Our last few days in Italy were spent in such beautiful cities, and the time we spent at home was even more sweet than I remembered it to be. My favorite kinds of moments are the ones that you already know, right now, are forever memories. Most afternoons at the pool at La Casa feel like that. I keep capitalizing that because it's the name of the farmhouse on this property, that's been converted, I think in partnership with the hotel. La Casa was one of the first buildings on the property to get restored, and its design is so sweet and true to Italian country homes, while still being so modern and comfortable.
Pizza night is special, aside from the rivalry for best pizza, because the pizza oven is on premises, and the grocery store trips to stock up on toppings are always such sweet peeks into the lives of the people who actually live here. We spent more time at the pool before, and basically had a pizza feast that night. I also love that we do this because there's almost always a guarantee of pizza leftovers to hold you over.
Volterra, all walled up and perfectly meandering, gifted us with such beautiful weather. I don't personally have an issue with motion sickness, and even I can feel the pain of others in my group who do, when we go to Volterra. The roads are winding, you climb hills and descend them again. The city is a true reward after the trek, but be prepared for winding roads, and if you're on a bike, well bless your heart, godspeed on those hills. There's a cafe right inside town where Sam and I always stop, I believe it's the Enjoi Cafe. The area is known for its alabaster and olive wood, so the shopping in Volterra is especially good, and I often buy my gifts and souvenirs here. The restaurant we love in Volterra is Del Duca and I recommend if you eat at all in Volterra, it be here. The staff is so kind, and the kitchen staff is equally amazing. Between the different visits and taste trades among the family, I've probably tried everything on the menu, and all of it is made so impeccably, and tastes incredible.
The next day we did Siena! I always love Siena but this year there was something about the breeze and the smaller crowds, I think this was my favorite day this year, and I wasn't the only one in the family who felt that way. It might have had to do with Il Palio having just ended, maybe the city was relieved. The streets had been swept, and many of the thousands of people who flood into the city every year for the races seemed to have already left. It was Siena, but it felt small and sweet and quiet.
Another favorite restaurant we got to return to was Osteria da Divo, and I couldn't recommend it enough. It's in a historic, mostly unaltered cave, and the tables are staged on the many descending levels. There's a deeper cave at the bottom, used to store aging wines and delicious cheese wheels. The meals are cozy, but never let the unassuming nature of the restaurants and their staff ever fool you, anywhere in Italy. You're likely about to sit down to the best food you've ever tasted.
After another home day, everyone else went home! Sam and I had one more day, which we spent in Florence. One of our favorite old haunts, a little mall off the Piazza della Republica, ended up having a rooftop terrace that we'd never been up to before! We spent time there, and then went to another garden terrace hidden down an alley in the shopping district. I'll have to find a way to track down information for it, as it seemed really informal, but if you're going, I can give you directions from Piazza della Republica.
I feel like I still rushed through covering Italy, but now that I've laid down a lot of information about many of the favorite places we go to often, I can start covering more wineries and experiences individually. As always, I am happy to answer any questions about my own trips, or help you figure out your own. Happy travels!