We found ourselves with two nights in Italy on our way to Serbia and Istanbul, most people may have stuck close to Rome or used some ‘recovery’ days from a long haul flight, but jet lag is something we’ve decidedly overcome in favor of enjoying our travels to the fullest.
We opted instead to spend the two days we had at our disposal driving one of the most irresistible places on earth: Tuscany. We rented a car at Rome’s Fiumicino Airport and started the three hour drive Northward.
The amber colors of late summer adored our drive into this majestic landscape. Soon the hills of Val d’Orcia and Valdichiana give way to medieval towns with castles, walls and panoramic views. We stopped in Montepulciano and were lucky enough to see a parade of noble families dressed in their medieval wardrobe celebrating the various neighborhoods.
Lunch was a true Tuscan Picnic that we discovered just outside of Montepulciano. This unique farmhouse called Caseficio Cugusi Silvana sells picnic baskets filled essentials, plus whatever farm products you wish to add for a truly memorable meal with a view.
Our stay for the first night was at this lovely Villa just outside Florence. The hotel is beautifully appointed, it has pathways, gardens, a pool and rooms decorated in the luxury of Italian craftsmanship with elements of wood, stone and tile.
The medieval Manhattan was our first stop the next morning from Florence. We got here just as the sun rose and it was perfect. No tourists were yet in the streets and the early morning light reflected splendidly off the many towers which make the city skyline unmistakeable.
Colle di Val d’Elsa
This town is off the beaten path for tourists and we really recommend it to see a slice of Tuscan life that is uninterrupted by the copious shops and restaurants that some other towns have. The architecture and city walls are fascinating.
This city on a hill sits with a view for miles around over our favorite vineyards, the distinguished Brunello di Montalcino wines. The town itself has beautiful churches, castle walls and homes to see and if you want to sample one of the best selections of the wine anywhere in the world head Bruno Dalmazio’s shop.
Castiglion di Bosco
The grand finale was a lunch we booked at Canonica restaurant in Castiglione di Bosco. This famous vineyard is home to the Rosewood hotel and it offers a top hospitality experience for guests but also for day visitors like us too. It is a glorious property with amazing food, a tasting cantina and much more than we had time to enjoy for a few hours, but we recommend anyone in the area stop by to see Tuscany’s leading hotel in all its splendor.
We finished out the journey by taking the A12 road (as opposed to the A1) back to Rome. It goes along the scenic coastal route by the Tyrennean Sea with quaint towns along the way to stop for dinner: Civitavecchia, Tarquinia, Santa Marinella and Ladispoli just to name a few.