Italy Trip: Tuscany and the Chianti Road

We spent our next day touring the Tuscany region.
This was something I was really excited about because it a little off the typical tourist path and a photo from this region was what first inspired Adam and I to spend our five year anniversary in Italy a few years earlier.

Luckily at this point in the trip we were traveling with everyone, which allowed us to schedule a private tour which included our own driver, Ricardo.
That morning we left our hotel in Florence for a full day of beautiful sites under the Tuscan sun.

Our first stop: San Gimignano, the town of towers
We headed into the walled city to do some exploring and a little shopping along the way.
The pottery was really beautiful here, so I added a pretty pottery ornament to our Christmas ornament collection (we collect ornaments and Starbucks mugs as souvenirs) and picked up a set of pottery handled salad tongs painted with Tuscan scenery.
San Gimignano from afar...Riccardo pulled over, so I could jump out and take a picture...but it doesn't even look real.

Next stop: Monteriggioni, our lunch stop
I love how the pizza differs in style from place to place around Italy.
Here I had a great pizza that's crust was more like a thick foccacia bread.
Even lit a candle and said a prayer in this little church in town before heading on to Siena.

Third stop: Sienna, on the same day the Il Palio horse races.
Because of the races, we drove straight into a parade!
Look how annoyed the onlookers look as we interrupt their fun...they were all probably thinking, "Who do these people think they are?!" especially since I was hanging out the window taking pictures of that moment's events.
Since it wasn't a good day to stop in the center of town and walk around Siena, Riccardo suggested we head for the Chianti Road and our next stop.

Along the way, I even got to put my ESL skills to work when we stopped at a Farmacia to see about some Dramamine for Haley since the winding roads were getting to her, we had to act out driving and vomit when we realized the pharmacist didn't speak a word of English. We were pretty excited when the box she handed us had a car, plane and train on it letting us know we had the right medicine.

Then on we went to our next stop: A Farm, the Italian name for a vineyard
This vineyard belonged to Riccardo's friend Andre who gave us a tour and explained the process of making Chianti wine along with some of the history of his family owned farm.
After the tour, we headed into the showroom for a tasting...
complete with Italian snacks to compliment each wine.
The black crow label means it is a true Chianti Classico, the region's highest quality Chianti wine. This distinction is not one that is easily attained by wine makers.
Andre was nice enough to snap a picture with our group as we thanked him...
and continued down the Chianti Road headed back towards Florence.
This is an area of Italy I could definitely return for yet another day under the Tuscan sun.

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