Postcard from Italy by Dulci Edge

*Every now and then we get a postcard from traveling Californians, letting us daydream about faraway countries we would love to visit and answering few of our questions about their trip. So come on, daydream with us and get inspired for your next overseas time off. Dulci Edge

While Italy might be a bit further away to be a Labor Day weekend option, we needed to share this dreamy Tuscany vacation, art director Dulci Edge and her husband did this summer.

A native New Yorker, Dulci now calls San Francisco her home base, splitting her time between West and East Coast and throwing in some stops around the globe. For some serious fernweh feelings and ideas where you could go next, follow Dulci on Instagram and read her travel stories on her blog, The Far & Near.

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WHERE: Tuscan coast and countryside

WHAT WERE YOU DOING THERE:
Pure pleasure! My husband and I wanted a little taste of Europe in the Summer, and lots of really good pasta. 

DURATION: 10 days

WHAT IMPRESSION DID ITALY LEAVE ON YOU:
The warmth of the Italian people and just how delicious simple food really is (tomatoes with salt, and nothing else…heaven!) 

 

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HIGHLIGHT OF YOUR TRIP:
We rented a tiny Fiat and drove all through Tuscany (including the Tuscan coastal areas which are relatively undiscovered compared to tourist hubs like Positano and Cinque Terre), so the highlight was having the freedom of being able to zip around as we pleased, booking our hotels as we went and making up our itinerary on the fly. It’s my favorite way to travel.

SOUVENIR YOU BROUGHT BACK HOME:
Really nice olive oil from our hotel, which naturally has a beautiful olive grove.

DISH, YOU CANNOT WAIT TO RECREATE HOME:
We had so many delicious meals in Italy, it’s hard to choose! Heirloom tomato season is upon us, so I think I’ll be making lots of simple Caprese salads with torn basil and sea salt.

 

 

BEST 3 PLACES TO EAT:

  1. For people watching and stunning views, lunch at Hotel Il Pellicano in Porto Ercole; it’s spendy, but worth it.
  2. Ristorante La Chiusa is tucked in the hills of Tuscany, just outside Montepulciano. It’s rustic and hearty with stunning views from the terrace. We feasted on foraged Porcini mushrooms (from the neighbors hillside, of course) and the freshest homemade pasta.
  3. Fiumara Beach is a little tricky to find (down a long and bumpy beach road) but worth it once you do, especially if you can book a table around sunset. Palapas are set up on the beach, so you can eat your lobster with your toes in the sand. 

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AND WHERE SHOULD WE SLEEP: 
We skipped around, staying at several different hotels along the way. For value and location (10 minutes from from the beach), we loved Locanda Rossa . If you’re willing to splurge, I’d suggest Castello Banfi Il Borgo; the pool here overlooks the rolling hills of Tuscany and is absolutely stunning, especially at sunset with a negroni in hand. 

AND WHAT SHOULDN’T WE MISS BY NO MEANS:
To do this trip properly, you’ll need a car. The roads in the area are well marked and easy to navigate, which means you’ll have plenty of time to look around and enjoy the seemingly endless fields of sunflowers throughout the Tuscan countryside (pull over and take pictures!) . Aside from that, gelato whenever possible.

 

 

MUST-SEE TOURIST ATTRACTION
The sea! Italians love their beach time, and this area has charming beaches throughout. Rent a lounger and enjoy La Dolce Vita!

WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO LEARN ABOUT COUNTRY’S PEOPLE AND CULTURE :
Head to the grocery store. It’s my favorite place to stock up on unexpected souvenirs and you really get a flavor for a country and it’s people by seeing what they shop for!

WHAT IS THE FIRST THING YOU DO WHEN YOU ARRIVE AT A NEW PLACE:
Find out the wifi password 🙂 But seriously, talk to the locals! They have the inside track on everything and are a much better resource than any guide book.

I WON’T TRAVEL WITHOUT:
My camera!

WHERE TO NEXT:
Wine Country to celebrate our anniversary; I’m looking forward to a really nice dinner and a spa treatment or two 🙂

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And what do you love most about California?

What I love most about California is how many places there are to explore, most within driving distance. Every weekend is a new adventure and I love discovering new favorites to share with friends and family. Plus, the food here is just really, really good.

– as told to California Weekend
*All photography by Dulci Edge

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