Tuesday: Around Tuscany

Today we set out to see the Villa Medici at Cafaggiolo near the Mugello region, about 45 minutes from where we are staying in Scandicci. The villa is notable because so many important events took place there during the Italian Renaissance, and its architecture is supposedly fabulous.

Although we found the huge villa, it is completely under renovation and closed to the public. We could not even get close enough to take a picture and there was nowhere around to park, but this summer home looked very impressive and perhaps we can revisit it in a decade or so when renovations are complete.

We still had a wine and olive oil tasting coupon for another wine producer not far from where we were yesterday, so that was our next stop. Their olive oil was so fresh – just made this week, and was the best ever. We got some to take home, if we can avoid opening it.

Next we went to San Gimignano, sometimes referred to as the “Manhattan of Italy.” The buildings there are tall and ancient, and there was a lot going on there. We encountered more people, mainly busloads of tourists, than we have seen in all of Italy. (Most of them were speaking English, which we hadn’t heard in a while.)

There were many small shops in the city, and we walked all over, not realizing we would have trouble finding our car. Every single time we have parked anywhere, we have taken a picture of where we are. Not this afternoon.

It took us 45 minutes through the maze of narrow streets, but we finally found it as the sun went down. Another five minutes figuring out the ticket payment machine and we were on our way back to Scandicci.

photos: our hosts set a beautiful table for us every morning and begin our day with a huge breakfast; the panoramic view from Mugello; an empty street in San Gimignano at the end of the day, after visitors left on their buses and we tried to figure out where our car was parked.


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