Shocking fact about me – I wasn’t a fan of Italy (at all) before I visited Tuscany last year. I hear you say “That is because you haven’t seen it!” but I did: Palermo, Naples, Rome, Florence, Pisa, Milan, Venice – and, honestly, wasn’t looking forward to explore more. Then my girlfriends literally dragged me to Tuscany over a long weekend – and, WOW, it really left a strong impression on me.
One post won’t summon it all so let’s start with the obvious: vineyards. Not sure how, but the fact that, apart from the obvious of drinking and buying wine, you can stay in a vineyard, eat in a vineyard, even visit an art gallery in vineyard – totally passed me by.
My 3 girlfriends and I stayed in a vineyard with this view in a Chianti region. Tourist season has just ended, so the restaurant there wasn’t serving breakfast. Keep in mind if you want everything and a little bit more to be open, mid-April to end of September is the time to go then.
However, for our group of toddler Mums and workhaholics, coming in mid October was the best decision ever. No crowd, only birds and nature in perfect 20C-ish temperature. To wake up, drive up to buy fresh bread and then sit half a day having breakfast (yes, even if it stretches until 2 pm) and gazing over vineyards – awwww, I can be calmer simply by thinking about those mornings.
After our extensive breakfasts, we normally had a plan what to visit: yes, you are thinking write, mostly vineyards! To recommend a vineyard in Tuscany seems an impossible task – anywhere you look there are vines of 50 shades of green. Where there are vines, there are olive trees as well!
During the weekend we ended up visiting (only) two wineries. Let me start with with first one one – Castello di Ama. It had amazing art exhibition. To be fare, I wouldn’t call what they offer “a wine tasting”, rather “an extensive art walk that leads to a room with wines”. The owner has a passion both for wines and art that makes this very special place, below are some impressive pieces there. Suggestion for improvement: to give guests a generous glass of wine before the art walk.
Second winery that we visited was more in my taste – cool modern architecture with picturesque surroundings – Antinori nel Chianti Classico. The building was constructed solely with local materials with the focus for sustainability and low environmental footprint. Though it looks futuristic once you get to the entrance – you barely see it from the highway, everything was done not to destroy the beauty of the vines surrounding the main building.
Restaurant in the vineyard is absolutely stunning – if you are not in the mood or have very little time for a whole tour and a wine tasting, head out to the restaurant on the top floor instead. They do magical classical Italian dishes to perfection plus you all the wines that the vineyard is known for overlooking the scenery and surrounded by the vines.
Are you already checking tickets? Stay tunes – more narration to come.
Links and comments:
- Fattoria Pratale: very cozy and rustic apartments right in the heart of a vineyard. If you come during the touristic season, wine tastings and cooking classes are available as well.
- Castello di Ama: mostly art with wine type of a vineyard. Personally, won’t go there one more time for the wine experience. Art lovers, however, would really enjoy it.
- Antinori nel Chianti Classico: if you love impressive modern architecture framed with the beautiful nature and topped with great wine selection, this vineyard is a must-visit.
- Get there by air: flight to Pisa (Vespucci airport) or Florence (Galileo Galilei) depending which part of Tuscany
- Transportation: I would say that you must have a car when in Tuscany – otherwise, it is very expensive and quite a pain to take cabs. There are public buses between bigger towns but that definitely take away whole experience. Alcohol limit is 0,05% (as per writing this post) – so even the driver can enjoy a glass of wine.