Wine Tasting and Biking the Tuscan Hills
Spend just a few moments in Tuscany... particularly at sunrise or sunset... and it's easy to see why these smooth Italians have been inspiring, artists, photographers, poets, and lovers for ages. The tall, slender, green cypress trees and shrubs lining the roads and property pathways are synonymous with the region. And the sun's rays bouncing off grape vines and olive trees all in perfect symmetry is breathtaking. Oh... and the wine ain't bad to sip on either! ;-)
My first Tuscany trip... by design... was to perhaps the most famous of regions, Chianti. The area spans Florence and Siena. Melting into the landscapes are old churches, villas, and even fortresses as the history of the area was quite tumultuous and battle-filled. The wine-making history is woven into the story. This Chianti website notes the region just celebrated 300 years of 'official winemaking' but the practice has been going strong for more than 2000 years. A lot of the tours (some shown below) will allow you to go into the cellars and/or get a first hand look at the wine-making process... both past and present. The Chianti wines we sampled are mostly known for their ruby red color, being dry, and having a good bit of tannin. Although everyone experiences the wine differently... many say they find it spicy with earthy cherry (and other red fruits), tobacco, and/or vanilla flavors.
I found the roads in Chianti are mostly good and not hard to maneuver... but definitely 'windy twindy' as I like to say. Whether you opt to stay in a villa on the countryside or a hotel in a town or city like Florence... a car is certainly a good option. This gives you some freedom to get out and explore the small Renaissance villages around where you're posting up for your time in Tuscany. Another great way to experience Tuscany is joining a hiking or biking tour group. This will optimize your time and ensure you get some local expertise from more than your guidebook or smart phone. I really really really enjoyed the Tuscany bike tour I did on my visit. I ended up meeting people from all over the world... and enjoyed a nice meal and a couple bottles of wine with them after the long climbs up the hills. Hey!! We earned it! ;-)
Below are a few Tuscany tour options you may enjoy! Tweet me if you check one of these out!