Truly Tuscany

Oh Tuscany! How wonderful you are. We were so lucky to be able to stay at the charming Casa Palmira B+B  recently. This beautiful B+B was everything and more I thought a Tuscan home would be. It created a taste of Tuscany in every way and it was a quick 20 minute bus ride into Florence. Talk about countryside convenience.

So picturesque. The B+B is part of the slow travel grassroots movement and creates the art of appreciating your surroundings and gaining a local experience instead of checking off a top 10 travel list. 
Assunta and her husband, the B+B owners, are so kind, considerate and they speak English. They give attention to each guest individually just like they give attention to all the beautiful design details in their home. Their choice of paint, bedding, linens, bathroom tile...was all a design delight.

I loved how they named the rooms with a cross stitch name card and I love the molding on that yummy green door.
The touch of local art on the walls was just right.

Mint green bathroom, yes please! They also had small details that really made the B+B experience pop like oversized plush bath towels, an always full biscuit jar and a library of local books.

You get to climb these colorful stairs. How fresh is that design idea, it reminds me chalking steps as a child.

The library area. I loved the frescos on the walls, the use of Italian stripes and the rock work indoors and outdoors.

The dining area. Here again are the stripes carried throughout, the terra cotta tile and a fabulous metal plated dining table.

When you go outside it just gets even more picturesque. I loved the French doors and this cat that wanders the property.

You go for a walk a few yards away and run into this...

Are you kidding me? It looks like its out of a movie. I loved the flowering fields and the smell of the pines. You can also hear a bubbling brook from here. It all seems so unreal but it all really exists, its so dreamy.

Assunta plants her herbs and vegetables here and they are free for you to use in her kitchen. We used the basil and it was divine.

Assunta always has something new blooming.

Now this is yard work well thought. I love the mossy covered branches all strung up and ready to use for the Autumn and of course that neatly stack of chopped wood.

The Tuscan talent herself, Assunta. She's as friendly as she looks. Another fun fact: her husband and her restored the whole house and built most everything themselves. The bed frames, the mirrors, the wood floors, cabinets, you name it and they did it.

The bonus is there is this incredible monastery turned restaurant up the road called Ristorante Il Feriolo. It had the best food I've had in all of Italy. It was intimate, had a great story of its monastery heritage and also had the best dining service I've had since I've been here.

Its a beautiful 20 minute walk up this road.
Here is the restaurant, yum.

Can you tell I can't get enough of this Tuscan treasure?

Santa Margherita

To Visit: Santa Margherita, Italy. I love water so this mix of Italian culture, food, water and sand was a perfect combo for my travel desires. In my opinion Santa Margherita is a place you should just take in the feel of and not a place to race around.

To Stay: Hotel Continental. This hotel had all the comforts for any beachy vacation. The lounge dock on the Liguarian Sea is dynamite, the breakfast was the best food we had in the area and the location is prime.

To Do: Lounge and take in la dolce vita . They have great private docks you can hang out at all day. Those lounge chairs with the face shades are brilliant and just look at how clear that water is!

Swim Here. The hotel provided a paddle boat and this incredible trampoline flotation you can swim out to. Tip: the water is so incredibly clear that you'll want to bring your goggles to spot loads of fish!

To Eat: Their outdoor continental breakfast had tasty juices, fresh pastries, eggs---it was all delish.

To Daytrip: Swanky Portofino is a quick 20 minute ferry ride away. The color, cove and boats were all so cozy and intimate. We opted for the more lively Santa Margherita in the end feel but it is great to come spend a lazy afternoon here.

To Take Home: These darling posters make the darling location last! I think this is so happy as bathroom art. Its like an oversized postcard.

To Walk: These streets! Aren't they charming? Everything is so tastefully put together here and it is the quintessential Italian feel.

Tip: Although the ambiance here is fab the food doesn't match it. It is low quality and highly overpriced. Wait it out and go out to dinner in Santa Margherita for a more authentic Italian.

Berlin City Guide

To Go: Pulsing Berlin is a European must see. We loved the feel of the city. It was so urban, exciting and had a great energy about it. Its a magnet for history, art, design, fashion and architecture, exhibiting all in such unique ways. 

To Stay: The Radisson Blu hotel . This hotel in the city centre is relaxing amidst the city bustle and it has an aqua dome housing over 1500 tropical fish. It makes you want to dip into a pool and lucky for guests they have one to do just that. Everything is in walking distance and their service was fantastic.

The clean design was calming and inviting.
The rooms have a view of the aqua dome. Its fun to see the scuba divers clean and wave at you as you go visit them and the fish on the balcony.

To do: Berlin Walking Tour. This four hour tour is by far the best way to have a live history lesson. It is priced great (12 euros/$16) and covers all the main sites of the city center including the Berlin Wall, Bradenburg Gate, Hitler's Bunker, the Holocaust Memorial and loads more.

Bradenberg Gate

Holocaust Memorial

Berlin Wall

To Shop: Colours
There are some seriously great vintage finds at Colours, Berlin's largest vintage shop. You can buy their vintage goodness by the kilo and walk out the door with a bag full of retro wear for under 10 euros. To keep it feeling not too overwhelming they organize the store by, you guessed it--colors. It helps it seem to flow in this space of fashion that spans decades. (located in Kreuzberg neighborhood)

This is one of the most well done museums I have been to. Every ounce of thought was put into the architecture, gardens, art and artifacts all flowing together to truly bring out not just an educating experience but an emotional one. 

To Eat: This is no Wiener Schnitzel! Although I loved my German pretzels, waffles and such I totally was digging the international flavor this city carries. There are international choices on every corner (something I really miss since all my Italian corners serve pasta) so I was refreshed to find Sadhu Indian Restaurant. All around tasty, great service and fantastic flavors.

Last recommendation would be to talk to the locals, many of them speak English. It is so fascinating to hear about their history, why they live in Berlin and the current culture between East and West Berlin.



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