This little road trip was my own doing.
I already mentioned to you: my evening of cooking at an agriturismo.
What I haven't yet shared is the views on the way. Old idiom: it isn't about the destination it is about the journey. I find it is hard to put into practice; I am first in line to be busy cleaning, organizing and thinking about the 'next thing'. But this time I really was smiling-while-driving.
On my way to the agriturismo, I used the main highway driving south from Florence, then popped off near Chiusi and Terme di Chianciano. (I have some odd draw to terme; if you recall the boys and I visited no less than 5 on our 6 day Tuscan road trip). I am intrigued with all the sulfur swagger under vast stretches of Tuscan terrain.
I peeked into the Terme Sensoriali (in Terme di Chianciano); Italians have long adhered to the restorative properties of Bagni (though I am learning some are for bathing, others for 'drinking the water' and breathing). This spa would no doubt heal some part of you: it is a spa experience based on the 5 elements etere, aria, fuoco, terra, acqua AKA ether, air, fire, earth, water. This time, I simply peered in the windows and went on my way (find www.termechianciano.it and/or www.termesensoriali.it).
For now, I feel quite satisfied hunting down and seeking out the 'public' baths that are less poised and planned but authentic, free, outside---no doubt with healing properties of their own. When cousins arrive at the end of this week---we will whisk them off to one such set of hot springs (Petriolo).
I have a huge pamphlet (from the agriturismo Sant' Egle) all about the Maremma region of Tuscany (www.lamaremma.info and www.amiataturismo.it). I have spent time in this region both in February and March: finding terme in Saturnia and San Casciano, enjoying agriturismos, Etruscan tombs and cliff-hanging cities like Pitigliano, Scansano and Sorano. The hills are rolling and so, so green I cannot begin to describe them. It is gorgeous, and a little bit off the normal tourist-beaten path. I like that.
On my drive home from the agriturismo, I snapped some photos and at one point followed my nose down a dirt road to La Foce (www.lafoce.com). La Foce is in the Orcia valley in south-east Tuscany; it boasts an incredible garden and restored farmhouses---with pools---for rent. It adheres to the Slow Food Movement (in case you wanted to know); my favorite part is that this property lies on such a beautiful road, tucked in lush valleys and near some of my favorite places: Sienna, Pienza, Montalcino and Montepulciano.