Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Firenze Day Three, Excursion to Tuscany

One of the collective priorities of our group was to do a bit of wine tasting while in Tuscany. We decided to take a tour that included San Gimignano, Casa Emma winery, and Siena. Our driver, Adamo, and tour guide, Joanna, picked us up at our hotel and whisked us out of the city. Perhaps whisked isn't the right word...turns out that day was a major student demonstration protesting a new student tax. The streets were crowded and driving was difficult. I'm glad I wasn't in the driver's seat!

Finally we escaped the throngs in the city and made our way to San Gimignano - a beautiful town situated on a hillside. This town is famous for its medieval towers. Originally there were about 60 of them, only 14 remain.

A house in San Gimignano

San Gimignano Towers

A flower with the Tuscan countryside in the background

Looking out on the surrounding towns and countryside

We could have spent a good deal more time in San Gimignano but we were running late for our wine tasting. On our way out of the town we grabbed a quick gelato. My aunts had been hunting for dark chocolate and orange gelato - something they had seen in Rome but got away without trying. We found a gelateria that had it so we had to stop. I had a bit of the orange chocolate, a white wine and orange flavor, and fig. All three were soooo delicious!

About 30 minutes later we arrived at the Casa Emma Winery in the Chianti region. Their specialty is the Chianti Classico wine, but they had a few other varieties as well.

Casa Emma Winery

Casa Emma's Vineyards

A bunch of grapes that missed out on the harvest

After our very informative, private tour of the winery we sat down for a tasting.

Bread and olive oil - probably the best olive oil I've ever had!

Mom, Chris, & Cyndy enjoying their wine

An advertisement for the winery that I found in the tasting room

I could have spent a lot more time at the winery as well. I love vineyards and could look at them all day, but we were still a bit behind schedule; we had another tour guide to meet in Siena and needed to get a bit of lunch to put into our wine-filled tummies.

After a quick lunch at a cafe on Piazza Campo in Siena we met up with our tour guide to get an overview of Siena.

Piazza Campo, City Hall

Siena Duomo and Bell Tower

An addition to the Duomo that was never completed

Facade of the Duomo - too bad there was construction, it was hard to get a good picture

Siena was a destination in itself. I could have spent a few days there absorbing the unique culture. On our way back into Florence we stopped at Michaelangelo Square overlooking the city. The view was beautiful.

Arno River and Ponte Vecchio from Michaelangelo Square

The Florence Duomo from Michaelangelo Square

Sadly the tour had to come to an end. I thoroughly enjoyed it! I'm glad we had the opportunity to see some of the countryside and do a bit of wine tasting.

We rested at the hotel for a bit and then went searching for dinner again. We finally found a keeper! Trattoria Tito - a little local place a block over from our hotel. It was delicious! A great end to a great day.

Now playing: Keely Smith - Fly Me To The Moon
via FoxyTunes

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