Monday, 16 May 2011

Chianti Country

I have a love affair with Italy, which began with my first trip Lemon Paradiso.  I have visited a handful of times since then to different regions, and Italy still fills me with superlatives.

Casa Sola
I think when you experience something good, you should pass it on and keep a good thing going : )  In 2007, my one break that year, was a week in Chianti country, in Tuscany at Fattoria Casa Sola which is a perfect example of an Italian Family Estate (agriturismo).  My expectations were high; to bundle everything that had happened in the last several months and take away to Tuscany.

The estate produces both wine and olive oil.  Their wine is qualified as Chianti Classico.  The term "chianti" has invariably been appropriated to mean red and Italian, but to be truely from grapes carefully nurtured for generations, harvested, fermented, uniquely blended and stored in caves of this small region of Italy, it is termed Chianti Classico (look for the Black Cockrell on seals for this proof next time you buy a bottle). Their production each year is entirely dependent on mother nature.  They have experienced climate variabilities and there is no faking or making-up, they patiently wait for  nature's renewal.  The love, stability and continuity in running their estate for successive generations is really admirable.
The instant you drive out of the city and reach open country, you remember how breathing feels like.  Rolling Tuscan hills, slow winding roads, vineyards that stretch across lighting a green horizon, glorious sunflower fields, and even in arid sun-baked chalky roads, there is life. The moment our Fiat Punto rolled over the gravel in the courtyard and I stepped out into bracing August midday sun, I got that "good feeling" that I had chosen well.  The lunch hour meant that the reception was vacant, but we followed the twitter of voices around to the garden and pool, and were met by a few members from three different generations enjoying the day like any family, basking in lunchtime leisure.  Grandma greeted us warmly, strolling around with us, chatting until the Guest Manager returned to show us to our apartment - I was so enamoured with her sense of well-being.
Our view at breakfast
Our apartment was all rustic stonework on the outside and immaculate and spacious on the inside.  They make every effort to make your feel at home. Each apartment is very private and great for couples as well as families. They had a fig and apricot orchard growing by our apartment and we would just pick off their ready fruits like big kids under a tree.  They really know good living and in the Italian country, edibles grow everywhere.

The estate is well located, 25Km from Florence (where we flew into).  Tuscany is a driving holiday, as there is no network of transport on its small country roads.  We visited San Gimignano, the Crete and Siena, all within easy to reasonable driving distances.  A culinary dish I highly anticipated was the carpaccio of pork loin in a sweet balsamic sauce in San Gimignano, the regional pork is a specialty and this antipasti was the highlight of my foodie experience in Tuscany.

Casa Sola are very good at late notice promotions, which is another reason, we couldn't believe our luck at finding and affording them.  Visit their website for availability and up to date promotions: Fattoria Casa Sola

They also ship their products internationally by request ( I am a huge fan):


  1. Wonderful post with pretty pictures! I love Italy and especially Tuscany too! Stayed in the countryside next to San Gimignano and loved every second of it!! That was about 7 years ago and would sooo love to go back there! :)

  2. So beautiful! I love that photo of the front gate.

  3. So very lovely! One of these years, I will get to Italy.

  4. can I come? I need a vacation like this..totally tranquil

  5. Oh how I dream of going to Italy! Thanks for a wonderful post! Maybe I should email it to my husband as a hint?

  6. Stunning photos! I am a huge fan of Italy too. Thanks for sharing your experiences! X

  7. I want a week of vacation as well, in a place like this!
    I need a loooot:)
    thanks for sharing!

  8. Thank you for your nice comments and the idea of sharing your Casa Sola experience :)
    We look forward to welcome you soon again.
    Best Tuscan Regards

    Matteo & all Casa Sola Staff

  9. Really nice photos...I miss Italy!