Don't worry, I'm running out of movie titles to name my posts after :). Shall we take a tour through Tuscany today? When we left off, we were wandering our way through Rome. The day after our packed-full of goodness day in Rome, we picked up a rental car and headed up to Tuscany. Have any of you ever driven in Rome? Oh goodness, I don't recommend it. At one point four lanes merged down to one and I thought I was going to die. I wish I'd taken a photo to show you, but I was too busy holding on for dear life :).
What I do recommend though, is having a car in Tuscany. We wanted to stay away from the bigger cities and stick to the smaller hill towns -- and most aren't easily accessible by train. A car was the best way to stay off the beaten path and we had an amazing time exploring.
Chris quickly learned that Jenn + back roads + an Italy guide book = adventure! I'm wanted to stop everywhere. We had no itinerary -- we didn't even have a hotel room for that night! So we just meandered north. Our first stop was for lunch in Orvieto, home of the beautiful stripey church! I'm sure the church has another name, but I just loved it's stripes :).
After Orvieto, we stopped at Civita di Bagnoregio, a TINY, beautiful hill town. Does Chris look nervous? :) The foot bridge is the only way to access this cute little town and it was a little intense!
Technically, Civita is in Umbria, just south of Tuscany. Isn't the Umbrian countryside dramatic?
When we left Rome, our rough plan was to stop in Montepulciano for one night and then continue north. We completely lucked out though and found an AMAZING hotel room. The photo above? Our view from the room. We immediately booked a second night :).
Montepulciano is also a hill town and has these deep, deep wine cellars that are ancient and still used to produce wine. We toured a couple, and of course did our fare share of tasting as well.
We also ventured out and explored a couple neighboring hill towns and a couple nearby wineries. Above is a photo of Montepulciano taken from a nearby winery. Where there's a chance we ate this as a picnic lunch:
Um, when in Rome, er, Italy? There were crackers too, oh, and wine. :)
When pressured to say what my favorite part of our trip was, these couple days are it. Montepulciano is a sleepy, un-touristy (at least when we were there) town, with great cafes, cute shops and of course, the aforementioned wine cellars. We had such a great time just wandering around and exploring. We saw and did a lot, but because of the pace of the town, it felt incredibly relaxing :). And, as you can see above, Chris made a friend! And, do you recognize the tower in the top left photo? Yeah, there's actually a scene in "Under the Tuscan Sun" filmed in front of that building.
Upon leaving Tuscany, we headed north and east for a completely different experience. Next up, we'll talk about the amazing Cinque Terre!