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Simple Tuscan pleasures

I would like to share with you some simple Tuscan pleasures that I enjoy during the summer months. First and foremost is of course just the privilege to be in Tuscany and to stay at our little Tuscan abode up in the hills above Bagni di Lucca. There is nothing more satisfying than throwing open the shutters and flooding the house with some well deserved light and air after the cooler days of spring. It is quite impossible to describe the views from the windows but trust me when I say that they are so incredibly beautiful with verdant green enveloping the hills all around and a sliver of silver river to be seen at their foot. Days begin with the crowing of a cockerel at Dawn and end with majestic sunsets.

In the month of June the intoxicating scent of jasmine carries heavily in the light summer breeze and even finds its way inside our house. It is a delight to savour its fragrance.

In July bright yellow sunflowers make me feel happy and I long to stay here forever.

On those days when the heat from the sun becomes too intense it is a relief to walk in the shade of the ancient chestnut woods. It is even more of a relief to visit somewhere such as San Pellegrino in Alpe where it is possible to enjoy cooler temperatures.

It is always wonderful to see our kind-hearted Tuscan neighbours and friends. Our neighbour Giuseppina always treats us to some of her delicious home cooking. No-one makes torta di riso as good as she does!

I become quite a domestic goddess myself when I am in Tuscany and really make the most of using all the fresh fruits that grow abundantly during the summer months. Jam making is the order of the day.

A welcome sight in August are the cardboard boxes and crates of bright red tomatoes that line the doorsteps of houses in the village in readiness for the annual passata making.

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