Italy Part 1: Chianti in Tuscany

Tuscany. Enough said right? Doesn’t everyone dream of  visiting the gorgeous rolling hills, the fields of wheat and rows of grapes under the beautiful warmth of the sun? I think the answer is yes. It’s been shown in so many movies and romanticized rightfully so. Life is different there. The pace is slower. The people are friendly. The food is so fresh. The wine local and amazing. So yeah, we finally made the trip! We spent 10 days adventuring through the area, and it was amazing.

We spent the first few days in Chianti region, where we stayed at a winery. We also spent time in Montalcino & Montelpulciano, Cinque Terre, and Florence.

If you like Chianti Classico, you should visit this area. Well even if you don’t it would still be fun. It’s just beautiful.

Vignamaggio was the winery where we stayed, just about a ten minute drive up the winding roads from Greve. Absolutely stunning views. We saw two weddings there in one night. Such a dreamy location. If you’ve ever seen the early 90s film, Much Ado About Nothing, it was filmed there as well. They have beautiful gardens, two pools, a spa, and of course the wine tasting room.

 

The first afternoon in town we stopped in the town of Greve, just a few minute drive from our place, to enjoy the wine bar, Enoteca Falorni. This shop was great, we got to compare several Chianti Classico wines and enjoy some delicious local olive oil and bread.

The next day we did A LOT. If you have the time I’d recommend spending at least 3 nights vs the 2 we had, but we made it work.

The first day.. after a long and very hilly early morning run (seriously the hills are no joke), we enjoyed a delicious breakfast with a wonderful view. A lot of their food is grown on their grounds, so really fresh and tasty. Of course we had to visit the pool next. I wish we had more time to veg out there, but we didn’t give ourselves a ton of time in this area. So we were off by lunch.

We had lunch and did a tour of Verazzano winery. This winery does a great tour, really fun and beautiful views. The lunch was huge and the tasting was also quite well generous. We left with full bellies and of course a bottle of vino.

After lunch we visited the nearby Antinori winery. This place is a must see, just to witness the unique architecture. It’s built into the side of the hill along the highway. They a large producer and can be a bit expensive, but their wines are darn good. We didn’t do a tour, but we did taste a few wines in the shop.

In the afternoon we visited a few small towns before dinner. Radda was pretty nice, on the hill with views of the countryside. But the best part? They had a rennaissance festival going on. (Apparently this  is a common thing in the summer, because we also saw one in Portugal) Everyone was dressed up. Men and boys did a choreographed show twirling flags to music. We also saw the devil and a priest on stilts pretending to have it out with each other. Oh and there was even a woman dressed up as the town prostitute. Because, why not? The whole thing was really quite entertaining.

 

Eventually it got late so we headed to dinner at Villa Bordoni. This place was adorable. The restaurant had a nice garden out back and we were seated on the porch overlooking it all. Brandon ordered a Florentine steak, the smallest they had since it was supposed to be for two, and I had the octopus risotto. SO GOOD. Eventually the stars came out and it really was a beautiful night.

Our time in Chianti was really great, just unfortunately we didn’t have more time to spend relaxing and enjoying it all.

 

The next day we left for Cinque Terre, but with a stop in Lucca. I really liked the town of Lucca. We parked just outside the walled old city, and just wandered in. You can walk all around the old city on these nice big walls that are essentially a park now. People rent bikes and just spend time doing that. Wandering around the old town itself is also really nice. It was probably quieter because it was a Sunday, but it was really nice not being overcrowded with tourists. Just had a relaxing feel to it. We definitely could have spent more time there, but it was a great place to stop for lunch and split up the long drive.

Then we stopped quickly in Pisa, just to view the leaning tower and the field of miracles.. because if you’re that close you have to view it once at least. It was pretty cool, though the crowds were obnoxious.. Definitely recommend spending time in Lucca and stopping quickly in Pisa (just 30 minute drive apart from eachother). Brandon did keep referring to the field of miracles as the field of dreams which made me laugh 😉

 

Part 2 (Cinque Terre) coming soon…

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