Thursday, September 13th

Podere Boggioli

Our home for the next month is a centuries old barn that has been renovated into a one bedroom apartment.  It is beautiful.  Entrance is gained by either of two wood-shuttered glass doors.  One door leads to the kitchen and the other into the dining area.  The main floor consists of the kitchen and the dining/living room.  The kitchen is well equipped with a gas range, fridge and a good range of cooking and eating utensils.  The dining/living room is very comfortable with a dining table and a couple of couches.  A small stereo and satellite TV round out the entertainment devices.  We are able to get BBC news on the TV however the rest of the channels are Italian (go figure!)  A stairway leads to the bedroom on the second floor with a bathroom located off the landing part way up.  Our immediate reaction when we walked into The Barn late last night was “we are going to be very comfortable here for the next month.

The owners, Helen and Keith Richmond, occupy the main dwelling which is about 30 feet from the barn.  Keith purchased the farm, at the time a vineyard and olive grove, in 1975 when he was working for the UN in Rome.  Very early in the game he tore out the grape vines and concentrated on growing olives.  Today the farm, Podere Boggioli, produces a wonderful award-wining olive oil.

With our late arrival we opted to sleep in this morning.  The first thing I did when I got out of bed was head to the window to check out the view now that it was daylight.  Absolutely beautiful!  The view of the valley and mountains was just how I pictured Tuscany.

A late breakfast was followed by unpacking and generally getting settled in.  Late in the morning Helen came by to check on us, bearing a basket of figs which she had just picked.  They were incredibly tasty and sweet.  We also met Alba and Oscar.  Alba is a large white Marremano which is a Tuscan sheepdog.  Unlike other sheepdogs, Marremanos don’t herd sheep.  Rather they guard the flock from predators such as wolves, etc.  Alba is a more of an official greeter than a guard dog.  Oscar, the cat, is equally friendly.

After lounging around the apartment for a couple of hours we headed out to walk around the nearest village, Montegonzi, before going to buy groceries when the store in Cavriglia opened at 4:30.  Driving on the narrow roads in daylight was nowhere near as nerve-wracking as our arrival last night.  The driveway into Boggioli is a narrow gravel road about 1.5K long.  It has suffered from numerous little washouts so tends to be fairly rough.  Driving at a very slow speed is required!  Once you turn on to the main road into Montegonzi you are on pavement.  The village is only about 2 K from the top of the driveway.  We found a parking spot and spent an hour wandering around taking pictures.


Montegonzi is a beautiful little town built around a Castillo on the top of the hill.  It only has one little shop with a restaurant.

Osteria di Montegonzi

Both were closed until late afternoon.  The view out over the valley from some of the streets was breathtaking.


The drive to Cavriglia was short, along more narrow roads. The village is definitely larger than Montegonzi with a number of shops, restaurants and our destination, the Coop grocery store.  As the store didn’t re-open until 4:30 we found a place to park and wandered around the main square.  We were both starting to get a bit hungry so we popped into a take-out pizzeria to buy a couple of slices of pizza.  The pizza was quite tasty and quelled our hunger for the time being.

Once the Co-op opened we headed there for groceries.  We learned very quickly that you do not select your own produce: a staff member does it for you.  The store, while not large, had a reasonable selection of items and we found most of what we needed to tide us over for the first few days including, of course, a couple of bottles of Chianti.

Once back at The Barn we declared it to be Happy Hour. At one end of the barn is a little terrace.  The day had generally been windy and a bit cool.  The terrace provided enough shelter that we were able to sit outside, sip on a glass of Chianti and watch the sun set over the Tuscan hills.  This is truly a paradise!

Susan & Alba

Susan made our first homemade dinner in a week and it was delicious – pasta with a fresh tomato and garlic sauce.  The evening was spent downloading pictures from my camera to laptop, checking emails and updating Facebook.


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