It was late in the day as I headed outside to the patio. I turned a chair to
face the setting sun and joined my friends as they toasted another perfect ending
to another perfect day. I raised my glass, said what I hoped were a few poetic
words, and took a sip. It was, quite possibly, the best glass of local wine I
had ever tasted. Of course, in this case, local refers to Tuscany, Italy's beloved
wine country. And in this part of the world, even $3 wine—like the variety I
was enjoying—has a consistently high-priced taste. Saluté!
It was the experience of a lifetime—a month spent visiting some of Italy's famed
sights: Milan, Rome, Assisi, Cinque Terra. But what ended up being the real highlight
were the two weeks in May I shared with my husband, Mark, and a few friends in
a villa just minutes from Florence. Our home-away-from-home was set high up in
the hills, surrounded by acres of olive trees, grape vines, and bright red poppies
in full bloom. The villa was divided into three separate apartments, each with
its own private outdoor space. Our terrace had stunning panoramic views of the
valley below and was (as luck would have it) the biggest of the three apartments.
It had recently been renovated and had a full-size kitchen, a living room with
a fold-out bed, a large master bedroom with a huge and inviting bed, a washing
machine, and a very long hallway that served as the viewing gallery for various
treasures we purchased during our stay (think bags and bags of Prada and Gucci,
as well as lots of locally made pottery).
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