A few years ago, I decided I didn’t want to turn around when I am older and realize that I have run out of time to see all the places I’ve always wanted to go to, so I decided that I would travel to a couple of bucket list places each year until that day that I give up the ghost. This year, one of those places was Tuscany, the long revered and wistfully imagined Italian countryside. Italy, I have been to plenty,but Tuscany was always a little too far from the action of Rome, Milan or Capri to make a trek to when I was younger. Funny how things change as one gets older- now all I search for is a place where peace can overcome my whirring brain into blissful submission.
First thing to know about Tuscany is that it’s actually quite big. Not perhaps by Australian standards, but it became clear that to see the region you’d have to put aside at least 2 weeks of holiday, not just a long weekend. Winding country roads make for slow driving and that’s exactly how it should be when traversing rolling hills, ancient hamlets and the gold of summer wheat fields. Not that this impressed my 11 year old daughter Coco who wanted to know when we would get to a pool. Our destination ; Castello Di Vicarello, a romantic boutique hotel set in an old castle run by two brothers passionate about preserving the best artesian techniques and marrying them with the most luxurious 21stcentury comforts. Boasting their own veggie garden, olive grove and vineyard plus game, wild mushroom and truffle hunting in the fall and spectacular wildflowers in the spring, the hotel also has extensive grounds, dual pools, excellent locally sourced produce, beautiful rooms and well, it’s perfect ok? We didn’t want to leave it’s literally that amazing
I packed light for this trip -just a few dresses, a couple of swimsuits and two pairs of shoes. Travelling light is a change for me but a perfect white dress in summer is non negotiable. This one made me feel like Brigitte Bardot by hugging my curves whilst miraculously giving me an actual cleavage. ( Sir the Label dress, vintage gold medallion necklace worn throughout)
I may be multitasking my clothes but my toiletries bag is well stocked, especially during the summer months when the heat and the sun’s rays become too drying. I always carry some coconut oil for my skin and hair (apply in the shower for ultimate hydration), then I follow it up with the John Masters Organics Blood Orange and Vanilla body Milk. For my face I love Kora Organics Noni Glow Face Oil followed up by the Hop & Cotton The Skinshield zinc protector, however if things get really dire I will do a La Praire Skin Caviar Luxe Sleep Mask to get my skin back to life. My hair becomes brittle without the Damage Remedy Aveda shampoo and conditioner and the Philip Kingsley Elasticizer Coconut Breeze leave in conditioner, and as far as make up; all I really do in the summer is a smidgen of Giorgio Armani’s power fabric foundation, Charlotte Tilbury beach stick in Moon Beach, Clarins Mascara Supra Volume, Shu Uemura eyebrow pencil and a good lip balm like Carla Oates Beauty Fix balm that can also double as an emergency moisturizer .
I love that the slow food movement originated in Italy – it is in Tuscany that you really notice how amazing ingredients equal incredible food. One of my favourite moments was eating wild boar pappardelle and artisanal copper stamped corzetti pasta with nettle, along with good chianti and a sunset dip in the pool ( Matteau swim)
It was hard leaving heaven but on our way back to Rome, we visited many beautiful villages and towns such as the incredible Pitigliano, Montepulciano and Cortona as well as Terme Di Saturnia, where warm healing mineral rich water bursts out of the ground in a waterfall seeping into a series of natural pools. Book dinner at the Ristorante Due Cippi or Bacco E Cerere for one last hit of Tuscany food porn. ( Zimmerman bikini, Prada sunglasses from Sunglass hut )
With thanks to Castello Di Vicarello and my daughter Coco