have massages scheduled later at the spa. Yes, even medieval fortresses in Italy have spas!
Here’s what I’m thinking…wine, cheese & cured meats. The local cheese -Pecorino di Pienza and fresh cold cuts such as salumi di cinta senese, will make the perfect blend of tastes and textures. Creamy and nutty in flavor, the Pecorino is a perfect pairing with the saltiness of the meat and sweetness of the wine. The celebrated local wine is aptly named Erta, meaning steep slope, indicative of the agricultural landscape of the region. A completely organic wine, it is a lovely blend of 95% Sangiovese grapes and 5% Merlot. Subtle herbal notes and deep cherry overtones will delight your palette! Want more…why don’t we try the testaroli? It’s a crepe like pasta usually combined with pesto. Yummy! This place is famous for it!
We had better stop in and grab some dessert! This region is known for its pastries and traditional sweets. One of the oldest treats around is the famous Panforte margherita! This “spiced bread” is a magical combination of dough, almonds, candied fruit, cinnamon, all spice and a generous sprinkling of powdered sugar. Isn’t it beautiful?
This is the Collegiata di Santa Maria Assunta, which dates back 1161! The original Roman bell tower still remains with the upper half of the building being constructed in the 14th century. Inside are the sacred tombs of Beltramo Aringhieri, by Marco Romano, and of bishop Tommaso Andrei, by Gano di Fazio.
I hope you enjoyed your day in the Tuscan countryside. Loved vicariously traveling with you! I learned a lot and loved seeing this little corner of the world. The village of Casole d’Elsa was enchanting, the food delectable and the Siena markets were utterly inspiring.
Anyone who knows me, knows that I love to travel and as a kid, my family and I were lucky enough to travel abroad many times. Those days are long gone but a girl can still dream…
For example, mention Italy and I deeply sigh and slightly swoon. I even burst into tears during the first Italian scenes of Under the Tuscan Sun! It’s kinda pathetic – especially since I’ve never been there. Yet, I dream of Italy….I long for it…
Okay, reality check – I’m a mother to a four year old, a domestic engineer (aka homemaker) and we aren’t exactly loaded, so my sappy little self isn’t going to be getting to Europe anytime soon. Fact.
Soooo…I’m going to have my own little Vicarious Vacation series and I want you to come with me!! Game?
Here’s the plan. Over the next four weeks, I will be posting a Vicarious Vacation on Fridays. Seems appropriate right?
Researching is kinda my thing, so I will be hunting down some fabulous places for us to explore. Tantalizing all your senses with wonderful imagery, recipes, local hang outs and even sounds – I hope to provide a mini getaway via my blog.
Excited? I am! If we can’t travel in real life…let’s play pretend. My four year old is a pro at it, so let’s pull out our imaginations and do a little sight seeing.
Pack your proverbial bags because this Friday we are headed to – you guessed it – Italy! It’s not the big cities that everyone talks about but I promise it will be a unique little adventure. I can’t wait!
Here are a few images to get you in the mood…
If anyone has any thoughts of where we should go the other three weeks I am open to suggestion! If not, I have my own growing list…
Hi there. I'm Ivy and Welcome to Grace & Ivy! Admire art, photography, inspired spaces and vintage finds. You will also see my exploration of photography, art projects and crafts as well as snippets from my life. Enjoy your time here and let me know if you have any questions. You can write to me here: firstname.lastname@example.org