I have been to Tuscany before, I visited Florence twice, though don’t remember much apart from naked statues, so I always wanted to return to the region and explore it in a different way. Before I made this trip happen, it was previously cancelled two times for personal reasons. Finally, a few days ago I had a weekend getaway in Tuscany with my loyal travel companions, W and my traveling dog, Enzzo.
My plan was to stay in a hotel in the middle of the vineyards, in the Chianti region. I wanted to do a wine tasting of one of my favourite wines, Chianti, rent a bike, eat some good Italian pasta, visit nearby towns, and drink wine at the Tuscan sunset.
The trip started on a Friday. We drove from Munich to the small Tuscan village Quercegrossa, located 16 Km from Siena and 35 Km from San Gimignano. Normally it would take us maximum 7 hours to get there, though it was a long weekend, we weren’t the only ones driving on the roads. The result: we left Munich at 1pm and arrived there at 11:30pm, under some real rain.
Scratching our hassle to get to Tuscany, the weekend started out pretty good when I woke up to the amazing view of our room, the positive side of having arrived late at night and not being able to see a thing.
After a delicious breakfast – I think I have confirmed my theory that after the French, the Italians are the ones who can make the best croissants – we headed to San Gimignano. I knew this city was beautiful, but I had no idea how much. When I started walking through its streets, I felt like I was daydreaming. I couldn’t stop saying: “what kind of town is this?”.
I immediately fell in love with the little town, and started to believe that I now should scratch New York as my favourite city in the World, and fairly replace it for San Gimignano. Favourite town updated: New York -> San Gimignano.
We enjoyed our time in the city to walk thorough its passageways, shop for some souvenirs, sit at the main square and have some Spritz and some of the best ice cream in the World. Pictures here and there, I knew I would never forget this place, and that I had to go back there someday.
So I did… the day after! This time the sun was shining like crazy, and the city was even busier than the day before. All we did was wander around, sit on a bench, drink wine and have some more ice cream… why not?! Oh, in the meantime, Enzzo was enjoying his popularity among tourists and Italians, getting photographed, hugged and pampered.
On the second day we visited Siena, another beautiful Italian town full of history that you can’t miss while in the region. However, I recommend you to go there first, then to San Gimignano, or you won’t be impressed by its beauty so much. And if you have to choose between both, please go to San Gimignano.
It was Sunday, and Siena was very busy with tourists. We wandered around with Enzzo, stopped by the stunning Duomo, walked through the famous Piazza del Campo, where the traditional Palio di Siena happens twice a year, and stopped by an “away from the crowd” little Italian restaurant to have some good pasta and pizza.
Previous to our arrival, I contacted a bicycle rental company (Cicli Rossi Siena) recommended by the hotel, and asked for 2 bikes for the weekend. We were very happy with the service and with the bikes, so I do recommend it. Unfortunately as it was raining a lot on Saturday, we only managed to take the bikes on Sunday and Monday morning before we headed back to Munich. It was worth it though.
We enjoyed taking a look around the hotel, a beautiful area with amazing vineyards, villages, stunning views, lakes and colourful flowers. Biking on the roads was not my favourite thing, but passing by the small villages around was breathtaking. What a beautiful place.
Even if you are not a fan of wine, being in the Chianti region means you have to do a wine tasting, it is a sin not to. With our short time in Tuscany, we only managed to do one wine tasting, and we chose one of the most famous wine producers of the region, which is among the best in the World: Castello di Fonterutoli.
The wine tasting tour only took around 1 hour. We visited their huge cellar, learned a bit about their wines, how it is produced, and tried 3 of them, and one of its Grappa. I sincerely expected more for the price (€25 per person) I thought they were brief, and that we should have tried more of their wines. In any case it was a great experience.
If you don’t want to do the wine tasting tour, it is also possible to just stop by their enoteca, try the wines without having to make a reservation and buy some to bring back home.
Where I stayed
I stayed at La Loggia Vila Gloria. A very simple hotel, but with everything we were looking for: great price, location, service, and food, and a stunning view to the vineyards. If you are not looking for luxury, I can highly recommend this place.
Under the Tuscan sun (set)
We enjoyed our last night to sit at the terrace of our hotel room, sipping Chianti wine and watching the sun set. And what a sunset! This place is magical, and I do plan to go back and spend more time exploring all that Tuscany has to offer.
During the trip I was reading the famous book Under the Tuscan Sun by Francis Mayes, it was a true inspiration for my days in Tuscany.