Tuscan countryside

Time to think of warm sunny days especially as the dismal Dutch spring this year is already making not just me but a lot of people edgy. Spring is already mid-way but the nice days we had so far can be counted on my fingers with the single best one being last 30 April when we celebrated Queen’s Day.

On this blog and the few more to come, I will take you to Tuscany, to those warm days that me and my family enjoyed under the Tuscan sun charmed by its amazing countryside and picturesque medieval towns and cities.

It was almost two years ago (early July 2010) when went to Tuscany for a two-week holiday. We stayed at an agriturismo (these are actually farmhouses converted into apartments). Staying in these farmhouses is the best way to experience Tuscany because we really had a good feel of the Tuscan/Italian way of life.

We made the trip from Holland to Italy in two days because my husband did all the driving (1,400 kms) and Francesca being still very young then needed more frequent stops for diaper change, feeding and drinks. My parents-in-law also joined us on this holiday which was also great — we had so much fun on the road. We spent the night in Lucerne, Switzerland staying in a Hilton Express Hotel not so far from the highway.

Weather was unbelievably warm so I really enjoyed the drive through and short stay in Switzerland. Hubby and I holidayed in Switzerland in the past and really loved it there except for the unpredictable weather which can simply dampen the country’s charm. To see this picturesque country under blue skies and with the alps glimmering in the distance was just amazing.

We finally arrived in Tuscany at around 5pm, with some confusion at finding our agriturismo because we realized then that even with the recently upgraded navigation system information, it was hard to find the place because the dirt road leading to it was not on the map (holiday makers staying at agriturismos in Italy can always be recognized through their dusty cars compared to those staying in hotels). There were 3 agriturismo locations that belong to the chain that we booked and the reception/registration was at Diacceroni (we were booked at Pelagaccio). We had to wait for about an hour to get our registration sorted out, the caretaker of Pelagaccio took some time to come over and lead us to our apartment.

I was happy to take some pictures while waiting. The vista around me was amazing — Tuscan hills carpeted with wheat turned gold and ready to be harvested, vineyards, olive groves, distant hilltop villages from Medieval times, cypress trees lining up dirt roads leading to Tuscan hamlets.

Francesca found an instant playmate in an English boy whom she was able to convince that stone-throwing was a fun game.

We were told that there was a free Italian party that night at 7pm for all the guests. We only have to pay for the drinks. What a great surprise! We followed the caretaker to Pelagaccio and the drive took about 15 minutes. We took out our stuffs from the car and headed back again to Diacceroni. There was a very festive atmosphere and guests of various nationalities (Europeans as I was the only exotic-looking creature there) were engaged in friendly getting-to-know chitchat.

Food was great consisting of Italian dishes which were surprisingly vegetarian — pasta in tomato sauce, breads, bruschettas with toppings of fresh tomatoes, anchovies with mushroom and garlic, omelets with vegetables, and tempuras of aubergine, courgette and courgette blooms.

Tables were scattered at Diacceroni grounds planted with olive trees, hibiscus, pomegranates, lavenders, oleanders, cypress, figs, etc.

The kids had a great time running around and playing at the playground. Francesca’s fave was the “spring kussen” or the jumping castle as the Scots’ acquaintance of ours call them.

Diaccerroni agriturismo

Tuscan countryside

Tuscan countryside – view from Diacceroni

Tuscan countryside


Pink oleanders

Peach colored oleanders

Red oleanders

White gardenias

Pink Tuscan rose

Pink hibiscus

Pomegranate bloom

Francesca and a new friend

Stone-throwing game

Adventurous girl looking out at the pigs down the hill

A black bird in the olive tree

Dinner under the Tuscan sky

Tuscan food

Courgette (zuccini) omelet

thinly sliced bread topped with fresh tomatoes mashed with olive oil, salt and pepper

Potato omelet

thinly sliced bread topped with anchovies, olives, basil leaves

Courgette tempura

Eggplant omelet

freshly made pasta with tomato sauce and basil leaves

thinly sliced bread with olive oil, salt and pepper

Tuscan sunset

About Malou
I'm a mom to a five-year old little girl with interest in cooking, baking, traveling and photography. Castles and palaces are special favorites so when weather permits for a good walk on weekends, me, hubby and little girl are always out for a bit of adventure.

135 Responses to Tuscany

  1. Such beautiful pictures! I’m hungry and want to grow artichokes!! :-)

  2. Don Scrooby says:

    Must have been quite a holiday. Just love that countryside captured so wonderfully in your images. Thank you.

  3. John says:

    Wow, great pictures and the food looks really wonderful. Mmmm, hungry for potatoes and omelets now!

    • Malou says:

      Thanks a lot, John. The omelet with potatoes is something that you can make in your own kitchen. Just imagine yourself in Tuscany while eating them. ;-)

  4. Great lighting on the food shots.

  5. The weather is grim in London too so it’s great to be taken to ‘summer’ in this post Malou and really beautiful photos as always.

  6. MilesVergil says:

    Once again Malou, your amusing stories with those delightful pictures… felt like I went along with you on holiday.

  7. avian101 says:

    You do a very nice tour guide job Malou! You have beautiful pictures also. :)

  8. May Dayao says:

    You make me want to go back Malou! I can already feel the warmth! Lovely photos!

    • Malou says:

      Thanks a lot, May. You should come back, there’s always something new to see, something that you’ve not covered before. ;-)

  9. Beautiful pictures!! I want to go to Tuscany someday! It’s a city in Italy that I haven’t visited yet :)

  10. Hi from Tuscany! What beautiful photos of your stay. We have had a wet spring here too, but it’s finished now, today was glorious and 31degrees!

  11. teddytom4u says:

    you make magnificent pictures that capture the spirit of the “objects” making them subjects with decent personality. it is as if being there, only from my computer. outstanding!

  12. Gunta says:

    Love the flowers! My artichokes are just starting to form…

  13. FeyGirl says:

    Beautiful!! And WOW, delicious!!!!

  14. I love this post! Totally takes me back to Tuscany! Gorgeous pics too. :)

  15. janinevasta says:

    Exquisite landscapes and beautiful memories Malou. The Tuscan hills really are that beautiful. It’s hard to believe. You capture the colours and the soft light so well…. Time for another trip??? Jx

    • Malou says:

      Thanks a lot, Janine. I wish I can live there in Tuscany and savor the daily life with gusto. ;-)

      We’re off to France this summer but hopefully in the future we can go back again to Tuscany or other parts of Italy. ;-)

  16. You are so lucky to live where you do and take trips to places such as Tuscany! I wish I could dive into your photos and eat everything pictured.

    • Malou says:

      Indeed it is quite a streak of luck that places like Tuscany is a drive away but no, we don’t get to go there all the time. There are just too many places to see here in Europe that before we can make a repeat visit, years have already passed by. We’re off to Brittany and Dordogne (France) this summer. ;-)

  17. What a wonderful post. I had never heard of an agriturismo but what an interesting concept. The area looks so beautiful. I hope you have millions of more pictures. You have such an eye for beauty.

    • Malou says:

      You should stay in an agriturismo if ever you are in Tuscany as they are the best way to experience the country.

      Still lots of pictures and stories to tell, Diane. ;-)

  18. amras888 says:

    Soothing landscapes, gorgeous blooms, and the food has made my tummy rumble. All in all a balm for our miserable weather.

  19. Fabulous pictures, as always. If I tried to photograph food, it would look particularly uninteresting – but yours? Yours are super.

    • Malou says:

      Thanks a lot, Sid! The key to making good food pictures is to imagine them in your head just the way you would like to eat them. ;-)

  20. Aaaahhh, thank you for taking me to Tuscany :-) Love it!!

  21. Just beautiful! I loved driving through Tuscany. The food looks so delicious and yet so simple, my favorite way to eat :)

  22. Lovely. I enjoy reading your blog :-) Have a good time.

  23. edebock says:

    Oh, Malou, this is such a helpful post! I have bookmarked it and put it in my travel folder for future reference. Believe it or not, I have been dreaming of travelling to Europe since my high school days (which were a very looong time ago!) and finally hope to make the trip next spring. I had no idea that you could drive from Holland to Italy in just two days! Here in Canada distances are so great that we forget how much smaller the European countries are. Agriturismo sound perfect for us. When we travel, we don’t look for luxury hotels. We much prefer to try to experience the life of the local people.

    • Malou says:

      Glad to know that this is a helpful post, Elaine. Europe is small compared to North America in general so you can just drive from one country to the next in a matter of hours or at most, a day or two. Staying in an agriturismo was for me a wonderful experience because we really enjoyed being able to relax and savor the country’s real atmosphere and flavors. ;-)

  24. simplycessie says:

    beautiful pics again :) it’s like breathing the tuscan air just by looking at your countryside photos.

  25. aedpad says:

    I want to eat that food off those photos!

  26. I have always wanted do the agriturismo thing! Looks like you had an amazing time. And the food! Simple food is simply the best!

    • Malou says:

      I can definitely vouch for an agriturismo as the best way to see Italy especially its countryside. And your love for cooking will just be further inspired by the freedom to cook in your own space and in such a lovely surrounding. ;-)

  27. What a beautiful tour. This looks like a fabulous holiday from the scenery, to the flowers to the food and the people. Thanks for sharing!

    • Malou says:

      Thanks a lot, Betsy. There is so much to see in that country and I can’t help but try to capture whatever I can with my camera. ;-)

  28. Italy is a place I’d dearly love to visit, Tuscany has such a long and interesting history.

    • Malou says:

      When you’ve got the chance, go! So much to see and experience in that country and Tuscany is particularly special, Kristin. ;-)

  29. Beautiful photos! I adore Tuscany… so glad to hear you do, too.

  30. EllaDee says:

    Fabulous post. Reading it I was completely removed from my surroundings, my spirit soared away from my desk and joined you in the Tuscan country side, in the sun, eating delicious food, and drinking a glass of wine. Thank you SO much.

  31. machisan says:

    Wow so innovative n yummy….what a great place to relax. beautiful photos.. excellent.

  32. chrisstov says:

    Looks a lovely place Tuscany. Great pictures of the flowers and I loved the photo of the blackbird.

  33. Wow Malou…truly enjoyed your post again…Lovely family and your amazing photos!

  34. Mmmm, everything is yummy. We’re very partial to Tuscany.

  35. zelmare says:

    Ah… Tuscany is but a dream for me. Maybe one day… :) Beautiful pictures, Malou!

  36. Lovely! The different bruchetta looked so tasty!!

  37. Oh to run through the sunflower fields in Tuscany, dine on fine Italian wine and food and listen to Andrea Bocelli. The stuff dreams are made of :) Your trip sound marvelous and your photos are just beautiful. It’s so wonderful that your family gets to take such lovely trips. I’m hoping for a long and restful vacation some time this year so I can do some far away traveling.

    • Malou says:

      Andrea Bocelli’s music just fit right in with the entire atmosphere of the place. Good that I had his music on my iPhone so I could listen to him at night while watching the fireflies. ;-)

  38. lanceleuven says:

    Really great photos and a great retelling of your tale. So I was a little disappointed that you went and employed the underhanded tatic of teasing us all with that glorious food at the end. I just think it was totally unnecesary.

  39. Meggie says:

    Amazing pictures – as on all your posts!

  40. Meggie says:

    Hi Malou,
    I use to visit your blog now and then and enjoy your really great photos so I like to nominate you to the Versatile Bloggers Award. Maybe you have been nominated before, if not you can read more about the award on the link http://versatilebloggeraward.wordpress.com/vba-rules/
    All the best/ Meggie

  41. viveka says:

    Wov …. some delicious photos here … from nature and food. Not a big fan of Italy like everybody else – but they have got it right – the balance between work, life and their food. Politic they don’t have a clue about the they have most stunning country side *smile. Wonderful trip and thanks for taking me along. All I have seen of Italy is Rome and the cost outside, nothing wrong with it and I had a fantastic time, but I not LYRICAL about it like everybody else. More a like a “French Maid” *smile

    • Malou says:

      Thanks a lot, Viveka. You must see the countryside of Italy and I am sure that you will have a change of heart. I’m not so much with the big cities because they are oftentimes over-rated or exploited to trap tourists. ;-)

  42. I can’t wait to go! My aunt is going to rent a house for the summer next year somewhere in Tuscany. I already put my name in, and hope to stay for two weeks.

    • Malou says:

      Wow, that’s great that you can join your aunt out there in Tuscany in summer. I’m sure that you will have so much fun. :-)

  43. jelillie says:

    Beautiful pictures as always! I have nominated you for the Creative Chaos award! I hope you will choose to accept! For details see my blog at http://jelillie.wordpress.com/2012/05/04/creative-chaos-award/

  44. wittravel says:

    Beautiful photos! Thanks for the follow~~

  45. thirdeyemom says:

    I love Tuscany! What a cool vacation with your family! I would love to stay in the middle of it all in an old farmhouse. But there would have to be a vineyard nearby as I adore Italian wine! You are so lucky in Europe to have so many amazing places so close by! We have to travel so far to get to anything different…well that is different language, food, culture, etc. Yet there are a lot of places here that are different too. Great post!

    • Malou says:

      Indeed we are lucky here that all we need is to take the car and drive to be in another country. You will love it where we stayed because there is a vineyard a few meters down the road. The farm house atmosphere was also wonderful, can’t ask for more. ;-)

  46. Beautiful photos. Tuscany is on my dream vacation list – I hope to get there in the next few years. Thanks for sharing!

  47. Nice pics and all that food..:-)

  48. Gorgeous photographs – what a beautiful spot you chose – thanks for sharing that!! Glad you’re enjoying my page too!

  49. OK, so now I want to go to Tuscany! Great photos, and the food looks spectacular! Happy kids, too. Question: what camera are you using?

  50. Wonderful pictures. The flowers are beautiful and the food make my mouth watery…

  51. Toscana. Having finally visited the beautiful region for the first time late last year we can’t wait to return! Some great pics you have there :) Kim*


  52. dawnspitfire says:


  53. ldsiebs says:

    Beautiful photos! I have never been, but the scenery is so inviting as is your documentation of the area. Thank you for sharing!

  54. Dor says:

    Oh, now I want to go there! Fabulous story and photos Malou. Thanks for sharing.

  55. Amy says:

    The hills, scenery, food, wine, and people made a unique place where you want to go back again and again. Thank you for the beautiful photos! They reminded me the enjoyable times we had there.

  56. The white flower bud after the white gardenias is a Datura sp.

  57. Tuscany is so pretty! Look at all that amazing food!

  58. Wonderful photos. Tuscany looks amazing… it’s going on my to-GO list.

  59. What a great time you must have had – wonderful pictures and fantastic looking food! Very jealous!

  60. Deb Platt says:

    I don’t know if we will ever make it to Tuscany, but if we do I hope that we can arrange to stay in an agriturismo. The countryside seems so beautiful.

    I loved the photos of the delicious-looking food and the beautiful flowers. I also thought it was wonderful that you get along so well with your in-laws that you can all vacation together.

    • Malou says:

      I will definitely recommend a stay in an agriturismo if you make it to Tuscany, Deb. It is the best way to experience the country.

      I love my in-laws so much and we all have so much fun when we are out together. They’ll join us again for just a few days when we go on holiday in France this summer. ;-)

  61. What a beautiful time of year to be in Tuscany. I went in May and it was a little cooler. Love the flowers! I am dieing to go back, thank you for the memories!

    • Malou says:

      It was pretty warm the time we were there so if we go back, I’d prefer that to be in spring or autumn. Still, despite the heat, we had a wonderful time. ;-)

  62. Beautiful photos, looks like a lovely trip! I just found your blog (after you liked a couple of my posts – thank you!) and so far I’m loving your page. It’s great.

  63. Michi says:

    Oh, the food and location… so delicious and heavenly!!

  64. Amazingly beautiful place…beautiful photos. GREAT blog site on the gift of nature!!!

  65. All that food looks so delicious, now I’m hungry :)

  66. The food! The food! Great weather, great sceneries and great food. Now that’s my idea of a perfect getaway! Sharon

  67. Your pictures are beautiful! I want to eat all of those things now. :D

  68. juliannayu says:

    Hello Malou! Thanks for liking my egg scramble post. The vegetarian dishes look delicious (noticed some yummy omelettes!). These pictures are beautiful. I especially love the country sights and the close ups of the flowers. I can see why they would put you in better spirits and make you think of warmer days.

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