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Merry Christmas in Tuscany

Tree Themes

Quite the clever tree made of various cheese wheels that I've seen this holiday season-found in a darling shop window in Pienza. Our own clever tree back at home was a bundle of branches with icicle ornaments dangling from random limbs. Another theme is a Nostalgia tree made of all the ornaments a family has accumulated over the years. In our local community, the farm market is accepting ornament donations to create a tree that represents those residents that support the market locally. One of my aunts shared that she has a Cinderella themed tree this year. What type of unique tree did you create?

Nativity Scenes were something I was spotting all over Tuscany. Presepio was a common sight in the medieval hilltop towns and they ranged from simple to elaborate.

All dressed up for the special Christmas meal, roasts wrapped in bacon and Rosemary, specialty gift baskets layered with Puglia chocolates, Castagna (chestnuts that have been roasted on an open fire), pasta, salami, formaggio, panforte, panettone and beautiful baked goods fill the shops during this time of year.

Goegeous ornaments can be bought or created at home with a little creativity to give a one of a kind keepsake.

In this day and age, it was endearing to see the community in Montefollonico encouraging children to handwrite letters to Santa Babbo.

The spirit of the Buon Natale season was with me everywhere I travelled in Tuscany- At Natale a Montepulciano, in the tiny village of Montefollonico, Pienza, Torrita di Siena & San Quirico Val d'Orchia. Street festivals, holiday markets, nativity scenes and a special Madonna that resides over the garden in San Quirico.

The piazzas found in the town Centro are always a spectacular reward after you make the often uphill climb to see them. At this time of year, the glittery magic of the season makes the experience exceptional.

The Visit to Horti Leonini

A classically Italian garden located in the heart of San Quirico, Italy. In the center, a sculpture attributed to the Sienese artist Bartolomeo Mazzuoli depicts Cosimo III de' Medici (1688).

Dario The Dog - While he was back at home this trip; I do believe he would have been delighted to make the acquaintance of these adorable canines. These furry neighbors lived just down the street and as they say " A dog's life" is something of a wonder when you live in exquisite Tuscany with the incredible landscape view from the tip of this hilltop town.

Silent Night - Having lived urban, suburban and rural in my lifetime; I have to say I don't think I've ever heard the sound of silence in the way I do when I stay in Tuscany. This trip I had a rare moment on a lovely street filled with darling shops and not a soul in sight. This wasn't because tourism or the Christmas spirit is waning in Tuscany, no, not at all. Rather it is the devotion to the midday closing of businesses that still reigns so that families can enjoy lunch, each other and perhaps a nap before getting on with the servicing of patrons in the evening hours. A ritual we try to "live" at home whenever possible.

We can only hope you will be counting your blessings this year and feeling grateful remembering all of the beautiful moments, you've been fortunate to see and experience. My hope for you is that spirit of the season will find you perhaps when you least expect it and fill your heart with joy, warmth and a gentle nature to embrace those you love. Peace on Earth and Goodwill towards men and women everywhere still rings true for me in this 5th decade of life. Merry Christmas to All and to all a good night!

Buon Natale, Michael and Deborah


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