I'm just back from a bike trip to Tuscany and trying to remember the wonderful food, sublime landscapes and grand gardens in between coping with the worst stomach bug I've had since I was laid out for 72 hours in India a few years ago.
I've no idea what it was - too much excercise maybe, those hill towns are a long way up; too rich food, that cucina povera is anything but bland; or was it that fountain I drank from.........?Who knows.
Anyway, before I'm forced to leave the keyboard here are a few more photographs. For an area overwritten, overfilmed and overrun by Brits, Americans and general tourism (and I plead guilty on several counts ), there are still some fine places. Just don't expect to be on your own.
The first two are from the Botanic Gardens in Siena - a calm retreat for a few hours in a town that seems to have a flag waving party for any reason - like it's Tuesday or Wednesday or we won the Palio.
And these are from La Foce, the estate of the late Iris Origo in the Val d'Orcia - she's written an excellent account of her WW II years here hiding POWs, rescuing displaced children and generally turning around land holding and agricultural practice in what is a barren and harsh landscape.
And one from Horti Leoninni in San Quirico d'Orcia, a 16th century Italinate garden right in the centre of town.