Raja and Sherpa were welcome in Tuscany, Italy where the outdoor lifestyle and the sheer simplicity of life’s values made their presence seem pretty normal and appropriate to Italians in this dramatic and glorious countryside. Categorically, we can say, Italians like dogs, usually own dogs and aren’t surprised to see dog tourists.
What is Tuscany exactly? Tuscany is the region north of Rome bordering the Tyrrhenian Sea. The Etruscans dominated until the Romans conquered in 351 BCE. Following the Roman Empire, city states rose, each a scrappy, contentious little citadel on a hill that both created unique, native trade goods and made jealous, little wars on its neighbors. In the 15th century, the Medici Family, rich and political, dominated; their vision and political savvy nurtured Dante, Macchiavelli, Botticelli, Brunelleschi, Leonardo and Michelangelo. Tuscany was the epicenter of the Italian Renaissance. In 1871, Tuscany became part of a united Italy, but roughly 75 years later suffered grievously as a major theater of WWII. Its architectural treasures were blown to pieces; its famous art looted, regained, relooted and regained, leaving the area impoverished and disassembled. In the times of local peace, Tuscany has emerged as a gentle region of famous national culture.
Raja and Sherpa, anti-war and apolitical, just want to enjoy each minute of every day and Tuscany offers ample opportunity to fulfill their travel dreams. So, first off, where did they stay and how did they get there?They flew into Rome’s Fiumicino Airport and took a rental car north. Two and a half hours, and they were in Tuscany- where the landscape changed to rolling hills dotted by little round bushes and occasional trees of two sorts, small and lollypop-like or tall and slender. And then they saw the vineyards and ancient olive groves, patched everywhere on the hillsides.
Since Tuscany champions its local culture, Raja and Sherpa stayed in a country house, a sprawling farmhouse complex repurposed into a comfortable hotel with rustic apartments, breakfast on the rose terrace, a pool that overlooks a valley that lies beneath a mountain upon which sits a castle and gardens, gardens, gardens tended by a constant gardener. Dogs are welcome everywhere. Raja and Sherpa put their paws in the pool, relaxed in the dining room, lounged under the umbrella at breakfast and rambled through the roughly 100 acres of the estate. The office advised us that the area is fenced, so they didn’t need leashes, and, oh yes, the local wild boar won’t really bother them if they don’t chase her. Hmmm… anyway… We cannot recommend the Casa Cornacchi in the Province of Siena any more highly.
A country house apartment allows for both service and autonomy. Raja and Sherpa were able to have food cooked right in their own stone farm kitchen, bought in cute, private groceries or from the ubiquitous, Coop, the regional supermarket cooperative that champions local products and local manufacturers.
So what did they do, besides stalk boar? Next post we’ll tell you about the best hill towns of Tuscany for our adventuresome duo!