This is the blog of Steve Burkett of Italy, Our Italy

Under the Tuscan Fog

Last weeks article on Banfi was admittedly a bit long...but I hope you enjoyed it.


Just so you know, the fog did lift and we were able to negotiate the winding Tuscan roads to reach our appointment to tour the Banfi winery

So this week, primarily a few photos from a dreamy Tuscan morning. It was dreamy because of the layers of fog that blanketed the countryside as we headed toward Montalcino.

Our first hint of the morning atmospherics was at sunrise. We were staying at the beautiful Borgo San Felice (see my past article on staying at Borgo San Felice), and as we strolled the vineyard in the early morning, here is what we experienced.

[please click on an image for a larger view]

San Felice Sunrise

As we began our drive for a day in southern Tuscany, we were treated to villas peeking out through the low lying fog.

Just a hint of a Tuscan villa shrouded in fog

Many of the farms have chapels, like the one set off to the right, below.

A villa with its ubiquitous on-property chapel

Our road seemed to be mostly high-and-dry as we drove along the spine of the hills. So, rather than give us angst as we drove, the atmospherics actually lifted our spirits and made our journey more memorable.

It was the month of October, and the hillsides had been recently harvested.

The hillside farms had recently been shorn

After admiring this gorgeous farm estate, if you look closely at the photo below, you can see a hillside village in the distance, as it catches a few morning rays.

A beautiful farm with chapel

We felt fortunate that the fog was not thicker, as we had an important appointment at Castello Banfi winery, just south of Montalcino. On the other hand, the foggy conditions did cause us to drive just a bit more leisurely than we might have driven, giving us more time to admire the the cypress-lined drive leading to this magnificent estate.

Tuscan cypress line the drive to this charming farm compound

Sometimes we had a slight, sunny break in the fog as in the photo above, and then once again, we would travel into the enveloping, blue-cool fog as the sun was blotted out.

Vineyards move down the hillside of this grape producing estate

I feel that this last photo somehow captured moment we saw just a fog bank above a small valley...the next moment two villa-clad hilltops seemed to float up out of the clouds. Magic...His magic, no doubt.

This photo is titled, 'Islands in the Sky'

I am sure that days like this occur often in Tuscany; however, we felt that it was our special day, and that there never had been, nor ever would be, such a day again.

You can see and purchase most of these foggy-morning photos in the 'Print Store' part of my website by clicking right HERE, or by clicking that link in the menu-bar, below.

Just so you know, the fog did lift and we were able to negotiate the winding Tuscan roads to reach our appointment to tour the Banfi winery.  

Ciao for now,


Get Lost!!!

Have you ever been lost? 

Maybe you were on your way somewhere important and you were late getting started.  Maybe your dinner reservation, which required that it be made 3 months in advance, was about to be released and you've taken some wrong turns and you've lost your bearings. I know these are frustrating experiences.  

But it doesn't always have to be frustrating if you're lost in the right places, and have the time to be lost.

We’ve been lost, only to be found in some amazing place!

In Italy, we’ve been lost…hopelessly.  And hopefully, we'll be hopelessly lost again soon.

Being lost can be frustrating or it can be fascinating. Our Italy wandering experiences have been of the fascinating variety. 

Radda in Chianti

Take the small road just south of Radda in Chianti that we mistakenly took in a driving rain. What we thought was a road (at least it looked like one on Google maps - I learned something from that experience - but to be fair, in retrospect, it did suggest that our driving speed would be only 8mph!) soon transitioned into nothing but a two track trail. Lost again, dang it. Our small, low slung rental was complaining about the high center, but there was no way to turn around. We eventually made it through a circuit on which we really shouldn't have been driving.  But, as the rain let up, the estate in the photo below was spread before us, with mist rising from the trees to the left with a villa located on a hillside in the middle of a vast vineyard. Our breath was taken away!

Gorgeous vineyard after a rain

Gorgeous vineyard after a rain

And as we drove on, we came upon other photo opportunities like these two:

The remains of the rain

The remains of the rain

Tuscan cypress and vineyard

Tuscan cypress and vineyard

Once again, we were lost, only to be found in some amazing place! 

Val d'Orcia

Then, let’s take a wrong turn near Pienza in the Val d’Orcia. We should have gone right, but went left.  Lost again. We could have turned around, but experience has taught us to go with the flow and continue on down the road.  It was getting close to the end of the day, which brought us this gorgeous Val d'Orcia sunset.

Val d'Orcia sunset

Val d'Orcia sunset

Lost again! Only to be found in another amazing place!

Near Castello Brolio

Should we take that little gravel road just before getting to Castello Brolio? After all, we want to see the castle and taste their wine? Sure, why not - we've got time! 

We got this nice view of the castle and some images which we would have missed from the highway. Technically, we weren't lost, but as we want to accomplish certain things during the day, we were taking a bit of a risk.

Castello Brolio

Castello Brolio

Raodside shrine

Raodside shrine

Winding Tuscan road

Winding Tuscan road

Small roadside chapel

Small roadside chapel

The little country-side chapel just above was found tucked away off the gravel road in the previous photo - just beyond the poppies and before the tall cypress trees - just off to the right. We would never have known it existed if we hadn't dared to take that little gravel road to who-knew-where?

Venice - Anywhere in Venice!

And then there’s Venice, where getting lost is not an art, but a normal occurrence.   When in Venice, just plan on being lost.  I mean, when you look up and find two signs, both reading “Per San Marco”, one with an arrow pointing left and one with an arrow pointing right, you don’t have much choice but to get lost. But along the way, plan on finding some hidden-away gem.  Like the one in this photo below – which I came upon taking a ‘short cut’ after turning into one of those dark, low ceiling’d sotoportego - a tunnel-like passage - this one about 50' long.  Once found, I’ve returned many times, whether it is a short cut in my travels, or not.

So, while in Venice, Tuscany, or near the back-roads in your travels at home, forget going from Point A directly to Point B.  Once starting toward Point B, don’t worry if you happen upon Point G, Point V or Point R, before making it to Point B. Allow enough time to enjoy the journey. 

And then like us, you will find yourself lost, only to be found in some amazing place! 


Ciao, for now!