Travel: Italy

My friend Lizzie grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and went to University of Colorado Boulder for college. I’m so excited to share the amazing trip to Italy she took with her family and boyfriend, Keith. She’s been such a big supporter of my blog and even purchased a pair of sunnies for the trip because of this post– toot toot! While I did Insta-stalk her from afar during her stay, below are some details from her lust-worthy vacation. Perhaps she has a career in photography too? Ciao!


Well, ladies and gents…if you are looking for Heaven on Earth, I’m pleased to announce that I’ve found it. It’s located about an hour and a half south of Florence in a small town called Cortona. Made famous by the Under the Tuscan Sun book and movie, this small Italian hillside town captures everything you’d expect: charm, history and culture. Not only was I lucky enough to get to visit this delightful town, but I also stayed in the 17th Century Estate where Under the Tuscan Sun was filmed. This heavenly villa sits just below the town of Cortona.

Diane Lane in Under the Tuscan Sun

Diane Lane in Under the Tuscan Sun

The town of Cortona

The town of Cortona

Some Italian men

Some Italian men

My Italian men

My Italian men

I was lucky enough to spend a week at Villa Laura celebrating my mom’s 60th birthday and my parent’s 40th wedding anniversary. I could have stayed there forever. Our days were spent lounging poolside, napping in the hammock under the fruit trees, and enjoying cocktail hour bocce games. Day trips included: wine tasting in Montepulciano, exploring in Siena and avoiding the summer crowds in Florence. We would venture out to the vegetable and herb gardens before meals to pick out the ripest veggies. We even had Italian Grandmothers’ come over and cook for us! The simplicity of their cooking was astonishing.


photo13_Dinner Table

Conversations about their cooking would go something like this:

Me: “How did you make that fabulous pasta? What was in it?”
Old Italian Grandmother (OIG): “Pasta, Tomatoes, Salt…and Olive Oil”

Me: “That was the best pork I’ve ever had. What was in it?”
OIG: “Pork, Rosemary salt…and Olive Oil”

So I’m convinced that the key to fabulous Italian cooking is a few fresh ingredients…and Olive Oil! Good thing we managed to smuggle a couple of bottles through customs.

The Villa offers everything you could ever want for a leisurely stay and the amount of history alone was astonishing. The main house has a Chapel where the entire town would gather for church on Sundays. The Farmhouse used to be a dwelling for the family’s farmers and animals and the “Limonaia” is where the family would store their citrus plants during winter months. Below are a few pictures from our amazing stay!

The Villa:

photo1_Main House

photo5_Side of Main House

photo7_View from Main House

Keith is quite l’artista:


The Farmhouse:


photo4_Side of Farmhouse (2)

The Limonaia:


photo6_Side of LimonaiaThe garden:

photo9_View from the Garden

photo10_My Frances Mayes

Bocce anyone?

photo11_Bocce (1)

I hope to visit this beautiful part of the world again soon but until then…arrivederci! 

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