under the tuscan sun, part 1

as of this week, our tuscany travel site is LIVE! we’ve been working on this project for such a long time and it was truly a labor of love. about a month ago, all the girls at work and i traveled halfway across the world to italy and spent a week exploring, learning, and eating our way through tuscany. below are a few of my favorite stories and photos from the trip. check out tuscany.camillestyles.com to see even more! - carm

day 1:

it took us a full 24 hours to get from austin to lucca, and by the time we got there, we were all exhausted. but once we pulled up to a wrought iron gate and saw the gorgeous mustard-yellow villa cosimo sitting prettily behind it, our spirits were instantly lifted. our hosts david and barbara gave us a tour of the property and the house and then let us get ready for dinner. i chose the cutest room with two twin beds with yellow comforters that had windows looking out over the back gardens. after changing clothes and washing up, we all met in the garden for dinner under the most fragrant jasmine-covered gazebo. it was simply idyllic. our villa came with a private chef so we enjoyed our first four-course italian meal in style with prosciutto and melon, caprese salad, pasta with capers, pistachio crusted salmon, and blackberry panna cotta. it was the perfect start to our italy adventures.

day 2:

after a long night’s sleep to get rid of jet lag, we started the day with brunch under the gazebo. chanel had this romantic idea of spending a day painting outside, and jenn made our dreams come true by surprising us with these adorable portable watercolor paint sets and a linen covered sketchbook. we spent the morning sitting outside the villa painting and writing, before heading into town for a tour of a marble museum. we visited the bozzetti museum in pietrasanta and learned about the process sculptor’s go through from idea to completion. we were all excited to experience italian aperitivo so we made our way to a sidewalk-side cafe in a beach town not too far away. we sat outside, drank lots of white wine, and snacked on some interesting appetizers. once we got home we walked down the street from our villa to a neighborhood restaurant called la cecca for a big dinner. we ended up staying at the restaurant until midnight laughing, eating, and drinking.

day 3:

we couldn’t travel all the way to italy without dipping our toes in the mediterranean sea. this day was our coastal day and we spent all day on a sailboat riding around la spezia. we docked at portovenere to explore and have a glass of wine. this city is said to be the “sixth city” of cinque terre — think beautiful scenery without all the tourists. once back on the boat, we anchored near palmaria island and our captain and his skipper made us a seaside lunch. most of it was inedible to me, but the pesto pasta was delicious! the wind was making us all a little chilly, but i somehow convinced everyone to jump into the water at least once! how often would we ever get a chance like that?! camille, adam, chanel, and i swam over to a rocky, deserted beach and collected bright green seagrass before heading back. we were starved once we got back to our villa and only one thing could quench our hunger — pizza! we found a cute place near our villa called a bimbotto and devoured slice after slice after slice.