Following Venice, we caught the fast train to Florence where we were to pick up our rental car and drive to the outskirts of San Gimignano for a three-night stay at Agriturismo Cesani. During our travels, I discovered that there was going to be a gelato festival on in Florence on the day we arrived, so our plan was to have some gelato and grab some lunch before picking up the hire car.
That plan was somewhat ruined when we arrived to pretty wet weather.
Trying not to let the weather get to us, we went and had lunch at Il Latini. We both ordered pasta, and given it was brought to our table within about three minutes of ordering, I think it was plated to order, not cooked to order. It was here that we also had our first taste of pane Toscano bread and D, who isn’t a fan of salt, finally learnt its value. The look on his face when he took a bite of salt-less bread was rather priceless, as I’m sure was mine. The story goes that, back in the middle ages, there was a heavy tax on salt, so Tuscan bakers made bread without it. Why they continue to do so when salt is readily available is beyond me, because the bread was horrible and no amount of salted butter could fix it!
On our way back to pick up the car we did stop at the gelato festival despite the weather. It was set up in a similar way to most food festivals – buy tokens up front and exchange the tokens for gelato. We shared five scoops between us and the choc orange flavour was probably the best one we had.
When we arrived at Avis, I was given the choice of an Audi or a Fiat convertible – despite it not being very warm, I was determined that we were going to do some top down cruising so went with the Fiat. Overall, despite all the scary stories, driving in Italy wasn’t too bad, but then I only did it for four days, and most of that was on the country roads around San Gimignano and Siena.
When we arrived at our apartment at the agriturismo, it felt like we had stepped back 20 years in time.
The view outside more than made up for it though.
Overall, the apartment that we stayed in was spacious, well equipped and a bargain at only 90 Euro a night. Staying on a working farm also meant that wine and olive oil tastings were on offer. D loved their Chianti and for six Euro a bottle it was a steal, if only it wasn’t going to cost 200 Euro just to ship 12 back! In hindsight, given D’s vast and rapidly growing wine collection, it probably was a good thing
There was a continental breakfast available too for six Euro each that had a range of cured meats, cheese, bread and home made cakes. Overall, we loved our stay there and would happily go back if the opportunity ever presented itself.
As for eating out, we didn’t really get to explore the area that much. I slipped down some stairs early on our third day which meant getting around those famous rolling hills of Tuscany was somewhat difficult. I’m rather thankful that the camera I had around my neck at the time was completely undamaged.
So, for dinner we made use of the kitchen in the apartment and sat outside with this incredible view. Who needs two completely functioning ankles, anyway?
I so very, very much wanted to go up in a hot air balloon while we were there, and we got up at 5am twice, only for it to be cancelled because of the weather. I think the disappointment from that was more devastating than that caused by a rolled ankle.
As we didn’t really eat out, I don’t have any food photos to show you (shock horror, I know) from Tuscany, so here’s some more of the scenery. I promise to more than make up for it in our next stop, Rome.
For some reason that I cannot explain, I absolutely love the photo of the orange flowers above. It’s one of my favourites from the whole trip!