Updated January 2018. Who doesn’t like reading another person’s diary? Here is an excerpt from my 2010 Diary about our Tuscan farmhouse stay.
A Tuscan Farmhouse
I pride myself on finding great places to stay and the farmhouse I found in Tuscany was one of the best! In true Tuscan farmhouse style the soft hum of happy bees in the Rosemary bush outside our bedroom window, blended charmingly with the bells of the sheep grazing beneath the olive trees.
In April 2010 we stayed at San Vincenzo, a Tuscan agriturismo, 2.5 km from Castel del Piano in southern Tuscany. An agriturismo is a working Italian farm that derives part of it’s income from accommodation.
Southern Tuscany is generally more rustic, with fewer crowds and cheaper prices than it’s counterpart to the north.
We hired the smallest car we could find – an adorable and brand new baby Fiat – and drove it from Genoa, near the Cinque Terre in Liguria to Tuscany. When I say we, I mean my husband Marty. He relished the challenge that driving on the different side of the road, and changing gears with the opposite hand presented!
We drove out of Europcar, Genoa, at 10.30 a.m. with verbal last minute instructions to follow the coast road and access the autostrade (freeway) at Nervi. As chief navigator I held my breath as we drove out of the Europcar depot and into traffic. Marty is totally unflappable, so my last minute directions didn’t faze him too much.
It was 12 noon by the time we entered the freeway. Choosing which Toll lane to enter was a guessing game, but we didn’t get turned away (this time or any other time in Italy).
How to order at an Italian Autogrill
Not long after arriving on the freeway we exited to one of Italy’s amazing Autogrills for lunch and a regather. After watching other customers, we paid first at the cash register, returning to the panini counter to place our receipt on the countertop. The attendant collected it in due course and asked which panini we wanted. Phew! Luckily this procedure was the same at Autogrills all over the country.
Having passed Piombino, we rang our host as instructed and Stefano was ready to meet us on arrival at the farmhouse. Having said goodbye to the autostrada at Grosetto, the pace slowed drastically as we negotiated the hilly and unfamiliar country roads. When we finally arrived, Steffano had gone to work and his wife was there to welcome us instead. Her English was as bad as our Italian but her happy smile was a lovely welcome.
With our hostess gone, we lit the fire, explored the garden and had time to savour the sunset from our tiny balcony, before heading inside to demolish those local sausages we couldn’t resist buying in nearby Castel del Piano.
Buona Sera from a Tuscan Farmhouse.
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