It is so weird to think that a month ago, Sean and I were celebrating our anniversary in Florence on a day long wine tour, sipping nice local wines in the Tuscan Hills and enjoying the heat that had yet to reach London. It’s also so weird to think that life has been on fast forward since then – house moves, career moves, and summer speeding by in general (all will be explained in the next couple of weeks)!
When Sean and I were in Munich, we went on a castle day trip and absolutely loved it. I used to be against organized tours because I just pictured annoying tourists in fanny packs getting laughed at by the other people visiting the sites. However, given that we weren’t going to make it to the castles without someone to take us there, I did some research and picked a tour. And I loved every second of it. It was so nice to make absolutely no effort for a full day and still feel like I got so much out of it – the sights were incredible, the history was fascinating, and I got to do something I wouldn’t have done otherwise!
[We pretty much had this as our permanent view throughout the entire day!]
Going into the Florence trip, I wanted to do another day tour and knew it had to be wine related (when in Tuscany…), so we searched around and ended up choosing a Chianti Region Wine and Cheese Tour from Viator. I mean – wine and cheese – how could I have said no? We had such an amazing day – our guide, Alessandro, was fantastic, the food and wine were both amazing, and we met some lovely couples! Note: Be warned that this tour is also called a “safari” because it gets a bit roller coaster-like at times when driving through the winding Tuscan roads. I loved it, but maybe not ideal for those who are easily car sick!
[The first of ten wines for the day]
Stop #1: Castello de Poppiano
We hopped on a minibus in Florence bright and early on our anniversary not knowing what to expect, or how much money we were going to spend on wine! The tour took us on a nice drive through Florence and toward Tuscany. We started at a large winery and toured the wine cellar, the olive oil factory (apparently everyone makes both wine and olive oil), and the port tower (which led us to incredible views) before sitting down for the wine tasting. This winery was in a castle, and people actually live in the castle…hello dream come true!
[I still cannot believe a family actually lives in this castle…and makes wine and olive oil #goals]
[At the top of the dessert wine tower, we had a view that went on for miles]
We tried three wines and a dessert wine on the tour, and some olive oil (which was fantastic). Sean and I ended up purchasing a bottle of wine and a bottle of dessert wine and I left a very happy camper.
[Happy as a clam with my souvenirs]
[A little window into the world of Tuscan country living]
Stop #2: Lunch at La Cantinetta Di Rignana
After the first tour, we headed to a local restaurant (apparently no tourist would ever stumble upon it) which had a vineyard for their house wines, gorgeous views, and phenomenal food. We had a proper Italian three course meal – crostini to start (the chicken liver pate was my favorite!), followed by a spaghetti first course, and grilled meats for the second course. They cook the meats on a wood-burning grill and they were amazing. We also had three glasses of wine during this meal.
[Probably one of my favorite pictures from our trip – lunch and wine with this view!]
I meant to take more pictures of the restaurant but was so distracted by the food that I completely forgot. Admittedly, I even had to google the name because I didn’t take the time to write it down!
[The amazing crostini selection – I ate so much I have no idea how I had room for the rest of the meal!]
Stop 3: Dessert stop in Greve-in-Chianti
We stopped in Greve-In-Chianti, a little tourist town, for gelato and cappuccinos and some souvenir shopping. To be honest, we did not get very far beyond the main square so I do not have a ton of thoughts on the town, but it was an incredibly cute town square and the coffee was lovely!
[This logo – spotted in Greve – represents wines of the Chianti Classico region]
Stop 4: Cinciano
By the time we left Greve-In-Chianti, I was so exhausted that I fell asleep for a solid hour on the way to the next stop, our final winery visit. This one was much smaller than the first, but I absolutely loved it! It is based in a luxury inn (which was surprisingly completely empty) and seemed like the perfect place for a romantic getaway! The wine cellar was actually above ground, in converted stables, and seemed like a place I could spend my entire day.
[Cinciano was such a lovely little place – down below was a pool overlooking the region for summer guests.]
We wandered around a bit before the final wine tasting (three more wines), which was paired with some classic Italian meats and cheeses from the butcher shop in Greve-In-Chianti. We left with yet another bottle of wine. I definitely want to go back here on our Italy road trip (currently planning…) for a nice night in the country!
[I was so obsessed with this room with the entirely brick interior, candles, and barrels on barrels of the good stuff!]
[Alessandro setting up our snacks and wine]
I love wine. And cheese. And I now love guided tours. So this was a pretty perfect day and honestly the best way I could think to spend an anniversary with someone you love and who loves to travel as much as you do. It was incredible romantic despite the group setting and left us with over a hundred pictures to remember it by (and three bottles of wine we are ready to open once we move into our new house!).