One of the best things about my trip to Rome last month was that I got to see a lot of my best friend Lauren, who is living and working there now.
On my last weekend in Italy, N had to head home and I stayed with Lauren and her adorable family. On Thursday that week she texted me that they were thinking of going to the beach in Tuscany that weekend, and was I interested? I had to think about that one for oh, half a second. Probably less.
So Saturday morning they picked me up in their shiny red Fiat 500L, and we drove north. We were headed to Capalbio, their favorite beach town — really a collection of villages scattered across the green hills that roll into the Mediterranean — in southern Tuscany. After only an hour and a half on the road we came to this:
the customs-house-turned-B&B where we stayed overnight. Look idyllic? Check out the view from the grounds:
There were ostriches and donkeys on the property so that the B&B could qualify as an agritourism venue, as well as an olive grove and a beautiful rose garden.
We spent several hours each day on the beach. The setup was just like N and I experienced in Rome — we rented chairs and bought lunch (wonderful cheese and fried calamari; slightly different fare from what you’d get at an American beach snack bar) at the bar. The beach was much quieter and less crowded than in Rome, and the Mediterranean sea even bluer. There was an exhibition of kite surfers all weekend, and while the kids ran and played we sat in our chairs and watched the kites float across the sky.
We drove up to the old town, perched atop a high hill, to get views of the landscape below,
to walk around its sweet stone buildings,
and to enjoy an afternoon snack, including my last gelato of the trip.
The entire weekend I felt like I was in a movie, or maybe a tourism brochure. It was that beautiful, sunny, and peaceful in Capalbio. And being led around by friends who know and love the area and took me to all their favorite places made it even better.
Everything was lovely. After an amazing long night of countryside sleep, I woke up in the bright morning to find this gorgeous crostata which the innkeeper had left for us in the living area and Lauren had delivered to our little apartment:
We ate well, saw a lot, and relaxed plenty. Even the somewhat horrific traffic on our way back into Rome couldn’t dampen my happiness on my last night in Italia. It was a perfect ending to a very special vacation.