October 10, 2015
When our plane touched down in Florence the sky was dark gray and raindrops splattered the airplane’s small oval windows. It was far from a warm welcome. The theme continued as we collected our rental car. While Jonas went to get the car from the lot, I attempted to ask the receptionist for directions to Crespina, where we would be staying for the week. I approached the desk with Rock in my arms and saw a woman’s head face down on the desk. Was she sleeping? I waited a few seconds. Rocky was singing away in his usual loud voice so I figured this lady would wake up and acknowledge us.
About 30 seconds later the woman peered at us through her long gray bangs, coughed a deep hacking cough and said, “Si?” My eyes lit up in expectation. I smiled and asked if she might be able to help us with directions to our place. She was annoyed. “Your place?” I knew it was one of many agriturismos in the area but I threw it out anyway. “Poggio al Casone,” I ventured, “in Crespina?” She shrugged her shoulders and said she had no idea. I asked if she had any maps and she said no. She obviously had some sleep to get back to. I told her it was near Pisa and she said, “Ah. I know Pisa. Go left and when you get to the roundabout, take the direction of Pisa.” We were actually looking for a remote place about 20 minutes outside of Pisa, but this was a start.
It was late in the afternoon and we were hoping to get to our agriturismo before sundown so we would not have to find it in the dark. We did not purchase data plans to use our cell phones here and we did not think we would need GPS as we have traveled by car in the south of France and northern Italy before. I do not like getting lost (who does?), so I mapped out the route from the airport to our destination beforehand, emailed the directions to myself and took several screenshots of different parts of the map to help us along. When we arrived in Florence, I found that the directions did not properly download and the airport Wifi did not work so I couldn’t retrieve the email I had sent myself. Also my 3+-year-old iPad with the map screenshots inconveniently stopped working when we arrived in Florence so at this point we had basically nothing to go on. This is why I asked Signorina Sleepyhead for directions
Jonas had studied some maps the night before and was pretty sure he could get us there. We did a few loops and made some wrong turns but we miraculously made it to Poggio al Casone as the sun went down. We drove up a long driveway lined with cypress trees and found what looked like a large peach villa up on the hill. We could barely see anything but we had a feeling we were in a beautiful place.
The next morning, the bright sun and blue skies confirmed our suspicions. You know what? This place is more than beautiful. It’s stunning.
Poggio al Casone is located at 16, via Volpaia in Crespina, Italy. I’d recommend using GPS to get there.