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In addition to the breathtaking views of the Tuscan country-side,

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the olive trees and cypresses,

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the expansive swimming pool,

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and the ancient stone buildings, what you’ll really luxuriate in, are the loads of Italian hospitality, warmth and lively spirit –  when you visit Il Pozzo, or “The Well,” named for the old well the Veneri family discovered as they remarkably established their agriturismo where, last night,  Scotty, Lulu and I spent a thoroughly enjoyable evening .

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Our host was Carla Veneri,  who graciously drove us here about 20 minutes outside of Arezzo,  after learning about my love for Tuscany through my recently released book.   “Agriturismo” is the Italian word for a country farm-house that’s been converted into an inn and offers  recreation like cooking classes, swimming and other vacation activities.  But that word doesn’t go far enough to describe the kind of reception you’ll find at “Il Pozzo

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Wonderful Carla trying to steal a snuggle from one of Lulu’s new friends: squirmy Olivia!

We arrived just in time for Friday’s “Pizza Making” event.  Every Friday, Carla leads the children of the guests in a group pizza class.

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It was hilarious as the kids took turns painting each other in flour.

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But it was also fun, hands-on education – as the kids carefully added dissolved yeast, waited for the dough to rise under little plastic bowls and then rolled out the pasta (Italian for “dough”) themselves.

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Here come the pizza making photos!!

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Ready for the oven! Ta-dah!

Then Carla’s babbo arrived with a black animal that I mistakenly called a “pony” as the kids gathered around it.

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“Non, e una Falabella!” her dad smiled and corrected me.  “They’re actually miniature horses that originated in Argentina.”

It was he – Carla’s dad, not the Falabella – who originally bought the property when Carla was only eight. The buildings were all run down; many of the roofs had caved  in.  The family kept their full-sized horses there at first.  Then, “piano, piano,” or little by little, they completely renovated the area and opened Il Pozzo almost 10 years ago.

The surroundings are now more than congenial.  Even yesterday’s slight threat of rain gave way to a rainbow that brightened our sky for nearly two hours.

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Not a great photo – but hopefully you can see the rainbow! It was much brighter in person, I promise!

Lulu and the other kids took turns swimming, choosing flavors for their pizzas, watching them go into the log-fired oven..

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…and happily savoring the results.

The grown-up guests also gathered by the pool and filled their plates with the incredible buffet – authentic Tuscan food cooked by Carla’s mom and friends.   Freshly-sliced prosciutto, fried zucchini flowers and an assortment of crostini – small rounds of bread with savory toppings like nero, made with chicken liver and another with caramelized onions  – were my personal highlights.

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Sparkling Prosecco before dinner, red wine during and afterward a selection of grappa and limoncello.  It was wonderful.  Wonderfully Tuscan.

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We stayed until nearly midnight.

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This morning, when Lulu finally woke up – for the first time in her life after 10AM – I asked what her favorite part of the enchanting evening had been.

“Swimmin’ and playin’ with my new friends – Ah! Wait! Aaaand I really liked makin’ the pizza – Ah! Wait! I also liked the kitties and the little horse.  Ah! Wait! Can you just put ‘All!?!’”

Okay. “All” it is. Come to Tuscany and spend some time at Carla Veneri’s marvelous  “Il Pozzo” agriturismo.

“All” will be great.

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And for more kid-friendly adventures in Tuscany, order my book, “Because I’m Small Now and You Love Me.”  It’s life, love and the pursuit of parenting happiness!

Thanks for joining me today – and once again – here’s the link to “Il Pozzo” so you can come and visit Carla and her family for yourselves!

Baci,  Gina 

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