The entrance to the place was out-of-this-world, a long, winding drive on one of those old country roads and on each side glorious Cypress trees, iconic Tuscan landmarks, as far as the eye could see.

What an experience.
What a start to a most excellent adventure.

We arrived after a short hop from Dublin, where I finished a consulting gig setting up a new television network. The farmhouse, our little place in paradise, became the starting-off point of our journey of discovery of roaming the Tuscan countryside.

It was marvellous – villages atop mountain tops, cobbled streets stepped in history, fabulous restaurants, spectacular scenery.

But don’t take my word for it – see for yourself.

Shopping for food and cooking became part of the experience, eliciting multiple, daily exclamations of “amazing, wow, I can’t believe it.”

Nearby there was a village of no more than a 150 people with one main street and one retail shop – a tiny deli, stocked with every culinary morsel imaginable. The rest of the village was dotted with small stone houses (looking like they were built in centuries past) with people sitting outside, enjoying life, and waving at us in our small Volkswagen mini.

Beyond the village we found a small farmhouse restaurant- the outside with a vast parking lot big enough to accommodate several hundred cars, the inside akin to a huge barn decorated with traditional farmhouse chic, Italian style.

The menu consisted of traditional Tuscan dishes.
We chose porchetta – an Italian classic dish of savoury, fatty, and moist rolled up boneless pork roasted over a wood fire for eight hours.

When it arrived it was glistening, the skin crispy, with a patina like dark rich mahogany wood, and the inside so juicy. It came accompanied by potatoes, also roasted, crispy on the outside, smooth and creamy on the inside. It was a meal to conjure fond memories for years to come.