31.5.14

A Day Through Tuscany- Day 10

Day 10 started with a 5:30am alarm and departure before the complimentary hotel breakfast even started. That’s how you know it’s going to be a long day! You won’t even believe what I’m about to tell you next: I went an entire day without coffee! Looking back, I don’t know how I did it. Maybe it’s because I knew good wine was on the way.. ;)

We spent the day on a 12 hour tour of Tuscany. We left out of Florence at 7:45am, starting our tour in the beautiful town of Siena. Siena has rolling hills, cute little shops, and fun history. It was originally nothing more than a market town that travelers could stop through on their way to Rome. The small start of the city has evolved into a breathtaking accumulation of cobblestone streets and unique architecture.




The Duomo at Siena


One of my favorite things that we saw in Siena was the home of the Paleo Race. Each year, the square in the center of the city is packed with people as they cheer on the horse that represents their district in the horse race. It is a ginormous celebration and a tradition of Siena.
 


 Me, sitting in the square that hosts The Paleo each year!

After a couple of hours in Siena, we boarded the bus to head to our next stop: an organic farm and winery! It. Was. Heaven. We got to tour the farm, where they make homemade olive oil, wine, pasta, and other items, and see where the grapes and olives are grown, handpicked, and turned into beautiful wine and olive oil.

 

The grape trees!

We were shown the entire process, from start to finish. It is amazing to me how much work goes into producing these items that we take for granted. When we were finished with the tour, we were treated to a wine tasting and 3 course meal that was all made on site at the farm! The wines were delicious and I was amazed at how thoughtful they were when planning the meal for us. It started with fresh bruschetta and the first red wine (a Chiante that we all loved and we went home with!), followed by a choice of gluten free or white pasta with Bolognese sauce and a white wine (which I had seconds of, but didn’t buy). When we finished our pasta, they brought us fresh cheese, salami, prosciutto, and salad, along with a second red wine (a very strong red that I didn’t like at all, but others really enjoyed). The meal ended on a sweet note with Florence’s famous homemade biscotti and a dessert wine (a very sweet and demanding flavor that was best taken by dipping your biscotti in it). Lots of wine, lots of good food, and a side of the most amazing rolling hills that I have ever seen in my life!

The goats were so cute!




Bruschetta + lots of wine glasses!
Homemade pasta with bolognese sauce
 View of San Gimignano from the farm
After lunch and our tour through the farm, we headed out to stop number 3: San Gimignano, a quaint town on a hill in the midst of the greenery. It was beautiful, and home to the “world’s best gelato” award winner, Dondoli. You already know what comes next..




Mom and I had overcome our fullness to share some! I got my favorite chocolate chip flavor with some of the regular chocolate while she had some chocolate and the strawberry with the cone! Verdict: good, but not my favorite ever!
Apparently when President Obama came to Italy they took he and his wife there and they created a flavor for her called Michelle. I tried it before we ordered and, although I could barely swallow the flavor, I thought it was pretty cool that they did that for her!

We did some shopping in San Gimignano while we enjoyed our gelato. When we finished, we headed back to the bus for the final stop: Pisa!
 

And there were plenty of cheesy pictures to go around!

The cute:
 
... And the not so cute..
He was just a tad far from the tower (not even close!)


When we left Pisa, we endured a 90 minute bus ride home, arriving at almost 9pm, exhausted and absolutely starving. Mom and I ran by the grocery store to buy some food, made a salad in the hostel kitchen, and then called it a night. We were planning to take a day trip to Cortona the following morning, but we called it off after deciding that Rome would take every ounce of energy that we had and we better get a good night of sleep and relax for a day. Turns out, another day in Florence is exactly what we needed! You’ll see soon!

Until next time, arrivederci!

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