I have lived in Tuscany since 1974. At the moment I live in Old Chiusi, which is full of history and famous for the Etruscan population. It's only a few kilometers away from several small medieval towns with plenty of local festivals in the summer and fascinating prehistoric caves. You could also call it the ‘wine triangle’- in the center of Brunello, Chianti and Nobile of Montepulciano (where they filmed Twilight: New Moon). I prefer living here, in the countryside (where I can make my own olive oil ), to living in a city.
I live with my husband Tullio who is a geologist but who works as a professor in a boarding school, and our three cats. I have a daughter who lives near Siena. This year I am going to be a grandma, which I am very happy about, as I love children. I was born in England but my family are Scots. I am very active and when I am not at work I sew, embroider and knit toys to sell at the artisan markets or local hospital. I also enjoy gardening and organizing parties with our friends.
If I only had 24hrs to spend in Tuscany, I would start with breakfast at the villa. From there a driver would pick us up, winding through the scenic roads with their cypress trees and rolling hills, to visit an historical town, its museums and archeological sites. In the afternoon, we would stop off at an organic farm and enjoy a nice lunch made with their products, followed by a quick visit to a famous Brunello winery where they play Mozart to the vines. In the late afternoon, we would return to the villa for a massage around the pool and aperitif on the porch. After sitting and watching the sun set over the valley or lake with a prosecco, we would make our way to a starred restaurant near town or enjoy a meal at the villa that the chef had cooked. Perhaps we would enjoy my favourite dish, Pici al sugo di anatra (fat roll hand made spaghetti with duck sauce ) with aglione (garlic and tomato) sauce.
I heard about Hosted Villas 16 years ago when Peter Stock and Jessica Russell contacted me for an interview and have been working here ever since. My favorite aspect of being a local host is showing and explaining things about my country to guests that they normally would not see or visit if they came on their own. When I receive an e-mail from guests thanking me for a wonderful holiday this makes it all worthwhile - when you have made someone happy that is truly the important thing.
Every Hosted Villas Guest should visit Tuscany because in this region you can relax in the beautiful Tuscan countryside with its valleys and rolling hills but in one hour you can be in some of the most famous cities in Italy -- then come back to the villa and relax again.