Relaxing under the Tuscan sun and skies

Tuscan countryside early in the morning

While sitting under the tree and enjoying the cool breeze blowing off the 40°C heat, I can’t help but wonder why we’ve never gone to Tuscany before. Our next door neighbor in Holland has been going to Tuscany year after year, staying in the same place over the last 10 years and I used to wonder why they never go elsewhere when there are simply hundreds if not thousands of amazing destination in Europe.

The place is simply stunning and now I can understand why there has always been so much buzz about Tuscany and life under the Tuscan sun, why the place has been gloriously immortalized and romanticized in many books and movies (the recent and pretty popular one being “Under the Tuscan Sun” by Frances Mayes and its movie version starred Diane Lane).

At 360° around me and under clear blue skies, my vista consisted of rolling hills lined with cypress trees, blooms of various kind (geraniums, oleanders, roses, lavender, jasmines, etc.), which charm butterflies of incredible colors, bees and other flies, quaint old villages on which time seemed to have stood still, vineyards, olive groves and wheat fields gone gold.

We’re pretty far from the highway, the only sound that can be heard of are the birds and crickets, occasional cars in the dirt road and the churning of the combined harvesters harvesting the wheat.

Is this life under the Tuscan sun? Pretty laid back and the only thing we can do is sit down and relax, dip in the pool to cool down the Tuscan heat and let time pass by over glasses of chilled prosecco with those delish Italian cheeses on the side.

The place we are staying is an apartment in Agriturismo Pelagaccio. It is a typical Tuscan farmhouse with a small annex building divided into a total of 8 apartments on a 200-hectare property. There is enough privacy just as there is enough company, a perfect balance. (I remember staying on a Centre Parcs holiday home in Germany which I found to be extremely busy and on an isolated holiday home in Normandy which at Francesca’s age now, she would have found too lonesome as she loves the company of other kids).

The place is just ideal with a playground that meets Francesca’s approval and the perfectly situated swimming pool that I’ve ever seen – on top of a hill with a 360° panorama of the Tuscan landscape.

Everyone except me had already tried the pool this morning. I just had fun taking snapshots of everyone and everything – from Francesca, Siefko, Opa and Oma to the Tuscan landscape and those amazing butterflies which cast their spell on me and my cam.

After swimming, Siefko and I headed to Volterra for the groceries (Italian supermarkets are open on Sunday from 8-13 hrs) plus we needed to gas up because our car was running short on petrol. Good that in another village before Volterra (La Sperza) there was a petrol station where we can gas up but it was self-service and the machine would only accept small Euro bills and not bank or credit cards.

We reached the Coop supermarket in Volterra just in the nick of time. It was kind of weird to shop in another country given the language barrier. Doing the self-service thing on those veggies (weighing but the names are in Italian and most times there are no pictures on the weighing scale for the stuff) is like solving a riddle.

Dinner was such a very anticipated affair as the idea of barbeque became a foregone conclusion – grilled pork Pinoy style (in short, “inihaw na baboy” which were thick slices of pork belly marinated in garlic, vinegar, salt, pepper and a bit of soy sauce), grilled aubergine and paprika which I seasoned with olive oil, salt and pepper, fresh salad of lettuce, tomatoes and cucumber with the simple dressing of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper — served with steamed rice, beer for the guys and ice-cold white wine for the ladies. That was at almost 10pm as we forgot the passing of time under the Tuscan skies.

Tuscan countryside — view from the pool

View of Pelagaccio from the pool

Tuscan countryside

Tuscan countryside

Tuscan countryside

The medieval village of Fabbricca as viewed from the pool — we go there each morning for bread and other supplies

Cypress trees

Tuscan countryside

The path leading to the swimming pool

Location-wise, no pool can be far better than this…on top of a hill with an unobstructed view of the Tuscan countryside

Perfect place to cool down the 40-degree Celsius heat

Fun in the pool for everyone

Father and daughter

Oma joined in the fun

Opa, Papa and the little girl

Enjoying the cool waters

Father and daughter

Father and daughter

The family

Finally I joined in the pool party

Tuscan roses

Tuscan rose

Fiery red roses

Yellow blooms

Pink oleanders

Tuscan roses

Butterfly

Butterfly

White butterfly among the lavenders

Butterfly

Butterfly

Butterfly

Butterfly

Unripe grapes

Tuscan horses

Pelagaccio

The barbeque man

Grilled pork belly

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.

149 Responses to Relaxing under the Tuscan sun and skies

  1. FeyGirl says:

    Wow… Just lovely! Can I come?

  2. Your the best Malou!

  3. RDoug says:

    Absolutely wonderful photographs, Malou. I, too, love Tuscany, and you’ve succeeded in making me yearn to go back.

  4. artbycamila says:

    Ok… you convinced me… I’m adding Tuscany to my Bucket List…
    Thank you for sharing… is just beautiful!

  5. Gorgeous vacation shots and beautiful scenery of nature you’ve shared with us all again. The butterflies are beautiful and I can only imagine how tasty that pork belly would be right off the BBQ on a warm afternoon, yum!!!

  6. newsferret says:

    Please forgive my remark. You should have truncated this blog. Most people do not read long blogs. Nevertheless, if it was not for me having lived in Italy I would have skipped the blog due to the length. Sentimentally I thoroughly enjoyed going back in memory lane.

  7. Looks like you’re having a great time! Think I’ll add Tuscany to my list!

  8. I am really enjoying your blogs :)

  9. Don Scrooby says:

    I remember watching that movie with Diane Lane. Seeing the countryside then just bowled me over. To me it’s a landscape which is very feminine. We have a place here in Kwa/Zulu Natal which is similar. Love those vistas and the pool looks magnificent. Thanks for sharing them.

    • Malou says:

      Oh, I would love to see your place there in Kwa/Zulu Natal.
      The Tuscan landscape as you say is very feminine. Indeed it is because it is just too romantic. Magical I should say especially at night when the darkness sets in and all you can see are the fireflies with their flickering light, the countless stars in the heaven and the glimmering medieval cities in the far distance. ;-)

  10. avian101 says:

    What a wonderful place to have a vacation, your photos are terrific, I can see that the whole family is having fun. I’m happy for you Malou! :)

  11. Lovely – except for the last piccie: for a no-meat man!

    • Malou says:

      No worries, most Italian cuisine are suited to vegetarians. They have these lovely vegetables (courgette, aubergine, paprika) that brushed with just a bit of olive oil infused with garlic, go so well over the grill. And the same can be done to leftover bread too. ;-)

  12. Wow!! Italy is a place I have considered going–not the big cities where everyone goes, but someplace like this. However, since I speak some Spanish, Spain was higher on my list. Maybe I will reconsider. I will have to show my daughter these photos. She has been to Spain, but is entranced with the idea of going to Italy.

  13. Simply amazing. Like you die and go to Tuscany. Yes our Hamburg weather has not been so ideal. That week or 2 ago we had two gorgeous warm summer like days. Now chilly winds… although the sun is making an appearance today. Apparently we have this Eisheilig thing happening this weekend… a little freak cold snap. yuk. Let’s go to Tuscany.

    • Malou says:

      Yes, I can hardly wait for summer. This spring has been unusually chilly. I need to look at these Tuscany pictures to remind me of those warm days under the sun. ;-)

  14. viveka says:

    Can smell the BBQ all over here .. and feel the heat from the sun. Wonderful photos as always – from countryside, family, our beloved bugs and flowers. Tuscany has a beautiful country side and suppose to have the best food too. The first photo is my favorite. Thank you so much for taking me there.

    • Malou says:

      Thanks a lot, Viveka. You should go to Tuscany because I am sure that you will love it there. ;-)

      • viveka says:

        I’m sure I will … but for that we need a car .. and my friend that I travel with is losing her vision – so she have sold her car and will not be driving anymore .. and I don’t drive. Have to enjoy it from my blogging friends.

  15. dawnspitfire says:

    My only item left on bucket list …so close. Almost made it twice …but not YET. And I’ll settle for anywhere in Italy.

  16. janinevasta says:

    Grazie Malou. Your beautiful photos are like taking a holiday at home! Brava! Jxx

    • Malou says:

      You’re so lucky to live in a country with so much to see, Janine. Our stay was short but we truly enjoyed every minute of it. ;-)

  17. We’ve been visiting Tuscany for years. I firmly believe is one of the most beautiful places on earth. We hope to move there in the next few years. We have some discriptions of our Tuscan experiences on our blog.

  18. Tuscany can be as hot as 40degrees? The barbeque looks awesome:)

  19. likeitiz says:

    Malou, the photos are so inviting! We’re going there at the end of summer with some friends. Now I can’t wait!

  20. Thankfully it’s not often as hot as 40degrees! But the last few days have been well into the 30s, very welcome after a rainy April. What time of year was your Tuscany trip Malou?

    • Malou says:

      The temperature during our visit was pretty unusual then. Our neighbor who goes to Lucca every year said that it was 25 degrees last year. That’s a very pleasant temperature I should say.

      We were there in July.

  21. May Dayao says:

    Malou, I want to live in Tuscany and escape this ridiculously hectic lifestyle! I can’t wait to go back! Thanks for sharing! I love escaping with you :)

  22. John says:

    Such great memories for all, especially the little lady. The butterflies are so colorful, great photography!

  23. beatrix mana says:

    Looks fabulous,next outing take me with you in your suitcase.

  24. Once again great photos. We went to Tuscany when our eldest (now 27!) was about 5 weeks old. No one thought we were crazy traveling with a newborn, the Italiens love babies! Food, sun, sights all fabulous. I hope to return- we never got into the Pfizzi in Florence– just so much we could do with an infant!

  25. Barbara Backer-Gray says:

    That must absolutely be the best view from a pool ever! Question: how do you photograph butterflies? I just went on a walk behind our house and we have the most amazing variety, but whenever I’m close enough to one to take the picture, it flies off one millisecond before I press the button.

    • Malou says:

      Thanks a lot, Barbara. To take pictures of butterflies, I use the sports setting because they are never steady. If you have a tele-lens (55-200mm), that is better to use so you don’t need to be so close to these butterflies. ;-)

  26. Beautiful! Now you’ve talked me into going there someday! HAHA! I just love these pictures, felt like i spent the whole day with you guys :)

  27. ShimonZ says:

    Sounds and looks like a delightful vacation, and I was entranced by the beautiful butterflies, and loved the roses. May you all enjoy every minute.

    • Malou says:

      Thanks a lot, Shimon. The butterflies in Tuscany really charmed me. There were lots of them and I can simply get lost in their world watching them moving from flower to flower. ;-)

  28. Wow, I’m so jealous right now! The pictures are stunning and reminds me of the time when I used to travel so much. Not anymore flying from Canada anywhere costs a fortune I miss my cheap trips from the UK… but memories last forever! Cheers Mr.CBB

    • Malou says:

      We’re also keeping our summer holidays low-key and not flying to far places. We also go cheap with camping which is more fun. ;-)

  29. JoDee Luna says:

    I would love to go to Tuscany. I so enjoyed living vicariously through your adventure.

  30. You have so many beautiful pictures.

  31. Your pictures are supurb!

  32. flyfishbrat says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your vacation with all of us. It’s wonderful experiencing Tuscany through the lenses of your camera.

  33. Meenakshi says:

    How beautiful!! My parents celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary in Tuscany, and they loved it. I have been wanting to visit ever since I read Under The Tuscan Sun. It’s so breathtakingly beautiful! The pathway to the pool is so quaint. And the Pinoy prok sounds amazing! Perhaps I could do the same with chicken or beef?

    • Malou says:

      That’s so nice that your parents had a wonderful time celebrating a milestone moment in their marriage in such a very romantic setting. ;-)

  34. ladyfi says:

    What lush and lovely countryside. Have fun!

  35. ricobel says:

    Wow.. such gorgeous pictures!! It’s just wonderful :-)
    And thanks for visiting our blog.

  36. lanceleuven says:

    Wow that look beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

  37. DG MARYOGA says:

    Compelling account accompanied by a wondrous series of images filled with colour and memorable experiences !!!
    Natural beauty and happy family moments composing a stunning put up !
    Great work in every sense,Malou !!!I

  38. Thank you, malou (or shall I say, “Grazie mille, Signora malou!”?) for the lovely tour. Haven’t been back to Tuscany for 28 years…and I miss it so!

  39. tutankhamon661 says:

    Very nice post :)

  40. Amy says:

    I love these shots. I did a few posts last year that may echo your lovely trip, one the “Two Lifetimes http://shareandconnect.wordpress.com/2011/08/05/two-lifetimes/” and the other is Making Art out of Life http://shareandconnect.wordpress.com/2011/06/12/making-art-out-of-life/… if you have a few minutes.

  41. Jane says:

    So gorgeous and it looks like a fantastic time!

  42. Janie Bill says:

    Those are the most amazing photos of butterflies. I love them.

  43. Pat says:

    Gorgeous photos of the Tuscan countryside!

  44. Now this is the sort of holiday we’d love. I’ve been meaning to get to Tuscany.. stay in a farmhouse and enroll in some sort of cooking school! Now I’m really feeling the itch to travel!

    • Malou says:

      Oh, you’ll really love it there, Smidge. And cooking is fantastic from the many fresh ingredients and just the inspiration of the countryside before you. Someday, I’d love to also enroll in some cooking class. ;-)

  45. Angeline M says:

    Absolutely beautiful…I can understand why your neighbor has gone there every year for ten years.

  46. marina says:

    Great post! I love Tuscany too [and the rest of Italy] :-)

  47. Chanters says:

    Simply beautiful! We were in Tuscany this time last year and also stayed in an Agriturismo. FANTASTIC! We were near Montepulciano, which is up on the hillside. At first, I thought your pictures were of that area. Tuscany is just so breathtaking. Thank you for sharing.

  48. scroungelady says:

    Pork belly is the “hot” food item now. Your recipe is perfect for a warm day.

  49. Looks like beautiful country. Great captures

  50. It is difficult to get the pics of butterflies without disturbing them, how did you manage that?
    :-)

    Thanks,

    Vic

    • Malou says:

      You can use a tele-lens like a 55-200mm so you don’t need to get so close to the butterflies. I use the sports setting in the camera as well so that the picture remains sharp despite the movements of these butterflies. ;-)

  51. I love open pastoral countryside.

  52. just drop by to say thanks for the follow~~~~

  53. Thanks for posting the beautiful pictures. I will be going to Tuscany and other parts of Italy in late October. I hope that the weather will still be nice, I don’t need 40 degrees
    .

  54. Gorgeous. Thank you for sharing.

  55. I’ll take the pool and the view, but not the 40 C heat!
    Ashley

  56. Malou, your pictures are always so beautiful, I love to come visit your posts. I especially loved the peaceful meadows and beautiful Tuscany rose. I have nominated you for the Versatile Blogger award. You will find instructions for the award on my latest post, My Blessing List. Have a wonderful day.
    Joy

  57. Christina says:

    How on earth did you get so many lovely photos of those butterflies? You captured the very atmosphere of Tuscany in the heat in your landscape shots. Brava. I hope you ate well while you were there.
    Christina from Loving-life.me

  58. Spencer says:

    I love Tuscany! It is so beautiful. The food is great there too and the people are amazing.

  59. Brings back LOVELY memories…thanks

  60. So envy you being there. A few years back I spent a magical week in Siena and the memmory is as fresh as yesterday!

  61. What a beautiful vacation. It looks like you had the pool, and the whole countryside, all to yourselves. Bliss!

  62. The Butterflies are just beautiful!

  63. wildsherkin says:

    Hi Malou,
    Just to let you know that I have passed the “One Lovely Blog” award on to you.

  64. Deb Platt says:

    I loved the gentle hills, and that swimming pool was just amazing. I also enjoyed seeing all the charming butterflies.

  65. Wow, this place looks luscious…I’ve been to Italy but never Tuscany…beautiful post

  66. Wow this place looks luscious. …beautiful post!

  67. Lovely post and wonderful pictures. We’re also those who always return to Tuscany and enjoy agriturismo.

  68. janjoy52 says:

    I LOVED your narration and pics. Gorgeous, endearing, sweet, lively, lovely. Perfect!

  69. Thank you for a beautiful tour – i felt like i was there. Love your butterfly shots!

  70. Tuscan countryside, very very nice. Thank you very much for sharing. Lovely pictures. Would hope to go some day…

  71. Dear Malou! After looking at your pictures, I’m asking myself the very same question – Why haven’t we gone to Tuscany before??!!! Thanks for giving us a very great reason to go – it looks marvelous! What a great holiday! Sharon

  72. Rachael says:

    Ah, it is many years since I was last in Tuscany. Your lovely post makes me think we need to put that right soon!

  73. Michi says:

    I loved Tuscany!! What a great holiday under the Tuscan sun ;) I hope you enjoyed the great wine and food there!

  74. elizabethweaver says:

    Wonderful photos, especially the first (ah…gorgeous) and the roses & butterflies. Thank you for posting these.

  75. Thanks for sharing, so I too can experience a little of the beauty and charm of Tuscany!

  76. c. dunn says:

    You must be a wonderful person to create a beautiful blog.
    Good luck to you and your lovely family.
    I have a wife and four children.

  77. Truels says:

    Hello – and thanks for stopping by my blog :-)
    This place is just wonderful – what a view from the pool!!!!
    The landscape is SO beautiful.
    Super series.

  78. Here it is Sunday and I am playing classical music in the background while reading your post and loving the photos. The only thing that could be better is to actually be there. So much travel so little time…I will return to read more of your posts.
    Thank you for liking, “My oh My…Hamburger Mary’s (CA chp.1) and becoming one of my followers!

  79. It’s Sunday morning, I have classical music playing in the background as I read your posts. Lovely, simply, lovely. I will be reading more of your travels. So many places, so little time.
    Thank you for visiting my site and liking, “My oh My…Hamburger Mary’s(CA chp.1) and becoming one of my followers!

  80. Wow! Beautiful. I wish I were there. Thank you for sharing and for visiting my blog. There are so many good bloggers here at WP.

  81. What a breathtaking countryside.Yes , I’ve seen that film and have yearned to be ther. Besides, isn’t this also the place tha inspired many of Vincent Van Gogh’s paintings? I’m sure lots of others must’ve pottered around there too from time to time.Wonderful photographs too. By the way, just curious…would Opa and Oma mean father and mother.We , muslims here in Kerala use “Uppa” and Umma” to address our parents.

    • Malou says:

      Thank you, Nadira. Tuscany is very romantic and no wonder why it has been immortalized in quite a handful of movies. Van Gogh drew inspiration from the lovely Provence countryside.

      Btw, Opa and Oma are grandfather and grandmother in Dutch.

      • I also came across opa and oma in a novel recently, Molly Ringwald the American actress wrote a very good novel ‘When it happens to you’. One of the characters was using the terms: M R must have a Dutch background somewhere not far down the line!

  82. Malou says:

    That’s interesting information, Michael. In many ways, the Dutch influence is pretty universal. There was a group of Dutch from Leiden who migrated to the US some centuries ago when there was religious persecution here. New York was a Dutch colony which they exchanged for Suriname. ;-)

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