Well, as the saying goes "there's no place like home". We're back after 16 lovely days in Italy and as wonderful as Italy is, its not home. We went to Cinque Terre which is a group of five villages along the Ligurian coast connected by walking trails. The area is spectacular and each of the five villages are very distinct. We stayed in Riomaggiore which is the southernmost of the villages and luckily for us, the one we liked the best. It is a small village which is really inhabited by locals not just tourists. We stayed in a lovely little house called "Lorenza's Casa" and our front deck looked right out onto the sea. Lorenza was an absolute sweetheart and I highly recommend her place to anyone wishing to visit there.
After four nights in Riomaggiore we were off to an Agriturismo near Siena in Tuscany. Agriturismos are a very common thing in Italy. They are working farms which also act as B&B's for tourists. If you want a really authentic Tuscan experience this is a good way to travel. We rented a car and visited many local hill-towns such as Montepulciano and Montelcino.
We finished off our vacation with three nights in Venice. It is not our first visit there so we had a good idea of what to expect. In a nutshell I would say it is truly a gorgeous place, but, you have to take in to consideration that because of this very reason it is almost overrun with tourists. If you like quite and solitude its best to get off the beaten track. Luckily I found B & B Sandra which is in the less busy area of Canneregio. Again, I can't say enough kind words about this accommodation and the lovely people who run it.
We arrived safely at home with all four bottles of wine still in tact although the olive oil was a victim of luggage tossing. Oh well, I'm just glad we still have the wine.