Italy’s Best Kept Secret: Livernano


There’s a good chance I may never get a moment like this again.  This moment where I sit outside in 74 degree temperature with a light breeze and the sun shining just enough rays onto my face and arms.  This moment where my feet are met with stoned grounds and my taste buds indulge in a chilled rose wine.  Where plants of fresh freesia surround me, smelling of a light, sweet perfume.  Where in my view, all I see are magnificent mountains of lush green trees, huge vineyards stacked with Chardonnay, Merlot, Sangiovese and Cabernet grapes.  Olive trees.  So many olive trees. A fresh garden that is used daily to prepare the meals.  Basil.  Saffron.  Arugula.  Eggplant. Romaine.  Tomatoes.  Cucumbers.  Zucchini.  This moment where beautifully designed villas made of gray and white and olive colored rocks create an estate that you only see in the movies.

This moment, with Rick, is in Tuscany, in the Chianti region on a piece of land called Livernano, at The Hotel Livernano.


It’s the moment on vacation where Rick and I look at each other and ask ourselves how the heck we got here and immediately start to plan for our next adventure back. (We decided on 2015 for our 5-year wedding anniversary to renew our vows with our closest friends and family.)


Three-and-a-half hours from Florence by choice.  We could have taken one of the main roads to get here in an hour.  But, since we rented a charcoal gray stick-shift Fiat, we felt compelled to seek the adventure, get lost.  And that, we did.  When your iPhone dies and your Blackberry doesn’t work and you are driving up and down winding roads that are maybe the width of a couch in the midst of vineyards and trees and not amidst any human beings, that’s the moment you know it’s going to be worth it.  And it was.  And we miraculously made it.  Without one fight or argument during the whole route.  We agreed on that at the start of the journey.  No fighting allowed.  If we get lost, we get lost.  If one of us is to blame, oh well.  This is the beauty of traveling, right?!

Welcomed with a glass of chilled Rose and a loud “Bonjourno Mr. and Mrs. Ueno!” I silently thanked God for this part of our trip in Italy.  As Rick and I rested before dinner (there is a prix fixe menu each night at the villa restaurant that you choose earlier in the day), we had the pleasure of meeting the owners, Bob and Gudrun Cuillo.  Bob is one of Rick’s boss’s closest friends and is actually considered more family than friend and deemed a “character.”  Character, he was.


hotel-livernano-7 hotel-livernano-8


We ended up sitting with Bob and Gudrun for hours, breaking bread and drinking wine together.  We learned about their life.  Their wine business.  Their car dealership businesses. Their dogs.  Their millions of dollars made, and lost (but clearly they came out on top). Their marriage.  How they met.  Their challenges.  We ate and drank until late in the evening, hours after the sun had set.  We said goodbye.  And they invited us to their home for the following day.  To give us a private experience educating us on how the wine is made.  Blog post on that soon 🙂

I leave you how I started.  With the wind blowing scents of freesia and the mountains covering the land.  Italian words echoing from the kitchen.  Chilled sparking wine that tasted like the best glass of sparkling wine you ever drank.  Under the Tuscan sun.  In one of the most beautiful places I have been.  Livernano.  If you get the opportunity and want to experience something incredibly beautiful and unique and delicious, go to Livernano and stay at Hotel Livernano.  And as an extra bonus, try to meet Bob and Gudrun.

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