When you enter the Chianti region, you can already feel it. The time is running slow here. You get infected by the calmness and the quietness immediately. You feel like you’re diving into a different world. Everyone seems happy, there is no sign of stress at all and you become part of this right away. Welcome to holiday!
When you drive along the roads through the vineyards, it is hard to concentrate on the actual driving. You want to turn your head left and right every minute. You spot a nice view here, a beautiful castle on the other side of the hill there and endless vineyards whereever you look. You drive through nice towns or lets put it that way, you pass streets with 1 or 2 houses on each side. People are sitting on the curb, drinking coffee, smiling and enjoying life. It could be so easy, right?!
We’ve chosen a nice town called Panzano as our destination for our summer holiday. And the photos proofed to be right. It is a beautiful small town, the view over the hills is just amazing, you are in the middle of nowhere and yet there is this feeling of home.
When we finally arrived at our apartment, we where a little overwhelmed. A beautiful old tuscan stonevilla, a well groomed garden and pool area, all surrounded by vineyards and olivetrees.
After a warm welcome from the host herself, she showed as around and lead us to our apartment. It was small but comfortable. Our own tuscan apartment, our own pool. Living the tuscan lifestyle. At least for a few days. First appointment: Hitting the pool. Relaxing. Sleeping. Enjoying life. A pretty good start actually! You begin thinking about life, about happiness, about what you really need, what you desire and what you want for yourself now and in the future. And to break it down, it is not much you really need. A home and shelter, food and water, and probably the most important thing, the person you love on your side. As simple as can be, as simple it is.
Of course the holiday wasn’t all about relaxing at the pool. We also visited the big cities around. Florence, Siena, San Gimignano and Pisa of course. To tell you right in the beginning. All of those cities have their own beauty and places you need to see, but for us, they are way too touristic. Yeah ok we went there during high season, that is maybe a reason for the thousands of people. But when you have hard times, finding a nice place to have a coffee – not overcrowded by tourist or with pictures in the menu – then you probably know what i mean. I like sitting down at places where only local people go, speaking a little italian with the service staff and feeling like you are one of them. That’s what i like most about being in a country or a city far away from home.
We enjoyed the time in Florence and Siena of course, but we were also happy when we left behind all the noise and the people, and returned to our apartment. Apart from all the people in the cities, there are a few things you should definitely visit when you are there. Like the basilica or the ponte vecchio in Florence. Impressiv buildings. Hardly imagineable that human hands built this long time ago.
Impressions of Florence – Basilica, Ponte Vecchio, River Arno
Il Duomo di Siena, Siena old towncenter
Our tour through Siena lead us to the Piazza del Campo. It is the famous place where the horserace takes place twice a year. We definitely tried to avoid that. You won’t believe how many people will be there and we didn’t want to risk to get into the mass of people. Also the dome of Siena is worth a peak, but thats mostly it.
We actually were a little disappointed. I think when you are in the region and never have been there, you should visit Florence and Siena. But don’t expect too much. Touristic, overcrowded and hot, very hot (at least during the summer)!
Impressions of Siena – Piazza del Campo, typical and quiet sidestreet
But it was different in San Gimignano. At least for a little while. San Gimignano is known for many things. One of the best icecream makers in the world, nice and worth seeing streets, a nice panoramaview from the edge of the city, uncountable small shops of local craftmanship and too less parking spots for too many tourist.
We got there early enough to get one of the available parking spots. When you stroll through the city you see most of the stores open, but some are still closed in the late morning, like it doesn’t matter when you’ll be there, cause the measure of time is different here. When you are here early, you probably find streets where no one else is. You can enjoy the beauty of the houses and the view all alone and take a deep breath.
Making a stop at the worlds best icecream maker Sergio Dondoli is a must in San Gimignano. Buy the biggest cup you can get and that’s not enough, cause it is sooo delicious.
After a while the city get’s more crowded, but not as much as Florence and Siena. Yet that was the sign for us to leave. We enjoyed the time here, it is a nice place with good energy and you still have some air to breath, if you know what i mean!
San Gimignano streetlife and panorama view
So many people i know, have seen the tower of Pisa already. You know it from movies, pictures and of course you want to see it once in your lifetime. So we planned a daily excursion to Pisa. Finding a parking spot was the easy part. One thing i learned in this holiday, was that i
can find a parking spot everywhere, that with a little research and a good sense of orientation, you are not that lost at all. And now i am not scared anymore of driving into bigger cities. We made it through Siena and Florence, so Pisa is a piece of cake!
You get in the line of tourists making the way to the tower, and you get this feeling of „we are not alone here“. When you enter the Piazza where the tower is located, you first don’t know why you are so overwhelmed. Is it because of the tower or the mass of people here, i still don’t know.
When you finally found a spot where you can take a good photo and have a nice view to the tower, not blocked by crazy people making weird poses for photos (yeah we did the same). It looks kinda unreal. The blue sky, no clouds, the green grass and this white and shiny, crooked tower. I think that was the moment, i realized, ah yeah i really am standing here right now!
Depressed by all the people here, the noise and getting this feeling inside just to get outta here, we headed back to our car. Finally! But there isn’t much to see beside of the tower anyway. Made a check at my bucketlist!
Kathrin really loves the sea. The water calmes her down and brings her into a special kind of mood. And as we were pretty close to the coast, we made a short trip to the beach, if you can call it a beach.
All rocky and looking not too comfortable. But the people here seemed happy, so was Kathrin, and that is all worth it. To see the smile on her face touching the cold water for the very first time, to hear her giggling and laughing. I think that is true happiness.
We appreciate the view over the vineyards a last time as the sun goes down. Our time in Tuscany is almost over, but we enjoyed every minute of it, taking home a lot of new experiences and impressions…
And then we are back in our small apartment…Cooking together, talking to each other, having fun and just enjoying the time here. And then this question comes up in your head again. What do you really need in life?! And i tell you, when you are in the middle of nowhere, with the person on your side you love, even you can’t show it all the time, the clocks ticking slowly, you realize what’s really necessary in life. And that is love!
Flo and Kathrin