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I stayed in a beautiful villa in the Camaiore Valley. The villa was once a country retreat for a famous Italian actor, and his family still own the house and gorgeous gardens. I loved the gardens the most, as there was an abundance of fresh herbs, as well as orange trees and beautiful hydrangea and roses. I probably spent most of the time out there, either by the salt-water pool, sunning myself, or out under the gazebo, eating wonderful homecooked meals. Everything tastes so fresh and delicious in Tuscany. The tomatoes taste incredible compared to the ones back home.

 

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We took a day trip to see Florence, a city I have always dreamed of seeing. It was quite incredible to step out of the taxi and see the Duomo group of buildings across the Piazza. These magnificent buildings have to be seen to be believed.

 

As we were short on time in the city, we decided to take a bus tour, something that I have done many times before in European cities, as it is a great way to see a vast array of the sights. We were worried that we had made a mistake sitting up top in the blazing hot sunshine, but luckily when the tour got going there was a slight breeze.

 

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Sadly I didn’t venture into any of the museums and galleries that were on my list to visit, but that just means I’ll have to return to Florence one day!

 

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I’ll certainly miss the lifestyle I experienced during my stay in Tuscany. Leisurely breakfasts followed by a morning reading by the pool, daily swimming and vast quantities of scrumptious food for lunch and dinner. I also did a lot of writing, inspired by my surroundings and the rich history of the Tuscan people.

 

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This was my second trip to Tuscany. I first went about ten years ago, and that time visited Pisa, Siena and Montepulciano. I absolutely loved all these places, probably because I’m slightly obsessed by the Bernardo Bertolucci film from 1995, Stealing Beauty, and the 1993 version of Much Ado About Nothing. There is just something so romantic and cultured about Tuscany, and the food is incredible.

 

I also have a great love for the singsong Italian language (I’m learning it and was quite pleased with my progress), and for the Shakespearean plays set in this vast and inspiring country. I’m so pleased that I’ll be returning to Italy in a week’s time, although this time I’ll be visiting Sorrento and the Bay of Naples. Still on my wish list? The three cities Venice, Padua and Verona.

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