After spending a few days in the Cinque Terre, we hopped a bus to the Chianti region of Tuscany. I've read Frances Mayes' books and have heard friends and family members wax poetic about this land of surreal beauty. Still, I was not prepared for how deeply and completely in love I would fall with the Tuscan countryside.
We hiked right through lush vineyards and picturesque olive groves.
I couldn't believe such a divine place existed. I kept thinking to myself, Wow, this kind of beauty exists right here, on Planet Earth! How lucky are we humans?
We stayed at the Villa le Barone, one of the many Tuscan villas which dot the landscape.
This was the view from the window of our room: a small hill town called Radda (and a very large Cypress tree).
One afternoon, I got back from a hike early and decided to take a stroll through the villa's serene little rose garden.
Another stunning view while hiking.
In one of the small hill towns, we came across a farmer selling eggplant, sugar snap peas, and endless varieties of tomato in all different shades of red, orange, and yellow.
Jason leading the charge.
The last afternoon, our tour leaders prepared the most incredible Italian picnic lunch. Above, a mixed greens salad with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, salumi, and grapes. The bottle in the foreground is Vin Santo, a type of sweet dessert wine traditionally paired with cantucci (which we know as biscotti).
Slices of juicy beefsteak tomatoes, paired with fresh basil and ricotta.
The best veggie platter ever: eggplant, roasted red and yellow pepper, sundried tomatoes, peppadew stuffed with fresh tuna and capers, mixed olives and grilled artichokes.
And of course, bread.
I couldn't have asked for a lovelier place to conclude our honeymoon. I've already decided that a return trip to Italy is really the only proper way to celebrate all of our future anniversaries...