Monday, November 1, 2021


Buongiorno. Today, I am sharing our trip to Tuscany (Warning: picture overload!) and I am glad you are here.
    Tuscany is celebrated for its breathtaking natural beauty. The simplicity of the land dense with olive groves and vineyards, cypress, and pine was thrilling. The beautiful views of the lush valleys evoked a sense of tranquility and awe.

This view is from our nontraditional hotel L'Olmo which is near Pienza, a walled hilltop town in Tuscany. 

Our hotel was surrounded on all sides by rolling hills. Search L'Olmo, Localita Monticchiello on Google Earth and you can see the vast rolling hills surrounding it.

Hurray for modern technology. This is a screenshot from Google Earth of L'Olmo.

L'Olmo is a converted stone farmhouse, circa 1600, with a courtyard terrace and an outdoor pool.

When we arrived at L'Olmo there were storm clouds on the horizon. 

A view of the fertile fields surrounding L'Olmo, where semolina wheat is grown.

This is a
 zoomed-in picture of the hilltop town, Pienza that you could see in the distance from our hotel. It is very hard to get a good picture from a moving car on the curvy roads.

Another view of Pienza.

Our bedroom at L'Olmo.

We were surprised but pleased the staff offered to serve our dinner in our room our first night. Our breakfasts were served outside under the arbor near the pool area.
 The staff went beyond the call of duty to ensure we all felt safe.

The spacious rooms were lovely view and had a great view from the second story.


Tagliata al Rosmarino/Tagliata Beef with Rosemary

I  remember the meal being delicious and must have stopped taking pictures after this course because I don't have any other pictures of the meal.
 Italian menus include:

 Primi Piatti/First Courses
Second Piatti/Second Courses
Contorni/Side Dishes

 But for us, that is too much food. Often we shared courses or skipped a course.
 You can find L'Olmo's menu here: www.olmopienza
If you are interested you can search their Instagram page at olmopienza. Their pictures are fabulous showing the different seasons.

The sunset from our room was glorious.

This iconic farmhouse on the hill viewed from our window was beautiful at any time of day but especially as the sun set.

Italian breakfast (prima colazione) under the arbor.

On our first day, we visited two wineries and an organic farm and restaurant called Podere Il Casale.

This link has beautiful photos from Facebook This is an aerial view from a drone that shows the extraordinary view.
They add videos often so scroll down their site to see more videos.

Instagram link is here which is also intriguing. Since I've been home from this trip I realized I could have prepared more before the trip using Instagram sites and Facebook sites. All hotels and venus have them now. 

This picture does not do the beautiful view justice. This panoramic view is stunning of the Val d 'Orcia valley. When we were there in September the fields had been recently plowed ready for a new crop of wheat. I can just imagine how beautiful this is to see miles of golden wheat growing. 

Our lunch of different cheeses and organic tomatoes, all processed and grown on-site at Podere ll Casale.

We could not resist buying this cookbook from Podere II Casale. It tells about the owner's dream thirty years ago of growing their own food organically and sharing it with others. Sandra and Ulisse have raised five boys on this podere(Italian for farm) and have fulfilled their dream and more. 
The yummy chocolate pistachio cannoli along with an expresso ended a fabulous lunch. The expresso was so good we bought a bag of their organic beans to bring home.

Use your imagination here because the picture doesn't do justice to the venue.  Beyond the canopy is a  view beyond words. 

Our host and guide, the unforgettable Sandra, explained how her famous pecorino cheeses are made. 


Cypress trees line the road near Monticchiello, Tuscany. 

The hilltop towns of Pienza, Montepulciano, and Monticchiello were near L'Olmo where we stayed in Tuscany. These hilltop towns date back to the 1500's.

Tuscany Dolce Vita- Link to Rick Steves Tuscany on YouTube - This is a fabulous overview of Tuscany. A must-see. ( click on the link and then click again on next prompt)

Gelato in Pienza.

We missed the opportunity to visit La Foce Gardens because it was rented out for a private party. I was very disappointed but I have recently ordered this book in the English version. I can't wait for it to arrive.

Our travel agent, Destination Europe, does a tremendous job of finding great hotels and tours. This is our Italian guide and driver Chiara from Montalcino Wine Tours. We finally got to see each other's faces after mask-wearing all day. This is the fifth trip Destination Europe has assisted us with travel plans and we highly recommend them. Thank you, Kayla and Sarah.

The grapes were almost ready for harvest.

This was a family-owned winery that has been in the same family for generations.

Pienza region is famous for its Vino Nobile. 

This was a gorgeous view of the vineyards of La Berne winery through the window inside the tasting rooms. The owners are delightful and so interesting. Again the picture does not do it justice.
We also toured Croce Difebo in Montipulciano. It is an organic vineyard and they work very hard. They do not use chemicals on their vines. Particular care is taken to prune the vines and grapes for a better harvest. 

Monticchiello- La Porta Osteria

Stunning sunset.

Our dinner at La Porta in Monticcheillo was delicious and the view on the balcony overlooking the rolling hills and sunset was memorable. 

When we explored Montepulciano, I had the best dish of the whole trip.
It was tagliatelle ragu with black garlic. I would love to have the recipe. Have you heard of black garlic?
A pasta-making lesson would be extremely fun.

Grazie Mille for staying with me reading this long blog post! There was so much more!

I always learn more about the region I have just visited when I get back home and prepare a blog post. Is that true for everyone? Seems like I never research enough before we go.  I just googled Val'd Orcia and found beautiful pictures of the different seasons. You might want to check that out also.
Ciao,  🇮🇹


  1. Oh my goodness Bonnie, what a fabulous and memorable trip! I enjoyed seeing all your photos and seeing all the delicious food that you ate. Thank you for sharing Tuscany with us.

    1. Yes, it was fabulous and very memorable. I am still thinking of things to look up and think about.

  2. Bonnie, your trip to Tuscany was definitely magical! I know photos never do the scenery justice, but yours are excellent. The hotel looks perfect as does all of the food. I remember the beautiful hillsides of Tuscany and your trip makes me long to return. I am going to click the links that you shared along with the Instagram accounts. I always learn more after I return from a trip and start writing a post. Please blog about all the different places you visited. I love reading about travel. Beautiful, beautiful post my friend!

    1. Thank you Pam for your encouragement. Traveling virtually is fun to me as well. I love reading about and viewing photos others have taken.
      Thanks for your nice comment.

  3. Wow, wow, and more wow! That sunset photo is magnificent! As far as I'm concerned you can share as many Tuscany photos as you like -- and even more! It's so beautiful. I loved the food, the hotel, all the views. The countryside is gorgeous. It's a spot I would love to explore someday and I'm so very glad you took us there. Take us back!

    1. I love sunsets and had a great time trying to capture them. They never are as beautiful as what my eye sees!
      Thanks for your visit.

  4. Amazing trip Bonnie. We have always wanted to travel to Italy. Tuscany would be on my list. The sunsets, the food is gorgeous. Beautiful accommodations as well. How special to travel there and take in the beauty.

    1. You must plan to travel to Italy. It is amazing and so diverse. The people are gracious and friendly and the food is good everywhere.

  5. Oh Bonnie, thank you so much for taking me along on your trip to fabulous Tuscany! The countryside is so beautiful and unique, and I know the food was fabulous. The hotel where you stayed looks amazing, and it sounds like you were well taken care of by the tour guides. What an incredible trip, I loved arm chair traveling with you!

  6. Thanks so much Jenna for taking the time to comment. It was a fabulous trip.

  7. I love all the wonderful pictures Bonnie and oh my mercy, that food! What a wonderful and memorable trip for you both. So glad you enjoyed your trip. What a blessings for you both. Hugs and blessings to you and happy November. Cindy

    1. Thanks so much Cindy. We did enjoy the food. It was a fabulous anniversary celebration.

  8. Oh Bonnie, what a special and fabulous trip! So many hill towns to explore and a lovely spot to call home while you were there. Beautiful views, sunsets and rolling hills. The food in Italy is always delicious. We traveled to Tuscany in 2018 and spent several days in a hill town north of Florence. It was so beautiful we'd love to return. I'm so happy y'all were able to go on this trip. So wonderful everyone made sure you were safe. I so enjoyed each and every photo, no overload here!

    1. Thanks, Emily. It was a fabulous trip and we felt very safe. Their restrictions work. Everyone wore masks and they checked vaccine cards everywhere.
      I appreciate your visit and sweet comment. Glad you had a great trip to Tuscany in 2018. It is beautiful.

  9. Thank you for taking us to Tuscany! Your photos are breathtaking! And your meals looked delightful!
    We were in Tuscany a few years ago and we loved it! Thank you for taking me back!
    ~Nancy You know me as nance_endless_summer on IG

    1. Thank you Nance! Glad you enjoyed Tuscany too. It is a large area and I know there is much more to see. We were in Florence in 2013 but really enjoyed the little hilltop towns on this trip. Love the rolling hills and cypress trees.

  10. What a fabulous trip! I enjoyed your photos, and I want to thank you for the links, too. The inn is gorgeous! Do you like to cook Italian dishes? I would love to learn how to make cannoli, and chocolate with pistachio would be a flavor I'd love! Thanks for sharing your special trip with us.

    1. Thank you Ricki for your kind comment. After this trip I want to learn to cook Italian dishes.
      There wasn't a recipe for Cannoli in the cookbook we bought. It really was delicious.
      I regret not taking a pasta making class. We did not know they offered cooking classes. Again, I should have done more research before the trip.


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