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Thursday, October 23, 2014

Chateaus and Villas II

Driving in Italy and France

Part II

adapted from Villa Toscana website

La Locanda di Villa Toscana is located in the small town of Bibbona, Tuscany, Italy, just south of Livorno.  

The Villa is located in the middle of town.  A note was attached to the front door when we arrived. We were to call the number listed on the note.  The only problem; we didn't have a telephone.  Our rental car had a phone but we didn't know how to use it.  

I found a group of young workers taking a lunch break, who were only too happy to dial the number for me.  

The housekeeper arrived a few minutes later.  

We didn't see anyone until the next morning when a beautiful breakfast was waiting for us.  

The big surprise was the upper part of Bibbona.  An Etruscian Stronghold.  

We almost missed it.  

These two charming ladies meet every evening, and have done so for the past 30 years, and sit on this very bench.  

We had been occupying the same bench earlier.  I noticed that several people were dropped off near a very steep street.  They would walk up and disappear.

I had to see what was up there.  Gene wanted to stay put. 

Not only did I discover a beautiful Etruscan village but also a fine looking restaurant, which turned out to be well known in the area.   

Restaurant Osteria De Messeri

When I came back with the exciting news, the ladies and Gene were having a spirited conversation.  He had given up his seat on the bench. 

 By now Gene knew all about the restaurant and the rest of their story.  How, I don't know.  They didn't speak English and Gene doesn't speak Italian.   They all had big smiles on their faces. 

There is another Bibbona about a 15 minute drive to the west and by the sea.  
Marina Bibbona looks promising, We will save it for next time. 

This Bibbona also deserves another visit.

 While in the area, Relais-Sant-Elena is nearby. 
If you want to spend a few days relaxing and enjoying the peaceful country side, then this is the place.

Next stop Montelupo Fiorentino and Villa Vannucci.

Have a great remainder of the week my dear 
Blogging Friends.



  1. Dear Gina - there is so much to see and admire in these photos, but I am especially struck by photo number 2 and seeing the antiquity of the wonderful arches and paved road running beneath them. The restaurant looks very inviting - I can well imagine the wonderful pasta dishes that could be conjured up within their kitchens.

    1. Dear Rosemary, I was fascinated with the small side lanes and side streets while traveling from one place to the next. So different from what we know.
      I don't remember what we had for dinner in the little restaurant...I know that it was a simple but most delicious pasta.

  2. Dear Gina,

    Wouldn't it be fascinating to be able to view all the people who have passed under those old arches, what they looked like, what they wore, what they were carrying? I'm intrigued by the red rondel. with its solid redness, it looks almost like an official seal. And what I'm enjoying with all these photos (and I'm sure the others to come) is the great ambience when modern rooms merge with ancient walls.

    1. Dear Mark, hope Gina will not mind if I say that the roundel is made from terracotta and shows the Madonna and Child. It is a little shrine which you see regularly in Italy.

    2. Dear Mark, When I walk along these narrow pathways I also wonder what life looked like. I can see scullery maids and house maids scurrying along doing their morning shopping just as I see housewives going about their chores in the same way to this day.
      Rosemary is right, the rondel is made of earthen ware. It depicts a Madonna and child. In Italy these pieces are mostly painted in the Majolica style with a lovely blue background and white figures. Each roundel is surrounded by a wreath with tightly placed fruits and leaves. They are known as Della Robbia pieces, first designed by the Renaissance painter Luca Della Robbia in the late 15th century.
      When in Italy you will see these pieces in every shop. Some of excellent craftsmanship some strictly for the tourist trade.
      All are charming.

  3. What a beautiful trip and a delight with your wonderful photography ~ Bon voyage!

    Happy Week to you,
    artmusedog and carol
    A Creative Harbor

    1. Thank you Carol and thank you for your visit.

  4. I found Tuscany so welcoming to visitors! One of the striking contrasts to me is the humble and decadent buildings mingle in the same street:)

    1. Hello Jeannette, So true. I am always so happy when we drive over the top of the Brenner Pass and we are greeted with the beautiful colors of Italy. Thank you for stopping by.

  5. Love France, and Italy is a country I have yet to discover properly. Beautiful images

    1. Hello Jane, For me it is difficult to decide which country I love best when we visit Europe. And then to make a choice between Tuscany and Umbria is even more difficult. Thank you for your very nice compliment.

  6. wow, how beautiful is the village.

    1. Hello Photo Cache, Europe is full of surprises and so many photo opportunities everywhere. Thank you for your visit.

  7. Replies
    1. Hello Ladyfi, I am so pleased that you like my photos. Doubly pleased because I have seen your beautiful photographs. Thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment.

  8. Beautiful photos and what a find!

    1. Hello Fun60, Thank you for your sweet compliment. Thank you also for stopping by.