6/3/15 - 6/10/15
Upon leaving Florence, we made our way to the agriturismo. An agriturismo is a working farm that doubles as a bed and breakfast. It is a way for small farms to receive a source of income in addition to the money they make farming. They have them all throughout Italy, although the majority of them are in the Tuscany area. One could easily imagine that people searching for a relaxing vacation would like to go where wine is abundant, the scenery is amazing and there are plenty of activities.
We were originally trying to stay at this other agristurismo, but scheduling didn't work out. We went with Val della Pieve instead. However, we may have remembered the town we were going to stay, but we forgot which farm. We had the first farm in our minds up until just a couple days before we had to head out there. This only makes a difference, because we had in our minds all of the activities we could do through the first agristurismo that the second didn't have. We planned on riding bikes, doing wine tasting and going for various hikes. However, we only went on one hike. Most of the agriturismi (plural) offer different rooming options when booking. There is a room only option, a bed and breakfast option, a half-board (breakfast and dinner provided), and a full-board option (all meals provided). The first agriturismo would have been half-board with homemade meals which was the one we were remembering. It turned out that we got an apartment at this second agriturismo -- meaning no meals provided. If we had remembered which place we actually booked, the experience would have probably matched more closely to our expectations. As it was, it was a bit different.
We stayed in Anghiari. Anghiari is a small, Tuscan town from medieval times and is most remembered for an important battle fought there in the 15th century. It is truly a picturesque Tuscan hill town.
(I chose a professional photo so you could get the best idea of just how perfect it is.)
It was such a beautiful place. The view from our apartment was amazing.
So we did all of our own cooking except for the last night when we really wanted to go get pizza. Which, by the way, happened to be one of the best pizzas Madi has had. We did pretty good with food. We went and bought fresh food close to every day. It was fun to try to cook our own food Italian-style -- not just the type of food, but in the feeling and culture of Italy, and the food wasn't half-bad.
We mostly used this time to rest and relax. We had planned on our time at the monastery as being the opportunity to rest, but with the hard beds and early morning bells, we didn't get much. This past week turned out to be the time when we "caught up on sleep." One of the days there we hiked to a nearby castle. It was about 2 miles along the road. However, the sun was right overhead and there was no shade. It was hot. We decided to find a path off the road for the rest of the way there. Colin pulled up his map downloaded on his phone and found a path. After we found it and started to follow it, we realized that this was going to take a while. It basically took us way off the road, there still wasn't shade, and we ended up walking close to an extra mile. It was only when we were leaving the castle that Madi learned that we were probably only a hundred yards or so from the castle when we turned off the road. Colin's response to Madi's revelation? "Oh, yeah, I knew, but you wanted to walk along the path." Oy! Yup, Madi definitely wanted to walk an extra mile in the hot sun. At least the walk was pretty. Anyway, we had a picnic near the castle and then went to check it out. It was pretty and old. It was apparently a castle, but it sure didn't look like one.
Another day we spent wandering the town. We went to the museum honoring the town and its famous battle. The museum was small but interesting. It focused on the development of the area starting with prehistoric times to the 1800s. Colin found the rooms about the battle the most interesting. Afterwards, we continued to wander the town.
Overall this part of the trip was nice, and we were able to gear ourselves up for working on the farm at our next stop in Castegneto Carducci.
We ended up with some twists in our plans for the WWOOF site, but we'll get to that later. :-) And as always - there are more photos in the gallery!