Writing a post about everything we’ve seen during our last trip to Tuscany is almost impossible. So much impressions, such beautiful scenery, picturesque villages and cities everywhere .. But, it would be unfair not to share some must-see and must-do’s with you guys!
I tried to keep this list as limited – and less obvious, leaving out Siena and Florence as must-see’s during your trip – as possible, but hey .. When in Tuscany .. Enjoy!
Visit the Abbazia di Monte Oliveto Maggiore
Tuscany is home to a lot of cloisters, abbeys and convents – we visited three of them during our stay – but the one which we enjoyed most, was the
Abbazia di Monte Oliveto Maggiore. It is located 36 km south of Sienna in the characteristic landscape of the Crete Senesi.
The setting is magical. You walk through a tower, which leads to the courtyard of the abbey, onto a broad avenue of cypresses. Following this avenue, you’ll hit the impressive late-gothic church of the abbey, built between 1399 and 1417 by order of the Abbot Ippolito di Giacomo da Milano. It is still in use today by members of the Benedictine-order, and houses about 45 monks. If you have the time: taste some of their self-made wine in the church’s cellar! You won’t regret it!
Have dinner in Trattoria di Cagnano, Montepulciano
If we can give you one ultimate piece of Tuscan restaurant-advice, it would be Trattoria di Cagnano! We drove all the way from Chiusi up to Montepulciano (about 35 minute drive) to experience this for ourselves. We found out about this famous trattoria thanks to our Trotter-guide, and whoa .. This was really something!
A very cosy, typical Italian Trattoria – yes, with checkered table cloth and all! – with very friendly staff, where everything is made fresh and almost before your eyes. Antipasti, Fresh Cheese & Meat Plates, Pasta’s, pizza’s, rabbit and chicken stews with the famous Noble de Montepulciano, .. Just go there, and taste for yourself! My favorite was the black truffle pasta!
Follow the ‘Strade Bianche’
Cycling-fans will definitely know the ‘Strade Bianche’-race which takes place under the Tuscan Sun. The race got its name by the countless unpaved white roads the cyclists must follow. Strade Bianche literally means: white roads. But these roads are accessible all year long, by car, by foot and by bike and I suggest you just follow them up and down the Tuscan countryside.
Sit back, relax and enjoy the beautiful scenery passing by..
Taste some world famous wine
When in Tuscany, you just HAVE to drink some of their wine. Its wines are famous all around the world, and I bet you all have heard about the Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, the Brunello di Montalchino and Chianti. Visit a local winery or book a wine tasting tour in the area.
Last time we visited, we booked a tour in Chianti-in-Grève (click here) but this year we visited a Fattoria in the Montalchino-area to taste its world famous Brunello’s! I’ll make a separate post about this experience, but you get the main idea: TASTE SOME WINE!
One last piece of advice ..
Well, I could give you a list of all the things we’ve done in the four days we were in the area, but that wouldn’t be a nice read, doesn’t it? If I may give you one last tip: stop at every little village you like to ‘taste’ the real Tuscan-life, but go and visit the ‘bigger’ cities as well: Montalcino, Montepulciano, San Gimignano, Volterra, Lucca, .. They all have their own charm and history and in most cases, they give you a heck of a view over the Tuscan Countryside ..