Castiglioncello, Tuscany Before The Second Wave!!

It’s been a while since I’ve felt the desire to write about travelling, as the restrictions in place are constantly changing and I’m also aware there have been limitations for some.

We are lucky enough to have a base in Italy, and we drove there from the UK to try to limit our risk. For us, this was a mini break from our apartment in a small Tuscan, hilltop village, and it’s so nice to have the option of so many places to go to only an hour and a half from home.

We booked a few days away as we’d been apart for a month and wanted to make the time to continue our discovery of all things Tuscan. A friend had recommended this beautiful villa after her son’s wedding took place there last year and we were very much looking forward to it. As there was a brief hiatus in Italy from the Covid cases, we decided to make the most of it and venture to a hotel, with excellent Covid restrictions in place.

Like San Francisco in Tuscany!

The drive along the Livorno coastal road was a very scenic one. Very green, and lush on a warm sunny day. If you are flying in to Pisa and hiring a car, try to avoid the motorway drive to the area and take the coastal road instead, it’s stunning and doesn’t add on much time to the journey. We managed not to argue, amazing considering every time we get in a car we row, but it’s probably because we were only in it for an hour and I insisted on Waze, so we couldn’t argue about which way to go.

It was only a 40 minute drive from Pisa airport so ideal for a mini break or long weekend. The town itself is small but beautiful. Breathtaking views everywhere we looked, with lots of steep little roads and sharp turns, rather challenging whether you’re on foot or in a car! Turning into the driveway we were faced with an impressive looking building.

Keys please!

Villa Parisi is a beautiful villa with around 12 rooms. Loved the old fashion key box on the wall, none of this modern card swiping nonsense here! Due to the fact that it was quite quiet, they upgraded us to a full sea view although we didn’t get the terrace to go with it!

The view from the room was just gorgeous, but in true Italian fashion, the room was still rather small, very outdated in it’s decor, but considering we didn’t spend much time in it, we weren’t that bothered. We had to wear our masks at all times when indoors, I could count on one hand the number of times we saw other people inside, as most of of the time was spent outdoors, so we didn’t feel that we were too close for comfort anywhere.

This was a perfect place to escape to for a weekend of R & R. There’s a small pool area at a lower level, then some winding steps down through the trees to a number of platforms set in the rocks, overlooking the sea with it’s sparkling water at sunset. Plenty of places to choose from to sit and with the ability to have drinks at every one, there was no bad area there!

The traditional lounge area

The first day we sat by the pool, social distancing was easy and it was very relaxing. Just to sit by a pool, in the heat, and do nothing was a luxury that had been taken away from us so suddenly, and a blessing that didn’t pass us by. He read, I read, and at the end of the day we moved up to another seating level for some cocktails and a perfect view of the sunset. With not much time to spare between cocktails and dinner, we changed quickly for our first evening meal, which we decided to have in the hotel and what a great choice it was.

It was an unexpected culinary experience. Dinner was burrata with a warm tomato sauce (think warm Heinz tomato soup), and then turbot with a side vegetable terrine. Can’t remember what he had, I was too engrossed in my own food.

A bottle of wine and a few Baileys later we retired upstairs, and went to sleep with our windows wide open listening to the noise of the waves, and enjoying the gentle sea breeze! I couldn’t even hear his snoring, the sea was so loud. The last time we went to sleep like that was at the Malibu Beach Inn in California, and it’s such a relaxing way to drift off to sleep!

Breakfast the next day was a buffet, but this time it was behind a rope, and you had to point to what you wanted and the masked and gloved waiter would plate it for you and bring it to the table. We opted for the beach platform the second day, but beware, the beach isn’t really a beach, it’s lots of rocks and a tiny bit of sand, but not big enough to sit on so the platforms are the only option.

It was very windy, and luckily we hadn’t chosen the lowest platform as the umbrellas decided to go for a run that day! It was also slightly ‘crowded’, with around 4/5 couples on it, so we preferred our ‘socially distanced’ platform for 2! Lunch was up by the pool, the obligatory club sandwich and fries for him and a verbal pick and mix salad for me.

Dinner that evening was at another beautiful location which you could only get to by foot, a wonderful walk along a winding lit path. On a platform, over the water there were surprisingly no outside tables, but a perfect window seat for all and again, amazing food. Tuna tartare and a red prawn carpaccio to start with, and monkfish for two. As often happens with us, we had a little disagreement at the table, and my eyes slowly drifted upwards to the bottle display, and I coincidentally saw a bottle right above his head, it was called ‘Knob Creek’!!

How apt was that! We soon agreed to disagree and he ended up buying a bottle of the after dinner rum we’d been served as he thought it was delicious. I can honestly say I’ve never seen him drink rum in the long time we’ve been together, so I can only assume we’d had rather too much wine and it was another ‘intoxicated’ purchase, of which we are often guilty of. Other things we’ve purchased whilst intoxicated include, 3 pairs of sunglasses, some weird South American leather container for tea leaves with matching glasses and two flights to Iceland!

Time for check out and a proper beach day on the way home. This is somewhere to go if you want a quick getaway, 2.5 hours away from the UK, and only a short drive to your destination. You don’t even have to leave the villa, but if you can I would!

Read more about Italy:

Truffle Hunting In Tuscany

Frivolity in Florence

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