Tuscany in One Day Sightseeing Tour – Day 4

Date: 12th August 2014

What We Did: Today was an early start and long walk to the train station to find our tour. We booked the tour through Viator which cost around £80. Money well spent as the day was brilliant!

We got on the bus and drove out of Florence and towards Sienna. The views were so pretty with all the hills and vineyards a total contrast from Venice. Once we got to Sienna we went on a walking tour of the town. When walking through the town we saw huge flags with an animal on. We were told that it was for ‘The Palio’ which is a horse racing event. Every district represented a different animal and has one horse in the race. The square was getting ready for the race in a few days time, sand was being put down ready for the race track. Every new district we saw new animals and new colours, there were flags and banners everywhere. You could tell something was coming up as there was a feeling of excitement when we were walking around, kind of the same before a festival.

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We then walked up to the cathedral, which was another beautiful building. We had tickets to go inside included with the tour. The inside was just as impressive with its black and white marble. The cathedral was also decorated with all the flags ready for the horse racing. It was beautiful inside and out, but very busy.

We then drove towards the Chianti wine region, the part of the tour we were really looking forward to. We had a tour of the vineyard first where we saw where the wine was made, stored and bottled.

After the tour it was time for wine tasting and lunch. We were sat on a terrace overlooking the vineyard and the hills of Tuscany. Lunch was delicious and each course was served with wine. We tried a red, white, sparkling and dessert wine. We were sat with a German couple and after we had our food we all noticed that there was loads of wine left at the other side of the table. The German couple asked if anyone was going to drink it and if not could they pass it down! At the end of the meal we were talking about the dessert wine tasting so strong so us and the German couple decided to drink it quickly as a shot! Let’s just say we tasted plenty of wine and even went to the shop to buy more to drink in our hotel.

The next stop was San Gimignano which again was a lovely town set on a hill. We didn’t have very long to explore and we were quite sleepy, probably too much wine and sun… mainly wine. We were told that they had the famous gelato shop which serves the best gelato in the world. We knew instantly we wanted to go there. We ordered a vanilla and pink grapefruit, it was amazing. We walked back to the bus on the outside of the town where we could see the view of the surrounding area.

Our last stop of the day was in Pisa, as we drove through the city we couldn’t help but notice all of a sudden the beauty of Tuscany was behind us and the area of Pisa did not look quite as nice. We got off the bus and headed towards Cathedral square where we saw the Cathedral and The Leaning Tower of Pisa. This area was so busy and full of people trying to get that perfect shot of the tower. There were people standing on the bollards, walls and railings around the tower. We took our photos and then sat on the grass people watching.

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Then it was back on the bus for the long drive back to Florence. The tour was a long day but so worth it, we loved every minute. We were glad that we did Pisa in a day as we didn’t like the feel of the city while we were walking around. There also didn’t seem to be a lot to do. We were so tired after another long day, when we got back we went straight to bed.

Food and Drink:

Lunch: Wine tasting and lunch at the vineyard.

Garlic bruschetta
Pasta with Chianina beef ragù
Tuscan ham, salami and local artisan sheep milk cheese Garden salad
Cantuccini (almond biscuits) to dip into Vin Santo (dessert wine)

Snacks: Vanilla and Pink Grapefruit Gelato

The Highs: All of Tuscany, what a beautiful place. Every where we looked there was hills, vineyards and in the distance small towns. It was postcard sights all day and we cannot wait to come back. We decided that one day we would want to come to Tuscany and stay on one of the vineyards.

The Lows: Pisa was a little disappointing as everyone is there for the leaning tower of Pisa, which we knew this would happen. However once we were there people were crowded taking photos everywhere.

Up Next: A day exploring Florence

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