What we brought home from Tuscany, Italy

February 11, 2013 Katja Presnal

soaps from Tuscany

Let travels inspire you

One of the best things about the travels really is what we can bring home. And by this I don’t just mean souvenirs we buy, but how travels really effect and change us and how we arrive back home somehow changed. I think that’s what traveling is really about. Traveling is about inspiration, and absorbing something new. Sometimes it just means learning something new about yourself, sometimes it’s also a new skill, like how Satu learned to make pasta in Italy.

On our last trip to Italy we spent some time in Tuscany, in Lucca, and we got quite obsessed not just by the local pasta dishes but by olives, handmade soaps and other local products.

Tuscany

One of the best things during of our visit in Tuscany was the days when we just got to our rental car and started driving in the mountain area North of Lucca to see what we could find. One day we saw a sign for Valdottavo Olive Festival that by luck was happening that same day. Valdottavo is a small village about ten miles / 15 km North-West of Lucca and it’s surrounded by olive groves. The Valdottavo Olive Festival takes place every March, celebrating the new harvest of olives and olive oil with music and food, in true Tuscan fashion, and we just happened to be at the right place at the right time, and I took it as a sign from the olive gods.

ides-toscana-soaps

Now when we shop for olive oil back home in our local grocery store, we try to look that we only buy olive oil made in Lucca, remembering our trip to Italy and in a small way showing our respect for the region by supporting them even when we are back home. It has become somewhat a tradition, my husband reading the label, me looking at him and waiting for the verdict, and then the smile “yes, it’s from Lucca” and we feel like we have a secret right there in the middle of the food market as we both go back to our memories of our trip to Tuscany. It’s not really just about olive oil. It’s about remembering the time we felt carefree and somewhat adventurous and just wanted to take our family for an adventure in Tuscany.

artisan products from the craft market in Tuscany

Craft market in Lucca, Italy

One day in Lucca, we found the perfect craft market. Local artisans were selling paintings, pottery and ceramics, handmade soaps, silver jewelry and much more. I wanted to bring Tuscany home and fill our suitcases with pottery and especially with the gorgeous cutting boards made out of the olive wood. I bought a small creamer and a sugar bowl and two cutting/serving boards and I love them on my kitchen counter now and they are daily reminders of our trip.

ceramics tuscany

It may sound silly, but souvenirs do play an important role. Sometimes we go on these “once-in-a-lifetime” trips, and come back home and almost feel like nothing has changed, did I even go, was it just a dream… Do you know what I mean? Or is it just me who looks back in my life and am in amazement, wow, did that really happen to me? But when I see the things I brought home for my everyday use, I do often smile and remember fondly the places I have visited, and it does make my everyday life somewhat better, and it also gives me willpower to make other “dreams” come true too. If I was able to make that amazing trip to Tuscany happen, I can make this and that happen too.

craft-market-in-lucca

We have talked a lot about different kind of adventures and being adventurous here at Skimbaco Lifestyle, and while I know – craft shopping in Tuscany is not really your most adventurous thing to do, yet somehow that trip was very empowering for us as a family. Remember that it is all about defining what adventurous means to you!

One of the things we also loved shopping in Lucca was all of the handmade soaps. We carried home pounds of handmade soaps made of olive oil and fresh Tuscan herbs! I mean – how could we not bring that goodness home? We have been savoring these soaps and now almost 11 months later our soaps are almost gone. Adrienne goes to Paris to shop for her mustard, and I long for Tuscany to buy more soap.

Lucca, Italy, Craft Market

My husband’s solution was easy… he did book us a new trip to Italy, and I couldn’t be more excited about it (come to Rome with me and Instagram travel with me), we are leaving in less than two weeks. However, like I said, there is something about traveling that empowers you, and my 11-year-old daughter and I had a different solution to the missing handmade soaps: we wanted to try making our own soaps! Stay tuned for my upcoming post about our adventures in soap making and also a cocktail recipe I created inspired our trip to Italy.

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Katja Presnal

Katja Presnal shows how to live Nordic inspired life to the fullest and plan your dream life. Katja owns Presnal5 strategic marketing intelligence agency and wants to help marketing professionals to combine a dream career and dream life via freelance work.Katja is an award-winning marketing strategist, and a well-known speaker. Katja has lived in five different countries, and seven states in the USA. Her three children were all born in different countries within three years. When not working or jet-setting the world, Katja is at home cooking big family dinners.She has been featured in NY Times, Glamour, Redbook, Fodor's, Forbes and Woman's Day magazines among many other national and international publications and written for MTV3 and Lifetime TV networks.

Comments (5)

  1. I love all your comments on Lucca. I moved out there with my then 3 year old daughter and we stayed for 6 years. I still have my house in a little suburb called Nozzano Castello which I try to let out over the summer but love to return to every year. I loved the markets of Lucca and surrounding villages.

  2. Shelley Bizari

    My husband and I live in upstate NY. We are traveling to Italy on a tour this September, 2015. His family is from Gaeta (between Rome and Naples). He has not been back since he was 16 yrs. old. I have never traveled abroad and I am so excited. We are currently trying to locate some family in Gaeta to visit the day before our tour begins. I am just searching the internet to familiarize myself with attractions, euro exchange, soaking in pictures and discovering what each region is famous for. I just can’t wait!

  3. This post reminds me to get out more and hunt down little gems around Tuscany. I’ve been in Florence for a year now and feel like I just got here. There is always more to see, eat and drink!!

    • Enjoy Life Oils

      We’ve been to Italy twice the past year, and are already talking about the next trip – so much to discover, I just love the culture and the feeling that people really know how to enjoy life in Italy.

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