Posted by: illinigirl | June 10, 2009

Florence–Day 2 (Wine Tour Day!)

Yes, people. . . this day was the highlight of my whole wonderful trip!

We had an awesome tour guide pick us up in Florence and drive us around the countryside winetasting and otherstuff tasting.  A-MAZ-ING. . . and *when* I go back. . . I will be in touch with our awesome guide, Nathalie, again!  I’m not going to give *everything* away about this trip because my mom will be going someday. . . and I’d like the rest of you to get to go and not spoil all the fun!

We started out going to a really nice spot overlooking the city of Florence for some pictures and some history. . .

Our tour guide met us here. . . so pretty.

First. . . a drive to our first stop. . . a spot overlooking the city of Florence for a little history lesson of the city. . .

a bit squinty!

a bit squinty!

Then. . . driving around Tuscany to get to our first castle. . .

The drive was so beautiful.  Lance said that I would be amazed how it really *was* like the movie “Under the Tuscan Sun”. . . it absolutely was!

The first stop was the Castle Vicchiomaggio. . . Leonardi di Vinci stayed at this castle when he was painting the Mona Lisa. . . You can stay at the castle, which just seems so cool. . . there is a pool that butts right up to a cliff overlooking the beautiful Tuscan hills.  Check out this website:  http://www.vicchiomaggio.com/eng/wedding_01.html

Thought this was cool

Thought this was cool

We heard the secret story about Leonardo di Vinchi, and “Grandpa” who lived at the castle’s theory about he and Mona Lisa. . . but it’s a secret so I can’t share.  😉

Not sure why I have a dumb smile, but oh well!  I look goofy in all these pictures. . . and even before we started tasting!

In the background in the Verrazzano Castle. . . our next stop!

All the wines we tasted at Vicchiomaggio!

We tasted many of these wines at Vicchiomaggio!

Next, we met the most colorful character of our day. . . R-r-r-r-oberta, who worked at the Verrazzano Castle.  Yes, “r’s” must be rolled!  She is a really neat lady who is PASSIONATE about her job.  You MUST follow her rules and make her happy, or you will not get to taste as much and be on her bad side.  She likes the wines to be compared to Italian cars, she loves Obama and knows EVERYTHING about he and his family, etc., she is too funny.  You just have to experience her to get what I mean. . . and I won’t spoil any of the stories.  You have to get on your tip toes and raise your glass for a picture.  I didn’t understand why, but R-r-r-r-oberta wants you to have a picture where it looks like you are in the vineyard.  She must approve each picture!  🙂  She never should have approved this double-chin.  Maybe I can edit it out once I learn how to use photoshop?

Verrazzano was a famous explorer who discovered the Hudson area in NY.  This was his castle!

Verrazzano was a famous explorer who discovered the Hudson area in NY. This was his castle!

R-r-r-r-oberta also lets you taste olive oil. . . but you must to it her way. . . by taking a shot of it!  It was actually really good though.  Liz and I both bought bottles of olive oil!  We also each had a spoonful of aged balsamic.  I HATE vinegar and cannot even stand the smell of it or the smell of vinaigrettes. . . but this was AMAZING.  I didn’t buy any, and now I’m really disappointed I didn’t.

Our guide later told us that Morgan Freeman recently stayed at the castle, and he and R-r-r-r-oberta became friends.  They are friends on facebook (MF has an alias). . . R-r-r-r-oberta has over 800 friends on facebook, according to Nathalie.  Ha!

Next, we went to Greve.  SUCH a beautiful little town. . . with such a hunky butcher!  Nathalie took us to the fabulous butcher shop. . . that Jamie Oliver from the Food Network has visited on his show. . . I can see why.  Everything was so good there.  We tried some salami (which I am normally not a fan of). . . sooooo good.  Also had some pecorino cheese!

Doesnt look all that appealing in the ceiling like this. . . but the meat in Italy was fan-freakin-tastic!

Doesn't look all that appealing in the ceiling like this. . . but the prosciutto in Italy was fan-freakin-tastic! See the fur on the wild boar leg? Yummy!

Hello, hunky butcher!

The town square is so cute! . . . but I am displeased with my pics!  I bought some really gorgeous postcards but will not scan them in for copyright purposes. . . and none of the websites I found on Greve show very good pictures of the center of town.  Oh well.  Just imagine. . .

Loved this walk. . . so cute. . .

You know, Id be willing to take one for the team and move to Greve for the hunky butcher.  Not a bad spot!  ;)

You know, I'd be willing to take one for the team and move to Greve for the hunky butcher. Not a bad spot! 😉

This is the house where Mona Lisa lived. . . di Vinchi walked an *awfully* long way to paint her. . .

This is the house where Mona Lisa lived. . . di Vinchi walked an *awfully* long way to paint her. . .

Next, we went to the Montagliari Winery. . . a small winery with only Mom, Dad, and the son running it. . .

Some pictures in the winery. . . we were in the Chianti Classico region. . .

Our birth year vintage (not for drinking. . . just for collectors)

Olive oils. . . I got a garlic infused one. . . wish I would have got more!!!

Some scenes from lunch. . . yes, we ate with this scenery surrounding us!

Now this was funny. . . We were quite tipsy by this point because we tasted here, too. . . and then had wine with lunch.  We tasted a dessert wine, where you dip biscotti in it (really not called “biscotti”. . . in Italy, they are “cantucci”). . . We LOVED the cantucci.  Nathalie told us that the “mom” at the winery made them.  We asked if we could buy some.  They came out and said one kilo would be 80 Euros.  We couldn’t understand if she said “80” or “18” but basically agreed to this because they were so good and we were so tipsy. . . then it was like. . . “CRAP!  Did we just agree to pay $80 for cookies!?!?”  We could not stop laughing.  Turns out, it was *18* Euros. . . but it turns out that one kilo is equal to one CRAPTON.  Wow. . . a lot of cookies!  Here’s me displaying our treasure!

Ummm. . . yeah.

I’ll have to do another post for our last night in Florence. . . but this day was all we hoped for and more!  So much fun, so many neat experiences, and so much good food!!!  Can you see why I loved it???  I wish you could taste why I loved it!

I’ll be contacting Nathalie again for sure. . . if anyone is looking to go to Tuscany and wants a fantastic tourguide, drop me a note!!!

Advertisements

Responses

  1. that’s mona lisa’s house? amazing…and big too.

  2. […] Florence–Day 2 (wine day!) […]


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Categories

%d bloggers like this: