Please join me in welcoming UE blog partner Matt – from ThriftyTuscany.com as this weeks Guest Blogger…..
I am glad I have the opportunity to talk about this great location I pinned on my uencounter.me map. It is a wonderful private villa rental Siena where I had the occasion to meet the owners of the property, now good friends of mine.
I scouted this property on the Internet. I have always been a fan of Tuscany villas, so I dedicated my search to this type of properties, especially those with pool. After a couple of days of browsing I found Il Villino, which rests on a hill in the open countryside just outside Siena. While I was reading the description I found that this villa is just 3 kilometers from the city, which seemed too good to be true. But when we eventually got there I measured the distance with my rental car, and the distance was exactly that, 3 kilometers. Unbelievable, I thought, to have a country home completely surrounded by countryside in all directions, yet so near the city center and its conveniences!
There is one medium-sized supermarket and all other kinds of services just a mile away. This was great as it allowed us the luxury of forgetting something while grocery shopping, since we could go back any time we wanted. A couple of times I even walked there in the morning to get my newspaper, pastries or breakfast and a cake for my daughter’s birthday.
Finding Tuscany villa rentals near Siena this close to the city was also great for another reason. We wanted to be in Siena to enjoy a close encounter with the Palio race. We had had to put off seeing this event live many times before, since I was never able to get work holidays during a week including July 2 or August 16. Our proximity to the city center, where all the Palio action takes place, allowed us to enjoy the events preceding the actual race, the Palio, and the celebrations afterwards. After it was all over, we got a short taxi ride back home with no troubles having enjoyed the Palio immensely.
On the day of our arrival we met one of the children of the owners, who showed us around and explained all we were supposed to know to run the house properly. Next day we met the owners, who did not speak much English, but their great kindness and warm welcome compensated for the lack of communication and made us feel at home even more. They took us to the vegetable garden and showed us how we could pick the various kinds of vegetables growing there: fresh lettuce and radicchio, onions, peas, tomatoes, bell peppers, and Mediterranean spices like parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme, among many others. At the bottom of the garden they had huge lavender plants. They told us to gather the flowers to keep our drawers fresh, which added so much fragrance to our mornings. We still keep the habit of putting lavender in our drawers, which never fails to bring me back to those splendid days.
With the owners we also had a fabulous and informal cooking class. They offered to teach us how to prepare Tuscan meat sauce for pasta. Language was not helping, and having to mimic and make sounds for verbs to understand each other made the whole process hilarious. I cannot believe how much we laughed just trying to make a pot of pasta sauce!
Our vacation in Tuscany went by too fast, but we are glad we collected so many great memories and two new good friends we can return to whenever we want.
NOTE: This article was written and submitted by Matt – a uencounter user and blog partner. Follow his pin trail at uencounter.me.