(8/1) Monday morning, we took a train to Florence. Got a rental car (a hybrid Yaris) and drove to Castello di Verrazzano in the heart of Chianti, Tuscany. One of the oldest wine producing families, same family as the explorer after whom the bridge in NYC is named. Had lunch there followed by a tour and tasting. Beautiful views, delicious chianti wine, and afternoon thunderstorm. We made friends with a random couple also visiting and gave them a ride to Greve on our way to our AirBnb in Panzano. The place was gorgeous.. Rustic Tuscan villa all to ourselves up on a hill with insane views. Outdoor patio overlooking the quintessential Tuscan valley, rolling hills, etc that we will use for meals. A nice loft inside for reading, etc that we wouldn’t use.
After relaxing a bit, we went to one of the most famous butchers in Tuscany for dinner. I had read about it in the Frommer’s guide – it claimed that Dario Cecchini could recite Dante’s Inferno. Too bad, we didn’t get to hear him recite. Course after course of meat. Served family style on a round table with other groups – so we had nice dinner conversation. There was a couple visiting from Istanbul, a family from Switzerland, and a couple of girls from Long Island! One of the courses was called “Rosemary up the ass” and I have a pic of it on the right. Walked back to the AirBnb late at night – midnight – was a bit creepy as we had to pass by a cemetery.
(8/2) Tuesday started the day with a nice breakfast on the patio overlooking the quintessential Tuscan scene, valley and hills covered in vineyards. Our first stop for the day was Antinori, another old family wine producer. We had signed up for an expensive tour + tasting and their wines were decent. They made us watch a rather lengthy video about the family but the place felt super sterile, as far away from anything “family” as you can imagine (pic on left ). But we got to explore some of the vineyard and see some grapes, which was nice.
Next we want to San Gimignano, a medieval town in Tuscany known for its towers. Apparently, families built these as a show of their wealth and there were 70+ in its prime but only a few remain now. Had lunch at a random restaurant there, food was so-so. Then climbed up one of the towers to see some sick views. From the top we saw a spot – mostly just road – from where we thought there might be a good view of the city. So after descending the tower, we made our way back out of the city and drove around looking for the spot. We did find some good viewpoints but the city was too far and my phone’s camera couldn’t really capture it.
Got Pizza and Pasta takeout on the way back and had dinner on our AirBnb’s patio while enjoying the sunset over Tuscany. It was a bit cloudy so not as idyllic as the next day. The rose was courtesy of our hosts and it was just perfect for the summer sunset with some pizza and pasta.