Excerpts from a Travel Bug

The following are some excerpts from the book “Friends a Villa & a Travel Bug”

Written by a return guest of Italian Town and Country, Janice Davis, is a native of New York working as an exhibit designer. She has her own business www.janicedavisdesign.com


Oh and then there are the wines – lets not forget about the wines. From Chiantis, to Vino Nobile, that make great reasonably prices table wines to pricier but extremely delicious Brunellos, no one ever went thirsty for lack of good wine in Italy.


Wild Boar can be found on every menu served in any number of ways, one tastier that the next. Pigeon also seems to be a local specialty so you might find yourself ordering the just once to try it but one may be enough.


While Tuscany is an extremely popular tourist destination (evident when you find you need a reservation to get into the Uffizi gallery during peak season), as soon as you venture outside of the cities and into the hills you’re barely aware of other tourists. I’m sure they’re there, but their presence never seems intrusive each small town that you visit seems filled with locals going about their daily routine, and  you as a visitor are accommodated gracefully  but never get the sense that you are in a place that exists only to draw tourists and sell them trinkets.


Particularly Wonderful things about The Villa:


Well, y’know, they say you never forget your first love. Likewise, you never you never forget your first Villa.

First, last, or in between, however, Santa Lucia di Sopra, really was an exceptional experience. It was more expensive than most that we’ve rented since, averaging about $750.00 per person per week, which is still a whole lot cheaper than an upscale hotel, but worth every penny. Tuscany does tend to command higher prices than most other popular villa rental destinations, simply because villas in that area are so greatly in demand. But it’s a chicken-and-egg sort of situation- its pricier because its popular, but it’s popular because it deserves to be.


Villa Santa Lucia was in the area of Panzano, but was not in the town itself. It was on the next (small and gentle) hill over, which meant that that the north-facing bedroom windows framed the tiny little town in the distance, which was storybook charming. It was about a twenty minute stroll to town where you could get groceries from the small shops or from the weekly Sunday outdoor market.


The Villa featured frescos on the ceiling of the salon, a billiard room, a pool that looked over the vineyards, and olive groves, and several terraces where a dinner or evening cocktails could be had while twilight set in and a pinkish-purple light glowed over the hills.


As I write this you should know that I’m fighting the urge to pick up the phone and book a plane ticket….now!

Esoteric / Quirky Things About the Nearby Towns:


John Ferrari, our booking agent from ItalianTown and Country told us that while in Panzano we had to check out the butcher. “The butcher?” I though – “Really” Didn’t seem exactly like and exciting attraction, particularly given what I’ve already confess about my lack of ability/interest in cooking. Dutifully though, a couple of days after arrival we sought out Dario Cecchini’s butcher shop, Antica Macelleria Cecchini, and understood why John Ferrari had directed us there. This was like no butcher shop we’d ever seen –  aside from the frescoed interior there was opera fairly blaring from the speakers, a  large butcher-block, counter with cooked  meats for tasting, and a lively, smiling man behind the counter who was clearly as passionate about meat and seasonings as Pavarotti was about opera. A few years after our visit, the world discovered Dario Cecchini – he, his shop and his line of (out of this world) seasonings were featured in New York magazine. Still he and the Antica Macelleria remain loyally in Panzano, so if you find yourself in the neighborhood, do stop in.