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An Evening in Fiesole

When we travel to new places, I love meeting people. I could sit exchanging stories for hours, learning about different cultures and ways of life, and on our last day in the villa we met Connie and Thomas.

They’d travelled over from Germany to tour Tuscany and kindly invited us for a “last supper” in Fiesole. Antonio booked the restaurant and we headed off early in the evening (according to Italians, 8pm is way too early to eat).

Just a 5 minute car journey north of Florence we arrived to the most beautiful of towns. Streets lined with outside restaurants and oozing Roman architecture, Fiesole is Florence’s baby sister. I’d read that Fiesole was renowned for its views of Florence, but nothing prepared me for this….

That view.

I could have sat and watched the view for eternity, Florence in all it’s glory under a dusky sunset.

We found La Reggia degli Etruschi perched on the side of the very hill we’d walked up and of course, Antonio had arranged for a glass of champagne on arrival and once again the best table in the house.

Now expert red wine connoisseurs, we ordered a bottle of Chianti Classico and eagerly awaited the arrival of dinner which Antonio had also pre ordered for us. Its kind of exhilarating awaiting for what the hunky Italian waiter would be bringing out for you!

Scott was served with the local delecasy, Eggs and Truffles. It looked divine.

I, on the other hand had the huge selection of local Italian hams and salami’s. Antonio clearly clocked my rather huge appetite!

We chatted and reminisced over delicious food and wine while enjoying the best view we could have wished for.

I’d eaten my fair share of steak and pizza over the last few days and realised I’d not really had any real Italian pasta. So as per my request, Antonio had ordered some plain and simple Italian tomato pasta. I should know by now, Italians do nothing by half’s.

Scott and Thomas had the Steak Tartare which Antonio claimed to be the best in the region. The boys eyes lit up and we all tucked in.

As the evening went on, Thomas and Connie told us stories of their life in Germany and we exchanged our love stories (it’s hard not to be romantic in this setting, trust me!).

The evening drew to an end and after a quick shot of espresso, we took in the view for one last time.

We sat under the stars at the villa until the early hours teaching each other our native card games and then said our goodbyes to our wonderful new friends.

Thank you Connie and Thomas for teaching us some naughty German words and for your company on our last evening in wonderful Florence. Oh and if you’re even wondering where to eat in Fiesole, this restaurant really is the bees knees of Italian food.

The Italian Life

By the time you read this, I’ll be on my way to Scotland. On Friday evening, I’ll be switching the dancing shoes for my walking boots in an attempt to complete the Three Peaks Challenge (yup, 3 mountains in 24 hours). We’re raising money for the absolutely incredible children’s charity, Julia’s House. If you remember reading my post on their fairytale event last year, you’ll already know my admiration for this amazing charity. Our team of 8 not so keen trekkers have raised over £3000 so far and the donations are still pouring in.

I’m eternally grateful for all the encouragement and well wishes we have received and hope to do everyone proud! Wish me luck!

Anyway back to Florence, Italians love 3 things in life; wine, food and coffee.

Lucky for me, I also love all three of them. Call me the honorary Italian.

From fine leathers and fabrics to colourful arrays of fruit and veg, the Italians do nothing by half’s. Wandering  through the outskirts of Florence, you find an abundance of locals living their day to day lives. Commuters in beautiful suits and ladies who lunch in small coffee shops with their handbag dogs fill this pretty streets.

This is Italy.

Oh and last but not least, the creme de la creme of Italy, Gelato. Delicious, creamy ice-cream in a huge array of flavours.

I’m a coffee and caramel kinda girl, always.

Once we’d thoroughly sizzled ourselves in the sun and tried to mingle with the locals, we headed back to the Villa for afternoon wine.

I’d picked out my favourite Rose and perched on one of the window seats in the garden.

A few minutes later I was summoned to a game of tennis.

Which soon turned into an England vs New Zealand vs Italy sports tournament. Italy won.

After all our energy was zapped, we lit the BBQ.

Meanwhile, the boys had other ideas.

Antonio prepared a traditional Italian BBQ. Herb crusted chicken, local sausages, pork and a balsamic salad.

Oh and cheese.

Under a tree arch in the sunset, we sat around the table and ate and drank the world away.

I love the Italian life.

Chianti Florence, Wine County

We’d make a pact before Italy that we would try and live like the locals. This of course involes drinking too much wine and eating too much steak every single day of the week, but we wouldn’t let that bother us.

Antonio, the wonderfully kind owner of our B&B, offered us a trip to Chianti with his family. It seemed too good to be true and before we knew it we were graciously bundled in the back of his BMW and off for a day of fine Italian wine and it’s sister from another mr, the Florentine Steak. He’d told us a well guarded secret, that this is where we would find the best steak in Florence. Obviously we couldn’t say no to that.

We hit the road early in the afternoon bopping along to some old school euro-pop.

Through the rows and rows of vineyards and deep into the countryside, Badia a Passignano appears through the trees in all it’s medieval beauty. Located in the Chianti Classico region, it is a hotspot for the rich and famous.

The town looked castle-like from a far but as we pulled into the narrow roads that weaved through the small town, it was as much of a village as that of a Cornish one. Like eager (and thirsty) countrymen, we parked up and headed straight for our restaurant.

Of course, Antiono had reserved the top table at our beautiful restaurant, Ristorol’Antica Scuderia. With the clientele of mega-rich Russians and the America Dreamers, it oozed glamour from the moment we walked in. The views of the green vineyards were magnificent. Rolling Italian countryside and the most perfect glass of Prosecco on arrival. We were sold on the Italian life.

While we were jaw-dropping at the view (and the menu), Antionio had been ordering our food with the chef. The language barrier got the best of us and we waited in anticipation for round one.

And wow! Burrata (a traditional national cheese) and shavings of local truffles.

I’ll give you a minute…

Scott had the most amazing hand made al dente pasta I’d ever tasted.

And in preparation for our next course, a glass of one of the finest Chianti Classico’s money can buy.

We drank and chatted away over our wine, cheese and pasta.

And then it arrived. The most beautiful looking steak I’d ever seen. Juicy, pink, peppered and large, it was a steak made in meaty dreams.

Antonio had ordered truffles on eggs, apparently the finest way to enjoy truffles.

Almost everything we’d eaten had grown or been reared in this very region. The salad had been picked and prepared that morning, the cheese is made just down the road and the truffles were picked in the local oak forrest.

Apparently the phrase for orgasmically good food in Italian is “Diaaaaaaaaaaa”. Scott was taught the Italian way!

Finally we squeezed in some cheesecake and then got down to the dirty stuff.

Enough where that came from.

Inside, the restaurant was covered in fine wines. Antonio pointed out some of the most exquisite in their selection with one mega-rich placing an order for almost £5000 worth in front of us.

Sadly we had to leave our little green paradise, suitably full and just a little bit tipsy.

With the wind blowing in my hair, we meandered our way through the streets of Florence and just for a minute I was in the scene of The Italian Job.