Since we all liked our “home in Tuscany” – The Muricce – so much, I think it deserves its own post.
The Muricce is located smack in the middle of some of the world’s most beautiful scenery – the gently folded fields and hills of the Tuscan countryside, just turning a bit golden during our October visit. We all feel fortunate that we were able to enjoy it so lavishly. Every day, every turn in the road drew oohs and ahhs from us. It was almost impossible to take a bad picture – a real boon to camera buffs like me.
The stone house itself was built in the 1700s, and has of course been completely refurbished on the inside and well maintained outside and in. The accommodations consist of the main house, a large structure now divided into at least two living areas – one for family members and one for guests; a converted barn, complete with living, sleeping and cooking areas, and covered patio; and a “guest cottage,” also attached to the main house but with a private entrance and courtyard. The guest cottage, too, has living, sleeping and cooking areas. Actually, if you like to climb stairs, the third floor bedroom of the guest cottage is beautiful and provides a wonderful view of the property and beyond.
It’s hard to say what we liked best about this villa. For me, I think it was the proprietors, Giada Manscholt and her mother, the owner (pictured at left), who were so kind and attentive to us, that made this place special. For others it will be the location 5 miles north of Siena – a perfect spot from which to take day trips to locations in Tuscany and Chianti. For some of us I know it will be the meals prepared by the cook, Piera, who shops for local organic food, then prepares and serves the tastiest and most sumptuous meals you can imagine.
There are a few of Piera’s dishes that stand out for me. The chocolate cake with pears. The pasta with white beans and black cabbage (kale). The cucumbers marinated in lemon and garlic. The “fruit cake” (I put this in quotes because it is completely unlike our fruitcake) made with apples and fresh grapes. The homemade tiramisu. I don’t know if we’d ever be able to duplicate this food at home. We might, with luck over time, duplicate the recipes, but the food would not be as fresh; the soil and sun and rain it’s grown on would not be Tuscan; the hands that prepare and serve it would not be Piera’s.
And the grounds? The pictures below were all taken on the grounds of the Muricce. A mowed lawn slopes down from the converted barn to the large swimming pool, and along the way are cypress trees, an olive grove, and benches for sitting and reading or enjoying the scenery. The courtyards and patios are planted with flowers and vines that invited us to sit outside and enjoy the Tuscan air. Our table inside was situated beside windows that looked out on one of the courtyards, so we could enjoy it even in the morning with our coffee and biscotti.
The property can also be seen on the Home Away website.