After a few days in Tuscany, we drove back down to Abruzzo again to spend a bit more time in a cool, mountainous area before heading back to Rome and its decidedly hotter temperatures. The towns in Abruzzo always feel a bit rougher around the edges than their often well-manicured Tuscan counterparts, but I love that authenticity. And how can you not love a place that constantly smells like pine trees and wood smoke and long-simmering pasta sauce?
Faded colours and crooked lines just make the whole scene that much more charming.
Tuscan countryside views. It's been nice seeing this outside the window every morning.
This is Castelmuzio, the tiny Tuscan town where we’ve been staying with friends for the past few days. It’s incredibly charming, and it’s also incredibly tiny – there are about four streets, a handful of tiny alleys no more than a few metres long, one minuscule grocery store (which I’ve seen open all of once) with a view more beautiful than any grocery store should ever have, and two restaurants, one of which does double-duty as the town’s only bar, hotel, and general hangout location for the town’s elderly but lively residents. There’s almost no phone reception. At night, the stars are ridiculously bright, and you can hear crickets – but certainly not traffic. It’s a lovely way to take a step back from everyday life.
Because we’re trying our hardest to spend as much as August as possible outside of Rome (Rome in August is a sun-baked ghost town, with empty streets and closed businesses as everyone heads as far from the city as possible), we couldn’t say no to a friend’s offer to spend some time at their house in a tiny little town in Tuscany. We drove up directly from Abruzzo, watching the scenery change from wilderness and mountains to softly rolling hills dotted with little towns. The town we’re staying in is close to some of the Tuscan big names that everyone wants to visit – Pienza, Montepulciano, Montalcino, Siena, etc – but is just far enough removed that it gets almost no tourists. The road that leads into town is curvy and hilly, and at a certain point, if you look up, you get a chance to see this view – the super-charming town of Petroio looming over the street.
Quiet streets and mountain views. There's something so appealing about a simple place like this, where the architecture doesn't even try to compete with the nature surrounding it.