This is my favourite place in Italy, casa Vittoria and Lo Spicchio near Arezzo.
Serendipity brought us here eight years ago. We were living out our Italian dream holiday for the first time. We had rented a car and pre-booked some hotel nights and stays at farmhouses via Agriturismo. Our plan was to drive around in Toscana, and to stay were we pleased enjoying the sceneries, sights and good food and wine.
We found Vittoria’s through Agriturismo and have been returning ever since.
There is an ancient farmhouse and an apartment one can rent. It is an old estate with the main building dating back to the 17th century and the farmhouse from the 18th century. At one point there was a monastery here. The place has modern comforts adjusted to the historical settings. For us it is just perfect – the restorations have been made with original materials and furnished with authentic antique furniture. I enjoy the peace and quite, we both do – you can get on the net and check the news if you like, we always get the signals and the phones work despite the thick stone walls. The buildings are surrounded by beautiful scenery- olive and wine groves, Arno valley with a richness of flora and fauna. You can see fire flies circling in the garden in the evening – a sign of pure nature!
Here one has the luxury of being in the middle of the nature, in the Arno valley, yet not too far from the city of Arezzo and many, many interesting places just a day trip away. Florence is just an hour or so away not to mention Siena, Assissi, Pienza, Cortone and many more. A rental car is a must though there are local busses to town.
Some days we have stayed put and had walks in the morning sun or in the evening dusk; driven to one of the nearby villages to do groceries, to have a meal or to enjoy an evening stroll with ice cream after the dinner – per fare la passeggiata. Sometimes we have headed for some local shops, outlets and other places of interest.
The farmhouse is splendid for a ‘dolce fare niente’ holiday– the sweetness of doing nothing. Strolling around, wondering at the roses, lavender, fruit trees, wines … sitting on the terrace or the loggia; having discussions with Vittoria, the owner, and getting tips on places to visit. We have learnt so much about the local history and art through her – perhaps it is the kindred spirits that have befriended us – the shared love for languages, art and cooking. I getting cooking tips all the time and always have samples of her delicious cooking. She gives cooking lessons – to visitors and locals. Now you see where my inspiration for Italian food comes from!
We love the open atmosphere the heartwarming welcome with which Vittoria meet us over and over again. There are always sweet treats – fresh cherries, figs, lemons , pasta, cheese etc. We have also met some friends over dinner, heard many stories and received many recipes shares, made excursions to local shops and markets.
I’m heading to Lo Spicchio again this summer – another stay, cooking lessons and a course in Italian awaiting.