This morning in Tuscany, walking in the beautiful countryside along the river Elsa, a beautiful mist rose off the still Elsa waters as one early-riser Artviva staff-member was out this morning walking Greta, the bi-lingual, expert-stick-catching* dog.
The trees stood leaf-naked, last year’s abandoned bird nests exposed. A few early arrival birds were also to be seen, scoping out the real estate for this season’s nest building before the rest of the flocks arrive.
Ducks glided along the waters, leaving v-shaped ridges along the water in their rippling wakes.
We were walking along the river in Certaldo, with San Gimignano just a literal stones-throw on the other bank of the river. The weather was a little crisp, but Spring is definitely blossoming.
At first the sky was a blanket of white, the sun a muted dot in the corner of the landscape. By the end of the walk, the grey had dissipated and sun rays pointed down from the sky to illuminate picturesque pieces of the Tuscan landscape.
But the highlight of the walk did not lie in the chirp of the birds returning after their winter vacation, was not even the amazing mist rising from the water, no.
It was the gigantic pile of sticks discovered by Greta, who sat beside them looking like a child whose Christmases had all come at once!
The Elsa river connects to the Arno River, Tuscany’s famous river that crosses the Tuscan landscape. The Arno river runs from the Casentino area near the Appenines, through Florence (and under the famous Ponte Vecchio), before crossing a good part of Tuscany, including Arezzo, Empoli, San Gimignano and then to Pisa where it leaves via the Marina di Pisa.
Perfect Mornings in Tuscany can be had by all on our Perfect Morning in Tuscany small-group walking tour. Leaving from Florence’s city centre and heading to the surrounding countryside, this small-group walking tour includes, well, walking in Tuscany, as well as lunch with wine at a stunning Renaissance Villa Estate, accompanied by an expert tour guide.
You can also see the stunning Tuscan countryside by bike on our Original Tuscany Bike Tour ? a small-group guided bike tour through Tuscany including lunch and wine tasting.
If you’d rather skip the exertion and focus more on the excursion, we have the Best of Tuscany small-group tour, visiting three Tuscan hilltop towns (Siena, San Gimignano and Monteriggioni) as well as having wine tasting and lunch at a Tuscan Villa Estate.
To learn more about the Casentino area, and life living on the Tuscan land, Artviva friend and famed author Lisa Clifford presents her book, Death in the Mountains, sharing the fascinating true story about a 100-year-old murder in the area. Death in the Mountains reveals the hardships faced by Casentino locals, the harsh living conditions and the ways of life for poorer Tuscans. Throughout her research, Lisa also managed to solve this century-old who-done-it! Meet Lisa at the Artviva Artists, Authors and Aristocrats Festival Evenings in Florence.
* Stick-catching is not always synonymous with stick-fetching! Greta can catch a thrown stick on the full, but then loves to run away with it and make you chase after her to get it ? because after all, it’s only fair to take turns when playing!