Friday, July 16, 2010

Summer Snapshots-Tuscan Hill towns

Over the past week we have been traveling all over Tuscany. We have managed to see about ten hill towns in a week, not too bad. This might be a longer post since we saw so much, but definitely more photos than writing, the photos speak for themselves.

Volterra

The Roman ruins

San Gimignano

As we headed into town. A fun fact about this town is it is the only place that has a DOCG white wine in Tuscany. There is a ranking system in Italy (DOCG, DOC, and IGT) and DOCG is the best. It is called Vernaccia di San Gimignano.

The city center

Castellina in Chianti 
and Dievole where our wine tour was. If you are ever in Tuscany you should consider staying or going to this place.

Second stop on the wine tour in the old cellar. I learned so much about Chianti wine on this tour. Like a Chianti Classico is only made in Chianti, Italy and it has a special label with a rooster on it.

Doesn't that look like the face of a wine connoisseur.

The Luke's enjoying the wine on the wine tour

Our amazing tour guide Dario Castagno. If you are ever in Tuscany he is your man. Also he has written a few books if you want to check them out on amazon or his website. I bought his first book called Too Much Tuscan Sun.

Cortona aka the city that the movie Under the Tuscan Sun was filmed

A really cute park as you entered into Cortona

The amazing view from up on top of the hillside in Cortona

I just loved all the doors in Italy and this one was a good one.

The view looking back at Cortona

Riserva di Fizzano

Justin had to go here because during the winter they train Olive Garden chefs. He was hoping for endless breadsticks and an Andes mint at the end. They didn't have those, but it was our favorite meal in Tuscany. A little out of the way, but worth the trip. Check it out!

The vineyards

Not too hot and sweaty so we took a cute picture amongst the vineyards.

Through the hillsides

Everywhere we drove there were fields of sunflowers. I have never seen so many sunflowers. It almost looks fake. 

Montalcino

I don't have any good pictures of this place, but this is where the best wine in Italy is made. It is called Brunello di Montalcino. We did manage to buy six bottles and send them to the States for Christmas presents. The wine has to age 5 years until it can be sold so right now they are selling 2005. A 2004 bottle was a 5-star year and 2005 was a 4 star year (the scale was out of 5 so it is good) Supposedly this wine is top 10 in the world.

Montepulciano

More amazing views of the hillside

The streets lined with wine shops

Another great view, I hope all the pictures do Tuscan justice. It was really breathtaking all the views.

What a lot of streets looked like in Italy. I imagined it to look like this and it did.

The second best wine can be found here. It is called Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. This is me sampling a glass and again very good. I haven't had one wine I didn't like in Italy.

Tuscany has been a trip of a lifetime and I think anyone should come here to just experience the culture.
Next is our ten day cruise around the Mediterranean, not sure if I will have wireless on the ship.

Ciao for now!

-Marisa
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