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Tuscany...where la vita è bella!

all seasons in one day 26 °C

After four fun days at Lago di Garda, we went to my personal favorite part of Italy, Tuscany. That's where it all began for me. Having studied abroad in Florence for a semester and having studied Italian for some years (and this trip certainly highlighted all the bits I need to brush up on!), it always brings back lots of wonderful and fun memories. This is Italy for me.

We stayed about a half hour outside Florence in the countryside of the Chianti region in a small town called Rufina.
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We spent three nights here, at a cute agriturismo called Il Pezzatino. An agriturismo is a particular type of holiday in Italy. It is basically a farm stay, where many of the foods, wines or items served come directly from the farm. They can be rustic, or quite luxurious, depending on where you stay. We had always wanted to try vacationing in Italy this way (and of course leaned towards as luxurious as we could and somewhere that had Wifi, of course!). We somehow managed to neglect photos of Il Pezzatino, but you can see their link and it was veyr pretty. We do have one pic of their dining room with a long table, which they served breakfast at every morning. Il Pezzatino had lots of wood beamed ceilings, and a real homey feel. Lots of apple, pear and walnut trees in the front, grapes growing in the back. They also had a cute dog named Pepe (pronounced "PayPay", exactly like Naim's mum's dog named Pei Pei!).

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The weather was warm for most of our stay, although there was some rain, but it was nice and cooled it down. We drove around several little towns in the region, including the popular Greve in Chianti, which is the principal town in the wine district. Amongst wine and olive oil, Greve and the area is know for the Cinta Senese pig, which produces some outstanding pork, and is home to one of Italy's oldest and most renowned butcher shops, the Macelleria Falorni. It was a sea of prosciutto in there! Naim was in heaven.

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Zavian loved Greve, too and chose to take a spin around town on a Vespa!
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Being in Chianti, we had to take in some wine tasting. With the rain, it was the indoor activity of choice, of course! We choose a place called Casa Emma, and had a great afternoon. The great thing about Casa Emma, besides the lovely staff and vino, was their lunch! The recently completed a little osteria in the back, and they serve a lunch of Tuscan delicacies. We dined on crostini, omelette with sweet onions, local cheeses and salamis, prosciutto with melon, tuscan beans and a scrumptious torte polished off with vin santo!

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We then had a private tour by Carlo of the winery and tasted some great wines. Naim became a little celebrity while there as one of the staff loved his Norm (from Cheers t-shirt), which says "Drinking is the Norm" (so cheesy) and took photos to add to Casa Emma's facebook page! If you want to combine good food and wine (who doesn't?), then we would definitely recommend Casa Emma to anyone looking for a small winery and nice people. And the rainy day ended with a rainbow- perfect!

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Since we were so close, we had to visit Florence as every time I go to Italy I must return there! We started the day with a trip down memory lane to stop at NYU's Florence campus where I studied. I really wanted to show Naim and Zavian, but unfortunately we didn't realise that you can't get in these days without an appointment, so were sadly turned away at the gate. :( The Italians working there did make it clear however that this was not an Italian rule, but in fact, "thiiis iiis American security, signora." We were so not surprised.

Nevermind. So we got back in the car and headed down for the centre. Parked in Piazza della Libertà and walked towards the duomo. We enjoyed all the touristy spots- the duomo, various piazzas, various churches, Ponte Vecchio, etc.

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The highlight of the day, however, was the most random and unplanned meeting. We were almost on our way out the city, when we stopped near the duomo for a drink and to give Zavian some milk. I was feeding him a bottle and then saw a young boy who looked slightly familiar, but didn't think too much of it and didn't even mention to Naim. Then I saw his brother and father, and then realized it was some of our extended family, who live about 10 minutes from my parent's house! The Moholkar family were on their last day in Florence, just minutes from their hotel and on their way to Venice. It was such a great surprise to see them, in Florence of all places!

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We had a delicious and fun time in Tuscany, where life certainly is beautiful!

PS, I forgot to include pics of Naim's amazing bistecca fiorentina (Florentine steak). Here it is. Oh, might I also add that Naim was not able to finish the steak, and wanted to take home the leftovers. But the truth was, as he said quietly to me, was that he really wanted to clean that bone properly (Tasmanian devil style) and wanted to do that in privacy. If anyone else has every seen Naim eat a chicken leg, rib or something similar, you will understand why.

Being cooked...
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...and the final product!
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Posted by jknazef 09:58 Archived in Italy Tagged florence tuscany chianti rufina

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Comments

Finally got a chance to check out your guy's blog!
AMAZING!

by Gihan Perera

Loved your story. Having just returned from my first trip to Europe a little over 3 weeks ago, this brought back wonderful memories. Tuscany was my personal favourite too and I cannot wait to return.

by Brissy Girl

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