Tag Archives: Tuscany

Bucket List

A bucket list (for those who have lived in a cave for the last 20 years) is a list of things that you want to do or accomplish before you “Kick the Bucket”. While everyone has their own persoanl list, I offer my suggestions for my own personal bucket list… travel to Tuscany, Italy!

Ok, it seems like everyone has a bucket list these days. In fact a really funny movie by the name The Bucket List with Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman was a huge hit a few years back. Most of us never actually write them down on paper, let alone work towards them. But I do believe most of us have a kind of working bucket list in our head that changes from time to time. They will change from time to time because life can (if you let it) really beat you down!

We all start out in life thinking life is going to be such a kick-ass time with everything playing out like it does on TV, or the way we play it out in our mind when we are young and naive.

You know what I mean;

We get out of college with a new BMW, a great Executive job, buy a big house, raise perfect kids that become doctors, and vacation in the Hamptons…


God blessed you if that is your life! But “real life” is full of challenges that we constantly have to contend with such as; down-turns in the economy, health problems, divorces, and job changes, teenagers, etc… And these challenges, and how we respond to them, build who we are as a person and what kind of character we have.

So, let’s get back to the bucket list and what that means to me personally at this time in my life. I say this “time in my life” because I would have had a substantially different bucket list in my twenties than what I will have now in my mid-50s.

Top of my bucket list: I love to travel.

I have always loved to travel, even when I was a kid. I couldn’t wait for Dad to load us up in the family sedan and drive us to some distant place that I had never visited before. Luckily my beautiful wife Margie and I do take a lot of small-medium size trips several times a year. But after marking off a huge part of my bucket list by not only visiting Paris, but my lovely bride and I were actually married in Normandy, France. And we returned to France in 2009 for 2-weeks of incredible wine tasting throughout; Loire, Chablis, Cote D Beaune, Alsace, and Champagne. (Check out previous articles for more details from those trips).

So… “where next” you say?


Map of Tuscany for Bucket List!
Tuscany for my Bucket List!

Top of my Bucket List: Rent a villa in Tuscany for 2 weeks with close friends. Then use the house near the center of Italy as a base where we make short 1-2 day trips to different areas of interest in Italy that I dream about.

Tuscany in Spring
Tuscany in Spring

Florence is at the top of my list because of The David and the other incredible works of art at the Uffizi Gallery housing the famous masterpieces from Leonardo da Vinci, Giotto, Botticelli and Michelangelo!


Then? Days of touring the beautiful vineyards and wine tasting throughout Tuscany of course! The wine regions of Bolgheri (Antinori), Brunello di Montalcino (Argiano!), Chianti, and Chianti Classico for all the Super Tuscans! Some of the most incredible food friendly and world class wines in the world come from Tuscany. My good freind Michelle Williams actually just came back from touring the wine country in Italy. Check out her great blog at www.rockinredblog.com

On days when we are tired and simply want to relax (it is vacation after all), we head down to the local panetteria for fresh bread, macelleria for fresh meats and deli, and cook at the house. Of course we will enjoy the terrific wines we have picked while tasting throughout the region on the patio overlooking the vineyards of Tuscany! Those relaxing days at the house, and getting to know the locals, sound as great as the sights of Italy to me!

Tuscan Country Home
Tuscan Country Home

Then back on the road again with a day trip to Naples for “pizza vera napoletana,” true Neapolitan pizza. We are blessed to have a authentic Italian pizzia restaurant in our town of Frisco by the name of Pizzeria Testa that is serious about making real Neapolitan Pizza from a 7000 lb brick oven imported from Napoli, Italy. The chef Michele (pronounced Mi-kay-lah) D’Amelio was brought in from Italy, and has won two international competitions for pizza-making. So enjoying authentic pizza from Napoli, Italy and washing it down with a terrific Super Tuscan  direct from terra firma really excites me!


Then off to the Amalfi Coast including Capri, and Positano for the beautiful Italian Coast, people watching and of course; Lemoncello!

Lemons are ready for Lemoncello!
Lemons are ready for Lemoncello!
Hillside Delikatessen, Positano Amalfi
Delikatessen, Positano, Amalfi

And a Tours of ancient Pompeii is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Pompeii, stopped in its tracks by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in A.D. 79, offers the best look anywhere at what life in Rome must have been like 2,000 years ago. An entire city of well-preserved ruins will be ours to explore. Once a thriving commercial port of 20,000, Pompeii grew from Greek and Etruscan roots to become an important Roman city. Then Pompeii was buried under 30 feet of hot mud and volcanic ash.


An overnight trip to Venice is a must for anyone’s bucket list! You just have to experience Venice at night to truly get how romantic it can be! And yes I know… it can be dirty, crowded, and expensive. But this is one of the most unique, romantic, and historic cities in the history of the world. How can you not take a gondola ride with your sweetheart, and get lost in the back streets of Venice?

Venice at night
Romantic Venice at night

Rome should be a 2 day trip minimum as well. History buff or no, it’s impossible not to marvel at a structure like the Colosseum, or stand in awe on the cobblestones of the Roman Forum and think about who walked there before you. Plus the incredible restaurants in Rome are outstanding. A must for my bucket list would have to be a fabulous dinner at l’Archeologia Cucina for fabulous Amatriciana Pecorino Ravioli or Beef Carpaccio!

The adventure of traveling to a distant land and immersing ourselves in the local cuisine, terrific wines, and the interesting locals of the land is something Margie and I really love.

When you dream about it, talk about it, and then put it down on paper as on a Bucket List; it is amazing how somehow it becomes reality. And the next thing you know…you are getting on a plane for an adventure!

Thank you once again for taking the time to read the rambling of a Texas Wineaux! Check back from time to time to see how my Bucket List is progressing as well as sharing my other dreams I have on my own personal list. I would love your thoughts so please leave your comments, suggestions you may have, or even stories of your own travels that you would like to share in the comments section.

Terry Hill

Texas Wineaux

The Guy from East Tuscany (Le Marche)

“Water separates the people of the world; wine unites them.”

I love wine. I also love wine people!

I have penned a name for these wine  affectionados, connoisseurs, sommeliers, or simply the average guy or gal that really appreciates a good bottle of wine;


Well I met a really nice and fascinating Italian Wineaux at a really cool wine bar in Dallas called Brian’s Wine & More. Brian’s place is a true “old school neighborhood wine store” and next door to the wine bar down on Monticello Ave. If you are ever in the area, I would highly suggest a stop in and say hello to Brian and his staff, and enjoy a glass or two of great vino!

When I was in Brian’s enjoying a great glass of Pinot Gris, I met Piero Pagliardini, a native of Sant’Angelo in Vado, Marche. Now I know what you are thinking; “Where the heck is Marche in Italy?” Well I ask him the same thing, and evidently he gets asked this same question all the time. Le Marche (pronounced lay markay) is in central Italy, bordered by Emilia-Romagna (think cheese), Tuscany to the Northwest, and Umbria to the West With the entire eastern boundary being the Adriatic Ocean. Piero finally got tired of explaining where Marche is, so be began telling everyone he was from “East Tuscany” as a joke. Ha!


While everyone knows about the rich history of Tuscany and to an extent Umbria, few know how terrific the lands of Marche truly is. Piero loves his homeland, and still has many connections for wine, food, and tours. So after meeting and marring a Dallas, Texas native in his homeland of Le Marche, he moved to Dallas with his his lovely bride Katherine Cohen and began working with producers, importers, and distributors reprenting some of the incredible wines of his homeland right here in Big D.

A few years ago he began personally arranging Food and Wine Tours, led by Piero himself, to visit his favorite vineyards in the most unexpected parts of Italy, Tuscany and Marche!


The tour through Tuscany and Marche begins on October 12, 2014 and ends on October 23rd. And there is only about 18 on the tour, so you will be assured a tremendous amount of personal attention, not to mention the lifetime of friendships that you will build with the incredible Wineauxs during the two weeks in paradise!

You fly into Rome, and the fun begins with a welcome wine dinner where you will meet all of your new friends.  Next morning you are on a luxury bus to the infamous Montepulciano, where you will enjoy a Music, Art and Vino Nobile tour, and visit 600 year old wine cellars! It only gets better from there…

Here is a link to the complete itinerary:


If you have ever considered taking a Food and Wine tour in Europe, I HIGHLY suggest you check out the itinerary of this incredible journey of wine and food!

2 weeks in Tuscany and La Marche with incredible Italian wines and Italian foods?

WOW what an incredible trip! How could this get better right? Piero and I hit it off and became quick freinds (as so easy to do over a glass of wine). I have convinced him that this incredible adventure would be PERFECT for my Texas Wineaux followers. He resoundingly agreed. So…

I have arranged a DISCOUNT for my followers of $100 per person or $250 per couple simply by providing the PROMO CODE: “Wineaux”

If you want to learn more, call Piero himself at  972-400-8329. Or go to his website vitaverdeimports.com

I unfortunately have another trip planed that month so I will not be able to join you this year, but I assure you NEXT YEAR I will be one of the 1st to sign up!

The only thing I ask if you decide to join Piero in this food and wine journey, is you will send me pictures to friscokid8758@yahoo.com or Twitter to @friscokid49 

Buon viaggio e bere un sacco di vini Italiano!