Italy

You are currently browsing articles tagged Italy.

Our week in an Italian villa seems like it happened  forever ago, and while I am behind on blogging and blog reading and have a TON of travel coming up (Sonoma, Baltimore, Hilton Head, New Orleans) I still want to get some of these planned Italy posts up. Looking at amazing food, wine, and scenery doesn’t really go out of style, does it?

Living the villa life meant that we had not one, but two kitchens to use for making meals, something I always love to do when traveling. On our first full day in Italy, we went to the market to stock up on essentials for the week, including mineral water, wine, chocolate and sunscreen. All you really need. . .

We also took advantage of the incredibly fresh and affordable produce, meat, and bakery sections, pulling together bread, apricots, figs, tomatoes, and various types of meat and cheese for a lunch feast. This is the best way in the world to eat, in my book.

lunch at the villa  

That day, meat and cheese and veggies and pool time and naps led to a wander to nearby Lake Trasimeno, which was absolutely beautiful. My only regret of the trip was that we didn’t get to take a boat out on the lake. We did get to the lake in time for Aperol hour, complete with free, deliciously salty potato chips. I love the simplicity of cocktail snacks in Europe!

Aprol Spritz Lake Trasimeno

Our plan that day was to have dinner with some family members, but when there wasn’t room for us, we instead found the most romantic, authentic, delicious, delightful restaurant in the town next to our villa.

Osteria La Pergola was so charming and the perfect spot for a long date night dinner. None of the patrons left the entire time we were there. 

osteria la pergola

A team of two women were handling the cooking, serving, wine pouring, everything! We did our best with Italian words here and there, and there was a lot of pointing and laughing (in a good way) as we communicated across language barriers, all in the name of amazing food.

ravioli

Local bubbly, “Ca de Sass” Colli del Trasimeno, was celebratory and the perfect pairing for my pesto and cheese ravioli and then the molten chocolate cake that we just had to have.

sparkling wine Italy

Say yes to the cake and the espresso and bubbly. . . that’s my motto!

We eventually grudgingly pulled ourselves up to pay and leave, and our gracious hosts gave free limoncello and warm handshakes. It was one of those special evenings that usually only happens by accident.

limoncello

Our walk out of dinner and into the town square was pure magic.

IMG_3457

The next day was a travel day, and after homemade pastries at the villa, we headed to Avignonesi for wine tasting. You can read all about it here.

After that we had plans to meet a group in the stunning city of Montepulciano, which could be a post all in itself. This one, will focus just on the lunch we had, where our group of 16 took over a small cafe in the piazza. Wrangling that many people was chaotic, and I didn’t even get the name.

I did however settle in with a cold local beer. The heat in Italy made their lighter beer selections perfect especially in the afternoon when you just wanted something truly refreshing.

IMG_3500

The menus were huge and offered all sorts of pizzas, sandwiches, and other items, but we decided to go with various plates of cold food to share. Mountains of bruschetta, marinated vegetables, beans, olives, and more kicked off our meal.

dining in Montpulciano

bruschetta

And then we dove in once again to the local meats and cheeses. This was one of the best lunches ever. If you get to Montepulciano, this cafe was on the right, just in from the piazza, with a more formal sister restaurant across the narrow street.

IMG_3508

This just covers a few of our meals in Italy, and as time allows, I would love to share more. In the meantime I will be dreaming of Tuscan sun, wineries overlooking sunflower fields, and endless plates of Italian treats.

Technorati Tags: , , , , ,

Share

Tags: Food, Italy, Travel, travel blog, Tuscany, wine

Wine tasting in Tuscany. . . a beautiful phrase that conjures  up images of rolling hills dotted with smiling sunflowers and juicy grapes. . .a dreamy thought really. . .

Last month wine tasting in Tuscany became a reality as we stayed at a villa in Umbria, which was just over the Tuscan border. Hot, dry summer days with little to do but explore beautiful pockets of Italy left us time for visiting wineries like Avignonesi, located near Montepulciano. 

 Tuscany sunflowers

Even after a week in Tuscany, I couldn’t get over the sunflowers. Each and every time I saw one or a million, I was enchanted.

sunflowers in Tuscany

After only about 20 minutes of driving from our villa, we drove up the dusty road to Avignonesi, where we were greeted by sun-baked architecture, a warm welcome, and flights of wine.

Avignonsi Winery

Avignonesi

Options of covered patio seating and indoor tasting meant keeping cool out of the Tuscan sun, which gets hot! We opted to share the two tasting flights so that we could try more of the beautiful wines made at Avignonesi.

wine tasting

Our wine tasting was at our leisure, with the wines brought to the table two at a time. Our tasting included the following:

Il Marzocco Chardonnay Toscana IGT
Grandi Annate Vino Nobile di Montepulciano DOCG
Desiderio Merlot Toscana IGT

Grifi Sangiovese – Cabernet Sauvignon Toscana IGT
50&50 Toscana IGT

You’ll notice the focus in the region is mainly reds, including Sangiovese and Merlot. We did start with Chardonnay, and I learned that Tuscan Chardonnay, and this one in particular, is delicious. Notes of honey, lemon, wildflowers make it very different than the California Chardonnays I am used to drinking. The Chardonnay was a welcome, chilled respite from the heat, while the reds were big, structured, juicy, some tannic. These wines were beautiful, but for me, would definitely pair well with fall or winter, big bowls of stew or chili, and a fireplace.

 

wine tasting in Tuscan 

We finished with a Vin Santo di Montepulciano; it was rich and syrupy but not-too-sweet. A sip or two is all you need to pair with crunchy biscotti to finish off a meal.

vin santo

We enjoyed the ambiance of Avignonesi so much that we didn’t want to leave, so we got a glass of Prosecco to share and toured the beautiful grounds. The Prosecco was perfectly refreshing and in a more brut style, which I prefer. I am not a fan of sweet Prosecco!

Tuscany  winery in Tuscany  wine barrels

The whole of the property was wide open to us, and we peeked into the drying room and barrique room before stepping back out into the sunlight to soak up more of Tuscany.

What an incredible way to spend a few hours in Italy!

Technorati Tags: , , , , ,

Share

Tags: Italy, Travel, Tuscany, wine, wine tasting, winery

We’ve just returned from a wedding at a villa in Umbria, and the desire to return is real! We spent a week lounging in the sun, drinking wine and eating delicious local food, swimming, playing with nieces and nephews, and making new friends.

My husband’s family is scattered all over, so this destination wedding was a way to bring us all together in an absolutely stunning part of Italy.

Villa Baroncino is in Umbria, just minutes from the border of Tuscany, down a long driveway and  atop a hill, minutes from the local town, but secluded from any sort of noise or traffic.

Italian Villa

Due to flights from Ireland and the two hour drive from Rome, we arrived at almost midnight. The next morning I couldn’t wait to open my eyes to explore the villa.

The drive up the gated driveway got me every time. It was just so beautiful and grand.

Villa in Italy

Views of nearby Lake Trasimeno greeted us every morning. The lake is great spot for swimming, kayaking, running, or having an aperitivo. More on that later!

Lake Trasimeno

Villa Baroncino sleeps 50 people, which makes it perfect for a wedding. Large families can all stay in the same spot, and its privacy and distance from any roads meant the kids in the family could run free.

We were in Villa #7, a studio-type room which included a small kitchen. The main villa building also has a kitchen that is stocked with all of the dishes, glasses, etc. you could need.

travel to Italy

The view to the right as we exited our room was of the pool and the eternally blue, cloudless sky.

villa in Italy

Our room was beautiful and comfortable. It came with air conditioning, but due to the stone structure, ceiling fan, and window covers, it was always naturally cool. There were times when I was a little cold in the mornings, despite it being hot and sunny outside.

Italian Wedding Villas. The bedroom of Suite villa 7.

Photo via Villa Baroncino

Villa Baroncino

Two saltwater pools kept us busy all day and into the night, and plenty of lounge chairs made it easy to find a spot to soak up the sunshine. . . and there was so much of it! The weather in Italy was truly perfect when we were there.

Villa pool

Umbria

The villa grounds were like something out of a movie. Grape vines, beautiful flowers, and plenty of green everywhere added to the feeling that we were far away from the rest of the world. It was a place to truly connect with nature while also being surrounded by rustic luxury.

vineyard   

Staying in the villa meant that we could cook our own meals, and two fire pit barbeques were perfect for grilling for our big group. I know a ton of planning went into all of us getting to the villa to enjoy the week and a beautiful wedding reception on the property, and I would say we all found it well worth it.

I can’t wait to share our day trips in Tuscany, the wineries we visited, and the food we ate along the way. Stay tuned!

Technorati Tags: , , , ,

Share

Tags: Italy, Travel, travel blog, Umbria, villa

« Older entries

new restaurant
WordPress SEO fine-tune by Meta SEO Pack from Poradnik Webmastera