Highlights from Week Three: Cinque Terre, Chianti & Siena

Week_three_tripsWhy go to just one new place when you can go to…say…three? Our thoughts exactly. This week, instead of going to one city, we went to three very different locations: Cinque Terre, Chianti (Montefioralle), and Siena. Essentially, in one weekend we saw the Italian coast, the Tuscan countryside, and one of Italy’s most beloved hill towns. What else could one ask for?! Oh, right. We also ate…like queens. Would you expect anything less? I thought not. Onto the pictures!
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Photo of the Week: Chianti Countryside

Photo of the Week: Chianti Countryside

This is the breathtaking view looking out over the Tuscan hillside from the town of Panzano, located in the municipality of Greve, halfway between Florence and Siena. This quaint hilltop town is situated along the Chiantigiana, the famous road that runs through the heart of the Chianti Classico region. This particular image shows a rather unusual geological feature for this region: a wide, low valley, rather than what are more typically narrow and deep valleys. This particular example is the biggest and most famous of these features, known as the Conca d’Oro (The Golden Bowl). Aside from being maybe the most beautiful sight I have ever seen, the particular combination of soil, altitude, and temperature on these slopes are ideal for chianti grapes, making the Golden Bowl highly coveted wine territory.

Aside from its amazing wine and incredible views, Panzano has also been put on the map thanks to a certain local butcher. Yes, I said butcher. The Butcher of Panzano, Dario Cecchini. Think I’m joking? Ask Anthony Bourdain. I recently was lucky enough to take part in the weekly Sunday lunch at one of his three (yes, three) restaurants in Panzano. It was an unspeakable three-hour feast of all the most delicious cuts of meat you have ever tasted. Not to worry, I plan on blogging about that soon enough. I just have not recovered enough to talk about it yet.

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Tuscany Bike Tour: Put The Fun Between Your Legs!


When people ask me for travel tips or recommendations for fun things to do in Florence one of the first activities that comes to mind is the Tuscany Wine and Bike Tour. Of course some other, more obvious, sites come to mind as well. However, the Tuscany Wine and Bike Tour has proven to be one of few SURE THINGS when it comes to the satisfaction and enjoyment of countless friends, family members, and students I have recommended it to.

Two happy customers about to hit the road

Anyone, regardless of age, athletic ability or inability, interest or disinterest in wine can appreciate the uniqueness and beauty of such a tour. A few years ago, I moved from Florence back to the U.S. unsure if or when I would return. I had a long check list of things to do and see before my departure. I spent hours planning where I would spend my last dinner, what I would order, what my final gelato flavor would be, and which route I would take for my last Florentine walk. With one day left to enjoy in Italy there was clearly only way to spend it – with my closest friends on the Tuscany Wine and Bike Tour. Here is why… Continue reading…

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