The Tuscany countryside tour was one of the highlights of our Italian holiday!
We started off early morning by 8:30AM after some beautiful breakfast at Palazzo Ruspoli where we stayed in Florence.
After breakfast, we walked towards Santa Maria Novella to board our Bus.
It was a comfortable bus and we had free wifi inside. The countryside drive, after getting outside Florence, was gorgeous. Our first stop was Sienna and it didn’t take very long.
Sienna gave a start to the essence of Tuscany! As we walked to get inside the historic part of Sienna, everything suddenly seemed quaint and magnificent!
We first stopped at Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena- the World’s oldest Bank!
The history can be googled of course! Just the thought of spending a few moments in front of oldest surviving Bank branch (Founded in 1472) of the world, felt too good!
As we continued walking in those medieval streets of Sienna, it took us back in time!
Once we reached Piazza del Campo – the Sienna Square, it reminded me of all the traditional horse races which I saw on TV!
The location is very picturesque and there are several wine bars and cafes where you can spend a while appreciating the real splendor of Sienna! Food and wine is typical to the awesomeness of the Tuscan region! The airs at Piazza del Campo are rustic and if you have time, you can spend an entire day over some good wine and Pasta!
After a short while here, we walked towards Duomo di Siena – the Siena Cathedral. It is equally beautiful inside as it is from the outside!
For EUR 5, this entrance fee for the 800 years old Cathedral is worth the art it has to manifest. You can also carry your camera to take pictures inside.
Once outside the Cathedral, we walked to many of the nifty shops to pick stuff to carry back home. You could buy real good chocolates and cookies in Sienna to eat on your train journeys. Souvenirs in Sienna are more expensive than Florence. If you plan to go to Florence then reserve all your shopping time there.
After some short breaks in many of the local shops and eateries, we left Sienna!
Fattoria Poggio Alloro – Ranch in San Gimignano
We proceeded towards one of the countryside ranches close to the historic town of San Gimignano. This Ranch, Fattoria Poggio Alloro, was our stop for Wine Tasting, Olive Oil Tasting and some really amazing 3 course lunch!
I loved the wines we tried here. The Chianti served there was excellent! For lunch, we had the olive oil Bruschetta, choice of Red or Olive oil Pasta, a salad-style main course with farm matured cheese and Biscotti with some port-wine for dessert!
If ever I go back to Tuscany I would love to spend a few days here. They do have country-fashioned accommodation amidst nature. The vineyards here are beautiful and so is the outstanding Olive cultivation.
At Fattoria Poggio Alloro, you can purchase not only wines to take back home but also the best quality saffron!
After capturing some really striking pictures of the never ending vineyards, we continued towards San Gimignano
San Gimignano – The Italian Hill Town
San Gimignano added to our already admirable day! We stepped into many local shops again to buy natty things to take back.
We also stopped to buy some wine again!
You may already know the awesomeness of Gelatos here! There are two excellent ones not to be missed as they are known to be the world’s 2 best Gelaterias!
As you enter the main square, you will find both around the same place.
Gelateria Dondoli – Supposedly the best!
Gelateria dell’Olmo – The second best!
I couldn’t make out much difference as they both were absolutely fabulous!
You will see a long queue facing towards you while entering the main square. Don’t let the queue back you off! It will move real quick and the service is very efficient!
If I had the time, I would have spent days at San Gimignano! It is a fine-looking pastoral town with remarkable locals and superb food! I will definitely return back some day!
After leaving San Gimignano, we left for Pisa!
Pisa – The City of the Iconic Leaning Tower.
We reached the town of Pisa in a little more than an hour. Pisa is naturally a good-looking city with pretty landscapes.
There is a Choo Choo train service to the Leaning Tower of Pisa that we chose to take from where thee bus left us. It was a sunny afternoon when we reached the Leaning Tower. There was enough light to take some cheesy pictures and do those touristy things!
We spent more than 2 hours at the monument.
Tip -Do book your tickets early if you wish to climb the tower.
After a shot of espresso at a cafe outside, we proceeded towards Florence. It took us close to 2 hours and we reached Florence after the sunset.
It was a lovely day and I hope to return to Tuscany for a longer duration next time.
Check out my time in Florence –