During our first August in Italy (in 2011), we decided to take a last-minute, weeklong trip to an agriturismo just a forty minute drive from Florence. It was an amazing week. We relaxed, drove aimlessly around the backroads of Tuscany, took family photos on a dusty road, ate like pigs at Dario's in Panzano, and generally had a fantastic time.
We thought about venturing to the countryside again this August, but we've been so busy with work that it wasn't possible. Even though we've got plans for more travel in the fall, I still find myself wanting to rent a car and drive out to the countryside with the Hash crew.
I had a conversation with a friend/client a few weeks ago about how, as an American expat in Europe, you feel pressured to constantly be traveling to new places. See new things! Try new food! Can you believe where RyanAir can take you?! Sometimes, however, you just find a place that you love and want to keep going back. That's how I feel every time I'm in the countryside around Greve/Panzano.
I'm not a natural "relaxer" (read: I'm high strung), nor am I even remotely close to being "outdoorsy", but something about the countryside in Tuscany just sets me at ease. I can kick back and just let my mind rest.