Thursday, December 12, 2013

Sessions Italy tour 2013 - Sienna and Chianti

April 8th, 2013 
From Montelacino, we drove up north to another famous Tuscan town, Sienna. The town here looked like a fortress as we drove in. We found a hotel on Trip Advisor called Hotel Athena, and plugged it into our GPS. The GPS took us straight through town where we weren't supposed to be driving! Not to mention it was dinner time and people were everywhere on the street we were trying to drive on!

Sienna is the town where they have the Palio horse race around this square. In the summer, the center is packed with people and horses race full speed around the grey part of the track! 

This is the famous church in Sienna. The outside was so beautiful and ornate!

Prosecco for an aperitif!

We ate dinner at this cute little restaurant that used to be an old wine cellar and tried pan di pomodoro which is a delicious mix of day old bread in pomodoro sauce. It was delicious!
We tried our first bottle of Chainti Classico in Sienna, we were heading to Chianti the next day. 

This was the view from our hotel. This hotel was pretty nice. It actually had a good bed, which seemed rare in Italy, most beds are two twin beds squished together. The funny thing about this hotel was that the shower wasn't closed off very well from the rest of the bathroom, but we didn't want to take a bath so we showered anyway and pretty much flooded our bathroom!

 Cute sharpei dog. 

After a fun night in Sienna, we woke up the next morning and drove over to a small town in the Chianti region called Radda. This day was my birthday! We celebrated at a delicious restaurant where I had the best creme brulee of my life!

Gorgeous olive tree groves are everywhere!
We stayed at a small B&B called La Giovani. David, the owner recommended some wineries for us to go check out. In Chianti there were a lot of cool old castles that are wineries that you can go tasting at. We went to one called Castello D'Albola, from the 12th century, and lucked out and got a private tour of the winery!

This was the view from the winery. I wish the grape vines had leaves on them! It would have been so pretty!

These mini barrels are what they use to make their sweet wines.

Not a bad way to spend your birthday! Wine tasting in Tuscany at a castle built in the 12th century!! This was one for the books that I will always remember. 

The weird looking bottle is just a regular bottle of wine that is really really old and covered in dust. 
This was a picture of the family that owned the castle working the grapes a long time ago. 

Here is me at my birthday dinner back in Radda close to our B&B.

Up next, we packed up again and headed to Florence, Pisa and over to Cinque Terre all in one day!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Sessions Italy tour 2013 - Montepulciano and Montelacino Day Two

April 8th, 2013
This morning we ate breakfast at our hotel and chatted with a nice couple from Philadelphia. We went to the city center to get a map and recommendations for where to go wine tasting. Our first stop was Del Ricco, very cool and old cellar with huge Croatian barrels! It was built right into the hillside.  

Then we left Montepulciano in our car and on our way to Montelacino, we went to the Sarceto winery.

Sarceto was at the bottom of the hill and had a great view looking up at the town. We were the only people at the winery so we had great service! We ordered the "typical Tuscan lunch"or "brunch Toscano". It consisted of amazing bread, a platter of salame di cinta senese, from Fontanelle, a pig farm Chianciano Treme, and delicious cheese from Pienza, a small town we drove through later that day.

Our first Tuscan town was everything I could have imagined and we couldn't wait to see where our next adventure would be. 
Pretty ribbons hung outside of the winery.
The next town we went to was Montelacino. Montelacino was very similar to Montepulciano, but not as interesting. We had scheduled a wine tasting at Bondi Santi winery before we left for our trip, so I was really excited to tour their famous facility, but it turned out that Mr. Bondi Santi who was in his 90's and still running the winery, passed away the week that we were there, so the winery was closed. We ended up going to a different winery called Carpazo. We got a private tour of the facility and tasted their delicious vintages. 

 Caparzo wine was featured in the movie Letters to Juliet.

By the end of the day we were actually getting tired of the Sangiovese wine that was at each winery and Montelacino was so similar to Montepulciano that we decided to keep driving to our next stop, a bigger town, Sienna!