I’ve never been one for organised coach trips; I prefer to plan a trip through myself or with friends, but after arriving in Firenze in a fairly negative light, we decided to spend our only full day there on a 12 hour Viator trip to Tuscany…
After an early start and a mad dash to the coach station, we set off for Siena.
I’d dreamt of seeing the cathedral in Siena for such a long time. As a huge fan of architecture, it had always been pretty high up on my list of places to see, thanks to Instagram and Pinterest. Considering we weren’t planning on visiting Siena on this interrail adventure, I was beyond excited to finally see it.
(Yes the interior, and some of the exterior, is black and white striped!)
The city itself was so lovely; everything just felt authentic. We learnt about the Palio de Siena, an annual horse race that takes place in the Piazza del Campo, and how the whole community comes together to celebrate – we saw the flags bearing the colours of this year’s winner hanging outside windows and above shop entrances.
The whole city just had such a warm, welcoming atmosphere, something we had in all honesty not felt in Florence. Our lovely guide had that passion for her beloved city that I think is so rare to find these days; you could tell how much she loved her home, and she made us fall in love with it too.
After exploring Siena for a couple of hours, we stopped at Fattoria Poggio Alloro, a family-run farm just 5km from San Gimignano, where we would tour a vineyard, taste wine and local produce, and enjoy the stunning landscapes that surrounded us. This place was gorgeous, and everything I imagined Tuscany to be; rolling hills, rows upon rows of grapes ready to be harvested to make the most delicious wines, and beautiful food (all produced on the farm!). From sipping a lovely glass of Chianti to trying the most amazing olive oil I have ever tasted, we had a fab lunch at Fattoria Poggio Alloro, and I’d recommend it to anyone for their incredible hospitality, delicious menu and breathtaking views.
We made the short journey to San Gimignano where our first stop was for gelato! Two things that I think the Italians excel at are gelato and coffee. I haven’t had a decent cup of coffee since we got back!
We found some steps to sit on whilst we planned how to spend our little amount of time there, and in true Travel Tea Tv form, we couldn’t just go to a nice little town and have a cultured day out. Always looking for the slightly more “out there” attraction, we headed straight for the torture museum. Bearing in mind we wouldn’t pay 5€ each for a taxi the day before, we paid 10€ to go in. Whilst I learnt things that I really wish I hadn’t, this place was pretty fascinating and if you fancy getting a little creeped out (it’s like the set of Saw), give this place a go!
I will at some point go back to Florence and give it a chance to amaze me in the way I always thought it would, but for now, I have some gorgeous memories of the beautiful Tuscany, and my traveler heart is pretty satisfied.
Thanks for reading,