To fall in love with Tuscany
The flight to Florence was diverting. The view from the airplane is always breathtaking. After landing; our rental car was ready to fetch and we were full of beans for our trip through Tuscany.
We enjoyed the ride to Pistoia, where Veronica and Stefan, our landlady and landlord were welcoming us in their house. Actually house is understated il Campo del Mulino is a huge country house surrounded by a lovely park with lots of flowers and trees. The garden is the masterpiece of Veronica. She has a green thumb and pictorial eyes. The garden is a dream with a pool and a tennis court.
In Capostrada (Pistoia) is their favorite restaurant located called La Limonaia, which we also tested. The local Mediterranean food was delicious.
Once in a lifetime a trip to Pisa is a must. The town was crowded with tourists from all over the world. All of them were focused on the same spot: The famous leaning tower of Pisa.
Lucca is my favorite spot in Tuscany. The small village is surrounded by a town wall. Behind the walls lots of restaurants, shops and historical places are waiting to be discovered. I love to stroll around. The cafeterias have benches and tables outside were we could sit and sip one tea or one coffee and watch the hustle and bustle. For lunch we tried the Buca di San Antonio, with great local dishes.
Tuscany, San Gimignano
After the warm hospitality of Veronica and Stefano we left il Campo del Mulino. Our next stop was Siena. On the way to the city we stopped in San Gimignano, a small historical town with lots of towers, the town’s landmark.
Siena is a must in Tuscany, with lots of places of interests, like the Palazzo Pubblico, the Torre del Mangia, with a gorgeous view over the city, or the Pinacoteca Nazionale. The oldest bank Monte dei Panschi in Siena might be an interesting spot as well. The center of the town is the Piazza del Campo. The place is surrounded by restaurants. At the 2nd of July and the 16th of August a horse ride takes place, called Palio di Siena. It’s a passion for the Sieneses. Groups of different Contades take part of the race. Each Contrade does have their own color flag and emblem, which are displayed along the streets. The Palio prize is a Drappellone, a large canvas created by different artists. The canvas will be shown in their contrada museum.
We had dinner in the Il Biondo, a restaurant in the old town area. The dishes were delicious and the service great.
Our next stop is the Castello Banfi the highlight of our trip through Tuscany. The Castello charms the guests and is a beauty spot. It’s a wonderful place to be. The suites are lovely and the service is world class.
During the summer season, the dishes are served in the garden. After the sunset candles will light the tables, which gives a full atmosphere. The dinner was a delicacy and topped with wine from the own vineyards. After the meal we could walk down to our bedrooms. Each room named after great wine. Our room was Excelsus, what a perfect wine.
After a wonderful evening with wine tasting and a delicious dinner we had to say goodbye.
Our trip will end in Florence. The life there is extremely busy, especially during the summer holidays. It’s so crowded in front of all points of interest and it’s very boring queuing up all the time.
One of our preferred spots was the garden Boboli. A great place to be when the weather is full of sunshine and the temperature is above 35°C. Unfortunately there will be no restaurant at the top even the map has mentioned some places as coffee houses. One tagged spot had a vending machine with bottles to buy. But the right currency and coins were needed otherwise there will be no chance to get any bottle of water. This is more than unamusing after a walk up the hill. A good advice: Buy water bottles in advance! After all, the view was great but the garden was disappointing. I would have expected more flowers and green areas.
The Cattedrale Di Santa Maria del Fiori is one of the famous spots in Florence. Having a chance not queuing up for hours is the fact to buy tickets in advance or at least one day before you attend to get there. Make sure that you will be in front of the door shortly they will open at 8:00 am.
Florence has so many great restaurants with local or Italian food. On the roof top of the Grand Hotel Minerva is a pool bar located were sandwiches, salads and little snacks can be ordered. Sitting under the shade of umbrellas with a light breeze of wind in the hair is the best what can be done after a shopping trip through the town on a hot summer day.
The Osteria dall’ Oste it’s a well-known restaurant with local food. Also vegetarians will find delicious pasta dishes. A busy place! The service is well-organized.
A dinner for two with a gorgeous view will be found in the Sesto at the Westin Excelsior Hotel. The food is excellent and the desserts are the cherry on top. The price is on the higher side, but you will get a full package for the price. We spent a great evening there.
Fresh pasta is like heaven on earth! For all pasta lovers the Osteria Pastella will be the right place for lunch or dinner. Have a look at the pasta production in front of the window.
The food stalls in the market hall is a place for food lovers. Fruits, vegetables, fish, meat, pasta and flowers can be bought there. Food can also be tested there are several restaurants with local dishes with ingredients from the market.
Our trip to Tuscany ended. The Chef’s Handyman team had a great time. It was not the last time we spend our vacation there. We will be back.
Have a great start into the new week, yours Chef’s Handyman team.
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