June 25, 2017

Off the Beaten Path – The French Basque Region

I have been fortunate to travel in some wonderful areas of Europe.  Some  are the tried and true tourist areas and others are lesser known and less traveled areas, at least to Americans.

A few years ago I had the opportunity to visit one of these “off the beaten path” destinations in France. The French Basque Region is an area not regularly frequented by Americans.  I find it interesting that Americans tend to spend their time in more well-known destinations – Paris, Rome, Florence, London or Munich – but don’t venture to some of the lesser known areas. I really have no clue why this is but wonder if US travelers view their European trip is a once in a lifetime event and must cram as much in as possible and, therefore, only hit the highlight.  Or is it because they are trendy spots and ones they must visit or they are just not “with it”?

No matter the reason, I truly enjoy getting “off the beaten path” and enjoy areas not on the usual tourist track.   It is one of these that I want tell you about.

I had the pleasure to spend a week in the French Basque region specifically the area between Bayonne and St. Jean de Luz a few years ago with the French Government Tourist Bureau. This trip was busy and I didn’t get do some extensive exploring but I definitely came away wanting to spend more time in this beautiful less traveled area.

Basque vista Southwest France

Basque Hills

The Southwest corner of France, from Bayonne to St. Jean de Luz, offers something for everyone. Whether you want beautiful beaches or rolling green hills, sleepy villages or towns of international renown; you can find it all in this striking region. The coastal villages offer dramatic sandy beaches, fishing ports, beautiful architecture and storied histories.

Bayonne France

Bayonne

Bayonne is the capital of the region and is known for its narrow streets, cathedral and chocolate. Bayonne was the first city in France to make chocolate  dating way back to the early 1600’s. Wandering the streets will offer ample opportunities to sample the wonderful chocolate of Bayonne.

Biarritz Seaview France

Biarritz

Once a whaling village, Biarritz is now a resort to the rich and famous. Biarritz was the summer home of Eugenie and Napoleon and you can still see the impact of this in the stunning Hotel du Palais. Biarritz offers shopping, scenic views, museums and more. You will enjoy wandering the charming old town. After enjoying the sights which include a lighthouse and a Chocolate museum, you may want to spend some time in the casino before turning in for the night.

St Jean du Luz French Basque region

St Jean du Luz by marsupilami92, on Flickr

St. Jean de Luz is an enchanting town offering a sandy beach, picturesque harbor, outdoor cafes, architectural gems and a quaint town square. St. Jean de Luz is another great strolling town with beautiful narrow streets.

Basque Farm in Southwest France

Basque Farm

The French Basque have a well preserved culture and once you start moving inland you sense a more Basque feel to the environs. Moving inland you will find rolling green hills, peace and quiet, tradition and villages called “most beautiful villages in France.”

Scenic Basque Country France

Scenic Basque Country

Driving inland you will meet charming villages like Ascain, Sare and Ortillopitz. The storybook quality of this area make drives through the region an amazing journey. The discoveries you will find include churches, distinctive Basque architecture, lush countryside, vineyards, farms, pilgrimage routes and spectacular vistas. If you are a walker, you will be able to find many walking routes.

This section of France left a definite impression on me and I intend on returning.

 

What “off the beaten path” destinations have impacted you?

Classic and Powerful: Neoclassical Architecture

A few months ago I started a series on the different architecture styles travelers usually come across in Europe.  So far we have covered Gothic  (Gothic Architecture of Europe), Romanesque (If it’s Tuesday, it must be Romanesque!), Baroque (Baroque: The Emotional Style), and Rococo (Rococo – Flirty & Decadent).

Continuing with this series, today’s post will delve into discovering Neoclassical architecture. This style came to prominence during the mid-18th century to make a symbolic statement against the extravagances of the past age.

Arc de Triomphe Paris France

Arc de Triomphe by Benh LIEU SONG

You could say Neoclassical architecture is the antithesis of Baroque and Rococo!  These styles were seen as over-the-top, shallow and the styles of aristocrats.  With the end of the French Revolution came a desire to move away anything having to do with “the regime” and towards a pure style, that of Ancient Greece and Rome.

Neoclassical architecture is very similar to the classical structures of Italy and Greece in its simplicity, symmetry and functionality.  Even though the style is the complete opposite of Rococo, it still is evocative and picturesque but in a self-restrained way.

Structures from the Neoclassical time will include most (if not all) of the following attributes:

Tall columns,

Vilnius Cathedral Lithuania

Vilnius Cathedral by Juliux

Clean basic lines replacing curves,

Prado Madrid Spain

Prado Madrid Spain by Fanghong

Shape is symmetric,

Marynkas Palace in Pulawy Poland

Marynkas Palace in Pulawy Poland by Ghalas

Domed roof, and

Lutheran Cathedral Helsinki Finland

Lutheran Cathedral Helsinki Finland by Purpy Pupple

Triangular pediment.

Pantheon Paris France

Pantheon Paris France by Kpjas

All of this together reflects the virtue, philosophy and harmony of ancient Italy and Greece.  In this style, the emphasis is on enriching and influencing lives instead of frivolous aesthetics and can be seen in libraries, schools, banks, capital building and monuments.

The imposing structures convey a feeling of superiority in an intimidating manner.  This commanding presence was seen as way to demonstrate state power and was one of the reasons Napoleon used it so widely in Paris.    Taking it further, Neoclassical architecture was the favored style of Hitler and the leaders in communist Russia.

Ostankino Palace in Moscow Russia

Ostankino Palace in Moscow Russia by Ghirlandajo

Even though you may not have known the name of this style, I know you have seen it in Europe and across the world!

 

Do you have a favorite Neoclassic building or monument?

Six Months In “My 7 Links”

Being a new travel blogger, I was honored by the invitation to participate in the My 7 Links project I received from Cathy of Traveling with Sweeney.  The timing of this actually coincides with the 6 month anniversary of European Travelista so it is a great time to take a look back at some of the posts I’ve published.  It was much harder than I thought to choose the posts to include even though I only have 6 months to sort through!

But I jumped in and here are My 7 Links .  .  .

 

Most Beautiful – Italy’s South Tirol: Wine and the Dolomites

Majestic Dolomites South Tirol Italy
Majestic Dolomites from Suditirol Marketind/Frieder Blickle


Spurred by a wine tasting my husband and I enjoyed in Avila Beach, California this post has relit my interest with the Dolomites.  I just can’t get over how dramatic and beautiful this region is.  This is where I can combine some of my favorites:  quaint villages, dramatic mountains, outdoor activities and wine!

Most Popular – Rocamadour – A Miraculous Village

This post could have also made it in the Most Surprising category!  At the last minute, I put up a few pictures I had taken while in Rocamadour France for Travel Photo Thursday.  I wasn’t very happy with the photographs but was out of time so that is what went up.  Who would have known it would be so popular!  I still can’t figure it out.

Rauchbier Spezial Bamberg, Germany by Ethan Prater, on Flickr

Rauchbier Spezial Bamberg, Germany by Ethan Prater, on Flickr

Most Controversial – Bamberg plus Beer equals Dilemma

Well I’m not sure this really fits in the most controversial category but I really don’t write about controversial things.  But this could be controversial, right?  I mean if people get all upset because of a sporting event someone could get real positional about a beer or brewery, don’t you think?! ?  Go with me here on this one 🙂

Most Helpful – Baroque: The Emotional Style

I have written a series on the different architectural styles you will find in Europe.  So far I have covered Gothic, Romanesque, Baroque and Rococo but chose Baroque because it was my personal favorite.  I’d like to think this series has helped us all learn a little more about the styles we see so often when traveling.

Most Surprising Success – Rhine Falls – Europe’s Biggest

Who knew everyone loves a waterfall?  I sure do now.  This one is another submission to Travel Photo Thursday and I never really expected such a reaction.Olivier Magny O Chateau Paris France

Deserved More Attention – Wine Tasting in Paris with O Chateau!

This was my first and only interview I have ever done and I was so excited to share O Chateau with everyone.  I really enjoyed putting this together as I was really tickled by Olivier’s sense of humor and  I like wine (in case you didn’t know 🙂 )!  It didn’t totally bomb but I was surprised it didn’t get a better reception.

Most Proud Of – Welcome to European Travelista. . .

This was the very first post I published on European Travelista.  I am most proud of this one not because it is an example of exemplary writing or because the topic is so grand but because it was a huge step forward for me to launch this blog.  By pushing the “publish” button I stepped into a foreign world and I am so glad I did!  I have learned so much from you all and appreciate your camaraderie even if we have never met.  So thank you all for a great 6 months!

 

 

My nominations for the My 7 Links project are:

Sensible Travel Advice

Quirky Travel Guy

Lisa Overman

Quiet Wanderings

Travel To Sun

Romantic Lago Maggiore

Unfortunately, I haven’t spent much time in Italy but the time I have spent included a leisurely few days around lovely Lago Maggiore.

For this edition of Travel Photo Thursday, I am sharing a picture taken many years ago while I was on my honeymoon in Northern Italy on Lago Maggiore.Lago Maggiori Italy
Lago Maggiore is a glacial lake in Northern Italy.  Part of the Italian Lake District,  Maggiore is in a beautiful location and offers beaches, a Mediterranean climate, palm trees, beautiful lakeside cities and the Alps as your backdrop!  This region is as inviting as it sounds.

In the distance you see one of the Borromean Islands, Isola Bella.  This island is still owned by the Borromeo family and has been the meeting place for many Heads of State.  The island is a great place to spend and afternoon touring  it’s Baroque Palace and wandering the gardens as they slope down to lake level.

 

For more great pictures, make sure to look into Budget Travelers Sandbox.

Every Thursday they post new photos from their travels and invite others to join in!

Maybe I’ll see you there.

 

 

Rococo – Flirty & Decadent

So far we have experienced Romanesque, Gothic and Baroque architecture in Europe.  Continuing with this series, let’s take a look at the Rococo style.

One thing I have noticed while researching architectural styles is I find myself saying “Oh yea I remember seeing that!” Have you felt that way too?  If so, you’ll feel the same way with Rococo.

Ottobeuren Abbey Bavaria Germany

Ottobeuren Abbey by Mrilabs

The Rococo style of architecture was popular between 1720-1789 and is a dainty and elaborate version of Baroque, also referred to as Late Baroque.  Rococo rooms were decorated as a total package including furniture, artwork, mirrors and tapestries that enhance the architecture.

Rococo Architecture St. Andriy's Church Kiev Russia

St. Andriy's Church Kiev by Koshelyev

The Rococo style:

  • Stressed asymmetry
  • Had less emphasis on religion
  • Was very decorative and used shell like curves
  • Colors were pale and considered more “classy”
  • Included walls that were flat, smooth and rectangular in shape
  • Walls had carvings and gold gilding over door frames

    Wies Church Bavaria Germany

    Wies Church Bavaria Germany by MichaelXXLF

The style is most associated with the aristocrats of the time and is considered to be a rebuff to the over bearing Roman Catholic Church. First growing quickly in France, this style is both graceful and artistically elegant and more concerned with indulgence and appreciating life. This lighter and graceful style was favored by Kings Louis XV and Louis XVI. Rococo architecture was completely in harmony with the lavishness of Louis XV’s rule and is seen as a prelude to the French revolution.

Rococo Architecture Versailles Grand Trianon Paris France

Versailles Grand Trianon by Kallgan

Since it was seen as a “French Style”, Rococo architecture was never really adopted in Great Britain.

Popular architects of the time include:

Francesco Bartolomeo Rastrelli who was an Italian born architect that lived most of his life in Russia with his father, who was also a famous Italian sculptor.  Most notable works are the Winter Palace in St. Petersburg and Catherine Palace.

Philip de Lange was born in France but was a leading architect in Denmark and the Netherlands.

Matthaus Daniel Poppelmann was a German born architect who helped rebuild Dresden after a massive fire in 1685.  His most famous work is Dresden Castle.

Asam Brothers were sculptors, stuccoists, painters, and architects, who working together, became one of the most influential ambassadors of the Rococo style.   Probably their most famous work is Church of St. John Nepomuk, also known as, Asamkirche, which is located in Munich.

Dominikus and Johann Zimmermann are Bavarian architects, painters and stuccoists whose famous works include the Weiskirche and Steinhausen Church.

Belvedere Palace Vienna Austria

Belvedere Palace by David.Monniaux

Judgment of the Rococo style came from all over but included French philosopher Voltaire.  The demise of the style came from critics saying its flirty and decadent style was immoral.

 

What do you think of Rococo architecture?

Have you seen it before?

Magical Mittenwald – Bavaria at its Best!

Mittenwald is one of those scenic Bavarian villages that you’ve been waiting to visit.

During my trip to Europe later this summer, I will be making a stop in Mittenwald on my way to Innsbruck.  Why?  Simply because it is known to be a picturesque Bavarian village and I can’t seem to get enough of them 🙂

Mittenwald Bavaria Germany

Mittenwald by Bayern tourismus Marketin gGmbH

But there is so much more to Mittenwald than just a pretty face!

Mittenwald lies in a beautiful valley created by the Isar river and is surrounded by majestic mountains.  Goethe visited in 1786 and declared it “A living picture book!”  I believe part of this was due to its idyllic location and the other part must be all the frescoed buildings lining the Obermarkt.  The frescoes covering the buildings of Mittenwald tell the story of this historic town.

Frescoes of Mittenwald Bavaria Germany

Frescoes in Mittenwald by Alaskan Dude, on Flickr

There is also the St. Peter & Paul church built in the Rococo style between 1738 – 1740. The church is full of frescoes inside and out and is the center of the village.  It also hosts an organ festival during late summer.

Loveley Street Mittenwald Bavaria Germany

Lovely Street in Mittenwald by bangli 1, on Flickr

The highest private brewery in Germany is located right here in Mittenwald.  Yumm more beer!  They offer tours complete with a tasting at the end 🙂

The surrounding mountains and lakes are begging you to explore them.  There are many hikes in the valley and even to the mountaintops.  Whether you want a hike of a couple hours or an all day trek, walking in the nearby woods or mountains will charm and fascinate you.

Mittenwald Bavaria Germany Mountains

Mountains of Mittenwald by TeunSpaans

Of course, if hiking your way to the top of mountain isn’t in the cards for you, maybe the Karwendel Cable Car or Kranzberg chairlift would be more suitable.  The Karwendel Cable Car rises to 7,360 feet where you will find a nature reserve and an incredibly scenic vista.  The Kranzberg chair lift whisks you up to almost 4,000 feet and some of the most beautiful walking areas.  Spend your time walking through alpine flowers, pass lakes and even a restaurant or two.  If you’re here during the winter this area offers great skiing and boarding opportunities too!

There is one thing Mittenwald is very famous for that you might not expect in a Bavarian village – Mittenwald is known worldwide for its violin making!

Being on the Roman trade route from Venice to Augsburg, Mittenwald was a very prosperous town during the medieval age. When shipping became more popular, Mittenwald’s economy sank.  Thanks to its own resident, Matthias Klotz, Mittenwald once again flourished!

Klotz Violin 1794 Mittenwald Bavaria Germany

Klotz Violin 1794

Being trained by masters in Italy, Klotz brought his renowned craftsmanship home to Mittenwald. It was during the 18th century that this tiny village received international acclaim for violin making thanks to Matthias Klotz!

While in Mittenwald you will find many things related to violins.   You may wish to explore the Geigenbaumuseum where you will learn about the local history of violin making while listening to beautiful music.  Or a visit to one of the many Master Violin Maker’s workshops may be in order! Here you can witness violin making firsthand.  If you haven’t had enough of violins at this point, stop by the Violin Making School which as part of its curriculum includes training in all string instruments.

Mittenwald Bavaria Germany

Mittenwald by Hesse1309

Yes, there is much more to Mittenwald than her pretty face and I can’t wait to see it with my own eyes!

 

Have you been to Mittenwald?

What is your favorite Bavarian village?

Baroque: The Emotional Style

The last few months we discovered more about Romanesque and Gothic architecture.  Today it is time to delve into Baroque architecture. As usual, I have included pictures of European gems in this style.

Queluz Palace fountains Portugal

Queluz Palace fountains Portugal by Husond

Baroque architecture came to prominence during the 17th century.  Starting in Italy before spreading first to France and then the rest of Europe, this style can best be described as showing majesty, opulence and radiance both in design and size.

Castle Howard, North Yorkshire England

Castle Howard, North Yorkshire England

The dramatic intensity of this style indicates supremacy.  The ornamentation showing up in the style indicates both the emotion of the era but also wealth and power.  At this time, the Church and Kings once again were given absolute power.  This power was manifested through this architectural style both in churches, cathedrals and palaces.

Wilanów Palace in Warsaw Poland by Wistula

Wilanów Palace in Warsaw Poland by Wistula

 

Vierzehnheiligen Basilika near Bamberg Bavaria Germany
Vierzehnheiligen Basilika near Bamberg Germany by Asio otus

 

Some distinctive features of the Baroque style include:
  • Naves of churches are wider and sometimes oval
  • There is a dramatic use of light either by contrasting shade and light or by including several windows
  • Large ceiling frescoes are prominent
  • There is an exuberant use of color and embellishment
  • Structures have a dramatic central projection
  • Domes appear pear shaped especially in Bavarian, Czech, Polish and Ukrainian design.
  • Curves became more important than the straight line
Karlskirche Vienna Austria

Karlskirche Vienna Austria by Gryffindor

Famous architects during the Baroque period include:  Carlo Maderno (Italy), Gian Lorenzo Bernini (Italy), Francois Mansart (France) and Christopher Wren (England).

St Paul's Cathedral London

St Paul's Cathedral by stusmith_uk, Flickr

Chateau de Maison Lafitte France

Chateau de Maison Lafitte France

Facciata di San Pietro Rome Italy

Facciata di San Pietro Rome Italy by Urby2004

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Many of the magnificent Baroque buildings we marvel at during our travels were designed and built by these illustrious architects.  Thanks to these visionaries of the past we are still able to visit their creations and explore the history created there.

 

What is your favorite Baroque building?

What is your favorite architectural style?

Italy’s South Tirol: Wine and the Dolomites

Easter weekend my husband and I visited with our daughter in San Luis Obispo, CA.  As part of our weekend, we spent most of Saturday in beautiful Avila beach.  This beachside community is home to Alapay Cellars where we enjoyed tasting some of their great wines.

One of their red wines, Lagrein, caught my eye because I had never heard of these grapes and it tasted great.  Our host told us the grapes are from Italy so I did a little sleuthing and discovered they are grown in the Alto Adigo region or otherwise known as South Tirol.

More sleuthing and I discovered this region is home to the Dolomites, a mountain range I have long wanted to visit.  So where is South Tirol and why should you visit?

Majestic Dolomites South Tirol Italy

Majestic Dolomites from Suditirol Marketing/Frieder Blickle

Alto Adigo or South Tirol is located in the northeast corner of Italy right up against Austria and Switzerland.  This area is known for its dramatic scenery, medieval cities, apples, wines, olive orchards, castles, the Dolomites, extreme sports and many winter activities and resorts.  The area is Germanic speaking and was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire until the end of WWI.

There are many great reasons to visit but here are 4 that looked interesting to me!

Food and Wine: Finding good food in this area should not be an issue since there are 15 restaurants in this one tiny region that have at least one Michelin star.  You will find a nice variety of food that includes traditional Alpine cuisine along with foods more thought of as Italian, pizza and pasta!  Of course, you will also find local apples, olives and chestnuts.  As part of your visit, you might wish to take a drive on the South Tyrolean Wine Road.  This road winds its way through picturesque villages full of narrow streets and grand houses.  Along the way you can discover romantic medieval castles and maybe even take a dip in the warmest lake in the Alpine area, Lago di Caldaro.  All while enjoying great wine!

Vineyards South Tirol Italy

Vineyards from Suditirol Marketing/Helmuth Rier

Castles: If you enjoy castles, then you are in the right place!  The South Tirol region is home to more than 400 castles and manor houses.  You will see these castles high above the valley floor and nestled in amongst the vineyards.  Among the castles is Schloss Tirol Castle.  This castle is a fine representation of both Romanesque and Medieval architecture.

Beautiful Dolomites South Tirol Italy

Beautiful Dolomites from Suditirol Marketing/Frieder Blickle

Dolomites: The Dolomites have been on my list since the first time I ever saw a picture of them probably 10 years ago.  I am a mountain girl and these staggeringly beautiful mountains still call me today.  What I didn’t know was they were part of a coral reef from eons ago. The Dolomites are part of the UNESCO World Natural Heritage and are among the most impressive mountains you will ever see.  You might not know about all the WWI history that is in this area.  The Via Ferrata are trails left over from the war and allow everyone access to history and the beautiful views.  For more WWI history visit the Museum in the Tre Sassi fortress.

Medieval Villages: From the smallest village in the area, Glorenza, to the largest, Bolzano, the region is full of charming medieval villages.  The villages still contain burgher houses, arcades, narrow streets and central squares that are all steeped in history!  Glorenza’s 900 residents are surrounded by the intact wall dating back 400 years.  Bolzano, the regions capital, is home to a gothic cathedral, medieval town square, Schloss Runkelstein and an archeological museum which houses Otzi, the 5,300 year old man found in the area.

Dolomites South Tirol Italy

Views of Dolomites from Suditirol Marketing/Frieder Blickle

Yes there are many reasons to visit South Tirol but it is the Dolomites that are calling me.  In case you aren’t convinced yet, here is a video to watch that will make you pack your bags!

 

Have you been to South Tirol?

What would lure you to visit?

If it’s Tuesday, it must be Romanesque!

Traveling introduces us to a world we may have never paid much attention to.  You don’t need to be an art major to appreciate art in the Louvre or an architect to appreciate beautiful buildings like Notre Dame in Paris.  This is part of what traveling is all about, learning.

Cathedral in Vezelay France Romanesque Architecture

Cathedral in Vezelay by Fred Hsu, on Flickr

As we marvel at the enchanting buildings we visit we are told they are Romanesque, Gothic, Baroque or Modern architecture.  We say to ourselves, “Hmmmm, this is  interesting and beautiful” and move along to the next feature.  But what are those different architectural styles all about?  What makes something Romanesque, Gothic, Baroque or Modern?

Durham Cathedral Britain Romanesqu Architecture

Durham Cathedral by Glen Bowman, on Flikr

I have decided to learn more about architecture and will be writing about the different architectural styles you may encounter while visiting Europe.

St. Sernin Cathedral Toulouse France Romanesque Architecture

St. Sernin Cathedral Toulouse France by chantrybee, on Flickr

I’m starting with Romanesque.

Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela Romanesque Architecture

Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela by sedoglia, on Flickr

Romanesque architecture is a style associated with the medieval time period and started showing up between 1000 and 1200 AD.  It is known as the first “European” style of architecture and was influenced by the massive buildings of the Byzantine Empire seen by knights during the crusades.

Pisa Italy Belfry and Cathedral Romanesque Architecture

Pisa Belfry and Cathedral by Leithcote, on Flickr

Churches during the medieval times were the center of town and the communities revolved around them.  They were the local seat of power.  The churches built in the Romanesque style were built of stone and were the prominent building of the area.

Mainz Cathedral Germany Romanesque Architecture

Mainz Cathedral by Dietmar Scherf

Romanesque churches are made of massive, thick stone walls and, in this time, were the only building made of stone.  The doors are topped with layers of round arches.

Clonfert Cathedral Galway Ireland Romanesque Architecture

Clonfert Cathedral by irishFiresdie, on Flikr

Romanesque buildings do not have a lot of windows and, therefore, tend to be dark and may be considered foreboding.

The ornamentation was Christian themed and figures were of people.

Altar at Bamberg Cathedral Germany Romanesque Architecture

Altar at Bamberg Cathedral by Andrew Corwin

Romanesque architecture also includes decorative moldings and arcades as well as columns and murals on ceilings and walls.  A very noticeable component is the tall towers, which could be seen for miles.

Statuary over the entrance, Speyer Cathedral Romanesque Architecture

Statuary over the entrance, Speyer Cathedral by rjones0856, on Flickr

We’ve all been to Romanesque style churches or castles.  What are your favorite examples of Romanesque architecture?

Inspiring Tuscany

As a travel blog writer I also read quite a few travel blogs.  The other day as I was looking at the site www.mymelange.net, I clicked on the ‘about us’ link to read about the author Robin Locker Lacey.  It was an interesting read but the one thing that struck me was her inspiration to travel.  She was inspired to travel when she saw the movie Under the Tuscan Sun.  I found this interesting because I too have been inspired by Under the Tuscan Sun but the book written by Frances Mayes.

Tuscan Countryside Italy Europe

Tuscan Countryside

To me, this book was an amazing love story but not the same kind of love story portrayed in the movie.  Unlike the movie, the book told the love story between Frances and a country, Italy, and specifically, Tuscany.  She fell in love with and embraced every aspect of Italy – food, neighbors, house, land, customs and history.  The trials and tribulations she experienced while remodeling her home were exciting to me and made me long for the opportunity to do the same.

Tuscan Farm Italy Europe

Tuscan Farm

At the time I read the book, I had already been bitten by the love of European travel and needed no motivation to plan my next trip.  This book added a different level to my travels.  Books and movies both allow us to live vicariously through someone else but after reading this book I also felt a little twinge of longing.  Under the Tuscan Sun so inspired me that I have added living in Europe to my very own “bucket list”.  I haven’t decided where I will live (after living with Santa Ana winds most of my life, I am not sure I can tolerate the mistral of Southern France) but I will live in Europe, for an expanded period of time, before I die and I have Under the Tuscan Sun to thank for this.

What books or movies have inspired you to travel?  Tell me about them . . .

Tuscan Countryside picture by Rachel Scott Halls

Tuscan Farm picture by Serge Melki