To get a better feel of the country we
decided that our choice of
accommodations will be a Bed &
Breakfast whenever possible. This
choice turned out to be a good one.
Our first one was called "Il Girasole"
and its kind owners were waiting for
us outside when we arrived. It was a
bit difficult to find but very clean and
tastefully decorated. Our room had a
little balcony with a view of an olive
Montepulciano was about a 5
minute drive from here. It is what
would be considered a typical
Tuscan hill town surrounded by a
rock wall. We were on a hunt for
its famous Vino Nobile which is
one of the best Italian wines - its
taste close to the extremely
expensive Brunello which is
produced in nearby Montalcino.
We found a charming "enoteka"
(wine shop) where they let us
look at their incredible arched
wine cellar and sample their
wine and cheeses so we ended
up buying a $12 bottle of Vino
Nobile which would have cost us
over $36 in the US.
In the morning we left for Florence and our next B&B called Colonica
Belvedere in San Donato. According to the map there were two ways to
get there and we chose one that seemed to be shorter. Soon we found we
were driving on a steep road that was going higher and higher. It was
early spring and most of the trees had bright green foliage but that
suddenly started to change to no foliage and then to pine forest and then
Chuck called our girls and told them that we are so high that he went to
pee and hit a goose flying by. What the map did not tell us was that one of
those equally long roads crosses the mountain.
Later we found out that the mountain is called Pratomagno and is 1450m
(4757 feet) high. Somewhere, close to the top, is a famous Benedictine
monastery Vallombrosa that we passed so fast that we only caught a
glimpse of it. After a trip that was suppose to last about half an hour we
finally found our B&B about three hours later then we had planned.
The house was a 13th century villa, very clean, wonderfully decorated,
and surrounded with olive groves, nested on the slope of a mountain with
an incredible view. The whole family waited for us when we arrived and
treated us wonderfully all the time we stayed there.