Lucca is a beautiful medieval walled city that was established during the Etruscan times. It is a lovely day trip out of Florence with only a 40-minute bus ride. The countryside is lovely to enjoy while while traveling along the roads to Lucca. Yes, the roads are busy, however the olive and cypress trees add such beauty to this wonderful land. Golden fields of corn and harvested bales of hay dot the countryside along the roads. Old tumbling ruins are here and there, while siena-colored roof tiles are sinking and settling, and ancient plaster is peeling off of the walls to expose still more ancient brick and stone. We wonder who lived in these old homes and why they left.
We saw some huge beautiful villas perched on the crests of the terraced hills—very large olive oil farms. Some of the best oils in the world come from this region. It is smooth, tasty and such a lovely hue of light green.
We actually stopped at one of these farms and had the most fantastic lunch high up in the hills of Tuscany, at a place called Colle Verde. We were escorted around by a lovely lady by the name of Christine. She gave us a tour of the olive oil pressing, the olive trees and a visit to the pressing room. We then went to the wine cellar and saw the huge oak barrels that allow the wine to age and mellow for years until it is just right for bottling. The scent of wine and olive oil blended together to give off a wonderful heady smell.
After our tour and a bit of a look around, we were escorted to a hillside to indulge in a traditional lunch of Tuscan favorites. It consisted of wonderful oil from the farm and Balsamic vinegar to dip our Tuscan bread into. Then, along came a huge bowl of fresh raw vegetables right from the fields… ahhh, the tomatoes!
Next, there was a lovely bowl of white beans that were enhanced with garlic and fresh sage leaves. Finally, huge plates of salami, prosciutto and ham were passed around. We washed all of lunch down with a copious amount of red and white wine from the vineyards. A lovely light Italian bread fused with anise was last on our menu. It was delicate and tasty all at the same time.
Now for a nap…
Have you ever had fresh olive oil from Italy? What did you think?