Tuscany in September by Gerry Munday

I have just returned from a glorious week in Tuscany and, I have to say, September is definitely the best month to visit. The weather is mild, the grapes are being harvest, and there are less tourists than during July and August.

We travelled with Secret Escapes, a fabulous deal which included flights, a hotel with breakfast, and car hire. We collected the car from Pisa Airport and travelled 1.5 hours to the beautiful hamlet of Oliveto (situated in the province of Arezzo, part of the municipality of Civitella in Val di Chiana). We stayed at a small, family-run boutique hotel called Il Fondaco di Moro.

Oliveto only has 40 inhabitants – plus 6 cats and a church. While there are no cafes or restaurants, it is only a few minutes’ drive from the village of Albergo, where you can find a bakery, coffee shop, chemist, and two Trattorias that serve good, home-cooked Italian food at a fraction of the price that you’d be charged in the main cities. The best Trattoria out of the two is Blu Notte, which serves pizzas, pastas and desserts to die for, amongst other things (certainly not a diet week!).

While Il Fondaco di Moro itself was small, our room was very clean, comfortable and spacious. Ask to stay in Room 4, which has a bedroom, separate sitting area, bathroom and balcony with gorgeous views. The continental breakfast was generous, with a great variety on offer. Cooked eggs were also available upon request.

Giulio, the owner’s son, speaks good English and is a wealth of knowledge when it comes to recommending places to visit and on where to park.

Places to visit within 1 – 3 hours’ drive of Oliveto in Tuscany and Umbria:

• Pisa
• Florence
• Sienna
• San Gimignano
• Arezzo
• Lake Trasimeno (driving around the lake is an absolute must!)
• Passignano (on Lake Trasimeno, ideal for a coffee stop)
• Tuoro (on the lake with a beach)
• Perugia
• Montepulciano

Don’t forget to explore the many vineyards – just too many to mention! If you like walking, then there are some fabulous walks to be had not only in the towns and cities, but also in the countryside.

I hope you enjoy your visit to Italy as much as I did.

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