Our final stop on the drive was the tiny town of Montisi. This was quite a pleasant surprise. Montisi is a compact town wrapped around a central castello. Only 5 K from Pienza, it has not yet been dicovered by many tourists, and maintains the feel of a "real" hilltown. Brad and I will be joining Gail and John, for a week in May 2008 with http://www.gailsgreatescapes.com/. Also joining us that week will be other Slow Travel friends: Sandi and her sister, and Jerry and Paul. We thought we'd get a "sneak preview" of the town. Gail suggested we contact her friend, Elizabeth Cochrane, an accomplished artist who lives in Montisi http://www.elizabethcochrane.com/. We called Liz, and she invited us to her home and studio. What a treat to see where Liz's gorgeous watercolor and oils are painted. She has an amazing talent for capturing light and shadows, and her scenes of Montisi, olive and cypress trees, the Tuscan counrtyside, and florals are stunning.
Liz also teaches group and individual art classes.
After visiting Liz's studio, we walked through town. She knew the group that was currently renting the villa Gail's groups will be staying in. The front door was open, so she asked if she could show us the house. The families from Seattle were most gracious, and allowed us to wander through the beautiful villa while they were preparing dinner. It is spectacular! The garden, terraces, pool and views are even better! I now will have even more to fantasize about for our May trip!
Next, we walked through town to the Rondo Bar and had wine and antipasti on the terrace. We had platters of four salamui, formaggio, and bruschetta. Later, we moved indoors for pizza, and coffee before driving back to Montalcino for the evening.
Tonight I will sleep well, dreaming of just what scene I'd like to comission Liz to paint. Every view of the Val d' Orcia is so gorgeous, how does one choose?