Whilst every day is splendid in Tuscany, some days are just that little bit more special.
Our great day out in Tuscany from Florence started with our private Tuscan driver arriving at our accommodation in Florence to collect us.
Just a few moments out of Florence’s city centre, we stopped in at Piazzale Michelangelo, the square overlooking Florence and offering arguably* the best views over Florence’s historical city centre, the famed Ponte Vecchio ‘old bridge’ majestically perched across the Arno river, the early morning golden Tuscan sunshine flickering across the Arno River’s gently swaying water.
And the Duomo. Oh, the Duomo.
The rest of the city crouches lowly around the Duomo if reverently kneeling before it. The occasional bell tower rises up around the city, stretching up in a vain attempt to reach the height of the Duomo.
You really don’t get an idea of just how grand Florence’s cathedral is until you see it from this vantage point, rising out of the city centre of Florence and towering above the entire city (which actually has imposed building height restrictions to ensure this always remains the case).
Our breaths taken by the view, we returned to our private van to continue on our day out in Tuscany.
The winding roads pulled us this way and that, as picturesque views flashed up before us, beside us and all around with each curve of the road.
Mesmerized by the views, it seemed no time at all until we arrived for a wine tasting at a Tuscan villa. We enjoyed a cellar tour, the amazing musky smell of the cellar evoking images of centuries past, of wines carefully developed and enjoyed throughout the ages.
We saw the vineyards that plaited the landscape, the olive trees measured out in their groves, sage and lavender and rosemary bursting out from the garden beds, the silver-toned sage leaves flat and large, the rosemary stems like miniature pine trees, the lavender launching its purple spears up towards the bluest Tuscan sky above.
Whilst we would have been happy to pass an entire day (or lifetime for that matter!) at the vineyard, we were promised there were equally wonderful things ahead of us, and so it was we headed on to our next stop, Monteriggioni.
A small village town in Tuscany where we wandered the cobbled streets, Monteriggioni has a history almost as fantastic as the views it offers from within its turreted walls. Built by Siena in the early 1200s as a stronghold in their centuries-long battle against Florence. Strategically placed along a major thoroughfare, battles were fought between Florence and Siena for possession Monteriggioni, on a rather frequent basis from the 1300s through to the 1500s. Volterra also had a go at gaining control of this charming Tuscany hilltop town.
Monteriggioni eventually and literally fell into the hands of Florence when the town’s keeper just handed over the keys to the Florentines, and thus the Medici’s.
Needless to say, the locals were not too pleased about this. Particularly since Cosimo I (de’ Medici) then imposed rule over Monteriggioni and the locals were bought to Florence – leaving the Florentines with a lovely vacation location! Really.
For us though, it was time to head off and on to lunch!
Being foodies, Tuscany is just gastronomical heaven and we were dying to get to the restaurant!
Nestled in the stunning Tuscan hillside, the Foresteria del Boccone makes charming seem like it’s lacking in something special. A small farmhouse has been turned into a place where dreams come true on a plate.
Traditional Tuscan cuisine was expertly served, presented with a modern twist that made the meal not only delicious but also fun. In a small dining room with glass walls offering wonderful views, it was just magical.
From starter to main to dessert (oh the dessert!), each and every mouthful was amazing. Really, truly fantastic. Accompanied by wonderful Tuscan wine, we were tasting the best of Tuscany on a plate.
A smooth and creamy seafood soup was first to be presented to us as a tasting plate. We then had an array of amazing starter dishes including gnocchi with shavings of fresh truffle in a creamy sauce, ribbon pasta with a to-die-for meat ragout made in the traditional Tuscan way. For mains we had peppery ‘Spezzatino’ beef stew, steak shaved with fresh truffles, and more and more!
Several hours passed before we had worked our way expertly through a traditional Tuscan lunch.
With a friendly goodbye from our charming wait staff, we headed back out into the Tuscan countryside in the company of our lovely private driver guide, who drove us on into the Tuscan countryside for more exciting, fascinating and thoroughly enjoyable afternoon tour of Tuscany’s charming countryside.
But we’ll leave that for another day…
Getting to the surrounding Tuscan countryside from Florence is but a short and delightful drive. If you would like to have a private guide accompanying you, we have private tours that cater to your every desire. From Florence (and Tuscany) to Rome, Venice to the Cinque Terre and beyond, we are at your beck and call.
If you would like to immerse yourself in the Tuscan countryside and be part of the scenery that has inspired so many great artworks, we have a small-group Best of Tuscany tour visiting Siena, San Gimignano and Monteriggioni too, as well as stopping for lunch and wine tasting at an award-winning wine estate. See the highlights of Tuscany in one spectacular day tour from Florence – Best of Tuscany small-group tour.
To learn about the traditional Italian ingredients and learn to make delicious, typical dishes before indulging in a delicious meal made by you, we have hands-on cooking classes in Florence.
If you are looking for some great things to do in Tuscany to explore the Tuscan countryside in a small group, you can visit a Tuscan villa on the Taste of Tuscany at the Villa wine tour. Explore the historic wine estate before undertaking a wine tasting. Tread through the terrain, enjoying spectacular views of the Tuscan countryside up-close and personal.
Stroll through the Tuscan countryside, join us for a Perfect Morning in Tuscany small-group walking tour. Leaving from Florence’s city centre and heading to the surrounding countryside, this small-group walking tour includes, well, walking in Tuscany, as well as lunch with wine at a stunning Renaissance Villa Estate, accompanied by an expert tour guide.
To explore other areas of Italy, can check out our Artviva Walking Tours website to read more about the tours we have to offer in Florence, Rome, Venice, Cinque Terre, Umbria, Naples, Pompeii and more.
* Not that we have ever heard anyone argue with this point!
La Foresteria Del Boccone is closed Tuesdays. For reservations, please call +39 0577/848233.