montecarlo & a vineyard lunch

by | Nov 1, 2019 | a slice of life, Travel | 28 comments

On our last full day in Barga, we went to tour and have lunch at a classic Tuscan vineyard and visited the small hilltop town of Montecarlo.  We went to the same vineyard last year and I was eagerly looking forward to the delicious lunch and the beautiful scenery.  Just walking up to the vineyard is a treat.  The gravel path is covered by a canopy of trees and dappled with shade and a smattering of sunbeams.

The tables are beautifully set under open-air structures.  It’s a dream setting and it was a perfect day to visit this venue.  It was warm and sunny, but not too hot.

Fattoria Il Poggio, the vineyard revisited, was the perfect balance between being high-end and having a comfortable family feel.

Since I already toured the vineyard last year, I decided to sit on a bench in the shade to write in my journal and paint.  One of the vineyard dogs decided that was a good spot, too, and took a nap at my feet.

I decided to paint the building that was in front of me with the beautiful staircase wearing an arch of well-manicured greenery.

I enjoyed the time to just sit and be present.  Sketching and writing slows down time and forces me to focus on details.

I ended up just taking videos and pictures for Instagram stories while we were eating lunch, so I don’t have any to share in this post.  I can tell you, though, the lunch was superb.  We started with the pasta course…Wide and long noodles shaped like ribbons topped with a tomato-based meat sauce.  Dave then brought out bread, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, fresh vegetables, sun-dried tomatoes, olives, and meat and cheese platters.  It was the kind of food you could just pick at and nibble and not realize that you are completely stuffed.  In addition, there were eight different wines to taste.

We finished off the lingering meal with biscotti, coffee, and grappa.  I tasted the wines last year and, not being a big wine drinker, didn’t taste any this year.  I did take a sip of grappa at the end of the meal because I felt like it’s a part of the Tuscan meal tradition.  Grappa, in case you didn’t know, is like a moonshine.  It is very strong and burns the throat on the way down, but there’s something oddly refreshing about it in small amounts.

Once everyone made their purchases in the Vineyard store, we loaded back into our van.

Our driver, who was obviously very proud of this region, asked if we wanted to see Montecarlo.  Well, when a local wants to show you something, you say yes.  This is not the Monte Carlo, but a small Italian town tucked in the vineyards of Tuscany.

It is a small, picturesque town, at the top of the hill.  The main street of Montecarlo is narrow and leads to an arch that has a beautiful view beyond.

Off of the main street are little inviting nooks and alleys.

I spotted a woman in the middle of one of these alleys shaking out a checkered tablecloth.

Next time I’m in the neighborhood, I would love to spend more time in this town!

The view beyond the arch was breathtaking.  It was just impossible to capture with the camera.  You could probably see Florence from there.

In addition to the view, I love the architecture and all of the little details that revealed themselves to the observant.

It was the perfect end to our week in Barga.

The next morning, we would all be heading our separate ways.  Some were going to Venice, Bologna, and the French Riviera.  My mom and I were headed to Florence for a quick stop before we headed home…


  1. Linda O

    Absolutely beautiful! What gorgeous colors and textures! Thank you again for sharing your adventures.

  2. Amy

    Aaaaah, magnifica! How beautiful and what a blessing! Thank you again for these windows! 🙂

  3. Dana Wall

    Your photos and your “eye” are so great….and I was even there!!! Thanks for sharing and also for including me in the opening shot <3 . I want to look at these over and over and over.

  4. Charlotte

    Beautiful, gorgeous, wonderful Tuscany! Thank you for the photos and I hope your arm is improving each day.

  5. Leslie C

    Hi Marian, not sure if you are aware, but this is like the 3rd time when I am reading your blog it asks me to subscribe to your blog. I have been following you for years and this has happened before where I have been dropped. I am sure it is some kind of glitch. I do enjoy following your blogs for inspiration and great ideas you share. Just wanted you to know. Have a great weekend!!

    • Marian Parsons

      Thanks for letting me know! Yes, that is the glitch.

  6. Cindy

    What beautiful photos full of textures, colors, and history. I can’t help but wonder about all the people over the ages who have walked those ancient streets.

  7. Sarah

    The pop up ads on your mobile website are so bad and numerous I can’t even read this. Bummer.

    • Kim

      I have to agree with Sarah regarding your mobile site and the ads. It takes several attempts to close the video in the lower right hand corner and the ads that appear through the blog post itself are distracting and make it difficult to scroll without clicking on the ads. I wish I had solutions to share but alas I do not. I almost exclusively read your blog on my phone, but it is becoming increasingly more difficult to enjoy this almost daily ritual of mine 🙁

      • Luci

        The ads are distracting and frustrating regardless of device and/or browser.
        Such a shame that so many quality bloggers utilize blog hosting providers/platforms that include so much advertising, much of which is random and not related to user preferences or user “personalized” ads. Autoplaying videos are also distracting, intrusive, and offensive, and cause many blog visitors to simply stop visiting their favorite blogs.
        Such a shame that so many creative and inspiring bloggers have gone succumbed to the monetization of blogs via ads.
        Affiliate links are fine & dandy… the intrusive ads, not so much.

        • Miss Mustard Seed

          There shouldn’t be any ads on my blog that don’t close or that continue to obscure the content. I also don’t have video ads that autoplay with sound or pop-ups. If any adds won’t close, you’re seeing a pop-up, or sound is playing automatically, something is not right. I sent your comment along to my ad team to see if they can make sure things are working properly. I understand that a blog would look cleaner without ads, but this is my job, and that is how I make a good portion of my income. I hope you understand that a blog is a lot of work and is not free to maintain, so ads are necessary.

  8. monique odman

    Oh the colors of Italy, so well captured here. With so much beauty at every turn of the head, how can one be grumpy, unhappy. I need a dose of it right now.

  9. Marilee Reyes

    What a great unplanned side trip you were treated to. Loved all the architectural details.

  10. Cheryl Atkinson

    Marian, thank you so much for taking me to Montecarlo and down the cobble streets of town. Your pictures are amazing and the doors. Oh i could just go on and on. You are a wonderful artist.
    Thank you for sharing.

  11. Jane Hamilton

    Just beautiful!

  12. Marlene Stephenson

    That was fun, i love their shops and houses and the different colors they use to paint them, the shutters and doors , so much detail and interesting things to look at. No matter how old they make them wonderful to see. Thanks Marian for sharing .

  13. Barbara C.

    Your pictures and descriptions take me there! Wondering if you were there with a group of bloggers? Thank you for your lovely posts.

  14. Kathy L

    all so beautiful, thanks for sharing

  15. Lynne

    The pictures are beautiful they really capture a sense of being there. Someday I must go to Italy my ancestors are from Bologna.

  16. Michele M.

    So dreamy my oh my – boy have I enjoyed your trip posts. *Sigh*

  17. Jenn Anderson

    So lovely! Really enjoy these posts of your trip. Thanks for sharing!

  18. Rhea

    I loved the gorgeous photos of all the beautiful Italian buildings! The colors, texture and years of aging are SO stunning! Thank you so much! I do not mind the ads – I’m too busy enjoying such inspiring photos and your great thoughts!!! Blessings!

  19. Elizabeth

    Video adv blocks and your video blocks the story and I cannot move it ___ very frustrating. I will check back in few days to see if it has been fixed and if not I will not read anymore

  20. Angela

    The doors, the ironwork, the masonry, the shutters…all inspiring me for a little project I have in mind for a storage shed in my backyard…just love this post!

  21. Kris

    Beautiful! I love your eye for detail. I was wondering what the white thing was behind the bench ….. in your next picture, you answered my question! Thanks for taking us along with you.

  22. Marian Zimmerman

    do you recommend the shoes and backpack
    Im going abroad next year with lots of walking

  23. Julie N

    Simply stunning!! Thank you for taking us along on your many journeys…a trip of a lifetime and on our bucket list! Your watercolor is beautiful!!

  24. harriett

    I’ll have your wine!


Marian Parsons - Miss Mustard Seed

I’m Marian, aka Miss Mustard Seed, a wife, mother, paint enthusiast, lover of all things home and an entrepreneur, author, artist, designer, freelance writer & photographer.  READ MORE to learn more about me, my blog and my business…

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