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Hong Kong & Shanghai 2015

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London 2014

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Cambodia and Burma 2014

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Peru 2014

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Puglia and Basilicata Italy 2013

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Tips and Resources for Planning a Trip to Paris

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Exploring Tuscany; Podere Il Casale Organic Farm

by wired2theworld on October 14, 2017

Il Casale Farm

Podere Il Casale Farm

Right outside Pienza is a working farm with a small restaurant called Podere Il Casale. This place puts all others claiming “farm-to-table” to shame and is what true “farm-to-table” is all about.

Il Casale Farm

Il Casale Farm

Bees at Il Casale Farm

Bees at Il Casale Farm

The farm raises goats and sheep for milk and makes their own cheese (several kinds). They raise bees for honey and grapes for wine. The olive oil comes from the olive trees on their property, and they recently discovered an area of their land which produces white truffles. They even harvest their own grains to grind wheat for pasta, pizza dough and to make whole grain salads.

Cheese production room at Il Casale Farm

Cheese production room at Il Casale Farm

Cheese aging room at Il Casale Farm

Cheese aging room at Il Casale Farm

Il Casale Farm

Ulisse at Il Casale Farm

Pizza oven at Il Casale Farm

Outdoor pizza oven at Il Casale Farm

There is a restaurant on the premises where you can sample all this bounty and even a small campground if you want to stay there. Everything grown on the farm is 100% organic.

We had the opportunity to visit Podere Il Casale farm during our time in Pienza. We arrived in time for the morning tour which was given by Ulisse, one of the farm’s owners. With him, we toured the sparkling clean cheese making facility, the cheese aging room, the sheep and goat pens, and the apiary where the bees are kept.

View of Pienza from Il Casale Farm

View of Pienza from Il Casale Farm

After the tour, we settled in for lunch at the restaurant’s patio, overlooking the rolling hills of the Tuscan countryside. On a distant hill, we could see Pienza, sitting there in all of its Renaissance glory.

Outside dining area of Il Casale Farm

Outside dining area of Il Casale Farm

Il Casale Farm

The Il Casale Farm cheese sampler

Of course we had to try the cheese and honey sampler plate!

Il Casale Farm

These girls wanted to join us for lunch. I had to share.

We had house-made mozzarella, along with tomatoes and herbs, grown right there on the farm.

Caprese salad at Il Casale Farm

Caprese salad at Il Casale Farm

Il Casale Farm

Whole grain salad at Il Casale Farm

Since the pizza oven had been fired up for a class being held there, we had to have one of those too.

Il Casale Farm

Fresh pizza at Il Casale Farm

View from Il Casale Farm

View from Il Casale Farm

This was a fun and interesting visit and a great way to see exactly where our lunch came from. It’s worth the trip if you have the time and are staying in the area. The easiest way to get there is by car.

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Exploring Tuscany; Máté Winery, Montalcino, and Montepulciano

October 8, 2017
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During our four days in Pienza, we took several day trips in the car out to the surrounding towns. The nice people at La Bandita helped us set up several things including a private visit to Máté Winery and a visit to a working farm (covered in a later post). Máté winery is near the town of Montalcino so […]

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Exploring Pienza Italy; Restaurants and Sightseeing

October 5, 2017
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The first four days of our trip were spent in Tuscany, where we stayed in the tiny hilltop town of Pienza. Our hotel, La Bandita Townhouse, was right in the center of things and we loved every minute there. It gave us plenty of time to explore the village, where many tourists visit on day trips, […]

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La Bandita Townhouse and Restaurant, Pienza Italy

October 1, 2017
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The first stop of our 20th-anniversary trip was the tiny hilltop town of Pienza, in Tuscany.  We arrived, jet-lagged and sweaty in the 100-degree heat, after getting directly off the plane in Rome and into a rental car at the airport. The drive to Pienza was easy enough and we even stopped at my favorite AutoGrill. La […]

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Shanghai Street Scenes

July 20, 2017

Wandering around Shanghai, I could not help but be fascinated by the colorful and varied scenes from everyday life in the city. As in many cosmopolitan cities, there are places which are still more “developing” than others. In those neighborhoods, as you will see below, many people live partially outside, preparing food, practicing hygiene, and exercising. Transportation can be […]

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Old City Shanghai

July 15, 2017
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In among all the skyscrapers and apartment buildings, a tiny part of “Old Shanghai” remains. In it there are remnants of the old city wall dating back to the Ming Dynasty (1553) as well as pavilions, temples, and markets. On one of our days in Shanghai, we had the opportunity to explore a small part […]

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People’s Square, the Marriage Market, and Museums in Shanghai

July 3, 2017
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Our hotel, the Le Royal Meridian Shanghai, overlooked the Shanghai People’s square, a large area containing several museums, a theater, a major metro hub and a huge park. We found ourselves walking through or around it several times a day. Every Saturday and Sunday the park hosts a Marriage Market. This is where parents come to […]

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Walking the French Concession in Shanghai

June 19, 2017
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  During our days in Shanghai, we visited the neighborhood known as the French Concession twice. It’s a lovely neighborhood which has a few streets that still retain some of the “old Shanghai” charm which is rapidly being replaced with high rises and highways. Oddly enough, the area was never really populated by the French, but […]

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