I knew Florence was going to fulfill my Italian hopes and dreams as a travel destination before I even got there. But this time around in Italy, I wanted to see more than just one or two places. I wanted a full on Tuscan experience.
As if on cue, I found out about Walks of Italy. Providing tours of all shapes and sizes from gastronomic to historical experiences, Walks of Italy has something for every traveler.
I joined Walks of Italy on a day trip through Tuscany to see it with my own eyes.
If you pluck a postcard of Florence off the rack at a souvenir shop, you’ll most likely find a shot of the cityscape from Piazzale Michelangelo.
Spanning from the Arno River to the Duomo and beyond, seeing the city from above was a fantastic way to kick off the tour.
Next up was the historic city of Siena, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Walking down the narrow streets, I thought I had stepped back into the medieval era.
We happened to be in town at the correct (read: busiest) time because the famous Palio di Siena horse race was going to be held the upcoming weekend in the city’s main piazza. Each of the city’s contrada (district) had flags with different animals on them hanging from the walls representing their ward. Hordes of people paraded through the streets in traditional clothing playing old instruments and holding their flags high.
Tenuta Casanova Farmhouse Lunch with Wine Tasting
I had a rumbling tummy by the time we left Siena and was excited for our next stop: Tenuta Casanova, an organic farm and winery.
With chickens and peacocks walking about the rows of grape trees, Tenuta Casanova was picture perfect. It’s exactly what I imagined a Tuscan farm to look like.
Before feasting, we learned a bit about balsamic vinegar. I had no idea that the stuff I’ve been pouring over my salads is likely to not be pure balsamic. The good stuff is actually made from two simple ingredients: grape juice and vinegar.
Then we ate. And drank wine. Two of my favorite things.
We started off with charcuterie and moved on to a simple plate of scrambled eggs and two slices of pork. But they weren’t just scrambled eggs; they were scrambled eggs with truffle oil top. My taste buds exploded with happiness.
Then came the main event: lasagna made of béchamel cheese, each piece individually baked in a clay bowl. It was the best lasagna I’ve ever had!
For dessert: ice cream. Simple, store-bought vanilla ice cream with balsamic vinegar aged 30 years drizzled on top. The sweetness of the balsamic gave the ice cream a faint butterscotch-like flavor. I was scraping the bowl, savoring every last bit.
I kept having that, “am I really eating lunch at a Tuscan farmhouse?” moment. It was a one in a lifetime experience that was so delicious.
All that eating tired me out, but I had to walk off a bit of all the food I just inhaled. San Gimignano was the perfect place to stop and stroll at my leisure. If I thought Siena was small, San Gimignano was teeny tiny, and so adorable.
Another UNESCO World Heritage Site, San Gimignano’s towers and old, medieval architecture draws tourists from all over the world. This is the type of romantic Tuscan village that you see in the movies. As I wandered through the alleyways away from the main streets, I found a quiet place to sit and take in the view of Tuscany.
Wine Tasting at Fattoria Poggio Alloro
As if wine tasting with our lunch wasn’t enough (it never is), our guide took us to yet another winery!
We took in the views of San Gimignano from afar and tasted the wines from Fattoria Poggio Alloro, another organic farm and winery. Now I’m no wine connoisseur, but this was Chianti wine country, after all. The wine was so good!
As it states in the tour description, “We’ve taken care of all the details so all you have to worry about is how much Chianti wine you can fit in your suitcase.” That couldn’t be more accurate. If I wasn’t traveling with only a carry-on, I would have cleaned out both wineries!
From what I saw to what I ate, I had fulfilled my Tuscan dream!
Company: Walks of Italy
Tour: Tuscany Day Trip from Florence with Chianti, Siena & San Gimignano
Van transportation, ticket costs to enter the Siena Catherdral, lunch, and the wine tasting are included in the tour price. And the van has WiFi, too!
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This post was written in collaboration with Walks of Italy. All opinions and ramblings about my tummy rumblings are my own!