Everyone dreams about Tuscany, right?
Or is it just me?
While I’ve spent a lot of time traveling around Italy over the years, I always put off visiting Tuscany. Once I even canceled a trip there. Why?
Because for me, and what I suspect for a lot of you, Tuscany represents the ultimate Italian experience. This is the Italy we dream of – crumbling farmhouses, rolling hills dotted with olive groves and cyprus trees, rustic living combined with hearty dining. And don’t get me started on the wine. Medieval hilltowns unchanged for a millennium surrounded by fields of smiling yellow sunflower decorate this poignant landscape. How could you not dream of Tuscany?
Tuscany has always held a special place in my heart. But in idealizing this little region of Italy, I inadvertently put it on a pedestal and made it into something intangible.
You see guys, I felt like the real Tuscany could never live up to my expectations.
Boy was I wrong.
This is something I’m frequently guilty of, but it’s a character flaw I’m determined to improve over the next year (or ten). I’ve done it with New Zealand a month ago, and in July I made two of my biggest destination dreams come true with both Iceland and Tuscany.
Tuscany was all I could have asked for and more.
This goes to show you that you should never put off following your dreams somewhere.
“Life offers you a thousand chances… all you have to do is take one.”
― Frances Mayes, Under the Tuscan Sun
If I was unwavering in my decision to conquer Tuscany, it was also to spend the year trying to come up with creative, new and different ways to share my thoughts and ideas about travel with you all on my blog. One arena I was determined to tackle was video.
Big, bad, scary video.
And not just making videos, but learning to be comfortable on camera, which if you’re me, is the HARDEST thing in the world! I grew up very shy and self-conscious, so acting normal on video is hard but then having to watch yourself afterwards is even worse. Is that really what my hair looks like from the back? (100 points and a free puppy if you know what I just quoted).
Thus, Dreaming of Tuscany was born.
By combining two challenges into one project, this once silly idea became doubly fulfilling. I just killed the two proverbial birds with one stone. Now all I needed to was to find someone to help realize my ambition. And by somebody I mean someone who knew their way around video camera.
Emiliano and I met in Brindisi, Italy in June on a press trip.
Quickly realizing his creative view of the world behind the lens matched mine with a pen and paper, with a little pushing and prodding, I was able to convince him to tag along (and by tag along I mean drive me everywhere in Tuscany, film and cut this video). Grazie!
Our journey started in Cortona, a special little town that’s held a revered place in my heart since I first read Frances Mayes’ Under the Tuscan Sun ages ago. Home to the renowned American expat who is pretty much a god in my eyes, we explored the ancient town at sunset, dined under the summer stars and explored the beautiful rural spaces around Agriturismo I Pagliai, a restored medieval farmhouse where we stayed.
After a hard farewell from this simple paradise, we traveled down to the borders of Umbria to spend the day outside learning to cook with a family with Walks of Italy at their home. From learning how olive oil is produced to tasting the full-bodied local reds to sinking my fingers deep into pasta dough and attempting to make tagliatelle, I got a truly hands-on experience in the most picturesque of places, learning about the things I’ve dreamed of.
Our final stop was Casale Podernovo, another unreal farmhouse and winery on the other side of Tuscany. Tucked away among rolling hills near Pisa, we arrived as the sun was setting, turning the countryside gold and pink. With a glass of their own white, I watched the sun set, reflecting on the special, little moments from what would always be too short of time in Tuscany.
With this video, I want to bring you along with me to Tuscany, without words show you what this magical region means to me and how I will always cherish it in my memories. If it’s your dream, I hope you can make it there one day too.
So tell me, would you like to visit Tuscany one day?
And above all, thank you Emiliano for helping bring my dreams of Tuscany to life.