Friday, September 24, 2010

Florence (Part 3)

Our second day in Florence dawned and it was... WINE TOUR DAY!

We booked a private driver for the 8 of us to see Tuscany, do some shopping and a little Chianti wine tasting. We were super excited when our driver pulled up and not only did he have an AWESOME van for us to ride around in all day, but he looked like "The Most Interesting Man in the World" Seriously. And his name was Riccardo.

On to our day!

First stop: San Gimignano - the town of towers

 This town was so cute and quint, though none of us could properly pronounce it. Poor Riccardo tried and tried to tell us, but we were just not getting it. The ladies especially had fun here, as the shopping bags we are holding can attest. Can you believe that sky?!

Then it was on to another castle-y town for lunch! This time Monteriggioni.

Austin is super excited we visited this town, because it is also part of his new Assasin's Creed II game - he wanted you to know.

View from our quaint little table...

They brought our Coke Light with lemon by default - I was Thrilled with a capital T. 

Side note, I could sadly never reside in Italy because of the ridiculous price of diet coke alone. Though, maybe the awesome espresso, wine and food in general would help to console me of that loss eventually. I think this can of soda was 5 Euro, which roughly translates to like $7. Yikes.

After lunch, we explored the town a bit

Can't you just see that History major mind working?

 We lit a candle and said a few prayers. 
Though this church was the smallest that we saw while in Italy it was one of my favorite 

We were then supposed to head to Sienna to walk around a bit more, but it just so happened that we were there on the same day as Il Palio which is a horse race that has been taking place in Sienna since 1656.

Riccardo was confident it would be a great day to walk around, but as he drove us into the town, we accidentally drove right into the parade route! Here are some photos Jess managed to snap while hanging out the window of the confused people in the parade and some of the onlookers who were not very happy with us!

So, even though I really wanted to get a scarf in honor of the winning horse that day (you know I love some team pride) we decided it would be best to exit Sienna ASAP.

Onto the wine!

Riccardo took us to his friend Andre's vineyard. It is a little family owned operation and though he spoke barely no English, he was such a sweetheart and taught us all about Chianti before doing the tasting.

The whole group with Andre

The wine was delish, as were the homemade snacks and we all left with a few bottles in tow. We headed for some more wine and more scenic views of Tuscany, but this post is getting entirely too long, so I will leave you with a few photos.

I think this is the best photo anyone got of Riccardo all day. You will just have to trust me on looking like the Dos Equis guy.


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