On our third full day in Florence, the huz and I went on a guided group tour, called The Best of Tuscany Tour, run by the Walkabout tours company. We departed by bus from the local train station at 8:30 in the morning.
Our day trip featured a full itinerary, highlighting the best of Tuscany:
- Visit to an organic winery
- San Gimignano
In this post, Part I, I will tell you about our visits to Siena and the Fattoria Poggio Alloro winery, and in an upcoming post, Part II, I will highlight our visits to San Gimignano and Pisa.
So here we go!
After maybe an hour or so of driving, we arrived in Siena, where a local tour guide led our group through the medieval town. We all wore headsets so that we could hear our guide at all times.
Siena was absolutely beautiful. This Tuscan hilltown is the namesake for the color “siena”; surely everyone remember the Crayola “burnt sienna” crayon. The brick walls and roof tops of many Sienese buildings are constructed of the reddish-brown clay upon which the city is built.
Siena was built on the industry of banking, and below is Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena, which is the oldest surviving bank in the world.
The town’s passion for the sport of horse racing is quiet apparent! Here is someone’s doorknob:
Another view of Siena:
The floor was quite a splendor! It has been covered for centuries, but we were lucky and happened to be visiting during one of the rare times that the floor is unveiled.
Double-self portrait failed attempt!:
After meeting back up with our tour group, we rode by bus to our next destination: a Tuscan winery for lunch!
My primary reason for choosing Florence as one of our three European trip destinations was its proximity to Tuscany and its wineries. One of my lifelong goals was to visit Tuscany and taste wine, and that is precisely what we did!
The winery we visited was called Fattoria Poggio Alloro, a family-owned, organic winery and working farm in the Tuscan town of San Gimignano. A member of the family of owners gave us a tour of the grounds and facilities at the winery.
These cows live a pretty nice life, I’d like to think! They have ample room for grazing on the Tuscan hillside.
The winery also has a large quantity of olive trees, from which they make their own extra virgin olive oil.
At the winery, we were treated to a lovely lunch! Everything in our meal was homemade at the winery, with the only exception being the cheese served on our pasta.
Our first course was freshly baked, toasted bread, drizzled with the olive oil made at the farm. The olive oil was incredible! The best I’ve ever had.
Wish I could have brought a bottle – or seven – home with me!
For our next course we had homemade penne pasta slathered with a homemade tomato meat sauce. It was most delicious!!
Each course of our meal was paired with a wine from the winery. The chianti served with our pasta was my favorite.
Our fourth course of food and wine was a hazelnut biscotti, dipped in a very strong dessert wine. I think everyone was feeling pretty good at this point. I know I was!
After lunch we wandered the grounds of the winery and took in the breathtaking views of the Tuscan hillside.
From the winery, we had a view of the San Gimignano skyline, also known as “Medieval Manhattan.”
The winery also has an inn and pool. This would be an awesome place to stay!
The “Medieval Manhattan” skyline of San Gimignano, as can be seen above, was our next destination. Stay tuned for Part II of our tour!