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Trip Report Thanks for 20 Matchless Days - Part II - Tuscany

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Ok, you've suffered through the first part of this deevine trip -

Now we are entering the tourist trail in Southern Tuscany.

Once again I must thank a lot of Fodorites for help in planning, and making me look GREAT in front of my friends. (They all think I'm some kind of expert, but it's all due to the likes of Bob the Navigator and Stu Dudley, and my limited imitation of the hilarious writing skills of MaiTaiTom.)

I planned the accommodations for the week with four couples in Southern Tuscany, since I have been to La Foce houses and the val d/Orcia three times before, each time for almost three weeks.

This time turned out to be the best of all. Consider the cast of characters: self and DH; the retired architect (John) and his longsuffering beautiful wife, (MJ); the Not-for-Profit Finance genius, (Ed) and his even more long suffering wife, (the lovely Ginna); then the already-on-board totally-together (in more ways than one) world-travelers (John and Claire) (and among their world travels was the mountain trek abve Borgo Pace, see Part I).

Each and every one of these guys consider themselves to be stand-up comics, or at least they all tried to act that way by getting lost, making faux-pas, singing, interrupting, eating, drinking wine, etc. -- while the talented, brilliant, intuitive, experienced women in the group did all the correct decision making.

Now, I must admit that among the men were many good dishwashers, cooks, drivers, and story tellers, so they were not a total loss in any way.

As a matter of fact the entire group worked out so well that I plan to adopt them all, at least as brothers and sisters. However, you can imagine the merriment, as each of us got in to some kind of trouble, either with directions, or cars, or big mouths (esp. me) - all in the spirit of entertaining the others.

We knew that John & Claire would find their way from Umbria to La Foce. But I wasn't so sure about the other two couples, who were coming off the red-eye from New York to Rome, and were driving in separate cars from FCO to Chianciano Terme, and up the hill to La Foce, where none had ever been before. and to be fair, there are a couple of strange turns in the road.

Background: La Foce is a very special garden in Southern Tuscany, near Montepulciano, with about 2000 acres of property, which has on the property several rental houses, and apartments all quite scattered around the landscape of the Val d'Orcia, most with stunning views of the valley and Monte Amiata.

The gardens are magnificent, and the houses are marvelous. This time we (8) stayed in Montauto, which is blessedly way off the beaten path. So that, although we were in Touristy Tuscany, it was early in the season (June 12 - 19) and we could barely find the house ourselves. (but that's another tangent, of which there could be many in this narrative, consider how many people there were!)

So it became our oasis, and in a very different way from the week before, we were always so happy to end the day's tour, and go back to our rather large and lovely "home."

La Foce is also the subject of much WWII history: look for Iris Origo's The War in the Val d'Orcia, a marvelous book written by the current owners' mother.

The web site can tell you more: www.lafoce.com

TOMORROW'S PREVIEW:

MOTHER HEN GATHERS THE CHICKS

EVERYBODY IN TO THE POOL

GARDEN OF DELIGHT

THIS IS PEASANT FOOD?

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