Tuesday 26 August 2008

Home again

On Sunday we arrived home after two weeks in the Val d'Orcia in Italy. It was the first time we'd been to Tuscany in about 20 years, and our first visit to this stunningly beautiful valley in the south of the region. The weather was mostly very hot, so a lot of our time was spent sitting around, reading, drinking, that kind of thing. But we did make a few trips out - a return visit to Siena, which was being readied for the Palio, and shorter drives to the hilltop towns of Montepulciano and Pienza (from the walls of which the above photo was taken). My love affair with Italy had cooled a little in recent years, but returning to Tuscany after a number of years visiting the harsher, less accommodating south of the country, has certainly renewed it.

Celebrity-spotting footnote: after last year's possible sighting of composer James Macmillan, this year we had a definite close encounter with someone even more in the public eye: the diminutive director of a certain national civil liberties organisation was staying at our hotel. 

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