The most common response when I tell people that I live in Italy is: "Oh my gosh, is it just like Under the Tuscan Sun???" The answer is: kind of. It's super awkward, I cry a lot, I've been to Rome & Positano and.... I'm an American living abroad. So... yep. Similarities have officially ended. What my life here isn't like is this: The workmen in my house are not nearly as cheery or stay as long, I don't have an Italian lover (which Tom is VERY pleased about) and, most importantly, I don't live in a villa in Tuscany. Despite all of this, I do enjoy that movie. A lot. And watch it often and sigh and think "I'm TOTALLY Diane Lane except I'd totally screw that cheating husband at the beginning and take everything. Just for spite." If this first paragraph doesn't make sense, it's because you haven't seen "Under the Tuscan Sun." Stop reading, watch it immediately. And then realize that said movie, in very few ways, relates to my life.
But just for grins, we got a pack of Americans (we seem to always travel in packs and roll in heavy, terrifying the locals) together and headed up to Cortona for a lovely weekend. The rolling hills, the cheerful chirping of birds, the stars... sigh, it was so restful and beautiful! Our one friend made us reservations at the Baracchi Winery for lunch and a tour. This place is amazing!!! Our lunch included this delicious pasta (pictured to the right. Insert drool here) with lamb meatballs, fried artichokes, and a cheese crisp on top. Stop it. You're killing me. Food upon food arrived at the table with amazing wine that accompanied it just so. Sigh... lovely, delicious perfection! During a tour of the vineyards, we went into the cellars and learned about sparkling red wine. In the photo below, a group of drunk Americans pretends to understand the complex wine making process. Blank, intent stares...
For a bit of fun, we wandered through some Etruscan caves in Chiusi for 2 Euro per person. The tour was entirely in the fastest Italian I've ever heard in my life along with the equivalent of a third grade report on Etruscan caves in a plastic folder. But here I am, in a 2,000 year old water system. So, that happened and was awesome!
I shamefully have not one single picture of our night in San Quirico d'Orcia, a tiny, tiny town that you would sneeze and miss somewhere between Montepulciano and Montalcino. I mean, I've personally driven passed it and not even looked. For whatever reason, there is an amazing B&B there that is rated super, freakishly highly on TripAdvisor. We stayed one night, I had a SUPER awkward massage (but my bathing experiences were totally normal, so at least that's progress), and then the most amazing dinner. All in all, it was a lovely, restful vacation (uncomfortable, highly exposed massage aside) and helped me feel a bit more like Diane Lane.