Santo Pietro is a lovely, rambling villa that is home to Tuscan Women Cook Black Apron guests. Santo Pietro’s slogan: La tua Chiave perla Val D’Orcia. It means “Your key to the Val d’Orcia.” Santo Pietro Villa is in Pienza, the next village from Montefollonico. This feels very much like a private residence. It’s an old villa, with modern touches like updated bathrooms with rain head showers and large soaking Jacuzzi tubs.

The villa features large bedroom suites with super luxurious bedding. Modern electronics like a TV, AC, and the internet have been installed, but the thick stone walls remind me that tech and medieval architecture are contentious cohabitants. I’m not sure how many guest rooms there are here. The public spaces include a large dining room, living room, media room, and a comfy outdoor patio filled with comfy furniture. The grounds include gardens and a pool.

My morning started at 7am, earlier than it need to. The driver wasn’t coming to pick up until 10. I had a quiet breakfast alone and headed for a walk around the grounds of the villa.

I walked deep into the olive grove and looked out toward the horizon and spotted yet another magnificent stone villa and a hilltop village. I focused on the graceful branches on the olive trees and the craggy hedges. I walked up to the villa’s pool deck, a stone patio with faded taupe lounge chairs and umbrellas.

I shifted my gaze and looked back out at the hillsides, the gorgeous Tuscan view and gave thanks for this peaceful moment, for this month in Italy, for the courage for take this independent journey. I’m thankful for all of it.