Finally, a glimpse at our lovely holiday in Italy. We stayed in this very beautiful converted farm house, called Magnifica, that is situated on a horse farm in a lovely little village called Fauglia, just about 25 minutes from Pisa. The owner, Paula, grew up in this farm house and have since converted it into five beautiful apartments/villa's. We had three very spacious bedrooms and a lovely private outside area where we ate and enjoyed many happy moments, a beautiful lounge filled with wonderful books and a kitchen and dining room with the original fireplace. It couldn't have been any more perfect, as there were other kids to make friends with, a park for the kids to play in, a swimming pool, what more could you want. The gardens were what I would call 'National Trust gardens', they were very beautiful and there was no shortage of space for the kids to explore and run around in.
We enjoyed quite a few day trips out, firstly to the lovely city of Pisa, where the wonderful husbands pushed us around (I think one of their easier days, they were amazing!!) and we enjoyed lunch at a wonderful restaurant right by the side of the leaning tower of Pisa. No one braved the steps as the kids were to young, but it is something for the future.
Our next trip, and most definitely one of my favourite places that we visited, was to a very beautiful city called Lucca. Lucca is set inside a ring of Renaissance walls fronted by lovely gardens and huge bastions. Apparently the city is reputed for once having seventy churches, which would explain the number of beautiful piazzas that we encountered around almost every corner. We indulged in to the big open spaces that hardly felt touristy and enjoyed seeing many people seeing the city from their bikes, something we would have loved to have done, but for now we were using our other wheels. Lucca was a great deal more wheelchair friendly than other places we visited and to be honest, I could happily visit Lucca for a week, just to lounge around in cafes soaking up the atmosphere and getting high on the treasures displayed in the very impressive antique markets. The markets take place every third weekend of the month and fortunately for us, our timing was perfect. I honestly could have spent a fortune and so wished we drove as I would have rammed the car full of very beautiful antiques. Everything there was to my taste and the fabrics and linens were simply to die for. I was very restrained and bought only a few bits (which I will show in another post), but I could have left with a great deal more. We visited the San Michele in Foro, which apparently has one of Tuscany's most stunning facades, pictured below the leaning tower of Pisa. The church is first mentioned in 795, but was rebuilt in 1070 and the facade was done by a famous architects in the 13th and 14th century. The picture of the horse drawn cart was taken in one of the Piazzas and so was the photo of the kids playing hide and seek. It was tranquil, relaxing, yet quilted with beautiful buildings.
One of my other little highlights was visiting the casa (house) of Puccini. Having spent many an hour in my life singing his opera's and arias I wanted to see where this Master of Music lived and I sneaked a picture of his piano, where he wrote most of his music. I felt a little emotional being in his house, and somehow felt a little connected with something that formed such a big part of my life for so many years. Everyone enjoyed Lucca, even the kids and I don't think any of us really wanted to leave that night. It is definitely a place I am going back to.
Being only 30 minutes away from a beautiful coastline, we spent on day at the beach, which I was so excited about before we left as I love the sea and so miss seeing it every day. The beaches weren't that great to be honest and even though we enjoyed our day there, we didn't really feel that we wanted to rush back. The beaches are all packed with loungers and it is very well set up, but for me it detract from the natural beauty of the coastline, that you just couldn't enjoy.
We also took the kids to an amusement park as a little buttering up before they had to spend hours looking at ruins and what they would deem as 'boring' days out. It was a great, but very long day and my Ma and Pa were so wonderful throughout!! Both Ma and myself absolutely LOVE roller coasters and even though us two arrived in our wheelchairs, we decided that needs must we were going at the very front of this roller coaster and boy did we have fun. To be honest most probably not my best decision to date, but it is a memory that I will treasure for life. Our evenings were mostly spent at our casa and the sunsets were simply breathtaking. What I loved more than anything was just listening to the symphony of cicadas and insects playing to the darkness of the night.
Well if you have gotten this far, well done! I will share our trips to Firenze (Florence) and Rome with you very soon.
Wishing you all a very happy weekend.