Italy Part Two – Wine and Olive Oil Country

After our jet-lagged days in Rome, we drove up to the hills outside of Florence. Curving up narrow steep roads, around hairpin curves, Italian drivers tailgating and passing on blind corners.


Ryan drove, enjoying being back in a manual transmission and the lack of things like enforced speed limits or lane divisions. The only traffic rule we observed was Try Not To Hit Other Vehicles.  But if you can squeeze your Fiat up between those two cars at the red light, than go for it. Ryan was thriving on it.  I navigated, alternating between trying to decipher the Italian Road Atlas and frantically reading the approx 18 directional signs on each sign post. Street names were only a vague memory of an organized homeland.  You better know what the next village on your path is, and the bigger town/city on the end. When we arrived at our hotel in the little village on a hillside without computerized help, a family there recommended that if Ryan had indeed found it in the dark without GPS, I’d better marry him. Ha! I knew I married a good one.

Outside the village of San Donato

We were staying in the room in the top of the yellow building.


Our view.  Please excuse the rain.


We drove up to the top of the hills to visit Abbezia di Vallambrosa, but it was closed for the winter.  It was just us, the snow, and a dark green Aston Martin.


Road-tripping through the villages.


We were driving through Chianti region, the only part of the world that produces Chianti Classico.  We asked why that region was so good for growing grapes and olives.  In reply we received the ‘duh’ look, and “because it’s the best.” One of the vineyard we tasted at has been there since the 1100’s. And it had a giant wine cork.

Unimpressed that I made him stand in the rain and wet grass for a picture.

Many times during our trip we had to hide from a downpour.


Our favorite winery was Montagliari. After 10 minutes of wandering around and slamming doors to no avail, an Italian with a cellphone drove up.  He called the winery, and a man came running down to let us taste some pretty exquisite Chianti and olive oil. He was the very amiable owner, David, and we had a nice chat in mime and some English.



Country mornings were the best.  They involved alot of pastries, caffe, and relaxing.


Ryan and the hotel’s cat were best buds by the end of the week.


Ryan wants to build a wood fired pizza oven, and the hotel had a grand specimen. He almost climbed into it seeing how they built it.  Good thing he was wearing black already.



One thought on “Italy Part Two – Wine and Olive Oil Country

  1. The cat looks like my “Lucy”! Same coloring and markings. What a delighful looking trip you had.
    Happy for you…

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