Tuscan Summer 2015

Again we found ourselves in Tuscany for our Summer Holidays and why not? It is such a lovely place. We stayed in our regular spot, the apartments at Zampugna, which, again, why wouldn't we? But this time, we changed our itinerary slightly – read on to find out more.

Last year on our drive back, we passed by Aosta and Jan said she would like to stay over some time because it looked beautiful, therefore, we spent the Friday 12th of June driving through France, up through Mont Blanc and down into Aosta.

I had spent some time in Aosta previously but didn't appreciate what a lovely town it actually is. We booked into the Hotel Chechen which was a comfortable place just outside the town centre. After freshening up we went for a walk round the town, had a meal then returned back to our room to catch up on some much needed sleep. Next morning we enjoyed the freshness of the Alpine air (Fig 1) before having breakfast and setting off for the second leg of the journey.

We had been lucky with the weather, but as we approached Genoa the sky darkened and for about 30 minutes, the rain, thunder and lightning was appalling and quite worrying to drive through. Still we survived, by the time we reached Lucca the weather was fine and we had a great run through to Zampugna (Fig 2) arriving at about 14.30. Riccardo the owner was there to welcome us and help us settle in.

I don't know if you have read my other travel articles about Tuscany, but Zampugna features heavily in most of them. Suffice to say, it's a wonderfully tranquil Agriturismo, set in delightful Tuscan countryside; it is situated between Montepulciano and Pienza.

Zampugna is an organic farm which produces Wine, Olive Oil and the most wonderful organic Hay (fig 3 & 4); there is a pool (fig 5) but very little else, just peace and quite and a friendly atmosphere – heavenly. This was to be our base for the next 2 weeks.

The weather for the early part of the first week was not good, culminating in a violent Thunder storm on the Wednesday, the storm brought Hailstones (Fig 6) and wiped out the WiFI; however, as the week progressed the weather did improve.

On Thursday as we drove south to Sorrento (Fig 7) the heat and sunshine just increased at every mile; culminating in temperatures of 33C. We stayed in the Hotel La Tonnarella which is on the outskirts of the town; what a lucky choice of hotel – perched on the cliff edge, the views from our Hotel room were amazing, our outlook from our two balconies was over the whole Bay of Naples (Fig 8 & 9).

The Hotel has its own private beach, a good restaurant and the next day they arranged for us to visit Pompeii on an escorted tour. I shan't bore you with lots of photographs from Pompeii, suffice to say, it was a very worthwhile experience visiting the ancient Roman ruins (Fig 10 & 11). When we returned to Zampugna the next day it was to glorious weather.

Tuscany is more than just about the weather though, for instance, on Sunday 24th we went to Locanda del Molino for Sunday Lunch; having stayed there last year we were greeted like long lost family when we arrived. 

The food there is fantastic and being part of the Baracchi estate, the wine is just as good (Fig 12 & 13), we also spent time at Il Falconier, where once again we were greeted so warmly. The day was spent eating their wonderful food, reacquainting ourselves with the staff and Giacco their boxer dog; we also spent time tasting fabulous wines in order to decide what to bring home with us (Fig 14,15,16,17).

The rest of the time we visited local towns such as Cortona, Montepulchiano, Pienza and Pitigliano where we once again purchased crockery to bring home.

We returned back to England via The Mercure Hotel in Bourg en Bresse , a good place to stay over on the return journey. Needless to say, we returned with the car loaded to the gunnels with goodies (Fig 18).

Roll on September when we go back again.

Figure 1 Figure 2 Figure 3 Figure 4
Figure 5 Figure 6 Figure 7 Figure 8
Figure 9 Figure 10 Figure 11 Figure 12
Figure 13 Figure 14 Figure 15 Figure 16
Figure 17 Figure 18