Under the Tuscan sun

One of my favorite days in Italy was a day we drove around Tuscany, stopping at the hillside villages and various wineries. We were based in Siena for a couple of days, which we found very convenient to explore Tuscany. We stayed in a cute boutique hotel Italia just outside the city walls. It was very affordable, had great breakfast and easy parking by the hotel (the cars are not allowed within most of the walled-out cities in Tuscany). We walked inside the city, visited its famous gorgeous Duomo and had one the best dinners with red wines of Montepulciano. The next day we drove south from Siena towards beautiful valley called Val d’Orcia, driving through the towns of Asciano and Montepulciano. It is such a picturesque ride with wavy hills, cypress trees, wheat fields and unlimited blue sky.

We stopped at Pienza town (or village to be exact) for some coffee, desert and cheese tasting, the most famous cheese in that area is Pecorino. The town, like all towns in Tuscany, is located on the hill and surrounded by the wall.  Following Pienza we drove to town of Montalcino, stopping by wineries to taste Brunello di Montalcino wine, which is now my personal favorite. At home in New York I often drink Montepulciano wine and we’ve done Chianti region wine tour on our previous trips to Italy (that’s north from Siena). This time around we tried a different route and wine from a different sort of grape and we were pleasantly surprised. To try Brunello wine, I highly recommend stopping Val di Cava and Casanova de Neri wineries. There are ~140 wineries in that small region and I am sure they are all great, but these two caught our attention on the road and we decided to stop by.  Following the wine tasting, we were ready for lunch which we had right in town of Montalcino at a local Osteria. This village is also located on the hill and provides an extraordinary view of Tuscan valley. We spend a lazy afternoon walking the streets and squares, grabbing coffee for us and gelato for kids.

I hope this gives you a good idea on what to enter into your GPS when you’ll be in that region driving around. And without any further write-up my pictures tell a good story of our wonderful day and experience.