Searching for locations: The apartments at Greve in Chianti, Tuscany, Italy

When we first planned to stay in Tuscany for a few days, we wanted to be in a central area.  We had thought of staying in Florence and making daily treks, but the tour operator we selected told us it would be better if we stayed closer to Arezzo.

We picked Greve in Chianti, and a place called Antico Pastificio, we booked a standard apartment with two bedrooms, and it was about as authentic Italian you could get.  The building we stayed in was the yellow pasta factory, and the apartment named ‘Iris’.

It was only steps away from the main square, shops, restaurants, and at the opposite end, the quaint ringing of church bells at various times during the day.

Gaining access was through a very narrow arch which required some deft driving and then up the road.  There were villas and two large apartment blocks.

You can just see the archway at the end of the road. 
This was the entrance to our room,

 along a passage and up the stairs, turning left at the top.

 Going straight ahead through the gate to the car park, 

and access to the grounds behind the buildings.

This was the view from the lounge/living room.  The days were hot, and on several evenings it rained, breaking the heat and making the evenings sitting by the window cool and refreshing.

 And the last view is looking towards the town piazza and the church

Searching for locations: Venice, Murano, and glass blowing

The first time we visited Venice, there was not enough time left to visit the glass blowing factories on Murano.  We saved this for the next visit, and now more comfortable with taking the vaporetto, boarded at San Marco for the short journey.

The view looking towards the cemetery:

The view looking down what I think was the equivalent to the main street, or where several of the glass blowing factories and display shops were located:

Looking towards a workshop, this one costs us each a Euro to go in and observe a demonstration of glass blowing, and it still surprises me that some people would not pay

The oven where the glass is heated

And the finished product, the retail version of the horse that the glass blower created during the demonstration:

Then we bought some other glassware from the retail storefront, a candle holder

and a turtle.

Searching for locations: Venice, ships come and ships go

Through this window, which wasn’t one of those floor to ceiling, walk out onto a balcony type windows, we saw big ships, little ships, small boats, and then huge ocean liners.And when that wasn’t enough, sunrise and sunset, or just the sight of Venice in the sunshine

The many vaporettos that came and went

It was simply a matter of watching ships go by, or watching the Venetians go about the daily business
Ferries that would arrive in the morning, and leave at night, small

and large

Small ocean liners

Very, very large ocean liners

And everything in between

Searching for locations: Castello di Monterinaldi, Tuscany, Italy

As part of a day tour by Very Tuscany Tours, we came to this quiet corner of Tuscany to have a look at an Italian winery, especially the Sangiovese grapes, and the Chianti produced here.

And what better way to sample the wine than to have a long leisurely lunch with matched wines.  A very, very long lunch.

But first, a wander through the gardens to hone the appetite:

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And a photo I recognize from many taken of the same building:

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Then a tour of the wine cellar:

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Then on to the most incredible and exquisite lunch and wine we have had.  It was the highlight of our stay in Tuscany.  Of course, we had our own private dining room:

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And time to study the paintings and prints on the walls while we finished with coffee and a dessert wine.

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And of course, more wine, just so we could remember the occasion.