Last summer I turned 40. As much as my friends may have wanted me to throw a big party, I just wasn't up for it -- I wanted to go somewhere where I didn't have to think about work (and when you are a travel editor, every time you travel, you start thinking about work-and as much as this sounds like a luxurious problem to have, and it is, it does weigh into how I take MY vacation). I decided that I needed to go to a place that we had already been, so there was no need to 'check out new spots', even though of course, I ended up doing that anyway (it's in my blood). We returned to Terre di Nano, a country house in the southern part of Tuscany, an area called the Val d'Orcia. We had come here with my mother-in-law when our daughter Clara was just one, and we loved it...I was a bit nervous that since management had changed, it might not be the same, but I checked out all the TripAdvisor.com posts, and everyone was raving on about it, so I went for it. We were going on holiday with our friends Ariel and Paul, and their four-year-old Daphne, and staying there for a week. What a success!
We stayed in La Fornace, a four-bedroom, three-bath house, which is within the complex of Terre di Nano. You can see from these pictures how amazing the views are. There are two pools, and while you are sharing them with other guests, there are not that many guests there anyway (guests can rent La Terrazza, a two-bedroom house; Casetta, a two-bedroom house; or four other apartments within the main large house). The plus side of not having your own pool is that you are not paying for it (rentals with their own pools are SO expensive). We had our own kitchen, outdoor pizza oven, indoor and outdoor dining area, living room, and everything was furnished in very honest Italian country style. We lazed around all morning, and every day would choose a small town to go have lunch, with our only requirement being that the town shouldn't have anything too cultural to do, because then we would start feeling obligation. In the end, we got to experience towns that felt really authentic, and with engaging locals -- and no big tour buses!