No one should spend a day in Tuscany…that is simply not enough time to enjoy all this amazing area has to offer. But if I were forced to spend only a day, only one day under the Tuscan sun, I would make sure to see and do the following:
Tour Siena, Italy:
The most idealistic Tuscan city is Siena, Italy. Siena is the picture perfect model of what a medieval city is suppose to look and feel like: extremely narrow streets, alley ways that only people can squeeze down, Gothic architecture, the most amazing Piazza Del Campo, and of course a gorgeous Duomo. When in Siena, tour the Mangia Tower, have a cup of coffee at the Piazza Del Campo, tour the famous Siena Duomo, and get lost in the streets of Siena.
Tour A LOCAL Tuscany Winery:
Yes, Tuscany is world renowned for its wine; in my humble (and biased) opinion Tuscany, Italy produces the best wine in the world! Tuscany produces a great variety of wines, but it is most popular for producing Chianti Classico wine, and Brunello Di Montalcino wine. As such, I do not think any Tour of Tuscany is complete without a Tuscany Wine Tour.
Chianti Classico Wine
Chianti Classico wine is produced, as you might expect, in the Chianti region. This region is very small, roughly 100 square miles of area between Florence and Siena. If the grapes are not grown in this region, than the wine cannot be labeled Chianti Classico.
In addition to the requirement that the grapes be grown in a very specific region, other certain standards must be met. For example, in order for a wine to be labeled Chianti Classico, 80% of the grapes used must be Sangiovese grapes. The remaining 20% can be other types of grapes, such as Canaiolo and Colorino as well as “international” varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.
One of my favorite local Chianti Classico wineries to tour is Le Boncie, located in the heart of Chianti. Le Boncie only makes its famous Chianti Classico wine, but differs than most in that it adds very small amounts of a local grapes mammolo, colorino and foglia tonda to its famous Sangiovese (but don’t worry, as required at least 80% of the grapes used are Sangiovese).
Brunello Di Montalcino Wine
Brunello di Montalcino wine is produced in the region near Pienza, Italy. Just as the Chianti Classico, Brunello di Montalcino wine must be produced in this very specific region. However, the requirements to produced Brunello di Montalcino wine are a little more strict, for example, Brunello di Montalcino wine must be made of 100% Sangiovese grapes. In addition, Brunello di Montalcino wine must age longer in its barrell, it must age for two years in oak barrels and for at least four months in the bottle before release.
One of my favorite local Brunello di Montalcino wineries to tour is Abbadi Ardenga. Abbadi Ardenga is a small family owned winery with just over 650 hectares of land. This winery produces very simply and smooth Brunello di Montalcino wine. If you are lucky Mario will leade your wine tour of this great hidden Tuscan gem. Information regarding wine tasting can be found here.
And if you want more information for your wine tour of Tuscany, check out our Italy Wine Tour Map!
Walks The Streets of Pienza, Italy:
Pienza, Italy is tucked between hundreds of wineries and farms in Southern Tuscany. A truly hilltop top, Siena was built and occupies the top of this Tuscan hillside and has simply the best view of the val d’orcia. Pienza is also renowned for being located in the heart of Italy’s cheese region! If you like pecorrino cheese, and who doesn’t (well maybe the smell can be too much for the cheese novice), Pienza has countless shops to sample and buy some of the best pecorrino cheese.
What I enjoy most about Pienza is its small town atmosphere, and how Pienza represents all things great about Tuscany: Pienza is home to some of the best scenery as it overlooks the famous val d’orcia; Pienza is neighbors with many of the greatest local Tuscan wineries; and Pienza is home to amazing restaurants that share with you the best Italian cuisine has to offer.
Spend an hour or so to soak up all this great city has to offer; while not big on size, Pienza is big on beauty!
Have Dinner In San Gimignano:
San Gimignano is a historic village located in the heart of Tuscany, Italy, and it is widely recognized as one of the most beautiful cities to visit in Tuscany. Every summer San Gimignano is overtaken thousands of tourists. As a result, I recommend only visiting San Gimignano in the early morning or late afternoon/evening, well after its visitors have left.
What makes San Gimingano so distinctive it is bell towers that shadow this beautiful place. Two gorgeous and tall bell towers rule the sky and provide ample scenery for picture goers.
A great way to experience San Gimignano is enjoying a dinner directly off its main plaza. One of my favorite restaurants in San Gimignano is Cum Quibus. The ambiance at this historic trattoria is second to no one. Tucked in what appears to be an old wine cellar Cum Quibus excels in serving truly authentic Italian and Tuscan cuisine, with amazing wine pairings and service.
After enjoying a romantic dinner staring at the bell towers, make sure to indulge in a scoop of gelato at Gelateria Dondoli. My personal favorite gelato flavor is Saffron. It is truly a gem in Tuscany (not a hidden gem because it seems everyone has discovered this amazing gelato place, expect a long line)!
Enjoy A Tuscany Sunset Over A Glass of Tuscan Wine:
What better way to end your tour of Tuscany than to enjoy wine while watching the sun set of the rolling Tuscan hillside. While in San Gimignano make sure to pick up a bottle of your favorite wine, and ask for a couple of glasses as well. After enjoying a wonderful dinner in San Gimignano make the drive to Voltera, some 45 minutes or so away. As you near Voltera you will start the drive up a subtle hillside. As you near the top there is a turnout to take pictures of this amazing hillside. Use this turn out to sit back, relax, think back about your amazing day touring Tuscany, crack open that bottle of wine and enjoy the sunset. A perfect ending to a perfect day in Tuscany!