Tuscany with a friend

In September we went back to Italy once again, this time we took a friend with us so that they too could experience the wonders of Tuscany with us. Because we were only going for a week, we caught a plane from Southampton to Verona airport.

In the past when flying to Italy, we have travelled from Gatwick to Pisa, but I have to say neither of these places could be classed as my favourite airport; we therefore chose to do a much more civilised journey with a mid day flight time from Southampton and a return time of 17.00 from Verona. This proved to be much more pleasurable, even more so when the car we hired was upgraded to a luxury car.

The down side to the timing was we arrived in the Zampugnia area at 20.30, fortunately I had booked a table at the wonderful Al Botteghino restaurant just outside of Torrita di Siena in a little place called Osteria delle Noci. The owner Daniele, does wonderful food so we "tucked into" Steak (Fig 1) and Wild Boar ragu before going to our apartments to unpack.

On Sunday, Riccardo came round to say hello and to make sure we had settled in ok; it was almost as if we were visiting family.

Over the next week we indulged ourselves in a mixture of fine wine and good food, starting with Sunday Lunch at the fabulous Locanda del Molina where we ate Stuffed Courgette flowers (Fig 2) or Aubergine and Parmegiano (Fig 3) Tournedos of Beef (Fig 4), Roast Pigeon, Osso Buco, and then dessert! Fabulous; especially when accompanied by Baracchi Wine.

Stephano the manager greeted us as if we were long lost friends as did David the Sommelier; he gave us good guidance and also recommended a couple of vineyards to visit; he reminded us of the holiday let he has, which we said we would mention on the website; So here it is: www.borgovalecchiecortona.com

We spent the rest of the week showing our friend round what has become almost a second home for Jan and I. We went to Montepulciano (Fig 5), Pienza (Fig 6) Cortona (Fig 7 & 8), of course we went to Il Falconiere, it was great to meet up with Silvia, Riccardo and Luigi the Maitre d' once again. We also went to San Quirico d' Orcia (fig 9)which is a lovely little town just down the road from Pienza; for some reason, I always get my hair cut when I go there, it's become a tradition.

We managed to do all of the above along with doing some long walks plus some swimming and sun bathing by the pool.

On the Friday night everyone who was staying at Zampugnia decided to go out together for a meal – I don't think Daniel and the other customers of Al Botteghino could believe how noisy and full of fun a group of British people could be – we had a riotous time (Fig 10, 11, 12 & 13)

On the day of our return (Saturday) we had a leisurely drive up to Verona, had a late lunch of Pizza, Swordfish and Salad at 'La Capannina ' Ristorante/Pizzeria, in Verona, returned to the airport and we were back at home by 19.30 on Saturday evening, fantastic, what a way to travel.

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