The Story (Part 1)

I was born and raised in Milan, a metropolitan city in the northern part of Italy. My life has always been active and hectic, but full and rewarding. I have always felt blessed and thankful for having all I could have wished for: a wonderful job, many good friends, a loving family, and a wonderful life filled with energy, passion, and joy. But that was nothing compared to all that was to come.
My older brother, Carlo, bought a beautiful house in a small Tuscan medieval village, San Quirico d’Orcia, located in the very heart of the Val d’Orcia, in the southern province of Siena, an area that 25 years ago was unknown to most Italians (and for many it still is!). He kept raving about how beautiful it was, for its stunning views and sceneries, for its history, for the genuine warmth of local people, for the slow pace and that regenerating feeling he had each time he would come and spend some time here. He would say, “It’s an injection of positive energy, of peace and relaxation, Isa.” For many years he told me that I couldn’t understand what I was missing out unless I came for a visit. It was just something that could not be explained. It had to be experienced.
He was so right.

In 1995 (I was in my late twenties) I finally decided to come for a holiday with my best friend, Sabrina. We decided to spend Christmas and New Year at a beautiful farmhouse (the “agriturismo” idea had just begun in Tuscany) but we had no idea where to stay. My brother recommended that we stay at Cretaiole, near Pienza. He said it was magical, with some of the best views he had ever seen, and strategically located to visit all the beautiful surroundings. I called and booked an apartment. A very kind voice on the phone, with a strong Tuscan accent said, “It will be cold, signorina”, bring warm clothes and good shoes. You will enjoy spending Christmas in our town. Pienza is so beautiful with all the lights”, he said.
That was so true.

We came wearing our high heels and our fur coats, with our Gucci purses, lacquered nails, and our hair all done with curls and of lots hair spray to keep it in nice shape for some days. We were very trendy for being in the 90s.
After five hours of driving we finally reached the town of Pienza, having no further idea of where to go, no address, no gps … So we stopped a local man: “can you show us the way to Agriturismo Cretaiole?” “ Hmmm”…the man said… “you mean to Cocco?” “ No”, I replied, “to Carlo Moricciani!” “Yes, Cocco-Cocco!” he said. I found out later that “Cocco” was the nickname of my future husband.
The man called him on the phone. “Cocco, there are two beautiful girls who are looking for you. Sbrigati! Quick, come!”
Less than two minutes later there he was, with his warm, smiling face ready to lead us to our new Tuscan home. Wow! “Two beautiful girls in one shot”, he confessed later having thought when he saw us! Well, remember: a Tuscan man is first of all an Italian man 😉
Five minutes later there we were. Under the magical Tuscan sky, we joked that we had stumbled into heaven on earth. We made it our home in less than a blink. We were certain that it was all we could have wished for.
The 1400s farmhouse overlooked the painted countryside. We soaked in the scent of the fresh air and feasted our eye on rows of cypress trees, olive groves, and vineyards. Everything was picture perfect, created just for us. That’s what we thought. A new world welcoming us with its gifts of pleasure, a glass of wine, the warmth of the owners, the joy of a fire on a cold day, and beauty everywhere, inside and outside.
Welcome to Tuscany!

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