Under The Tuscan Sun

“Il dolce far niente.”

My Tuscany trip was a long time coming. I blame books and films for stuffing my head with images of rolling hills and sunny vineyards. Damn you, Frances Mayes!

We all know that Tuscany is known for its landscape and its vineyards. In the beginning, all I wanted was to jet off to Italy and go to Tuscany. Anywhere in Tuscany. I didn’t care where. But the more I started to plan things and the more research I did, I realized it wasn’t as easy as throwing a dart at a map.


As part of my Eurotrip last year, I just had to include Tuscany in the Italian itinerary. But where do you even begin to pick where to stay? Tuscany or Toscana, is a pretty big region to cover.

You can easily narrow down your options with the kind of wine you prefer. Tuscany has different wine regions and if you know your wine, it’s easier to make decisions based on this. The most notable wine in this region is Chianti. I’m no sommelier and so my choice of picking a villa was based on the landscape and its proximity to both Florence and Rome since those two cities were part of the itinerary. Chianti region offers a landscape with green hills of vineyards, olive groves, and stone villages.

I found a beautiful house in Sieci that can accommodate four people.


Sieci is a small town located east of Florence (Firenze). It is only one short train ride away from the Florence Santa Maria Novella Train Station, Florence’s main hub. When I say it is a small town, I mean small enough that locals would recognize you don’t belong there.


Another important factor is having the train station accessible since we didn’t rent a car. Speaking of NOT renting a car in Tuscany, I learned a valuable lesson…RENT ONE!

Yes, the property manager, Giovanni picked us up from the train station and yes, the train station was somewhat walking distance. BUT that walking distance included a mile of dirt road and uphill hikes! There were also days when we were so tired from all the walking we did in Pisa,  Florence and Cinque Terre and by the time my friends and I got back it was already dark. Did I mention I was tired and I was in no mood to climb that freaking hill one more time…in the rain?!

I recommend renting a car when in Tuscany, period. You get to drive around the whole region, go wherever you please and see more of the amazing landscape.


As you can see from the photo above, my friends were yelling encouraging words of support at me. You can do it, Jen. We’re almost there!

Are we? Are we really?

My gruesome hike aside, our lovely villa and the perfect view were more than enough to console me. I mean, how could I complain when I woke up to this everyday?


Where We Stayed

Tuscany villa


Podere Vignola is a farmhouse located in the heart of Tuscany. It is divided into five apartments and we stayed at Apartment Limonaia, the biggest one. It can accommodate 6-8 people. The property itself is surrounded by vineyards and trees and it comes with a pool! For more information visit Podere Vignola.


What We Ate

Nothing beats a good home cooked meal. The best thing about staying in a small town is the luxury of going to the only open grocery store and buying fresh local products. Pasta, bread, mozzarella, tomatoes. Chianti was overflowing. Sometimes it’s the simple things that make the best memories.

Italian meal cheese and tomatoes

Frances Mayes was right. There’s something romantic about Tuscany. Needless to say, the manicured vineyards, rolling hills and superb vino are the elements of a perfect romance novels.

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I mean, what else is there to say?

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Jen is a Chicago-based traveler and a full-time Director of Development for an arts & culture organization. Originally from Connecticut, she created JetsettingJen as a place to share her travel stories and photos with friends and family. Now, it is a place for adventurers, explorers and dreamers. Its purpose is to inspire and encourage people to see the world and achieve a better work-life balance.