August 17 – 24, 2013

After an awesome week with Amanda and Andy in the Alps it was time for a family vacation to Italy.  The four of us packed up the Passat and made the drive from Grenoble where we met up with my parents after they spent a few days in Rome.  A beautiful Villa nestled in the Tuscan countryside would be our home for the week; a peaceful and scenic location with the delights of Tuscany at our fingertips.

Our villa, Poggio al Pipi, was located near the little town of Montespertoli, just south of Florence. From the patio we could see the iconic Tuscan landscape of rolling hills, vineyards and olive groves. With a big outdoor fire pit for grilling, we cooked up a storm on several occasions and enjoyed dining outside with an incredible view.

It was my Dad’s birthday on the 19th, and with Italy being famous for their wines, we decided to celebrate with a wine tasting at the nearby winery, Tenuta Torciano. Here we tasted about a dozen different wines spread out over a multi-course lunch. Our hosts for the tasting were a couple of lively wine experts who taught us everything we needed to know to appreciate every sip, including proper glass dimensions and the exact technique for swirling your wine!

It was the perfect way to celebrate my Dad’s birthday, and not surprisingly we left feeling a little tipsy! Luckily we had some DDs with us to take us back for a dip in the pool and a relaxing birthday dinner at the villa.

There were scenic landscape views around every corner. Tuscany was definitely living up to our expectations!

With the hot heat of August, we were very happy to have a pool! The big patio and lounge chairs combined with the Tuscan views made for an incredibly relaxing atmosphere for catching up and chilling out.

Every Wednesday there is a large market set up in the nearby city of Siena. We wandered through the market and picked up some food for a delicious spread to enjoy back at the villa.

After the market we wandered through the historic centre of Siena, where we saw views of it’s beautiful medieval looking cityscape.

We enjoyed another traditional Italian lunch on a patio, including some incredible pizzas and pastas. The Italians sure know what they are doing in the kitchen!

Since we were all together as a family, we figured it would be the perfect time to celebrate my Mom’s upcoming birthday. The three of us gals made our way to a Tuscan ranch called “Agriturismo La Canonica” where we had a great horseback riding lesson. Thanks to our knowledgable instructor Mia and our mild mannered horses we all managed to stay in our saddles! After stopping in a sunflower field on the way home, we enjoyed some tropical drinks by the pool and another relaxing afternoon at Poggio al Pipi!

Within walking distance of our villa was a beautiful castle and restaurant called Castello di Montegufoni. It was so good we went there twice to enjoy the four course meal on the idyllic patio. Not only was it delizioso, but it was the perfect spot for a Kulokas family photo!

No trip to Italy would be complete with out a visit (or several!) to a gelateria. YUM!!

It was really special to have the six of us all together in such a beautiful part of the world!

We had a wonderful and relaxing week in Tuscany full of delicious food and wine, beautiful views, and many memorable experiences!

Check out the rest of the photos here!  

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