EVERYDAY EXCHANGE TRAVELS: ITALY TRAVEL GUIDE - TUSCANY
We've come to our final stop on our Tour de Italia and it just so happens that I saved the best (my favorite) for last. We spent a few days in Siena which is in the Chianti region of Italy and a stone's throw from Florence. If you are anywhere near the beautiful Tuscan countryside I would highly recommend taking a little drive and staying a night or three.
We chose to stay at Agriturismo Marciano, the most amazing place where they make their own wine & olive oil (not uncommon in this area) and feed you like royalty. I wish I could give this place one million stars. Our room was incredible. The windows opened and looked out onto the vineyard like something out of a storybook. The estate itself was very "Under the Tuscan Sun" and I could have stayed there for another week or two. Our second night there we chose to partake in the 5 course dinner option (complete with wine pairings) and about exploded from full bellies and happiness.
The second day we were there was a day I will never forget. We arranged an all day wine tour with a woman named Donatella who runs Wine Tour in Tuscany. We've done loads of wine tours but this one is BY FAR the best tour we have ever taken. Donatella grew up in the area and has lots of personal connections with wineries and the smaller boutique-style vineyards (they are close friends of hers). They made us feel like we were their personal guests and friends. We started the day at one of the smaller, incredibly charming vineyards where we tasted several wines accompanied by bread & olive oil (this was at EVERY tasting. Italians are the best. Amen.) We followed up this visit with a larger winery and then onto lunch with some personal friends of Donatella's who owned their own agriturismo. They were the cutest older couple who made us a legit authentic Italian meal complete with dessert (and MORE WINE). Just when we thought we couldn't take any more drink & food, we were whisked away to our final winery which was run by the most charismatic Italian family (although that's pretty much EVERY Italian family) and at this point I was feeling so good that I am pretty sure I started speaking Italian to everyone.
The way they ran the tastings went kind like this: try a little bit of them all and if you like something, get another glass (and another and another if you'd like). They didn't put any limits on us and we were welcome to stay as long as we'd like at each vineyard. So much more relaxed and enjoyable than a typical American tasting room. I would highly recommend seeking out Donatella if you're visiting Italian wine country!
We finished off our stay under the Tuscan sun by visiting Florence & Siena. Florence is a great place if you're really into art & art history (hello, statue of David). Siena was more our speed, filled with history and beautiful buildings and cobblestone streets. Much less crowded and a lot less touristy.
Looking back I wish we had spent an entire week in Tuscany! Such a beautiful place!