Not sure how to do this, you know we like to eat and travel, soooo I am actually not a professional travel guide. Some photos might be blurry (you know, too much wine) and honestly this time we went completely not prepared and decided to just walk/drive and stop where we like it
Italy, Tuscany – when you think about perfect romantic scenery, sipping wine while snacking antipasti, watching the sun disappearing behind golden hills – that is Tuscany.
Best time to go there (at least our recommendation) in May or September.
4 days in Tuscany
First stop – Verona, we decided to spend a night here to explore the city. We arrived around 1pm which is worst possible timing as all restaurant are opened till 2pm and reopening around 6-7pm. We managed to find a really cute place to fill our bellies with some local goodies and prepare us for wine time.
After quick lunch we explored the city, walked around and just enjoy the magic of Italy, beautiful historical buildings and smell of food from open windows (I am always imaging family gathering when all stores and restaurant close, having lunch together at one big table).
We used this “quiet” period of the day and to visit touristic attractions. While wondering around we’ve stopped and enjoy some different wines and bites at Osteria da Ugo. To wrap up the day we treated ourselves with filled zucchini flowers for dinner. Yummy!
Next day… our first stop was Florence, we went directly to Mercato Centrale for lunch. That was truly a BeastFeast playground. All that fresh food, and CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE everywhere. On the 1stfloor of Mercato, you will find many different restaurants offering THE best of Italian food.
As Florence is the must see for every tourist, city is packed and really crowded, so we did our version of a quick sightseeing and continued to our next destination – our home for next days.
It is a bit hard to find but it gives you real Tuscany experience. As soon as we unload the car first thing was to find a local supermarket. Maybe sounds weird but that is how we usually get the feeling of local food and how locals eat. We’ve spent there almost 2 hours and bought EVERYTHING. That night we decided to cook at home as we bought so much delicious food and had an amazing BeastFeast dinner on our terrace.
New day, new BeastFeast adventure. Today we decided to hit the road and visit some wineries. First on the list was one of our favorite ones:Winery Antinori. The Antinori family has been committed to the art of winemaking for over six centuries since 1385. They are one of the biggest wine companies in Italy and the 10th oldest family owned company in the world. Today, Antinori produces more than 12 million bottles per year.
Impressive architecture, more like modern museum and not a typical winery. We were a bit disappointed as we were expecting more Tuscany alike winery surrounded by nature and family welcoming guests. But definitely a TO DO, if you find yourself in that area.
Remember how I said how this time we did not plan anything (reserve any restaurant or wine tasting), well maybe that was not the best idea. Most of the wineries were closed as apparently, they are working only if you book a tour, we even did not find anyone around. After facing few closed doors, just driving down the road we said we will give it a last try.
Montecalvi Winery – we drove up the hill and parked the car in front of a beautiful historical building covered with climbing ivy. Just for a second when we thought no one is there, someone said “welcome”. A young lady, with big passion for wine and Italy, owner’s daughter; told us the story about this hidden gem. Of course, first she brought some wine to taste.
Montecalvi was once part of Castello di’Uzzano, the estate of the family of Niccolò da Uzzano, a Florentine politician and “Gonfaloniere di Giustizia”. Castello di’Uzzano has been making wine since (at the least) the 14th Century.
In the 1980s, the house and vineyards were acquired by the Bolli family. The Bolli family restored the villa (from the 18th Century) and the hayloft (15th Century) and set about extending the vineyard area, always with any eye towards sustainable, organic farming in the vineyard and excellence and “tipicità” (tipicity) in the wine. The Bollis achieved great success over many years, with a number of notable awards.
Montecalvi is now owned by the Drake family, owners of the Collalto estate in Australia. Jacqueline Bolli owned and operated Montecalvi for many years kindly agreed to stay on as consultant and head of sales.
If you have the chance, visit Montecalvi and maybe you are lucky enough to get the same treatment as we did.
After a long day of winetastings…is there anything better than fresh Italian food paired with wine we bought that day!
Our last day in Tuscany we decided to visit Siena and San Gimignano. Let’s go!
Arrived in Siena, my favorite city in Tuscany. Full of little hidden streets with small authentic wine shops and restaurants. Strolling around without maps in your hands is always the best way to see how local people do it. It was lunch time and that smell coming out of homes makes you want to eat eat and eat.
Our lunch spot was a typical local place where you are squeezed with other guests at one table.
San Gimignano – last stop; even already tired from the day we went there for one reason, and that is worlds best ice cream (please don’t judge us). City is beautiful itself, so we lined up for ice cream and stroll around to find a place for perfect sunset.
That´s a wrap, till next BeastFeast journey!