Friday, April 22, 2016

Italia, the Bocelli Farmhouse, & the ms Koningsdam

A visit to the Bocelli Farmhouse, Touring Tuscany, Lamborghini's, & a cruise on the premier voyage of the ms Koningsdam to Dubrovnik, Corfu, Albania, Ancient Olympia and the Amalfi coast.
Now how's that for an adventure to pack for!!!

We flew out on Sunday, April 3rd after a two hour commute to Dallas at 1:20PM... 
and arrived in Rome on April 4th at 9AM local time.

In other words... a very perky driver holding up a sign with our names awaited- as I dragged my jet lagged body (for us it was now 3AM) through customs, collected luggage, and tried to be ready to tour.

He picked us up & we drove through a charming little town called Orvieto... where the travel promptly caught up with me... and the rest of the day became a blur :(

Later that day, we would arrive at what would become our home for the next few days. 
I decided to research castles and vineyards to have a different sort of experience for the extra days we had prior to the cruise. When I stumbled on this farmhouse on line... we new it was ideal. Scott ironed out the details... and finally- here we were!

The Bocelli Family Farmhouse is located in Tuscany in Lajatico and is the birthplace of famous tenor Andrea Bocelli. Andrea, along with his brother Albert and wife Cinzia have transformed the family farm, stables, vineyard & olive groves in to a B&B. We were their only guests and were treated as family from the moment we arrived!
After a shower and refreshing... I caught up with Scott touring the vineyard.
Before I knew it, it was time for 🍷🍴 dinner. 
Mario had been preparing for us all day... 
This is how we were greeted:

Our welcome to the Bocelli Farmhouse: 
hand carved by Chef Mario

He picked flowers for me every day!

The food he cooked was amazing... way too much. But I would quickly learn their MULTI COURSE FEASTS with WINE were their norm and WE were expected to fully partake. The table was set for us beneath the evening sky...
we ate & sipped wine while looking at stars overhead- and viewing of the space station.

Each new day began at sunrise when the roosters made it clear- they were up- so all the rest of us would be as well!!!

Chickens stir at Sunrise

Each morning a driver drove us in to town for breakfast. We ate in a small little bakery resembling the scene on the square straight out of Beauty & the Beast. Morning antipasti, breads, marmalade's, cheeses, cakes... every morning she seemed to add more to go along with the cappuccino (which was all I really needed in the first place!)

One day was spent visiting Garfaagnan.

And the next a relaxing exploration about countryside locals ...followed by a wine tasting at the Cantina Bocelli with Cinzia. 

& of course at every stop there were long relaxing- intoxicating lunches.

Ponte della Maddalena detto Del Diavolo, The Devil's Bridge

alley way view from Lajatico

After a day of touring we returned a bit earlier to the farm for some cooking one afternoon!
Our pasta making lesson with Mario definitely created some challenges... but by its end... a delicious accomplishment!

Chefs at the ready!

Pasta fully prepared & ready to cook!

Early mornings.... long days touring... and late evenings visiting with new friends over wine & dinner until 10 or 11 nightly... 
Scott still always wandered about capturing morning pics on vineyard.

Field flowers near the Bocelli Farmhouse 
Vineyards at Sunrise. 
(I am determined this image become a quilt!)

Bocelli Farmhouse Vineyard at Sunrise

And of course... 
some standard tourist selfies:

They say this was a magical spot in the movie "twilight"


the stage where Andrea Bocelli does his annual performance, in Lajatico

me, waiting stage side

Another meal with Mario

Of course, Scott's favorite day was our day in Bologna & Firenze with the visit he had arranged to the Lamborghini factory and Museo Ferruccio Lamborghini. He never stopped smiling!

Lamborghini factory

Museo Ferruccio Lamborghini 

Dinner in Firenze 

And before we knew it, it was Friday, April 8th & time to say our farmhouse goodbyes & make the 3 hour commute back to the Civitavecchia Port.

Our morning view at the Bocelli Farmhouse

a final glimpse

"arrivederci"...   for now

This whole journey came about because we had looked forward to travel aboard the very first voyage of Holland America's newest ship the ms Koningsdam!

This was her 7-Day Premiere Voyage and it was round trip from Civitavecchia (Rome), Apr 8 to Apr 15...
so, as hard as it was to say goodbye to the first part of our adventure... we were quite eager to board!

Ready to board!

the "welcome carpet" in front of neptune suite 7071

The main dining room

First Gala Night

Our ports included Dubrovnik (Croatia), Kerkira (Corfu) & Olympia (Kakolon) in Greece, Sarande, Albania. Naples & back to Rome in Italy. 

Dubrovnik & Croatia's Countryside Tour


Olympia (Kakolon) in Greece

Second Gala Night

Amalfi Coast

The cruise was wonderful & seemed to go by so very fast!
Below are two commemorative's we received:

Commemorative Plate

Commemorative Tile

After Disembarkation, we headed for a final day touring the country side...
one final evening of Rome touring by evening lights...and a final overnight before our morning flight 🏡 home.

Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore

Patio at “Hotel Splendide Royal” in Rome 

We drove home middle of the night on Sunday & I am finally getting back on central standard time...

This kind of travel is exhausting!
BUT... it lead to:

Amazing memories 
of sights never to be forgotten, 
moments to be forever cherished, 
new friends, 
new foods... 
and fine wines... 

heart emoticon

Chow Bella...


  1. You look gorgeous, and that trip looks amazing! Glad you got to have such a cool trip! I just want the food... mmmmmmm

    1. Thanks Kat... it was truly the trip of a lifetime & I will always cherish it!