Chianti and Cashmere – two of many treasures of Tuscany
Welcome to Tuscany Part II! Moving from the coast to the hills and wine country of Chianti for another four days of Tuscan treasure-hunting.
We’ll carry on with a short drive to the medieval town of Volterra – a quaint hillside town that’s rich with Roman and Etruscan history. For history and museum enthusiasts, the Teatro Romano (Roman Theater & Baths), Museo Etrusco Guarnacci and Palazzo Viti are highlights. I enjoyed a leisurely café latte in the Piazza and found some lovely hand-made alabaster gifts, something the region in known for.
My birthday lunch was celebrated at the Podere San Lorenzo, an agriturismo B&B with breath-taking views and simply divine food…and wine, of course. Situated 3km from Volterra and miles away from city bustle, this spot is for you if you crave a rejuvenating quiet get-away. An afternoon drive and cat-nap brought us to our home for the next four evenings, B&B Fagiolori. One might say this these are sister-properties as the proprietors are literally sisters. This cozy, elegant estate is nestled in among cypress trees, beautiful blooming flowers and rolling hills of vineyards. The bumpy country path from the estate was a thirteen-minute jog for me up to the quaint town of Panzano. My morning work-outs were exhilarating given the never-ending beauty of the landscape. Definitely put a smile on my face and a spring in my step…joy-time indeed!
And what better way to continue the positive energy, than with wine tasting and a light lunch at the
Montefioralle Winery. I’ve heard Chianti described as ‘Happiness in a glass’ and I’m not one to disagree. Shifting from the luxuries of fine wine to cashmere, we had the opportunity to visit Chianti Cashmere Goat Farm to learn more about the process and art of raising cashmere goats. If you visit, ask to meet Jellybean the goat and if you’re lucky, you might get to feed her!
Continuing the theme of fabulous food and wine, the next evening we were hosted by Stephania Balducci for cooking lessons and dinner as we prepared. Stephania’s home and Pasta al Pesto demonstration kitchen inspires even the most elementary cooks, myself included, to dive into the culinary creativity and fun. Stephania’s describes it best – “in Italy the kitchen is the heart of the house”.
For city immersions, Siena and Florence are not to be missed. Each with their own rich and colorful history and culture. With the encouragement of my traveling tribe, I climbed the 31 flights of the Mangia Tower . The views overlooking the Piazza del Campo made the sweat-equity a distant memory with picture-perfect payoff.
One of many attractions in Florence, the Uffizi Gallery could fill a day in itself. A guided walking tour provided rich context to better understand and navigate the vast collection of works by great Italian artists such as Botticelli, Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and Raffaell. Cornelia, Context Travel guide, shared her expertise and passion as an art historian. With a PhD in art history focused on Medici family, one couldn’t ask for a more inspired and inspiring host making the three hours fly by.
These are just samples of the many adventures and highlights offered from this delightful and delicious corner of the world. Exploring, learning, sharing and savoring the delights of Tuscany – what a fabulous way to celebrate my birthday-week! I encourage you to go on your own Italian adventure. It will make memories of a lifetime!
For more information:
B&B Fagiolari http://www.fagiolari.it/
Context Walking Tours https://www.contexttravel.com/cities/florence
Chianti Cashmere http://www.chianticashmere.com/
Cypress Tours http://www.cypresstours.net
Montefioralle Winery http://www.montefioralle.wine/
Pasta al Pesto & Stephania Balducci http://www.pastaalpesto.com/
Podere San Lorenzo http://www.agriturismo-volterra.it/
Uffizi Gallery in Florence http://www.uffizi.org/