There's something about Tuscany that has always captured my fascination and, of course, movies like 'Letters To Juliet' have only served to intensify this feeling. I was a little sceptical as to whether the region would look like it does in the movies but after 2 days and over 400kms of driving I can say it absolutely does, in fact, it's even better.
If you're planning an itinerary in the region it can be overwhelming deciding where to go but after a lot of research and a lot of digging we decided to base our ventures around 2 key regions - Greve and Val D'Orcia.
The first day we headed south from Florence and onto the SR222 which is a spectacular winding road that takes you up through the hills and down in the valleys in the region of Greve. We stopped for lunch under the vines in quaint Panzano at Oltre Il Giardino. They have the most spectacular balcony that overlooks the region. Be sure to book ahead.
After a bite we continued south to Castellina with its charming stone architecture, bright blooms and vine-covered walls. The chiming church bells, winking sunlight and scent of jasmine here has an intoxicating effect.
Driving along the SR222 you're sure to find many picturesque spots. The region is covered in Chianti vines with plenty of green landscapes and villa-style homes. High on my list was to spot a driveway lined with these Tuscan Cyrpus trees. When I spotted this lot I braked so hard I almost sent Mum through the windscreen.
After that lot of excitement we turned off the SR222 and headed slightly west for Monteriggioni an incredibly historic walled city perched way up on top of a hill. It's a tiny place. The wall is only 500m in circumference, but it boasts some of the most beautiful buildings. It's like it's stuck in a century-old time warp.
We rounded out the end of Tuscan Day 1 with dinner at the highest point in Chianti. Let's just say the meal was a total highlight. More on that in my next post.
After a very sound slumber, Tuscan Day 2 dawned and it was time to set off again. This time to Val D'Orcia, south east of Siena. This is said to be the most beautiful region of Tuscany. The vineyard-covered hills of the north are replaced with wheat fields and huge expanses of sunflowers here and their golden hues create a spectacular sight.
In this region the towns of Montalcino and Montepulciano are worth a stop. As is the incredibly beautiful [and very well hidden] Cappella Di Viteleta. A tiny chapel perched on a hill in the middle of nowhere. Google Map this one and bring good walking shoes. You'll need to climb over a fence [sneakily, it's private property!] and walk a good 20mins. But it's worth it.
Undoubtedly a place to revitalise the soul, Tuscany has been an absolute highlight. Of all the places I've been, it's one that will really stand out in my memory. The vastness of the landscape and the intoxicating sense you get from adventure and exploring its many regions is unmissable.
Share your comments with me on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter.
Photos by Krissie.