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Era una settimana straordinaria.

Ok, a week in Tuscany. I could easily say "My oh my it was a splendid week" and post a few pics of some churches and houses and bridges, but that's so totally un-me. I think. So, be prepared, this is going to be a long post with quite a few words and with some even more pictures, featuring... well, some churches and houses and bridges. And then some.
And this one is just a teaser. And since it's a classical masterpiece it should be regarded as SFW - all over the globe, cause I surely haven't seen any parents covering their kids' eyes when they passed by this shameless display of male frontal nudity, seen in the centre of Firenze, the city that - rather strangely - left the tiniest impression of all I have seen in a week. Must be because of the crowd. Don't know, but I am sure I will give Tuscany another chance soon.

So, Baccio Bandinelli's Hercules and Cacus in front of Palazzo Vecchio, Florence Town Hall.



So... this is the start. And I will put the rest behind the cut. Just keep this in mind:







Il casale

Yes, the place we stayed in was surely one of the biggest charms of our week in Tuscany. We decided to spend the last days of April in that region of Italy sometimes in October/November and, of course, booked it all through endless possibilities of the World Wide Web. TheCrew™ demanded a four bedroom lodging and so LadyM, SireI, SireM, SireR and SireT decided to stay in a lovely old, 13th century villa, called Il Giuncheto. And, as our van drummed its way in Tuscany hills, we were..... charmed, to say the least. I think the pictures and some words that go with them should bring you some of the atmosphere.


 
Ahhhhhhhh..... :)


Inside looking out. What would I give the look from my kitchen looked like that...


SireM enoying on the terrace #1. (We had two more.)

 
We painted some 10 000 candlepots... remains of crème brûlée we had while skiing in France.

 
SireM and SireI enjoying the fireplace #1.

 
SireR and the look down the valley. Lights of Castelfranco di Sopra can be seen there.

 
We just can't go without being silly. The Shady Dame from Seville.

 
Enjoying coffe in the upper salon. Fireplace #2 was left intact.

 
It's such a hard work becoming an artist...

 
Just a detail.


The Wine


It needs to be written with a capital "w". I think we gave a Tuscany economy a slight boost with the wine purchase we made there... Some of it was left there, if you know what I mean, and some 30+ bottles of wine, oil and aceto balsamico made it to Slovenia unharmed. We went to the heart of Chiant region twice, to a tiny city, called Greve; a tiny city with a HUGE winery where you can really taste the best wines of Tuscany. From the ones that - as Italians says - costano un occhio della testa (even a tiny sip for degustation cost whopping 6€) to the ones that finally found the place on our table. Ok, Vino Nobile and Brunello are extraordinary, but a good bottle of Chianti Classico for some 15-20€ was all we asked for. And got it. In numbers. The revelation follows.


 
Perfect combination.

 
Enjoying Greve. It was rainy, so other tourists were missing. Luckily.

 
My magnum. I will open it in a couple of weeks, for my birthday.

 
Just part of the purchase.


Going around - Part One


Yes, we were a very active group. Some of us knew Tuscany well, some of us knew some of it, for some of us it was a still undiscovered gem. So a week is just the right time to get an overall, even if slightly superficial overview of one of the most beautiful Italian regions. Yes, it's all you see in the books and even more. We were on the road for the whole week and it was well worth it. So, Part One of the journey consists of some nature, some Siena, some San Gimignano and some Americans.


 
SireM observing balze, cliffs very typical for the region.

 
Cloudy Siena - without the palio.

 
Take me somewhere, please.

 
They surely had their ways with facades in old days.

 
So inviting. Still in Siena.

 
Wet towers of San Gimignano.

 
Time.

 
Watch the birdie.

 
I love this one. :)

 
Vicolo degli Innocenti. A far stretch for me....... :)

 
English UK and English US - separated? WTF?

Separated... Ok, I don't want to be mean, but American tourists were really hard to miss in Tuscany. If you met a group of really loud, even annoyingly loud people, you could be sure they were Americans. And if there was someone who wanted to give an important piece of information to another person some 15 metres away and also did it loudly, even if it was a church or museum, they were 99.9% American. Why on Earth do we have to cope with "Hey, I own the World" attitude times and times again?

We were sitting in a little cafe, lost somewhere in the hills of Tuscany, enjoying our afternoon macchiato and of course had to listen to a group of Americans sitting at the other side of the terrace. First they made a huge thing out of ordering some salad or whatever and when it came to wine one of the guys (they were from Texas) said: "Well, we don't know any, so just bring us the most expensive one." And then they wanted to take the picture with the waitress as if it werein some zoo and then they started singing... "wola-ray, canta-ray, oooh-oooh..." and one of the bitches said to poor waitress, who somehow managed to keep a smile on her face: "Wolaray... what does it mean? In English, please." And the waitress didn't find the right word so she just spread her arms and tried to show what birds do. The bitch said: "Oh, is it an airplane?"

We left.


Going around - Part Two

Yes, we were a very active group. Inbetween eating and drinking and driving and enjoying the countryside and gossiping we manageg to get to Florence, too. And we decided that we need only one piece of proper culture during our week in Tuscany. It was a must visit to Galleria degli Uffizi, with probably all that's important - and what they could get their fingers on, that is. I was really looking forward to see Botticelli's Primavera. I need to say I was slightly disappointed. I pictured this painting so grand in my imagination, I expected something... bigger, more enlightening. Ok, after first shock I had to realise it's a magnificient masterpiece so I gave Primavera another ten minutes. And then immense crowd on the streets swallowed us and took us with it like a flood all the way to Ponte Vecchio - where I had to buy a pair of white gold earrings and then the crowd carried us around some more streets and I was well prepared to leave the city, without even thinking of going to others of some million sights the city has to offer, because it was simply too crowdy.

 
Probably one of the most famous bridges on the world.

 
Ahem. Well, you all have seen David, so here's Hercules from behind. Literally.

 
Art isn't dead.


Palazzo Vecchio from the Uffizi Cafe.


Oh, look, another church! :)


And it's got quite an impressive ceiling.


Italian parking.


Intermezzo

Just to take a break. Misty morning shot.

 


Going around - Part Three

Torre pendente and La Piazza dei Miracoli in Pisa. It's probably all that needs to be said here. I was in Pisa three years ago. I was up the tower three years ago. And my pants were full then and they were full now. I don't like heights, but some things just need to be done, right? Ok, and the church and the crowd and surprisingly cheap pizza just around the corner from the tower. And I am really surprised it's still standing.
So, that's Pisa.

 
Yes, that's it.

 
No comment.

 
In the dark.

 
Sitting on the top of the world.


Somewhere up there.


Up there. Up.


Everybody is taking pictures supporting the tower. Iggy had a much better approach.


Bye, Pisa.


Going around - Part Four

Okay and now the final few words and cities and pictures. Hope you managed to crawl till here. I am sure many of you won't read and see it all, but I think I also did it as a tiny diary entry for me - to look back at it all in a while and re-live the memories of it all. So, tiny little charming Lucca with it towers, one of them - Torre Giunigi - even with trees atop of it. And with a oval main square, because the houses were built within walls of old Roman amphitheatre. And then Volterra - a fortress city with a lovely old Roman theatre just outside city walls. And then it was time to... count the victims and pack and go.

 
Lucca.

 
On the tower with trees.

 
Reflections.

 
Charming Piazza dell'Anfiteatro.

 
San Michele in Foro - Lucca. Each of the pillars is supposed to be different.

 
Oh, look! Knobs!

 
Volterra.

 
Volterra is known for its alabaster.

 
Old stuff.


Victims

Yes, there were a few. Oh, I wish there were more. Since it was all good. Tuscany is a fantastic region and I really, really need to come again. And then, with main tourist stuff boxes already ticked I will have the time to really live the life there. Looking forward to it!!!

 

So, see you next time!!!

 






And now... onto 100 000 LJ notifications in my Inbox..........


Comments

( 71 comments — Leave a comment )
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(Deleted comment)
paterson_si
May. 3rd, 2009 10:42 pm (UTC)
Thanks M! Yes, it was all so close to perfect! And the camera is a song... I just don't know all its tunes yet. LOL
london1967
May. 3rd, 2009 09:03 pm (UTC)
This set of pictures is just wonderful
You are so talented: you are an artist!

E che nostalgia per la Toscana che mi e' venuta adesso!

You know, I agree with you about Florence.
paterson_si
May. 3rd, 2009 10:43 pm (UTC)
Thanks, Effe! Glad you enjoyed the pic and I really appreciate your comments, because you do take great pics!

Yes, Toscana was amazing and, yes, Florence.... well.... :)
tilia_tomentosa
May. 3rd, 2009 10:23 pm (UTC)
You are back! *does a happy dance*

SFW male nudity is beautiful. :)

I love that photo of Igor too. And the other one with his approach to the tower. :)

See, I am all smiles for you! :)))

tilia_tomentosa
May. 3rd, 2009 10:42 pm (UTC)
P.S. Innocento? No way! :)
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ubermunkey
May. 3rd, 2009 10:25 pm (UTC)
Hmm, well then.
May I say that as an American, I am often offended by my countrymen, and countrywomen, both here in the states and abroad.

With that written I'd like to assure you that I'd never dream of hollering across a piazza or restaurant or any open space. Most of my hollering is saved for, well other more intimate times. ;-)

These are masterful images and take me right back to some of the beautiful moments I've experienced in Firenze, Pizza, Siene and other bits of Italy.

Cheers Handsome
paterson_si
May. 3rd, 2009 10:45 pm (UTC)
Well.... I had to say it. LOL

And I am sure you're not screaming about when you walk around. People are sure to notice you even when you're completely quiet. :)

HUGS
westcbear
May. 4th, 2009 12:49 am (UTC)
Welcome back. Thanks for sharing the pictures and stories. I love one about the Americans. Heh heh. They're loud, but they mean well, and they are great tippers. :o)
paterson_si
May. 4th, 2009 04:46 am (UTC)
Thanks! :) I know it's a long post, but I thought I'd do it in one large chunk. Great tippers... nobody tipped me. Not that I deserved it anyway. :)
kev_bot
May. 4th, 2009 01:10 am (UTC)
FAR TOO FUN! You look like you had a wonderful time, and looked sexy doing it!
paterson_si
May. 4th, 2009 04:47 am (UTC)
Thanks, Kev! :) Yes, it was a really great week. I enjoyed it thoroughly.
dan4behr
May. 4th, 2009 02:35 am (UTC)
Lovely photos T! Thanks for sharing your holiday images with us!

Sorry for the loud Americans you encountered. I don't think we're ALL like that. You said they were from Texas - probably acquaintances of George Bush by the sound of 'em...
paterson_si
May. 4th, 2009 04:48 am (UTC)
Thanks! :) You know I like to share. :)

Well, I survived Americans and, yes, they could be Dubya's gang. :)
(Deleted comment)
paterson_si
May. 4th, 2009 04:48 am (UTC)
Thanks! :) House was pure magic, yes. And, yes, it belonged to the five of us. :)
(Deleted comment)
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herbe
May. 4th, 2009 04:35 am (UTC)
i know you and i would get along.


herb+
paterson_si
May. 4th, 2009 04:48 am (UTC)
oh I am sure we would. :)
mikiedoggie
May. 4th, 2009 05:35 am (UTC)
Those are some very lovely photos... and it sounds like a great time.
paterson_si
May. 4th, 2009 05:41 am (UTC)
Thanks, M! :) I really enjoyed this week off.

hugs
ext_181721
May. 4th, 2009 06:59 am (UTC)
looks like a awesome good time you had.
The photos show you had a great time. Some are really nice, some are just fits the holiday album. Good to see you had a great time.
marinus
paterson_si
May. 4th, 2009 07:23 am (UTC)
Re: looks like a awesome good time you had.
Well, I had to make holiday compilation. :) And, yes, Tuscany was amazing. :)
(Deleted comment)
paterson_si
May. 4th, 2009 08:01 am (UTC)
It's all the bottles, isn't it? :)
(Deleted comment)
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arktos62
May. 4th, 2009 09:54 am (UTC)
Glorious photographs that took me back to holidays in Toscana. And some wonderful descriptions of your days there. Mille Grazie!
paterson_si
May. 4th, 2009 10:44 am (UTC)
Thanks! :) Toscana is a magical place. And when I'll be there next time, I'll really take some quality time, since I think I've seen TheThings2See and I'll be all relaxed and easy and nice and all and the rest that fits Toscana Style...

I wish my mind was slightly less restless last night when I was preparing the post. I could've also added some real content to words. :)
manley1
May. 4th, 2009 03:08 pm (UTC)
I don't know how to handle American tourist stereotypes, since there is way too much truth in it. I honestly don't know what to say. Sorry?

I try not to be like that.
paterson_si
May. 4th, 2009 03:13 pm (UTC)
Hehehehehehehe it wasn't such a problem, they were just slightly annoying. Slightly. And I can imagine you are not like that. :)
dendren
May. 4th, 2009 03:21 pm (UTC)
welcome home... what a wonderful wonderful trip it looks like. Italy has been at the top of my I want to go to list for sooooo long. It just looked beautiful.

And I have been SO embarrassed by other American tourists when traveling. I'm quite grateful to not be the "typical American" the few times I've been in Europe. Funny thing is that here in the US, they troublesome tourists are often the Brazillians. Soooo loud and obnoxious LOL
paterson_si
May. 4th, 2009 04:49 pm (UTC)
Yes, Toscana was pure poetry. Something I really needed. And when you come to Slovenia, I'll take yoi to get a taste of Italy as well, don't you worry. :)

Well, American tourists... It's all been said and done. LOL
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