Arcidosso, Grosseto, Tuscany


Evelyn had warned me earlier that we will be couch-surfing at Lorenzo’s Place and that means that we have to share the place with other couch-surfers. She had told me that the place is like a dorm. When we reached, there was actually no beds for us. Lorenzo had to borrow a bed for Evelyn while converting a sofa to a bed lined with big cushions for me. As I was tired and sleepy, any bed will do for me. We settled the night sleeping with 3 layers of blanket. Lorenzo does not have a heater but I am ok with that.

As agreed earlier, the deal was that Lorenzo provide us place to sleep for free and we just have to help him with his garden and cooking. Both Evelyn and me decided to help him at his garden; you know pick olive fruits and things like that.

The morning came and breakfast was Tuscan bread (rubbed with garlic clove and spread with fresh-pressed olive oil, seasoned to taste with salt) and coffee. I love the real Italian breakfast idea! The breakfast is called Fettunta. I am so ok with this. I will use the idea to make my own breakfast (or snack) at home; but maybe with addition of chopped olive fruit and cherry tomato and come up with Fettunta Al Oliva e Pomodoro! But the real challengeis to look for Tuscan bread in Malaysia but perhaps I can just use French bread that I can easily get at home.

Later after that we went down the hill to get to his new garden. He actually has 4 gardens and the new one is a green project where he designed the whole garden to have the word ‘Arcidosso’ in a form of trees. I imagined picking olive fruits and did not expected to be working on a new garden. The soil was hard and I had to help get good soil further down near a river. Being a sedentary woman who sits behind her sketchpad and watercolors and laptop all the time, I was not prepared for this. I am not ok with this hahaha. I had a backache after few scoops of soil. I later went up back to the garden to help Evelyn separates rocks from hard soil. It was easy as we just had to sit and gather rocks and later spread them on the pavement of the garden. A little bit after afternoon, Lorenzo said that we could leave the work and explore Arcidosso. We were happy to run away from the garden. Haha!

Lorenzo (in green) and his wife (in purple) working with other couch-surfers at his garden.

We took a walk and take photos around the village. Here are some pictures that I like to share:







Arcidosso is a comune (municipality) in the Province of Grosseto in the Italian region Tuscany, located about 100 km south of Florence and about 35 km northeast of Grosseto and near the town of Montalcino.

The first certain documentation of the existence of the settlement of Arcidosso is from the year 860, when it is said to belong to the Abbey of San Salvatore. In 1331, Guidoriccio da Fogliano besieged it for four months with an army of 4,000 soldiers and 400 horsemen, until it surrendered. After the fall of the Republic of Siena in 1556, it passed under the Grand Duchy of Tuscany. Cosimo I de’ Medici established many outlying offices here.

Following the Leopoldina Reformation of 1786, there was a remarkable population increase and the number of Arcidosso’s citizens quadrupled in about 100 years. Arcidosso thus became historically the most important political and administrative center in the Monte Amiata area.

We spent the last night at Lorenzo’s Place before heading out the next morning (as early as 7am to catch the 7.20am bus) to head to Florence before heading to Bologna. We missed the 8.20am bus to Firenze and had to wait for the next bus at 9.15am. Taking the Florence route is much nearer as Florence is also in the same Tuscany region and the journey took about 1 and a half hours. We reached Firenze around 11am.

Upon reaching Florence, we went for lunch (Pizza al Pomodoro and coffee) at the Florence Santa Maria Novella train station and later bought our tickets to Bologna (around 1pm). While waiting for our train, we just walked around the station doing a window shopping.

Getting to Florence: KLM operated 2 time(s) daily from Kuala Lumpur (KUL) to Florence – Peretola (FLR).

Continue Reading

From Rome to Tuscany

It had been my dream to visit the countryside of Italy and when I got the flight booked few days earlier than Bologna’s Children Book Fair, I quickly agreed to follow my illustrator friend from Indonesia, Evelyn, to visit Arcidosso, a commune located in the Grosseto province, Tuscany region.

When I arrived at Fiumicino Airport in Rome,Italy, I quickly got on the next Leonardo Express (Trenitalia) train to Roma Termini, the main railway station of Rome, Italy. I paid Euro 14 for the ticket. I know I could get on the cheaper train but I was running late to meet Evelyn. I promised her to be at the termini around 1pm. The time was 1.30pm.

The station has regular train services to all major Italian cities, as well as daily international services to Paris, Munich, Geneva, Basel, and Vienna. With twenty-nine platforms and over 150 million passengers each year, Roma Termini is one of the largest railway stations in Europe.

Termini is also the main hub for public transport inside Rome. Both current Rome Metro lines (A and B) intersect at Termini metro station, and a major bus station is located at Piazza dei Cinquecento, the square in front of the station. However, the main tram lines of the city cross at Porta Maggiore, some 1,500 metres east of the station.

When I reached the station, first thing I did was to look for Evelyn. I found her at the main entrance waiting with her host in Rome, Pasquel. She got herself on airbnb room for few days at Pasquel’s home. Before we leave for Grosseto, I got myself a Vodafone prepaid data sim card for Euro 35. It is valid for one month.

Later, Evelyn and I bought our tickets to Grosseto by using one of the ticket machines located almost everywhere at the station. The fare to Grosseto is Euro12.95 each. We got the 16.20pm ticket so while waiting for the time to board the train, we walked a bit to Piazza Santa Maria Maggiore just to pass the time. I had been there before.

piazza maggiore

The piazza (or square in English) is a place where Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore and Baroque bronze statue of Mary and child are situated. The current church dates from the time of pope Sixtus III, who reigned from 432 to 440 while the statue was erected in 1614.


statue maggiore

After sitting at the piazza for an hour admiring buidings, we walked back to the station to catch our train to Grosseto.

The journey took us about 2 and a half hour before reaching Grosseto Station. Took some pictures along the way.



By the time we got there, the night already fell. We bought a bus ticket of Euro 4 to get to Arcidosso.

At first we did not know which bus to take. We asked around and a bus driver told us to take bus number 15 or 30. Then another bus driver came to us. He had heard our conversation. He told us to take any bus to Sienna, get down at Paganico and take another bus to Grosseto. He spoke in Italian with a little bit of sign language so that we understand what he was trying to convey. He had been so helpful and we thanked him In Italian words: grazie mille (million thanks). He seemed happy that we speak a little Italian.

If he had not told us that, I think Evelyn and me would’ve ended in the middle of nowhere in Tuscany. But I did told Evelyn that if we got lost, we should find any hotel and stay for the night before finding our way to Grosseto the next day.


A bus came and we saw that the sign shows that it will go to Sienna, so we boarded the bus. The journey took more than two hours to reach and we had to change bus at Paganico before reaching Archidosso. When we reached Arcidosso small town, it was around 9pm and most shops were already closed. As we walked looking for the place that we would be staying (Lorenzo’s Place), we saw one pizza shop that was about to close. We dropped by and ask for direction. The boy was so kind to show us the way and finally we reached Lorenzo’s Place.

Stay tuned for my blog post on Archidosso.

Getting to Rome: KLM operated 2 time(s) daily from KUL to FCO (Rome).

Continue Reading

I am back from Italy!

I actually got back on Sunday evening but just got the time to update pictures in Facebook and Instagram. I am also in the middle of writing blog posts about Bologna Children’s Book Fair and Italy soon to be published here.

Italy trip was great and I can’t wait to tell you all about it. In the mean time, here’s a picture of Archidosso village that I visited in Italy.


Continue Reading