Hats By Katrinka

Kate Brown Pernia is a Milliner on sabbatical in Switzerland. She has been designing hats and teaching millinery under her Katrinka label since the 1980s. Kate is also the founder of Houston Hat Net. View Katrinka hats and hat patterns at www.hatsbykatrinka.com.

Friday, November 24, 2006

New Friends in Tuscany

Our first evening in Montalcino we met Bob and Missy Huggins from Atlanta who were also staying at the same B&B. They travel often to Tuscany and were great fun to talk with. Bob and Missy generously offered to include me on their second day of driving around the countryside to explore the wineries. Sherman didn't feel up to the ride on windy, unpaved country roads and it was certainly the right decision for him.

It was a beautiful drive with the countryside a riot of Fall colors. Many of the wineries were closed for the season. If we'd been a month earlier we'd have had more luck. Still it was a great day. We stopped off at this monastery, San Antimo, reputed to have been founded by Charlemagne around 800. The structure itself dates from the 1100s and was as simple as Siena's Duomo was ornate.

One winery we found open was Banfi owned by Italian Americans from New York. This was a large and beautifully appointed site which included a large tasting room, friendly staff and a glass museum as well as a restaurant where we could enjoy the goods along with a great meal.
This map gives you an idea of the number of wineries in the Montalcino Consortium. Don't know if you can see all the tiny red dots signifying wineries but they are also listed on the left side of the map. Another good reason to come back - perhaps in October.

K Q:-) Posted by Picasa


At 8:27 PM, Blogger agoseta said...

A taste of the Tuscan (Italy) countryside

Journeying on to Florence through the Tuscan countryside: Lucca, Pisa and other delightful towns dot the road to Pisa where who are guested of the Agostini family Villa di Corliano. The family - and 2 resident ghosts - still welcome guest at the Villa, much as it they were at the height of its fame in the 1770’s. The stay at Bagni di Pisa or San Giuliano Terme (health giving waters are still offered to an international clientele) and visit Pisa during one of the city’s festivals, staying at the Agostini Palace to enjoy the best view of the festivities.


The Villa has hosted many illustrious guests such as Gustavus III of Sweden, Christian II of Denmark, the Royal Family of Great Britain, Benedict Stuart Cardinal of York, General Murat, Luigi Buonaparte, Paolina Borghese, Carlo Alberto of Savoy, the poets Byron and Shelley, and various other personages from the history books.


The area of the Pisa hills was already an attraction for enlightened travellers in the first half of the 1700s with the growth of the thermal spa of San Giuliano, which became a fashionable spot for the well-off classes. The mansions on the road along the hills, already renowned as places of gentle idleness and relaxation in the heart of the countryside and also for their small industrial facilities for the transformation of agricultural products, soon assumed the characteristics of true leisure resorts, just like those narrated by Carlo Goldoni and which we can continue to enjoy today. The Relais dell’ Ussero at the Villa Agostini della Seta di Corliano is on the road which runs along the foot of the hills from Pisa to Lucca, passing through the small town of San Giuliano Terme.

The Villa is a historical fifteenth century mansion surrounded by a centuries old park. It is a property of great charm in which the owners offer, in 12 rooms and 2 suites, a relaxing stay immersed in the beauties of the local countryside. Guests, if they like, can join in the day to day activities of the villa. They can have relaxing strolls in the park, potter around in the gardens, chat or have dinner with the owners in the farmhouse of the villa – today a high class restaurant with authentic simple dishes of the Tuscan flavours.

The Villa della Seta is very conveniently located near the village of Corliano only 2 Km along the road from the health spa of San Giuliano Terme, and halfway between the historical cities of Pisa and Lucca (a 15 minute drive to both). Florence is only an hour away and Siena an hour and a half.


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