slider08What can I add about Tuscany that hasn’t already been said? It is one of the most breath taking places on earth. The symmetrical farms, rows of grapes and olive groves, hilltop and ancient villages every few miles and a pace of life that is utterly enchanting. Growing up on a western coast, I have always felt that a coastal sunset, with the sun sinking into the ocean is the finest sunset in the world. Now that I’ve sat and watched half a dozen tuscan sunsets, I’m not so sure. Italy has colors and textures that defy words.

We chose a farm stay for a week and were very excited to be able to share it with Lisa’s parents who flew in to join us. We were all thrilled to have some family to share the week with. Roberto and Monica ran the farm stay and were consumate hosts. Looking for a place to stay in Tuscany? You can’t go wrong with Le Pianore.  Enjoy the beautiful property and say yes to everything Monica and Roberto invite you to. It will be magic.

When you book a place online, you’re never quite sure if the photos accurately reflect reality but the Tuscan property was even more beautiful than we had pictured.

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They had a tennis court, swimming pool and were a comfortable hour from Florence, Sienna, Pisa and the main tourist spots.

My favorite spot was probably Montespertoli, the local village 7 minutes away, or possibly San Gimignano the ancient walled village with the world champion Gelato shop and the falconers and medieval performers sitting under cover out of the rain catching up on email.


Florence was very hot and crowded with tourists, so our experience of this incredible city was a bit dampened by the conditions, but still, we saw Michangelos David, visited the magnificent Duomo Basilica and a museum featuring quite a selection of Stadavarious cellos and violins.

Loved watching my in laws holding hands, facing the world together:


And oh yeah, I got to drive a Ferrari.


Ferrari California, the only modern 4 seat Ferrari. “4 seat” is a very generous description of the back bench that is best suited for quad amputees, but my family were good sports and took turns squeezing into the back for the ride. The Ferrari was insanely expensive to rent for a day, so we rented it for minutes. 20 minutes to be exact and had a blast zipping around the outskirts of Florence. 550HP twin turbo V8, zero to sixty mph in 3.6 seconds. The car was mindblowingly fast. Kaylee kept yelling, “faster, faster faster!” These are just the moments when you know you’ve raised them right….


One of the best parts of Tuscany for us was being able to settle somewhere for a week and soak in the local culture. Roberto and Monica hosted a home cooked meal for about 35 of us which was one of the top 3 meals of our whole trip. It was wonderful to mingle with other farm guests from England and Germany. Later that week was home made pizza night and the kids got to make their own authentic Italian pizza in a wood fired oven.

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Finally, our family took a 3 hour horse ride together during a tuscan sunset. The whole experience was hilarious and incredibly beautiful. I suspect our rumps would have preferred a 1 hour ride, as would have Bryson’s horse which kept trying to return home every chance she got. When Bryson would make her stay on track, she would develop a deep emphysema type cough sounding like she might keel over any minute. Once she realized that wasn’t working, she hung her head and kept plodding along. We couldn’t stop laughing. Here’s a #horsecam shot.


Having an opportunity to build so many deep and rich family memories is probably my favorite thing about this whole trip. We spent so much time laughing, having fun and exploring new experiences together. Tuscany was utter delight. Next stop: Venice.