Most people take a week or two off in the summer and go on holiday somewhere. Because of our vacation houses, we rarely get to do that: when everybody wants to come spend their vacation in Tuscany, we have to stay home. It doesn’t make much of a difference for my husband because he has his own business so, in theory – clients permitting – he can take time off whenever. It makes quite a difference to me, because, since I work in education, I only have the second half of July and the month of August free… which means that I end up working 365 days a year.
It’s no big deal though, because I get to spend more time in my home village, and that is always a nice change from the busier rhythms of the city. It’s almost like being on holiday.
This year we have decided it has to be exactly like being on holiday. Since we cannot leave, we have decided to have a “staycation“, a vacation at home. If so many people travel from all over the world to come spend a week here, we thought, why can’t we do the same? And so we have decided to make a virtue of necessity!
I guess there are many ways to take a staycation in Tuscany: we could go explore the many beautiful places we haven’t seen yet, but we have decided to spend some time at my parents’ house in the countryside and just relax instead. We are always in the car driving back and forth between Pisa and Civitella: I want a few days where I can stay put. Well… almost.
This is actually not very different from what we usually do when we travel abroad anyway: we like the quiet of the countryside and we always choose destinations that allow us to spend some time in scenic spots. We are so lucky to own a tiny piece of the wonderful countryside of Tuscany, so, that’s this year’s hideaway for us!
We have packed a lot of books, as we plan on reading as much as we can. Hopefully the weather will be good this week and we will be able to enjoy the shade under the oak trees. I’ve also gathered a number of recipes that I have wanted to try for a while: the vegetable garden, the chicken coop and the orchard will provide us with most of what we need for the week!
I have set out to use my best tableware and kitchenware too, the type of things you buy because you love them, and then you rarely use them because they seem too nice… well, nothing is too nice for us this week! My husband always makes fun of me, because I buy the nicest things for our vacation house, Casina di Rosa, and keep the cheapest things for ourselves! Not this time!
We plan on spending some time walking the trails with our dog, having a nice garden party with some friends, gardening, and generally enjoying the beautiful, quiet countryside.
So yesterday we said… Let’s the staycation begin! We spent our first day in the countryside and loved it. The weather was overcast: big dark clouds in the morning and early afternoon, which made for the perfect weather to unpack, have a nice lunch and curl up on the sofa for an afternoon nap while a brief summer storm raged outside. The cool wind that accompanies the summer rain is amazing. And the smell of the countryside after a sudden shower is also unmistakeable!
Not sure if my husband was as enthusiastic about the rain as I was, because so it happened that our dog needed to go out right in the middle of a heavy shower (and of the Grand Prix…) and both of them came back soaking wet and muddy!
By 5pm though, the sun was back. The light was great, the temperature was cool, and the table in the garden was finally dry enough that we could have a warm tea under the trees.
I think when you are on holiday, the small details make all the difference. This is why we try to fit our vacation homes with nice things to make them as cozy as we can. Fresh flowers, nice china, different types of tea… a perfect tea break!
We also got to spend some time reading in the late afternoon summer breeze.
After some gardening, our guests arrived so my husband went to check them in, while I started preparing dinner: pork filet with apples and roast potatoes! Delicious!
A movie and it was bed time!
This morning we had to have an early start, because my husband had to go see a client in Florence… the first interruption of our staycation (not for me though!). Opening the windows at 7am and being able to walk out the dog in my pyjamas might seem a simple pleasure for those of you who are used to having a private, fenced garden… but for us living in Italy, where having a garden is a luxury and a private one is a dream, this felt absolutely great! The sun was warm, the air was crisp. Just perfect for a quick walk with the dog before a cappuccino and a croissant!
Let the staycation continue!!!