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As my friend Pavlina said when she first looked around yesterday, “Now, this is Tuscan living!” It’s true.  Although we spent the last year in a wonderful home in the Tuscan countryside, which was certainly an authentic experience –

Our first house the week we arrived, July 2011. (Note the pool, the lawn, the cypress - oh and the cute kid)

Our first house the week we arrived, July 2011. (Note the pool, the lawn, the cypress – oh and the cute kid)

– this week we moved to  Arezzo‘s centro storico or historic center, into a 500-year-old palazzo straight out of Italy’s artistic Renaissance epoch.

Our building is next to a small former church that now serves as a museum dedicated to the local Arezzo landscapes painted by Leonardo da Vinci.

Our building is next to a small former church that now serves as a museum dedicated to the local Arezzo landscapes painted by Leonardo da Vinci.

We’ve finally unpacked, so with me as your narrator and Lulu as your guide, here’s the er, much more than nickle, tour!

Benvenuti! Welcome!

Benvenuti! Welcome!

The word palazzo, of course, directly translates into “palace,” but it really refers to a large building than wraps around an interior courtyard that will usually house several members of an extended family – much like the hotels particulier, or grand town houses of Paris. Not quite royal, but as close as we’ll ever get!

Ours has been in one Italian family for generations – but as the grand hall inside shows you, there are doors inside to a few other residents, not only the three of us!

Lulu's stroller parked outside our door.

Lulu’s stroller parked outside our door.

Inside our unassuming personal entrance, you’re met by a handy-dandy foyer/entry way. Surrounded by historic prints of ancient Arezzo and Tuscany, you can hang up your coat and come inside where it’s warmer – because like a castle, it’s cold here!

DSCN0549Then there are two smaller – almost Hobbit-sized – doors to choose from. You may have to duck – people were shorter 500 years ago – but then you enter the main parlor with its soaring 20 foot ceilings and real vaults and carved cornices!

Of course we already put up the Christmas tree!

Of course we already put up the Christmas tree!

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Turn to your left and step up through the archway into the large dining room.  Scotty will fix your drink; Lulu hasn’t quite mastered her mixology course yet.

The door from the dining room opens out into the courtyard.  It’s not the green grass lawn from our former place, but it is all ours!

DSCN0541Back inside on the first floor, you’ll find a small kitchen – was it made for a servant or for a long-suffering, but doting, Italian Mamma, I wonder?

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Next, things get really crazy! Go back through the dining room and another interior door takes you down a loooong passageway.

Yes, that's Lulu at the top of the stairs

Yes, that’s Lulu at the top of the stairs

This hall wraps around to the opposite side of the court-yard to an enormous guestroom with a private bath that sleeps three.

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Lulu has already asked if she can jump on this bed.

But what makes this corridor the most special – to Lulu at least – is that under the stairs, there’s a real Harry Potteresque secret room.  We’ve decorated for Lulu and she loves it!

DSCN0555But, unlike Harry Potter, Lulu doesn’t have to sleep in her room under the stairs.  Instead her bedroom is the first one at the top of the stairs! We’ve learned it’s the same room that our landlord slept in as a boy.

DSCN0568And finally, while we don’t have princess stickers, a Rapunzel banner or a guest bed, Scotty and I do have a lovely room as well.

DSCN0520All righty, tutti! That about more than does it. We’ve never lived any place like this  before and we’re so grateful to be experiencing this wonderful Italian “urban” atmosphere.  Best of all, we have plenty of room now for visitors!  Any takers?

Ci vediamo presto!

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Love,

Gina

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