Our First View of Tuscany

During our recent sojourn, we both agreed that Florence, and the local Tuscany region, was our favorite new destination in Italy.

Sunrise view of the Arno River as we departed from Florence to Siena
Sunrise driving into Siena from Florence

We are not “tour” people, but as this was our first venture into this area, we felt an organized tour made sense. It was a good investment. We learned so much from our interesting tour leader, Eleanora, and we loved our driver Angelo, too. They were fun, friendly, informative and very entertaining.

Stephen in the square where the Palio is held each summer in Siena
The square in Siena
The cathedral in Siena

At lunch in a Tuscan winery, we were lucky to be seated with two ladies from Atlanta: Terry and Cheryl. They were roughly our age, funny as hell, and it was enjoyable spending time with them. They were the perfect counterpart for our lunch in the winery. They told us many stories of their trip, leaving husbands behind, going on the spur of the moment and taking a cooking class. Note to self: next time in Florence, do the cooking class, which includes a trip to what they said was an amazing food market with the chef. That sounds like a fun afternoon.

I loved Siena and San Gimignano, but like all tourist areas, they have some crowds. Evidently the best gelato in Italy was named at a place in San Gimignano, but the line was too long for us to even try it with the short time we had.

Sharon and Stephen at the winery in Tuscany. A good day.
Our lunch partners, Terry and Cheryl from Atlanta. Two ladies who were funny and entertaining. We were glad we were paired with them.
The luckiest cat in the world. Living at a Tuscan winery with lots of meat scraps.
On the road to San Gimignano. Tuscany is always a good idea.

This was a great tour for first-timers to the Florence area. Next time, I might consider doing excursions on our own, but we definitely got a lot out of taking this tour with Eleanora and Angelo.

Eleanora “Ellie”, our guide. She was great. Here in the Siena Cathedral.

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