I do remember saying something along the lines of ‘let’s get away from it all’…I even actually found said shack in Tuscany (Shack Olivio at the Tuscan Farm) and suggested it to Mr B but what I didn’t do was give any real thought to the fact that we would literally be ‘away from it all’. ‘All’ in this case being plumbing, electricity, wi-fi (I am sadly addicted to the interweb), bricks and mortar and a fully functional kitchen. What we had instead was a steep, steep climb up an ancient Roman road to a hand crafted wooden shack atop a hill, overlooking a village in Tuscany. We had a composting toilet and a solar powered, open air (and sided) shower plus a two ring camping stove.
It was basic, very basic but also…perfect. Our idyllic getaway was a little daunting at first as I’m not used to ‘roughing it’ and I’ve only ever been camping once in my life when some family friends took my brother and I after clearly feeling sorry for us when my Dad refused to ever, ever, ever sleep in a tent…but that’s another story. To cut a long story short, I am not a seasoned camper, I like modern conveniences. Mr B isn’t a seasoned camper either really having mostly ‘caravaned’ it in his youth (which seems like cheating to me).
Despite all this we had a wonderful time, full of delicious food, snoozing in the hammock, comparing mosquito bites, swimming in stream below a waterfall, visiting some of Tuscany’s beautiful sights (Lucca is stunning) and Italy’s crazy neat beaches (Viareggio…they actually rake the beach each night?!) and we fell a little bit in love with our little shack atop a hill in Tuscany. The toilet and shower were so liberating and we actually both miss them now we’re back in civilisation – don’t knock it till you’ve tried it!
Much of our enjoyment though was due to the wonderful food we had left in the fridge for us by our lovely hosts, Sue and Chris, including home-grown veg, home-baked bread, home-made pasta sauce and pesto and olive oil from the very olive grove we had below us on the hill. Who would ask for more? On top of this they were by far and away the most accommodating, friendliest and enthusiastic hosts we’ve ever met. Nothing was too much trouble and we loved the evening visits with our bread for the next day and meeting their two lovely children, Henry and Erik…who I did consider kidnapping on more than one occasion, they were just such charming, polite kids!
Having moved to the farm a few years ago from Reading themselves it was amazing to see how incredibly passionate they are about the life they now lead and it was really inspiring to see them really making it work and not just talking about ‘a better life’ like so many of us do!
The cabin sleeps two so we’re sadly not going to be able to go back any time soon but everyone else should – literally everyone else! Relax, unwind, sleep, eat, drink and maybe squeeze in a little sightseeing…if you can be bothered!
A piece of Tuscan heaven
P.S. If driving a car, get insurance, get lots of insurance – Italian drivers are MENTAL!!!! I can’t emphasise how mental, it must be seen to be believed!
P.P.S. We also spent a night in Pisa at the beginning of the holiday, staying at the Royal Victoria Hotel (which I would recommend, very faded round the edges but a stunning building and a very cool room overlooking the river Arno), a few pictures…