Accommodation | Agriturismo Incrociata
Worthy to Note | Get a GPS system and research where good wineries/vineyards are before you head out, and remember siesta really does close down a number of places
Must Do | Lunch in a vineyard, Saturnia thermal springs, Relax and read a book
Despite our love for Rome, I was looking forward to getting some fresh air and meeting up with friends of ours. We railed to Bucine station where they met us and we successfully squeezed our suitcases into the tiniest of cars much to the amusement of onlookers. We travelled to the Tuscan farmhouse where the four of us had rented an apartment for 5 nights, complete with pool, outdoor dining, and views of rolling hills.
After a lazy morning sleep-in, we ventured to nearby Siena to explore the town. It is backdrop to many a movie, and its hilly winding streets finally lead to a flat open square. Back on the road again in search for lunch, and we stumbled along a small place called Casanova di Ama. Shame, I’m pretty sure we interrupted their siesta with our grumbling bellies, but they were kind enough to feed us the usual Italian affair of breads, meats, and cheese, accompanied by local wine and grappa.
A couple of days later we decided to stay in. The sun was out so we took the chance to do some washing (yes, the mundane things of life still need to be done when travelling) and read by the pool. We had an early BBQ dinner with fresh meat from the only place in town that seemed to sell any, and simply enjoyed hearing each others adventures over the past few months apart. This was one of my favourite days in Tuscany as I truly started to relax.
Our last full-day in Tuscany saw us taking a 2 hour journey to Castello di Banfi in Montelcino – a castle with beautiful manicured grounds, lunch with an amazing pinot grigio, and some pretty good views as far as the eye could see. Considering ourselves explorers by now, we left in pursuit of natural hot springs in a town named Saturnia. We had no address so were excited when the first signs appeared leading us in the right direction. The springs were as always, a little on the nose, but after you got used to it then you enjoyed the warm streaming waters.
That evening saw us returning to a recommended nearby restaurant with a friendly waiter who we encouraged to try the wine we had bought. In Italy they pop the cork and smell it, and ensure it is good wine before pouring. Luckily he gave his approval through broken English and we thanked him for his hospitality in piecemeal Italian. Communicating in a foreign language isn’t always easy, but with time comes experience and the use of certain words or phrases shows you are trying, which they appreciate.
For me, Tuscany was a tiny bit disappointing due to my high expectations. I’m not a fan of driving aimlessly so it took a lot for me to get out of my everything-is-planned-in-advance ways and go with the flow. Also, given it was the beginning of our trip, we were ready to go, go, go, so leaving the relaxing till the end may have been a better option. Still, it was beautiful!