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San Gimignano, Italy

San Gimignano is a great little town to visit.  It’s very quaint.  We drove in, but you can take a bus there too (25 min. from Florence).  There are wonderful little shops that line the streets/walkways and as you look to the horizon you will see the remaining 14 medieval towers that it is known for (there were 72 towers at one point).  Apparently, back then everyone wanted to beat the Jones’ so they were always trying to build a bigger, better tower as a sign of their wealth, superiority, etc.  The competitive little town eventually got hit by a major plague and after that Florence took control of it.  We sat and had coffee when we arrived.  Later in the afternoon we had a really nice lunch and just enjoyed the atmosphere.

You can see the archways to all the little shops and if you look straight back, those are some of the towers.

I ate pizza as much as possible on this trip. So light and satisfying.  And of course, some Rose’ for lunch:)

There was a viewing tower so we climbed up.  I am not one for heights, but I survived.  I have to look straight ahead whenever on a ski lift.  Check out the view behind me.

Another fabulous view from the viewing tower.

Florence: the view and chocolate croissants

We spent one full day walking around Florence.
Just an FYI:  I’m sure those who have been there are aware, you can’t drive into Florence.   Everything is blocked off to any traffic so you can train it in, bus it in or the best bet is to have someone drop you.  We were lucky enough to have a driver drop us off and it was about a 10 minute walk into the center of Florence from where we were dropped.  En route there our driver took us to a well known viewing stop of Florence.  Check it out.  Talk about gorg.

View of Florence.  NICE.

I’m addicted to chocolate croissants.  So, I had to get one when we stopped for a coffee/tea break in Florence.  Their chocolate croissants are filled with chocolate pudding.  It was fine, but I prefer my American style chocolate croissant with real dark chocolate in the middle.  Now I know. 

The Villa in Tuscany- Seriously? Pinch me, please.

Okay, now let’s get to the accommodations.
This house was awesome, just absolutely fabulous.
Renting a house for a week or two is the way to go.
Even better, was the fact that there was a family that maintains the house and they were always there to answer questions about where to go and what to do (so you are really given the inside scoop of what locals do).  They were the nicest people and sooo helpful.
Now, can it get better than that?

This is the entry which was a fifteen minute drive off the main road to the Villa.  Fifteen minutes because the road was so filled with rocks that you had to drive 5MPH down the road so you didn’t blow a tire or tear up the bottom of the car.

The pool house is to the left and the main house to the right.

Gorgeous, gorgeous views from the pool.  This is the pool house and beyond that is the main house.

The main kitchen.

Where we ate almost all of our meals.  Can I say it again:  the views! 
My bedroom.  I had 3 windows all which were amazing to look out each morning.

Let’s talk food in Italy – Panzano, Italy

It’s been about 2 weeks on the road for me (not complaining) so I have been neglecting the blog.
I’m back from an amazing trip to Italy spent primarily in Tuscany in the Chianti region.  First things first.  The food.  OMG.  People told me to just eat and eat and I did, but honestly there is no way you will ever realize how good food can be until you go to Italy.  Oh and I don’t think I  gained one pound.  You know why?  The food is soooo fresh, filling and satisfying that you don’t overeat.
I have never eaten such fresh, flavor-filled, free of pesticide food. I have mentioned before I have many food sensitivities and I did not have one issue because this food is so pesticide free and easy to digest.  It brings everything to a whole new level as to what I will look for at markets when shopping.  We went to the market the first Sunday we were there and stocked up on lots of veggies, fruits and anything else we found compelling.  Enjoy the pics from the Panzano market:

Fruits – the peaches were amazing. So sweet.

Veggies – the zucchini and salad were over the top fresh.

Parmesan- look at the size of it. The guy would just chop off sections for people.  The entire block of cheese was almost gone in 15 minutes.  I know why.  The parmesan was the best I ever tasted.  The locals told us to go to this guy because he has the best cheese and I can confirm he does.  



46,000 word count & to Italy.

I’ve been working on my first novel for longer than I want to admit.  Writing a first novel is tough. My first book was nonfiction.  Fiction is a whole other game.  As much as I wish I was finished yesterday, I know I can’t rush the process.  I hit 40,000 words last night and that made me feel like I was reaching the homestretch. A novel is typically at least 46,000 words.  I’m up to 41,000 today and hoping I can get myself to the 46,000 mark before I leave for Italy.

They say its best to have a schedule for your writing.  I’m not always great with schedules when it comes to writing. When something comes to me I just want to write no matter what schedule or time it is.  Consequently, this week has been all over the place with my sleeping schedule.  I’m not sure how this is going to set me up for the six hour time difference I’m about to experience, but I’m sure I’ll survive.


Food allergies these days are all to common. I happen to be allergic to red meat. Yes, allergic to red meat.  So, I cannot have those juicy cheeseburgers.  Instead I have to compromise with either a turkey burger, a veggie burger (hard to find a good one), chicken burger (no thank you) or this vegan burger which I was told about by my vegan eating brother.  I have to say, this vegan burger is really a good compromise.  You should definitely try it if you have allergies, feel like experimenting or perhaps have a vegetarian guest coming over for a summer bbq.  You can find it in the frozen isle in whole foods.

Here it is:  Gardein beefless burger