Saturday, November 1, 2008

A Day in Tuscany

Today is All Saints Day in Italy and many of the businesses are closed. Thanks to Rebecca, our guide for the day, we are traveling through Tuscany. We leave Florence and head south to the Superstrada, a non-toll highway, similar to our interstate highways, minus the emergency lane. When we exit the Superstrada, we head for the mountains and the beautiful countryside. The roads are winding and Rebecca blows her horn as she enters the tight curves, just to let oncoming traffic know we have the right away since there is no room for two cars. Rebecca is a master at the wheel, a true Italian!

Rebecca has arranged for us to tour the winery at Villa Caffaggio in Panzano in the Conca d'Oro. the Chianti Classico region. Villa Caffaggio grows two types of grapes, approximately 85% of which are Sangiovese and the remaining 15% are Cabernet Sauvignon. Villa Caffaggio produces Chianti Classico and Super Tuscan wines. We were treated to 4 wines, 2 Chianti Classicos and 2 Super Tuscan. The overwhelming favorite was the San Martino.
This is olive harvesting time in Tuscany. The hills are full of olive trees and as we rounded a curve, we noticed several men along the roadside picking olives. The men we kind enough to show me their technique and try my hand at the harvesting. A net is placed under the trees and a hand rake is used to pull the ripe olives from the trees. Once the olives are harvested they are taken to the olive press in town to convert the ripe fruit to olive oil.

After the wine tour, our next stop was a saffron farm for lunch. More about that later.

To end our tour of Tuscany, we visit the hill town of San Gimignano, known for its Medieval towers. We climb to the top of the town for a spectacular view of the countryside. The Duomo is a fine example of Tuscan Romanesque architecture. The exterior is plain but the inside is full of beautiful frescos. After a cup of cappuccino and a tour of the shops, we drive back to Florence.
If you are planning a trip to Tuscany, I would highly recommend you check out Rebecca Christphersen's web site Tuscan Wine Tours. She is very knowledgeable about the wines and history of the region and will make sure you experience the heart of Tuscany.

Thanks Rebecca for giving us the chance to be Italians for the day!


  1. Hi Susan,
    Lovely blog. Also great to hear that the tour pleased you - mind if I link to it from mine?
    Enjoy the rest of your time in Italy!
    My best,

  2. Wow! Fabulous! Now you need to watch Tea with Mussolini - my favorite movie!

  3. Rebecca, I would love for you to link to it!

    Susan, I've never seen Tea with Mussolini, have to get it when I get back.