Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Certaldo - A Hilltop Gem

The medieval town of Certaldo is just a few miles down the road from Fattoria Bacio. It's so perfectly preserved that visiting it is like stepping back in time.

Certaldo is a lesser-known Tuscan hill town, so we almost felt like we had it to ourselves yesterday when we visited.

We spent hours wandering about, snapping photos and pausing to sketch. Because there are really only two main streets in Certaldo, it's impossible to get lost.

The town dates from the twelfth century and as I walked along the ancient cobbled streets, I tried to imagine what life would have been like then.

I'm so glad that the Italians make preservation a priority, so we can all enjoy these special places.

There were so many beautiful little spots to discover as we walked around the town, like this hand-painted wall...

this planter...

these lamp posts...

hand-carved doors all over town...


and windows.

We ate lunch together at a little cafe...

and Linda worked on finishing up one of her sketches.

My mother is enjoying Italy more than she ever thought she would. It's just so darn beautiful!

Here, Rebecca and Debbie sketch at the Hotel Castello as they enjoy piping hot cappuccinos. Aren't they cute?

We've all gotten a lot of sketching done, but I still haven't had a chance to take pictures of any of our work. We're out and about all day, then there's dinner, and wine, and then bed. Except I stay up and write these blog posts, because I know you all want to see what we've been up to. :) Today we took the train to Siena, but tomorrow we'll be here at the Villa most of the day, so I'll try to get some photos of a few of our sketches to show you.

Until then, enjoy this great big amazing world we live in!


  1. Leslie,
    I'm enjoying your journey almost as much as you, your Mother, and your Students. Actually, I'll probably never ever get to travel to these beautiful places, but you've opened a whole new world to and for me in a very special way. Somehow when I follow your travels, your photos, and sketches-- as well as those of your Students it seems to bring the places closer to me like nothing else, and I can get a real sense of the beauty. Thanks for taking the time to share your journey in a slow and easy way... but remembering to always fill in lots and lots of detail for your travel companions here at home.

    'Happy trails to you' and your traveling companions!

    1. Thanks so much for taking the time to write, Brunella. I'm so glad you're enjoying my posts.

  2. Funny, as I was scrolling your beautiful photos, I said, "Hey, I know that place!" more than once. Not because I've been to Certaldo, but because one of my favorite Italian chefs (Davina Cucina, Judy Witts Francini) lives there and sometimes blogs about the town. I love that creativity of all kinds brings the world together. :-)

    1. It's the neatest place, Susan. I'll have to check out her blog. Thanks for telling me about it.

  3. Amazing photos! Do you use some tools while working with them? I usually use this one: http://www.coolutils.com/ImageBox, as I also like photography very much!

  4. The pictures are wonderful. I decided to visit via Google street view. WOW. There is a building covered in ivy in your post that Google has probably early winter that is brilliantly red. Wonderful to find such facinating architecture.

    1. I sat at a table in front of that hotel and sketched a beautiful shrine on the wall across the street. The vines are gorgeous this time of year but, wow, if it were red it would really be amazing! I'll have to look up that pic on Google street view.


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