A house in Tuscany

Edith Wharton once said of Tuscany, "Fields, hedges and cypresses embellished by a corona of light, reminding one of the golden waves running over the grass in the foreground of Botticelli's 'Birth of Venus'...."

The view from La Cipressaia

Arriving at Il Poggetto, one could be forgiven for thinking they were Venus, having just arrived in Paradise. After driving down a short gravel road, passing the castle of Montegufoni, a group of local people gathered outside a small church and a group of artists capturing a classically Tuscan scene of rolling hills (from under the shade of a giant fig tree, heavy with fruit) we warmly greeted by our kind and generous host Ivana. As we unpacked our sleek little Fiat 500, the beautiful Ivana offered us a chilled bottle of prosecco. After the hectic journey from Rome, we wasted no time in opening the bottle. As we poured the first glass, the afternoon light cast the landscape in soft focus and the smell of pine and the herbaceous scent of the bright green olive trees hung heavily in the air.

La Cipressaia, our house for a week
Interior of La Cipressaia
The soft light cast lace shadows on the walls of La Cipressaia
We had planned to spend a week at Il Poggetto, visiting the neighboring towns and markets, but we could easily have spent a month or two. It had been six years since my last visit - and absolutely nothing in this perfect oasis had changed, except for the seasons. Where pomegranates had filled the trees in early Autumn, apricots had taken their place and the gardens were filled with the bright blush of summer roses. I was ecstatic when Ivana kindly offered us to help ourselves to some of the sweet, plump summer apricots. They made an absolutely heavenly breakfast, with a generous dollop of homemade yoghurt and a freshly brewed espresso style coffee.

The castle of Montegufoni, viewed from the olive groves of La Cipressaia
While I could happily have spent my days at Il Poggetto wandering through the olive groves, swimming in the pool and soaking up the Tuscan sun, Mr K managed to lure me through the grand wrought iron gates for a short stroll down to the local winery. What delights awaited.

Red poppies on the roadside we passed on the way to the vineyard

The Fattoria di Castiglioni is a family run vineyard in Montegufoni and they have been making wine for an incredible period of over 700 years. Mr K and I tried a number of their wines, but we were particularly taken by the 2010 Frescobaldi Castiglioni Chianti DOCG and the elegant Tenuta Frescobaldi di Castiglioni Toscana IGT. As well as wines, the vineyard offered a range of local cheeses, dried sausages and meats and a beautiful light floral honey.

If you happened to have a large, glass bottle - which would accommodate around 5 to 10 liters, you could also do as the local Nonnos of the village did - and take your own bottle to be filled up directly from the barrel. I won't tell you how long Mr K searched to find the perfect bottle, so that he could join in with the Nonnos.

A further 15 miuntes down the road, we discovered the wonderful market town of San Casciano in Val di Pesa. A gorgeous hilltop town, the market is held every Monday and has a view down to olive trees and vineyards below. The fragrance of herbs and jasmine wafting up the hill was intoxicating.

The view of olive trees and vineyards from the market

As we walked toward the market, the air became even more enticing with the smells of roasting porchetta, filled with thick slices of garlic and a bounty of herbs. Having done their shopping, groups of older local men and women were sitting in the shade of the trees catching up on each others stories and swapping tales of everyday life from this small town.

It took a little while to get past the myriad of stalls selling clothing, household goods, shoes, bags etc. When we arrived in the produce area of the market it was a visual delight - fruits and vegetables piled high, meats, cheeses. There were even thick healthy seedlings of sprouting Tuscan cabbage and other vegetables for sale, along with a variety of about 200 various types of vegetable seed packets.

Mr K and I loaded up our shopping bags with some beautiful, fresh produce and headed home to the wonderful kitchen in La Cipressia. Although, if you ever visit the enchanting Il Poggetto, you are not locked in to cooking every night.

Loading up the fiat to head back to La Cipressaia

A couple of days later, Mr K and I found a wonderful taverna, within walking distance in the small town of Montangnana. A former old school movie theate, the cheap and cheerful Casa Del Popolo was jam packed with locals, enjoying pizza e birra on the terrace in the dusky heat.

We started with the classic of melon and proscuitto. The melons were very sweet and had such an intensity of flavour, it was almost like you were eating a slice of Tuscan sun. Mr K enjoyed an enormous pizza filled with everything from the mountains and everything else from the sea (ask for the "Mare e Monti", 6.50 Euros).

The truffle ravioli ("cannoli tartufati", 6.00 euros) had pugent and heady white truffle packed into creamy, slighlty sweet ricotta and was covered with a thick porchini mushroom sauce. It was quite simply heaven. The lobster pasta ("penne granchio" 6.50 euro - this actually means crab pasta, but they use whatever is in season) was also an absolute steal and thoroughly delicious with a salty, buttery white wine sauce dancing on the sweetness of the lobster meat. Despite what the wine list says - the choice is limited to about 4 bottles. We ordered a 1/2 litre carafe of the local red and it was a perfect match for this wonderful food.

If you stop by early and make a booking, you will be able to get a seat on the terrace. The restaurant is owned by two Italian gentlemen. They speak a little English - but not much as the place is usually packed with Italian speaking locals. However, Cosimo, the son of one of the owners, speaks wonderful English - although he usually only works there on the weekend.
As we wandered home from Casa del Popolo, the scent of the pine and olive trees were even stronger than when we had arrived, the heat of the Tuscan sun releasing the plant oils into the cool of the night. We passed trees packed with pears, olives and figs and the tower of the Castle of Montegufoni and the local church were bathed in a beautiful blue moonlight glow. Mr K and I both agreed that we really could have been standing in the middle of Boticelii's paradise. I can guarantee it won't be long before we return back to Il Poggetto and this stunning corner of Tuscany.

Il Poggetto
(we stayed in La Cipressaia)
Via del Poggetto

Market at San Casciano
Every Monday morning
Piazza della Repubblica

Casa Del Popolo
Via Volterrana Nord


  1. Dear mulberry and Pommegranate,

    In this post you captured the quintessence of Tuscan life. Well and wonderful done. Like your blog very much.

    Saluti cordiali da Amsterdam

  2. Thank you do much for your lovely words, all the way from Amsterdam!! I am hoping that Amesterdam will be on my list of visited destinations very soon!!!

  3. Mrs M, you have transported me! Your photos are so amazing!

    1. Thanks Anna! Everything was so beautiful in Montespertoli, I don't think it would be possible to take a bad photo there!! ; )

  4. Beautiful, absolutely beautiful! I want to go there.

    1. Thanks Lizzy! Definitely a place for the must do list. I can't wait to get back there soon!!

  5. This looks like a dream...incredible. Just as Lizzy said, I want to go there too :)

  6. I adore your photos! It was like I was leafing through a beautiful travel and food book! :)

    1. Thanks so much Lorraine!! Tuscany was just so beautiful - inspiration in every corner for photographs ; )

  7. Just found your blog and just wanted to so that it is so lovely and your photography is GORGEOUS! Thank-you!
    Sarah xx

    1. Thanks so much for your lovely words Sarah! I really enjoyed reading your blog too - love those retro tunes of the week!!

  8. I've been meaning to comment on this post all week...absolutely beautiful! It looks like you had a wonderful holiday. The photos of the roses and poppies are just stunning (I love the way the light hits them). You're posts are like mini travel guides. Love it :)

    1. Thanks for your lovely words Emilie - if only there was smell-o-vision for blogs. The scent from the roses was just beautiful!!


Thank you for your comments, I really appreciate every single one!

© Mulberry and Pomegranate
Maira Gall