Monday, September 28, 2015

A Few Hours in Florence {Italy, Part 3}

So you remember our night at Officina Della Bistecca? Well, needless to say, it affected our morning. We had grand plans to wake up at 6:30 to return our car to Florence and explore for a few hours. This didn't happen.

What did happen was that we slept in until we had to check out (11am) and then made the hour's drive north to the Florence airport to return our car. After a quick taxi to the train station, a stop to drop off our bags and a quick walk, we arrived in Florence proper! After a stroll through Piazza della Repubblica and a bit of gelato, we felt (sort of) brand new.

We climbed up both the Campanile (bell tower) and the Duomo. May have been a mistake on our part, especially considering our state, but it worked out all right. The views from both 400+ steps up were really worth it. The bell tower's view of the Duomo was amazing, but the view of the Duomo's internal paintings couldn't be beat. Afterwards, we had just enough time to haggle in the leather markets for a new bag, cross the Ponte Vecchio and see the (fake) David in Piazza della Signoria before we had to jump on a train to Naples.

Not nearly enough time in one of my favorite cities, but enough to convince Jason that he would like to return!

Next up: Well...let's just skip the rest of this horrible day. Gist is: 4 hours on a train, 1 hour on the Circumvesuviana, and 1.5 of the WORST hours of my life on a bus (crying and a doggie bag were both included) from Sorrento to Praiano - Amalfi Coast. We'll pick up at the fun part next!

Monday, September 21, 2015

Montalcino & Chianti {Italy, Part 2}

We primarily rented a car (loved our little green panda!) so that we were able to drive through Tuscany. We were able to see some of the most beautiful hills in the Val d'Orcia on the way to Montalcino. This town is known for amazing porchetta and Brunello wine. Oh Brunello wine. We stopped in at the Enoteca in the Fortezza in town and did a tasting outside. We were literally tasting $100 bottles of was amazing.

Afterwards, we walked around town, stopping for lunch at Taverna del Grappolo Blu. It was a yummy little lunch with the best bruschetta of our trip - delicious! That night, we headed back to Montepulicano for the Bravio delle Botti, which is covered in my last post.

The next morning, we started our northern journey past Siena and on to Chianti. We had a lovely tasting at Dievole and would honestly love to stay here next time. The grounds were so lovely! We bought a few bottles for the road and kept driving north.

We stopped at Enoteca Falorni in Greve in Chianti for some more wine tasting and a light lunch. (We had big plans for dinner.) This place was awesome and had hundreds of wine on tap. You received a card which tallied up your fees. You could get a sip of most anything for less than a euro, but if you wanted more, and of the fancier wines, it could range up to 50/glass! Our tab was much smaller - around 30 Euros for wine and a cheese/meat plate.

Afterwards, we went to our hotel, Relais Fattoria Valle, and hung out by the pool until it was time to get ready for the main event.  This place was pretty awesome, but we just didn't get enough time to enjoy it. We based ourselves in Panzano in Chianti for one reason - L'Officina Della Bistecca!

This meal was basically one huge party. We met people from all over the world (shout out to Dougie and Penelope from London!) that were there to experience the genius that is Dario Cecchini. For 50 Euro/person, we had course upon wonderful course of meat, vegetables and wine. You definitely can't forget the wine! It was truly every meat-eater's dream. As we staggered home at the end of the night, we were extremely glad we had rented close by.

Up next: Not nearly enough time in Florence!