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  • Writer's pictureMark Tedesco

Our Italian Adventure: Arriving in Tuscany

PART 77: It might be interesting to share how we pulled off living in Italy for part of the year. I will post some steps we took.


We live in Italy in the Summer and then back again in the Winter, but we will soon be changing our stays to the Spring and Fall months.


Step 1: In a previous blog post, I discussed how we decided to move from Puglia to Tuscany. We are grateful for the many chapters our time living in Italy is revealing.


Since we are in the midst of that transition, what are we finding as we move to Tuscany?


Step 2: The parts of Tuscany.


It is easy to equate Tuscany with the Val d'Orcia, its iconic wheat fields, towering cypress, and incredible stone houses. Pienza, Montepulciano, and Castiglione d'Orcia are some of the towns that come to mind. Florence and Siena are also among the most beautiful cities in the region.


Though drawn to this area because of its beauty, we never considered a move there because its real estate prices would blow our budget.


Local friends are often the best source for information, and one of our friends in Puglia, for several years, has been urging us to visit the part of Tuscany of Monte Amiata. At 1,738 meters, the mountain, with its incredible forests, hosts many different sports activities, from skiing, snowboarding, mountain biking, trekking, picnicking, and camping. Besides these, the area is close to those cultural sites that Tuscany is known for.


Finally, we listened to our Puglian friend; we flew to Pisa, rented a car, and headed to our destination. Our friend gave us a list of towns he suggested we explore. These included:


  • Abbadia San Salvatore

  • Arcidosso

  • Castel del Piano

  • Seggiano

  • Santa Fiora

  • Piancastagnaio


We found an Airbnb in Abbadia San Salvatore and explored the area. We had only four days, so we needed to allow enough time to experience the vibe in each place while not spending too much time in one.


Step 3: What we found.


Our friend from Puglia promised us: "If you go, I know you will LOVE it!" His words were prophetic.


As we made our way from town to town around Monte Amiata, we drove through dense beech forests that were so beautiful that we seemed to be in a fairy tale. It was challenging to compare California's pine and redwood forests to what we found on Monte Amiata; it is a different type of beauty—equally awe-inspiring.


During our forest drive, my partner exclaimed, "This is so beautiful it is ridiculous!" I responded, using an expression I've heard from my high school students: "This is sick!" Lol.


As we visited different towns, we were surprised at the different architecture and vibe each had. On paper, I liked Abbadia the most because of its larger population and sports facilities. But in person, I fell in love with Arcidosso, where the medieval center and modern town are harmonious.


One morning, we went to Seggiano for breakfast and sat on the edge of the town overlooking the rolling Tuscan hills while sipping our coffees and munching on our fresh pastries. It was so beautiful that it also seemed unreal. The town is historical, small, and beautiful; for me, a great place to visit, but a bit small to live in for my taste.


We visited the other towns on our friends list and stayed a night in Castel del Piano, but none quite "fit" like Arcidosso. Arcidosso kept drawing us back, and we returned to walk through its medieval streets and dine at an excellent cafe in the modern town.


Step 4: Housing.


After spending almost two years in Puglia, we came to Tuscany to explore the possibility of living there. But could we afford it?


We found that housing in the Monte Amiata area was much less expensive than in other parts of Tuscany. During our exploratory visit, we decided to budget some time to look at some houses for sale and others for rent.


Step 5: Deciding to buy.


In a future blog, I will explore our decision to move from renters (in Puglia) to owners (in Tuscany) more fully. Here, I will say that we found a house in Arcidosso that struck my partner and me as "the one."


We loved the house and the town as soon as we walked in and, in the few days there, began a friendship with some locals.


It is hard to explain how this house seemed to draw us in and embrace us. The owner told us that he has been waiting to sell the house to the right people, having previously turned down two offers.


The decision to buy rather than rent was organic; we explored renting and buying in the Monte Amiata area without clinging to either choice.



So, we are taking the leap: our offer has been accepted, and now we are taking the steps to take full possession of the house.


In a few weeks, we will return to Italy and will be in Tuscany to begin our new life in our 16th-century home in Arcidosso.


Insights: Sometimes, we restrict ourselves by setting limitations based on incomplete knowledge or fear of taking risks. At one point, we never thought it would be possible to live in Tuscany. We believed it was too expensive, didn't know anyone there, and were too scared to take such a significant risk. However, we eventually started listening to others who recommended visiting Monte Amiata and investigating housing costs in the area. After experiencing the towns, we realized we were being led here and started saying "yes" to what was being revealed. As a result, a new chapter of our lives in Italy has begun.


More next time.


Now on sale for $2.99: My book is "Stories from Puglia: Two Californians in Southern Italy." Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0CRKMKPWF?ref_=cm_sw_r_cp_ud_dp_X2WRQ3PTG2ZDD7AVF6GH


And also, on Amazon Italy:


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